Unemployment Nine: Not THAT kind of interview

The good news is that I finally got an interview last week. The bad news is that it wasn’t a job interview: Two friends and I spoke with someone from the Hoboken Reporter about our experiences being unemployed in the Mile Square City.

Page one, bitches!

Page one, bitches!

Much like the lunch I went to a couple of weeks ago, which was the idea of one of my two friends and organized by the other, I didn’t walk away with a job offer, but sharing my experiences and frustrations was good therapy.

When the paper came out yesterday, I had a trifecta of surprises: I never expected the story to be on the cover; I never expected the mug shot of yours truly with his protest beard to be featured prominently on page one; and I never expected the protest beard to become the unofficial theme of the story.

I’ve been getting blown up with text messages, e-mails, instant messages and Facebook messages over the past 12 hours or so. Sadly, none has been from anyone with a job offer. But this was still a fun experience and maybe it will lead to something down the road.

Who knew that not shaving for nearly two months would land me on the front page of the Hoboken Reporter?

Unemployment Nine: Reaching the boiling point

My frustration level is at its highest point since being laid off Oct. 2 and rising by the minute.

Head about to explode

Head about to explode

I’m starting to wonder if an e-mailed résumé or cover letter could possibly pose the threat of anthrax. Since 2009 started, I’ve probably sent out about 70 résumés and have yet to get a single response — zero e-mails, zero phone calls. I have never experienced a streak like this.

I’m not bombarding the Internet with résumés: I’m only applying for jobs with requirements that I can match. If the requirements include experience or degrees I don’t possess, I don’t bother applying. So why am I going through this run of futility?

The last time I shaved was on New Year’s Eve. My running joke has been that I’m growing a protest beard until my next interview. The protest beard may go by the wayside very soon, as I’m really starting to resemble Grizzly Adams.

Grizzly Adams

Grizzly Adams

I’m not claiming to be the perfect being, but I don’t understand how I can go this long without a single response. This sucks.

With more and more people getting laid off every day, a friend of mine organized a lunch for the unemployed of Hoboken today, and it was great to get out of the house, get some food from my favorite Chinese restaurant in town (Precious) and converse with living beings that don’t have four paws and fur (no offense, Trouble and 8-Ball).

I only knew one of the six other people there, but I was impressed with how bright and talented everyone seemed to be. Unlike some of the dolts I encountered at the mandatory career-counseling session I attended in November, everyone at the table — myself included, I hope — really seemed to have their act together. I don’t know if it helps that a lot of intelligent people are sharing my plight, but at least I’m not alone.

A funny thing happened at the lunch meeting, too. As I said, I only knew one person, but I was positive I recognized another one of the women and couldn’t place where. Then, when she said her name, it all fell into place.

It must have been about five or six years ago, when I was putting myself through the hell of online dating. While browsing through the available females in Hoboken, I kept coming back to one especially stunning picture. I took a shot and e-mailed her, but she never wrote back.

I doubt she remembered me, between the passage of time and the Grizzly Adams beard I’ve been sporting, so there was no awkwardness whatsoever. I know I don’t remember most of the people I “conversed” with via online dating. And I’m obviously happily dating my girlfriend, so I had no regrets. The picture didn’t lie, though: She was beautiful.

It’s a small world, but the unemployed portion of it seems to be expanding exponentially.