Twelve per cent unemployment is no sneezing matter. That, my friends, is what I'm facing in this city. With its reputation for cool and as the birthplace of the hipster, too many white, bachelor's degree totin', artistic twenty-somethings moved here too fast. Wanting to reduce their carbon footprints and live off farmers market produce and hate on motorized vehicles, they wish to reside in the city. Work in the city. And this means there aren't enough jobs for all of us. Plus, the word about Portland's myriad programs and cash for the taking got out in the homeless community. They come here in droves--most of them about my age. So when I say I'm new to town and jobless, people inch back from me as if the next time they see me, I'll be asking for a $1.00 to add to my hostel fund. "It's going to rain tonight," I'll say.
With redundancy the pool teems, so one's only hope is to be an expert at something. You're qualified to be receptionist, you say? Have you spent a year as a personal secretary to Harvard's Provost? How about time as a senior undersecretary to the governor? No. Alright. Perhaps I could count change at a bank, smile, and tell customers to have a splendid day. Well...yes, you meet the minimum requirements, they say. But our other applicants spent a collective 29,470 hours in environmental service. One developed a sign language pattern amongst penguins in Antarctica. Ok, I think. I can nanny. I've done it recently and with style, right? Yes...but we, the parents, would really prefer whoever watches our children speak fluent Portuguese, Spanish, or Mandarin. We might consider French, even. Also, we'd like you to be here as the kids wake up to make their meals and get them out the door, stay to pick them up from school (The house should be spotless when we get home, btw), make dinner, help with homework, wash them, and put them to bed. Most nights you'll be out by 9. We'll call you.
Since I haven't invested a three years in Cyrillic or composed a sonnet circle on the merits of a cherry blossom, I am still awaiting returned calls.
Ever more plain, my lack of control over my own life. Care and keeping of, yes, but control belongs to He Who Sits Above. Know what? Praise to Him for that! I'll keep applying, but I know His hand must open those doors...no matter how many endangered species I regenerate from bone samples.