How is today different from yesterday? Well, to begin with, yesterday I had a job, and today I am unemployed.

I only got my job because I have a huge ass. I just realized this recently. Despite the four years I spent in college (where I majored in film; yes, I know, laugh it up), my super impressive bachelor’s degree, and winning personality, these are not what secured my job. It was my huge, fat ass and the fact that the person who interviewed me was a sex addict.

I spent most of the first year cringing in horror when this dude would make a pass at me; laughing loudly and protractedly when he asked me if it was true that young women preferred older men; ignoring comments about going to bars and the state of my underwear and whatever else drifted into his sex-addled mind. Finally asked if he’d appreciate me phoning his wife.

“Stacie,” he drew out, “I wasn’t serious, of course. It was all just a joke.”

“Yeah sure,” I said, jabbing my finger in his direction. “Just don’t let it happen again.”

OK, maybe it wasn’t exactly like that. But it was pretty damn close. It didn’t happen again, but a lot of other stupid shit did. One day I came to work to see the SEC (that’s the Securities and Exchange Commission, for you dreamers out there) raiding my building. I rolled down my window as a stern-faced officer made her way to my car.

“I work here,” I told her apologetically.

“You should probably go home,” she replied, not bothering to explain why. When a federal agent tells you to go home, you go home, no questions asked. The next day I called work to see if I still had a job. Surprisingly, I did. Even more surprising, I fucking went.

Another time I got into a huge fight with the owner, and he fired and rehired me in the span of five minutes. This guy was fond of calling people cock suckers and once stopped me in the hall to point out that Jesus Christ himself had chosen to etch his image into the engineer’s office door. Stacie Adams, smiling politely. I also worked with a guy who assured me that a race war was bound to happen within the next few years. He eventually had to go back ‘underground’ as he put it, which meant that he was finally caught in the one of the myriad of illegal activities in which he was involved, and this entailed him fleeing the state to avoid jail time.

Last week I received a pay check from the owner’s personal bank account. “Oh fuck,” I said to myself. That’s never good. I cashed it first thing, while he still had sufficient funds. Today he sat me down, took on a dour expression and said,

“Look Stacie…” I brought my head to my waiting hands.

“Oh god,” I moaned.

“It’s just for a week,” he insisted. Bankruptcy is never just for a week, I told myself.

“I can’t believe this,” I chanted over and over, until he wrote me another check.

So now I’m on the dole, like the British say. I’m a member of the non-working poor. I can do a lot of shit, just none of it officially. I’m what they used to call a dilettante, or, I guess even more hilariously, an autodidactic. I’m also a polymath, I know because I took a test on the internet.

I haven’t been out of a job since I graduated college. I’m still in shock. Some people tell me I should go back to school, and I refrain from slapping them because I’m a charitable person. I have no interest in adding to the already massive debt I accrued spending four years jawing about mise en scène and whether or not Charles Foster Kane was supposed to be a sympathetic character. That information will totally help me when I’m cold calling for Verizon or fighting with drunks in a bar.

I had a plan yesterday. Well, not a plan as much as a routine. Today is wide open, just waiting for me to take a running leap and fall right on my fucking face. My job sucked, but I had my own desk tucked way in the back where I could listen to Mr. Bungle and Queens of the Stone Age and Khanate, where no one gave me shit. I could wear whatever I wanted. I could flaunt my rat tail and tattoos and nobody thought twice. Those days are gone. Here come the fake smiles and awkward handshakes and bullshit questions about goals and strengths and weaknesses that no normal human being could answer with a straight face.

I was talking to my boyfriend about it. “Imagine what I’m going to look like by the end of next week,” I queried. He had a vision of a bedraggled, old-faced woman in a stained bath robe, with a massive dildo jutting out of the pocket, brandishing a glass of liquor at all times and crying mascara, lamenting the ‘good old days’ when the daily 9 to 5 didn’t entail fudding yourself insane to Maury Povich.

Is this destined to happen? I can’t say. I promise you, if it does, I will provide pictures.

