What Unemployment Feels Like

Even though its only 1PM, you force yourself to wake up — afraid that not acknowledging daylight means you have officially given up.

You stay in bed and check your phone, peruse Twitter, and realize you hate anyone who has to say anything funny or light-hearted. You hate when people complain about ‘the daily grind’ and tell yourself they’re worse off. You hate your friends still in college, enjoying the perks of unpaid internships and resenting them for not knowing what the “real world” is actually like.

You’re a hypocrite and you know it, and telling others last year about that time you met Zooey Deschanel at your internship is now biting you in the ass.

You get out of bed and look in the mirror — your hair looks longer, disheveled, and your face is covered in red imprints from having slept too long. You know you look like shit, but you tell yourself you could look better if you wanted to.

You want to brush your teeth but decide to later — and immediately check your email. Two new emails and both are spam — one from Netflix enticing you into a free trial, and another from an automated job site you don’t recall signing up for that sends you positions you have no qualifications for.

You decide to go for a walk — you hope that it means you haven’t totally wasted your day.

You change into some dress clothes as if you have somewhere to go, and walk a couple blocks — a path you’ve already set out that avoids your friend’s apartments and work places, and involves a couple busy streets with enough people filling them to make you feel as if you’ve fulfilled your social interaction quota for the day.

You’re like a Sim, but without all the frantic peeing on the floor.

You hope to God you don’t run into anyone you know – but in your head, mentally work out your responses to their anticipated questions. “I’m considering grad school” is a safe option. “I left my job because it just wasn’t for me,” is another option, but you know it will beg further discussion. You decide on “I’m in the middle of interviewing right now” — a slight lie, but at least the conversation would end there and then.

You’ve walked 9 or 10 blocks, and know you’re meant to make it to a certain street before turning back, but decide its too far and walk back home.

You feel a vibration in your pocket — a phone call. It’s a number you don’t recognize and therefore, don’t answer. You hope it’s from that start-up company you applied to yesterday that you’d never heard of before, but their website with all its colorful graphic design convinced you it wasn’t a Nigerian phishing scam.

You Google the number and discover it’s your alma mater — probably asking for donations.

You’re home again and avoid the electric bill sitting on your desk.

You’ve made up your mind during the past few weeks that you want to do something creative in your life. You know it’s mostly because you can’t find a job, but your unrealistic aspirations are currently serving as your only bloodline.

You drink what’s left of that bottle of chardonnay a friend brought for a birthday party at your apartment — it tastes like shit but you hope it gets the job done.

You check your email again — this time an email from your Mom asking how things are and how you’re feeling.

You decide not to respond. Not yet. You need something to tell her to make her feel better. TC mark

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