Friday, June 29. My daunting three-day trial on the unemployment line ended when I was offered an Art Director position immediately after a two-hour interview. I accepted the offer and start this Friday. The people seem great and of the non-douchebag variety, the pay is solid and my skill set should grow exponentially. That night our neighbors extended an impromptu invite “for a drink” over the fence. We ended up staying for six hours, helped drink their cooler dry, gorged ourselves on barbecue spare ribs and watched their 13-year-old daughter’s recent European vacation slides.
Saturday, June 30. With the wives at a baby shower talking about their uteruses, I stuffed an amazing basket of fish and chips down my cake chute and drained numerous Coors Light pitchers at Clancys with CH, Tyler and Fateh. Aside from the poor patio location and a bad wait staff that included a red-haired meth skank that kept forgetting our orders and a chubby blond girl with a giant snake tattoo, good times were had by all. That night we ate a late sushi dinner and took in 1408 with Team Sutton. It was refreshing to watch a movie in a theater since we have not done so since the Korean War.
Sunday, July 1. The wife and I celebrated our one-year anniversary. We walked around our deserted wedding venue in the 100-degree heat sipping on blended coffee drinks, ate heaping plates of steamed mussels and took in back-to-back movies thanks to my criminal wife who snuck me into Ratatouille in the confusion of the exiting Rise Of The Silver Surfer crowd. It was refreshing to watch movies in a theater since we have not done so since Saturday, June 30, 2007.
Yesterday I lost my job. The company founders called me into the office and broke the happy news. They brought up the following reasons for my termination:
- I came in late three times in past two months.
- I was expected to work more than eight hours every day.
- They felt they had to coddle me through their company policies and procedures.
- They had no confidence in me as a designer.
I addressed these points as follows:
- I was late three times but it was never more than ten minutes each time and I stayed well past 5:00 whenever this occurred. You would have known this if you did not leave at 5:15 everyday.
- If I had known the job required me to pull ten hour days (which I was never told) I would have not accepted it in the first place.
- I was never given any briefing on company policies, expectations or any formal or informal training. I recall my first day (which neither one of you even offered to take me to lunch on), I was thrust in front of a computer and told to, “Be an Art Director.”
- I spent the past two months editing files and websites other people developed. I produced one original design. You hated it. The client loved it. Is that not how a designer measures success?
The corporate culture over at Gas Sack, Inc. (my new pet name for that fuck circus) was more oppressive than a concentration camp. Granted, nobody was getting shoved into an oven, but I have never witnessed employees operating under such intense fear; fear of making a mistake, fear of failure, fear of good design. I can recall only two times when I heard people laughing in the office. Two times. In two months. And both times the founders were gone for the day. The art on the walls even sucked. Oil maps of Texas, Arkansas, New Mexico and this. Which is appropriate for a homosexual ski lodge but not so much for an Investor Relations consulting firm.
So now I am back to firing off resumes (seven today), eating ketchup sandwiches and watching Judge Joe Brown and my wife is back to questioning why she married such an unemployable sack of shit.
Today, in the midst of Hanukkah Blizzard, I accepted a Creative Director position with a small design firm in Denver. I will be able to maintain the pants-free lifestyle I have grown accustomed over these past months, as my office will be in my home. I will occasionally venture out for a cup of coffee or a sandwich and maintain connectivity with the world via all form of modern technological accoutrement (cell phone, computer, IM, email, carrier pigeon). Other than that, society is officially dead to me. This career path is free of company-wide circle jerks with CEOs who receive Xmas cards from unemployed designers that lie about profits, revenues and layoffs. Once the roads are deemed safe by the governor again, I will be rolling up to the Apple Store to drop some coin on a new iMac and MacBook. Final unemployment statistics: 101 resumes sent and nine interviews all spanning three months, one week and one day.
My immediate family is now 28% unemployed. My sister was laid off from her job yesterday as nothing says Happy Holidays like a pink slip and a lackluster severance package. While my career is artistic triviality at best, hers is choked full of sexual deviants, pedophiles, predators and substance abusers. No, she is not a politician, she is (was) a caseworker for Colorado Social Services. I am hopeful she will land on her feet in a job with better pay and something easier on her psyche. As for my employment situation: 88 resumes sent, 7 interviews and a lone job offer from the place creative people go to die.
What is the most sensible thing one can do when they are unemployed? If you answered, “add another hungry mouth to the family” then you are correct. That is exactly what the wife and I did this weekend when we responded to a posting for ‘free kittens’ on Craigslist. It was all very Madonna-esque; we entered a foreign place with odd smells (in this case Thornton), we ogled over some unwanted babies and then we took off like criminals with a little bundle of joy before parents and the authorities got wise. As I post this, kitty is napping at my feet and purring like the dickens.
In the past two weeks, my former employer’s chief technologist accepted a job offer in Boulder and three members of the senior sales staff resigned (I am still firmly entrenched in the data slaughterhouse gossip circle). I shared anger, pain, jokes, laughs and bourbon with all four of these individuals and am happy to see them make it over the wall. A message to all my people still trapped on the inside: The owl hoots at night. The fat man is dancing with the briefcase. The bell tolls for thee. Vive la Resistance!
The employment search has officially become stagnant. I just sent resume number 75 since Broz’s Day of Liberation (September 12) and I am now seeing jobs that I applied to in early September re-post on the job sites I troll daily like a ravenous jackal. With the oncoming holiday season, it is a likely possibility that I will not have procured gainful employment until the Christian New Year. This reality is crushing as I have the Colorado Pass and may have to spend the winter work week on powder-filled ski slopes while avoiding the weekend warrior, latte-swilling transplant yuppie in an overpriced SUV jamming up the I-70 corridor and harboring the delusion that they can ski expert terrain and the term “yield to the downhill skier” does not apply to them. I do have a few freelance gigs in the hopper that should keep the lights on and the wife and I off of dog food for the time being. Unemployment has me contemplating many things; geographic relocation, getting my masters degree in eMAD, attempting to make a committed run at the freelance thing, writing the great American novel and designing a fetish site with women in casts. Of course, somebody has already beaten me to the fetish site.
A snowstorm is dumping a blanket of thick wetness across the Denver metro area today. I’m sitting in the warmth that is a firing furnace and blown out slippers, sucking down a tall mug of coffee that could strip paint, gazing out out the back door and watching vintage Ricardo Montalban Chrysler commercials. It’s a good day to be alive and unemployed.