At last, it has happened. The month of November has moved on to my radar screen. This month is significant for me in many ways. I told myself, if I did not find decent employment in graphic design and illustration by December, I would start to seek other options. In order to get things moving though I need to start looking now. I have certainly tried to work in design and illustration, and will continue to do so. I have advertised on the net (Facebook, local web pages), and I am in more than half a dozen social media sites trumpeting my work. I have met with SCORE to help me in my business plans. I have my own website and domain, business cards I hand out when I can. I have applied for dozens and dozens of jobs. I have attended job fairs. My resume was re-done professionally. I am associated with 3 temp agencies and almost 6 freelance sites. I cut my hair, I wear suits when called for. I am looking for jobs with commute times up to two hours from my house. I do understand these things take time. I have given myself a several months to find something, but with no success. My wife has not met with any success either. I am a becoming more concerned now. After all, we had stable jobs for over 20 years, and we were very good at what we did. So what am I to do?
I have planned for this contingency, but it still is somewhat of a bitter pill to swallow. Trying to be realistic, I was not aiming for top-notch jobs (though I tried a few of those too), but rather junior to middle positions in the field, the response from employers have been incredibly underwhelming. Part of me is sad for myself – my dream was to find a job in the graphic arts. It does much to deflate my rather modest self-esteem. The other part of me is rather sad for potential employers, and a bit angry. I know how good a worker I have been. I know the dedication I have given to even the most mean-spirited of employers. I know the pride in which I took in what I did, whatever I did. However, until someone develops a mind-reading device, that fact is not readily transparent.
Now that I understand this fact and we are in the second half of the game, I need to to take action geared more towards keeping food and shelter first and foremost. I am still going to be applying for work in the arts, but I have to think of other short to mid-term employment possibilities. Perhaps jobs and careers that I could enjoy on a different level, ones that appeal to my sense of altruism and good-will. For instance, I saw a job working on environmental causes, another on social work. For the next few weeks, I am adding those possibilities to my job search. If that doesn’t work, then I will cast an even wider net, and try get a job at a grocery store or restaurant. In about 4 more months, the only other option after that is going on unemployment. I’ve never been on unemployment, I don’t even know how that works. I’ve always worked, and take pride in that fact. For now, I am living off my savings. I just don’t think I should live off the government unless necessary. If all my efforts to find employment doesn’t work, I will be in several months be forced to make the decision of making a last ditch stand in California or heading back to Pennsylvania. Which truthfully turns my stomach. But I won’t go down without a fight. It’s not over yet. I need to believe that. It’s the only way I can keep trying.
Where I am living right now – I just simply love it. It’s so beautiful, so vibrant an area. Except for the paranoia of unemployment, it’s a dream come true. I will do almost anything to stay here. Even if that means under-utilizing the skills that I have. I need employment soon to keep that basic dream alive. If I can meet that basic need of staying in the Bay area, then I can work on my true dream of working as an artist in the area.