Wednesday, February 07, 2007

One Long Wednesday

People with jobs think that being unemployed is like a constant weekend. You sleep in, don't dress, hang out, go to bed late and catch up on all your reading, according to popular wisdom. And sure, you do these things. But you've got no context for these activities, nothing to look forward to except the work of finding work.

When you're unemployed, every day is one long Wednesday.

Things get flat and complicated, all at once. Speaking of complications, here's one:

My primary outlet for my writing and my feelings is this blog. This is, to a greater or lesser extent, where it all comes out in squalid and, I would hope, entertaining detail.

However, I am looking for a job. This whole pitching a TV show thing is awesome, but unfortunately you don't get paid to pitch. The very little I understand about pitching is this: it's not like pitching a baseball. Or a softball. It's more like pitching a watermelon to Mark McGwire and hoping that he misses -- or that you stay dry. So I'm looking for paying gigs without giving up the dream.

Somebody, somewhere, finds this blog by Googling my name several times a day. It's increased since I've started looking for work. If it is possible to dooce one's self, it's certainly possible to preemptively dooce one's self, too ... to blog yourself out of an initial phone call. All it takes is one post to wrinkle the wrong person, and they just don't call you.

It's like this, readers. Most of you are my friends. But a lot of you aren't. You've never met me, and you never will. Some of you think you know me, really well, based entirely on what you read here. And to some extent it's flattering. I've worked really hard to develop a conversational voice, to use bits of my life to entertain people and establish some sort of warm connection through a cold collection of pixels.

So when some of you offer me unsolicited lifestyle advice (I know I spend too much time online, thanks, I feel great), or input on how to handle my relationship with my sister via IM or whatever, I guess I should take it as a compliment.

I don't though. Keep that shit to yourselves. I know you just want to help, but damn, it drives me NUTS.

You don't know a person by their blog posts any more than you know a tree by its dead leaves in the gutter. And that's the big illusion of public availability right there -- you think you know someone based on their carefully constructed facade, and WOW are things different in person. Good employees get sacked, bad writers get praised, and ugly people with Photoshop skills get first dates like never before.

Did you know that Bing Crosby beat his wife?

So I'm feeling kinda cramped right now. My grandpa's sick, I got no job and the bills are piling up. Blogging in detail about tough times (or anything, ever, period, if you ask media lawyers) opens me up to the judgment of a million strangers, some of whom control purse strings that I really want to fondle between my own grubby little digits. Or it makes me look like a whiner.

A couple of you have mentioned my posting drought to me, and I appreciate the concern. That's the deal, and what I'm dealing with.

But here's my question: Is there stuff in this blog that would shut me out of a job I need? Is it wise to shut up just because you're scared of losing opportunities? Is it right to live with your soul muzzled so you can keep as many doors open as possible?

You know, I think I know the answer to that last one.


At 8:20 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

I don't think there's anything in here which would not land you a job. The writing here is always superb, and your ability to convey a story is very good. I think if someone is looking at this with the intention of hiring you, they should look at the writing itself and your agile language skills as opposed to dwelling too deeply upon the subject matter.

For example, you write about a guy on the beach. So what? Anyone can write about a guy on a beach. But, it's HOW you write which makes all the difference.

When I read your words, sometimes the subject just bores me, but damn it if I don't always find a sentence or phrase in there somewhere to make me stop, scratch my head and say "I wish I'd written that."

At 8:39 AM, Anonymous Big Head Rob said...


At 11:49 AM, Anonymous marc b. said...

I want more photos of crazy animals! Bring back the snakes and the squids!

At 12:55 PM, Blogger Lonnie Bruner said...

Is there stuff in this blog that would shut me out of a job I need?

Yes. You don't say 'fuck' enough.

Is it wise to shut up just because you're scared of losing opportunities?

No. I agree with Daniel, above.

Is it right to live with your soul muzzled so you can keep as many doors open as possible?

That's what most people do.

Jeff, I've said it before: your blog is the best in DC. Don't change a thing. You're the only person I know who got a job because of his blog! That counts for something.

At 1:09 PM, Anonymous Sweet said...

I agree with Lonnie. Besides, your blog demonstrates what a great writer you are.

At 5:20 PM, Anonymous Josh C. said...

Would you want a job that your blog would exclude you from?

At 3:55 PM, Anonymous ceilisundancer said...

Both Daniel and Josh have good points, Jeff. For what it's worth, yours is one of my top favorite blogs. No, you shouldn't muzzle. Yes, we all have to be careful to some extent, one reader or, do you really have millions?!, if it's the wrong one reader. It's the risk taken by going public. I haven't read anything incriminating in here. You do still need to be yourself, though, or what's the point? (At least the little bits of yourself you do care to expose. No, I wouldn't know it was you if we were both on the Red Line sharing a pole, or you me perhaps even if you've seen my photo some months ago. Even if you come across as real, sure. I do know it sucks being laid off without job plans, and I know that you're a good writer. You'll find your niche again. It's okay to be down, too, btw. Doesn't make you a whiner. Hope your grandfather feels better soon, too:)


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