Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Employment vs. Unemployment

(Note: With a slip of the finger, I wiped out the original post. It was epic in scope and yet intensely personal in feeling- truly a tour du force. Here is the second version, which should live up to such great sequels as Godfather part III, Rocky V and Jurassic Park III).

Approximately one week ago, we hired a person for an IT position opening. Yes, it was an actual job, not just one in the meat preparation industry. After a lengthy search process, we found "Larry" (not the person's real name). Extremely qualified and affable, the 26-year old was hired, and the land became green and fruitful with his coming, and the corporate masters grinned.

The only problem was that he was an idiot and a complete liar about everything. Not just content to falsify his academic record, he also thought it was a good idea to estimate his previous salaries at double what they were. Yes, he tried to turn a "D" into a "A", and no matter how much whiteout you use and how steady your hand is, your dad knows about it. Well, Dad found out about it and "Larry" was escorted unceremoniously from the building.

I'm not what part of the brain controls acting like a moron. Normally intelligent, functioning people do horribly irrational things: Talking on the phone and eating while guiding a 2000 lb piece of metal at high speeds, bringing small children into movie theaters that have other people in them, clicking on links in their email that promise sexual/financial improvement, and playing the lottery. Some idiots even lose an entire post because they can't operate a computer correctly. Things like those that Larry does transcend these and must be filed into "abject stupidity". They're the kind of things that make you want to ask the person, "Excuse me, but if it's not too much trouble, could you please leave? And by that, I mean the planet. Earth. The one you're standing on. Thanks."

Keep in mind I don't like pointing out stupidity in other people, because I will invariably do something so moronic that it trumps anything you can think of. None of us are excused from this condemnation.

As usual, I have destroyed my original point entirely. To return to it, let's go back to the mental image of "Larry" being escorted out. In my own mind, I see the door to the outside as an allegory- Larry was being escorted to the wonderful world of unemployment, which is a bright, shining place, but only from the outside looking in. I look fondly back on my own days of unemployment, wiser for having experienced them. It's kind of like how people can look fondly back on their childhood where they lived in a crack house. The negative images have softened and blurred, until everything is just a hazy dream where Julio didn't actually cut the whore's throat for squealing to the cops.

Unemployment is like that. Unemployment is what we would all like to be doing, if it paid better and had benefits. And yet, it is what it is. There are a number of enjoyable aspects of unemployment:
  • Sleeping in
  • Doing nothing of value to humanity
  • Not showering for days on end- because where the hell do you have to be?
  • Catching up on your favorite soap operas
  • Daydreaming about what it will be like when you win the lottery with the ticket you just spent your last $5 of unemployment on
  • Daydreaming about what it will be like when your brilliant idea for a mobile barbershop takes off the ground
  • Reading blogs endlessly and surfing for porn 24/7

Even better, companies don't even want you to come in anymore to drop off resumes. The Internet has made the unemployed person's life better- no more dressing up just to give your resume to some withered old receptionist who probably just tosses it in the trash when you leave. Now you can blaze through hundred of Virtual receptionists whose email addresses lie in some dank, unused corner of the web. It's a much more efficient way of being shot down for a job without having anyone look at your qualifications.

That's not to say it's all loafing and daydreaming. There are actual downsides as well. They are:

  • Ramen noodles are 10 for a dollar. Welcome to your new diet.
  • Horrible depression and the sinking feeling that only luck landed you your last job and that nobody else will ever even give you an interview, much less hire you.
  • The interminable countdown to when your unemployment checks expire.
  • Your friends and family will avoid you, your girlfriend will file a restraining order and your pet will run away/need expensive surgery. Also, there's zombie pirates.

But hey, nothing's perfect, right?

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