Addiction: Not being unemployed
My beat is supposed to be about addictions. So here’s a new one. My job.
Let’s define, shall we? Addictions are little forces of nature which control your entire personality. Whether it’s the alcohol making you feel more confident, the pot making you more intellectual or the cigarettes making you less anxious, addictions are all the same. They control you.
Well, earlier this week, I thought I was about to go cold turkey. I thought I was out of a job.
At about 5 p.m. on Monday afternoon, a co-worker told me that the superior at his branch was laid off. Cuts were being made, and they were happening immediately. No less than 30 seconds after I found out about the incoming lay-offs, my boss tells me he wants to talk privately in his office.
I stepped inside and he asked me to close the door. This is it, I thought. I’m being laid off, too. For about 10 seconds, my mind raced. How would I pay rent? How much would unemployment pay me per week? Would I have to get a part-time job? Would I stay in North Adams or move home? Fuck home! I’m going to move to Europe or California, or somewhere far from New England.
“Well, first of all, you’re not being laid off,” my boss told me swiftly and painlessly, like he was taking off a Band-aid.
Back to Earth. I didn’t lose my job. In fact, I got a promotion. (Well, the pay stays the same, but the travel will save gas. Thus, it’s a promotion.) So, in the long run, it was great news from my boss.
But for 10 seconds, the reality of life without a job hit me in an instant burst of pure terror. Though I’ll admit that with the terror came a little dash of curiosity. Visions of Amsterdam adventures and drunken nights in Ireland swirled through my head. But even unrealistic daydreams of jobless euphoria can’t quell the fear of actually being unemployed. Everywhere you look, people are getting cut loose. And not just young professionals in their 20s or 30s. Some companies are letting go of employees with decades of experience — men and women with mortgages and families.
It’s a scary time for the job market, not that you didn’t know that already. At the risk of sounding completely selfish, it’s even scarier for someone fresh out of college. Most college students leave school with years of loan payments ahead of them. So even if a kid gets a decent-paying job right out of college, they’ll still be digging themselves out of a hole for a decade. It’s hard to get ahead (and put away savings) in a competitive industry to begin with, but factor in a disastrous economic crisis … WOAH! Nowadays, it’s no walk in the park on the way to the unemployment line.
So there you have it. A job can definitely can be an addiction. It feeds your need to feel productive and it allows you to adapt to society. (Not to mention you need a job to make money, which you need to buy food/clothing/shelter, which I learned in 1st grade are “needs.” – Alicia)
With every article I write (even if it’s only once a month), I’d like to include a list of music that, in some way, relates to the topic I’m writing about. So, addicted to a job ….
- “Fight Test” by The Flaming Lips
- “Green Green Grass” by Tucker Mayer (Check out www.myspace.com/tuckermayer.com)
- “Consoler of the Lonely” by The Raconteurs
- “We Used to Vacation” by Coldwar Kids
- “Time is Running Out” by Muse
- “Sealeags” by The Shins
Check out those songs! Or you’ll have bad luck for the next month. (Get it? Like a chain letter.)