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Back February 11th, 2009 Forward
The Grand Unified Unemployment Rant

I figure I'll do just one of these, and get it out of the way.

Unemployment sucks. It sucks rocks through a straw. It sucks even worse when you're unemployed during an economic downturn. I should know, this is the second time I've lived through it. I know I can survive it, but that doesn't make me any the less pissed off. Particularly since this particular economic downturn is one which shouldn't have happened.

The whole damn thing was set off by the US banking sector being too damn greedy and too damn focussed on short-term profit to look at the long-term effect of what they were doing. They flooded the market with cheap credit, and caused massive inflation as a result. One of the inevitable effects of long term inflation is that eventually the market has to stop and re-evaluate how much everything is worth, and that's been coming any time these last ten years or so. Unfortunately, this happened now, and the Australian economy is so closely linked with the US one that if they sneeze, we get a cold. So now we've gone straight from a major resource boom to a recession, without so much as a blink.

Yay. [fx:waves tiny flag]

So I'm looking for work. Unfortunately for me, I'm female and thirty-eight this year, looking for work in an industry which prefers younger (twenty-something) males. I'm also fat, fairly straightforward, and entirely too intelligent for my own good, which means I can't really chase after the "token totty" spot in an office either. I'm not willing to collaborate in my own oppression, which means I'm not a preferred employee for most people. Oh, and I ask for a similar amount of money to my male colleagues, due to my age and experience. Obviously, I'm going to be spending a good long time out on the fringes of the workforce.

But I do the right thing. I send out my resume, complete with my rather comprehensive employment history; I search through Seek IT every day, and I do my best to ensure all the various contracting companies know I'm out there and available immediately. The schoolkids are back in school, and the Universities should be starting up again soon, so there's hopefully going to be a few more spaces in the pool of available employees now.

I'm busy working myself up to the point where I phone up Centrelink and ask to go onto unemployment benefits (I've been eligible for months, but I haven't *needed* the money before now). I've done this before, I know what it's like (I even know what it's like from both sides of the counter), but it still feels a bit like giving up. It isn't, of course - it's giving in to reality. The reality is I've not enough money to cover my bills for more than another month or so, and being on unemployment benefits would mean I'd be eligible for discounts on things like health care, public transport, and similar. I've no idea why it's so difficult to make the call, though.

Current Mood: pensive pensive
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