Well what does that mean?
Underused. Talent, wasted. Undervalued.
So do something about it. Go get a job.
Well that's what I've been trying to do for several years now. To no avail.
You're not trying hard enough.
I think you should push this boulder uphill for a while, see how it works. Or doesn't.
That's the sort of attitude that put you in this predicament. Everyone knows finding work is its own full-time job. Are you putting in 8 hrs a day?
I did. At the start. With fervor, positive attitude, and a welcoming hand.
It yielded nothing. Unemployment. And the state unemployment office won't give me any money, because I left my last job voluntarily.
That can't be right. Have you gone to the state capitol to talk to the unemployment office staff?
It's a 2 hour drive. I have a phone. I've called. I've researched the unemployent laws and regulations.
So you haven't gone to the state capitol?
Why are you redirecting my comments? Is it not unfair that I paid 5 years worth of unemployment contributions only to have them not go to me when I'm unemployed myself?
You have to work with the system you have. Warts and all.
And that's what's left me unemployed. Working with that system.
So go from door to door, asking employers for work.
I've done the equivalent. I'm always overqualified. The honest employers say, "we hire you, you get bored in 3 months and quit, and now we have to find someone else. No dice, no sale."
Is that true? Would you quit in 3 months?
Maybe. I've quit jobs after 4-5 months. Twice. Once at age 17, once at age 24. The first one because of a bizarre boss; the second because the work was sold as requiring a BS in biology or chemistry, but the work didn't require any of the training for either. Anyone could have done it. They tried to offer me a promotion to R&D where supposedly there was more intellectual challenge, but the test period in R&D showed the same methods, just a mildly different protocol. Still lacked any implementation of undergraduate science training. I left that job on good terms, but still, I left it.
This suggests something of a spoiled child perspective in an adult's body. You don't want to work for a job.
On the contrary. I worked hard in college and in law school. I worked hard at every significant job I've ever had. I think of it as a mutual situation: the employer offers something, I offer something, we find a middle ground where what I offer is something the employer can make use of, and what the employer offers keeps me engaged and wanting to contribute.
That's awfully idealistic.
So we're back to the spoiled child thing, eh?
The world's corruptions are something I should revel in? Enjoy? Take advantage of?
That sounds cynical to me. Mercenary. And it explains why people cut corners, cheat, and lie to their co-workers or their employees.
You could always just give up. Go live off the land.
Is that a joke? A provocation? I'm supposed to enjoy the so-called modern era's whacked out sense of topical propriety and actual duplicity? I'm supposed to lie on my resume, lie about my life, lie about my expertise like everyone else does? Have you ever noticed how people who get famous as "experts" in journalism don't know much at all about their subjects? How come I can't get a gig paying 6 figures for fraud?
It may be the idealism is standing in the way.
So I should be a whore?
Well, didn't you used to work as a lawyer?
And isn't that prostitution of a sort?
You've never practiced law, have you?
No, why is that relevant?
Because then you'd see that despite public stereotypes, it's very possible to work as a lawyer who doesn't end up lying about himself, his skills, his knowledge, his client's agenda, his witnesses' credibility. I was one of those lawyers, as were the people I worked with and for.
So why did you leave that job?
Because it was in a place --a part of the country, I mean-- where everyone's a Type A+++ overdriven asshole who competes with everyone on every little trivial detail of waking life. Because I saw myself at age 45 looking like 60 feeling like 75. Heart attack or stroke at age 50. Because I rarely had time to ride my bike or go for a run and I wrote off skiing for an entire decade. Because I had no time to date, even though women do like a lawyer... or at least the idea of having a slice of the lawyer's income and prestige.
That's very cynical. It must be hard getting dates with that attitude.
Wasn't, actually. It wasn't getting dates that was tough. It was keeping the relationship going when it seemed like material opportunity was the only thing sought.
Don't you think our society puts women in that bind?
That's not what I saw growing up as the child of a single-parent family whose single parent was a woman. My mother got down to business and supported herself and me and my brother. She didn't go looking for a sugar daddy to coddle and cosset the three of us.
Your mother is a rare woman. Most women do not follow that path.
Maybe in polite society. I grew up redneck.
Well, I'm trying to.
I am. But cross-examining me that way makes it tough.
Not enough emphasis on how my words make you feel, eh?
Something like that. You could stand to work on that a bit.
But I've met women who didn't have any problem with my factual tendencies or reality-grounding instead of being one of those twits who flops and flips his stated positions based on the ...what did you say? feelings? of whomever is within earshot. Was I lucky enough to find mutants?
So I don't understand women, they don't understand me, where are we now?
We haven't gone anywhere. You're still in your chair, I'm still in mine.
Funny. In a way. But not really helpful.
What would be helpful?
A conversation that doesn't go in circles.
Luddites and germophobes, the above is a slightly fictionalized version of "mental health counseling" as yours truly has experienced it. The fictionalizing is honestly very slight, consisting mostly of paraphrasings in lieu of direct accurate word-for-word recall.
If you spend $100-200 for a 1-hour session, you should get a bit more useful feedback -- shouldn't you?
When I've worked as a lawyer talking about a new matter with a client, I haven't billed for time spent not discussing the matter while still sharing conversation. Even if the conversation began on the clock, detours are not billed.
This type of integrity is something Chuck says is my downfall. You've seen him mention it before, I'm sure. We'll see him comment about it below, I'm equally positive.
One of the problems encountered in seeking work in 2016 is that people 35 or younger grew up on the Artificial Economy and they think that this artifice is reality. They are so terrified of things not "progressing" that they think a tradition-based line of work -- law -- is relevant only to the extent it has existed, and as it has been practiced, in the Digital Era.
If you practiced law when people had paper files and signed documents with ink pens rather than a digital signature or click, you can't possibly know The New Reality. Everything has changed; nothing that came before was useful, nor will it ever be useful again in any future setting.
It's astounding to me that employers could recognize your accomplishments in completing law school with a decent GPA, passing a bar exam, and working for a reputable law firm, but would insist that you lack the intellectual chops to get up to speed on The New Reality.
This New Reality is a blip, a nothing in history, and to give it such gravitas is an act of mere faith.
It's like religious bigotry: not following the religion of progress, not believing that The New Reality is our definite future, and thinking that anything prior to the 21st Century is now rubbish in the big landfill of quaint, gladly forgotten history.
They're afraid of being seen as Naked Emperors, and the system they work in shares that fear but on a collective level.
You may not be inclined to believe this, but I'm sure that 10 years from now it will be an accepted fact of the era: the reason why people gravitated to Sanders and Trump during the past year is a sneaking, growing suspicion that The New Reality is bogus and that the Naked Emperors really don't have any clothes on.
Meanwhile, good luck to you if you're trying to find a job and you're not in data analytics, internet marketing, crowdsource funding, or other ephemera.
-- Chet Redweld, the most underused person you'll ever meet, in person or online.