Unlike Vitamin G, I don’t have a job (or any co-workers to invite me to yoga dance). I used to have a career in higher education before moving to the 304. Despite three interview processes that insisted “you’re our top candidate,” I have remained unemployed since the latter part of May. Throughout the past few months, I’ve met a lot of new people and talked with a lot of family and friends and many of their responses to hearing of my unemployment never cease to infuriate me (although my retort is to usually just politely smile and nod). So, now for my first official blog entry, I feel the need to educate the general public on the things you should never say to an unemployed woman with a graduate degree:
(in no particular order)
- “You should have a baby.” I’m sorry, did we rewind to the 1950s? Should I also take off my shoes and head to the kitchen? Honestly, I would love to have children someday and even someday in the near future but that response is completely inappropriate and sexist even. Would you say that to a man who has been unemployed for 4 months? I doubt it! So, don’t say it to me! Coincidently, I’ve received this response mostly from men. All kinds of men. Highly educated men, working men, old, young, etc. I’ve also received this response from my mother, which wasn’t offensive at all, she’s been angling for a grandchild for years now and her efforts are lost on me at this point. (Love you, Mom, you’ll get one someday, promise!)
- “Your husband is a lawyer, you don’t have to work.” Oh, that’s right, I forgot! A job is all about making money. Why would I want to use my two degrees, years worth of experience, and stimulate myself intellectually when my husband is making enough money to support us financially? Silly me. I’m just a woman. (See: “You should have a baby.”)
- “You may just have to start out at the bottom to get your foot in the door.” No lie, someone told me to take a job as an administrative assistant to get my foot in the door with a local university. Would you suggest that a doctor take a job as a receptionist to get his foot in the door with a local hospital? How about a person with a master degree in engineering? Should he/she become a bricklayer? I urge you, people, just think.
- “You’ll find something.” In this economy? That’s reassuring. The nation’s unemployment rate recently climbed to 9.7 percent, a 26-year high. It’s expected to top 10 percent this year and keep climbing into part of next year and only then, potentially, fall back. So folks, the odds don’t seem to be in my favor, I may not “find something” anytime soon.
- “Just enjoy it.” Oh I did. And now I’m ready to go back to work. I planted a garden, read, traveled, cleaned the house, baked an apple pie, scrapbooked, visited family and friends, cleaned the house again, slept in (many times), acquainted myself with my new city, watched nearly every episode of Beverly Hills 90210 via Soapnet (I’m currently slogging through seasons 9 and 10, they are pretty sorry), heck, I even started this blog with Vitamin G. It probably sounds snotty to those working 40 hours a week but there’s only so much enjoyment a person can take! The most depressing part about all of this enjoyment is that weekends have lost all meaning.
- “This is just God’s plan.” Note: That’s a crappy response to any situation! Ok, without getting to philosophical, do I believe that everything happens is a part of a larger plan? Perhaps. Does that fact comfort me when I haven’t made a deposit in my bank account since May 31? No.
So, at this point you may be asking yourself, what is the appropriate response to an unemployed woman with a graduate degree? Answer: “That sucks.”