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STACIE ADAMS is a drinker with a writing problem. She's currently working on a novel and hopes to complete it before the world ends in 2012. When she's not reading or writing she's at the bar telling people about the time she saw Queens of the Stone Age in a fortress in Germany. Her alter ego can be found at The First Church of mutterhals

37 responses to “The Unemployment Blues”

  1. Laura Tims says:

    Well, I suppose there are worse reasons than an appreciated ass to get a job (even if I can’t think of any at the moment.) Anywho, this made me laugh aloud in the library. And thanks for the refreshing tidbit about not taking seriously the hiring process “questions.” I’m always worried I’m the only potential employee who doesn’t sit down to answer those with church solemnity.

    Here’s hoping you find a new job quickly! Best of luck.

  2. Stefan Kiesbye says:

    Ouch, losing a job sucks. But then again, it seems like it might be a good thing to not hang around this weirdo any longer. Bad employer, no employer — shit, what’s the better deal?

    But while the craziness and bankruptcy is dour, this essay is hilarious. Best of luck to you!

  3. dwoz says:

    Hey, I don’t want to sound like I’m giving you a hard time, but I’m looking at your photo and quite frankly I’m not seeing anything like a huge caboose back there.

    I mean, it definitely has awesomeness, just no bigness. What’s up with that? Is this a lapse of journalistic integrity?

    Maybe it’s just a lens effect.

  4. That is awful what we have to go through to just have a job. I really hate looking for work because you have to pretend like you are an expert at whatever they want you to do.

    • SAA says:

      That’s what I dread most. I’m so horrible at interviews, even if I know what I’m talking about and have something to say, I still fall apart. Thanks for reading.

  5. Becky Palapala says:

    I have no interest in adding to the already massive debt I accrued spending four years jawing about mise en scène and whether or not Charles Foster Kane was supposed to be a sympathetic character.

    This is the beauty of it.

    Depending on what you go back to school for and where, you might be able to get paid to do it. This is shaping up to be my plan.

    • SAA says:

      I’d love to go back, I just don’t think I’d be able to afford it. And unlike the first time, I’d have to take something practical (probably some kind of computer science thing). I really just want to write, I don’t want to do anything else, I just don’t think I’d be able to support myself doing it.

      • Becky Palapala says:

        Stacie, you’re not listening to me.

        There are MFA programs paying their students, not the other way around.

        I mean, yeah. They pay pretty shitty, but still. Get a part-time at Caribou coffee and if you follow it up with an MA/PhD in English lit, you could spend the next 6-8 years writing and never have to have a real job at all.

        At least in theory.

        Very broad theory.

        • Gloria says:

          Which MFA programs are paying? I can’t find a single one in the Portland area. That’s why I’ve switched my focus to an MSW. Do you have secrets, Becky?! Share!!

        • Becky Palapala says:

          HA! What do I look like, some kinda idiot?

          Actually, the only one I know of for sure is the University of Minnesota. They need graduate student teachers so badlly, they waive your tuition and then pay you to teach classes. That’s for both English Lit and MFA degrees, I believe.

          I don’t know what they pay you or the full extent of any and all caveats, but the “waived tution” part sounds pretty good to me.

          I am not at all surprised that there is a shortage of paid MFA programs in Portland. Seems like there’s a bit of a glut of creative people in the area. Like, they’re probably not hard-up for MFA or student-teacher types.

        • Gloria says:

          Well, make space- ’cause you’ve got a spaztastic redhead and Little Boy Blue and The Hobbit coming to live with you for a couple of years. Hope you don’t mind…

        • Becky Palapala says:

          All you have to do is all sleep in the unfinished basement. But this is only assuming that I’ll like my baby and want to give her the other bedroom…

  6. Gloria says:

    I’m sorry you got canned. 🙁 But look at the bright side: you’re clearly a teamplayer who can multitask. You also appear to be honest, dependable, hard-working, flexible, and you clearly have typing skills. Where do you see yourself in five years, Stacey? What are your greatest strengths, your greatest weaknesses, and what do you want from your next job?

    Dude, come up with clever, rote answers to those questions and you’re golden. That’s all it takes. A smile and some practiced answers delivered with sincerity. The only thing that sucks more than dating is looking for a job. Hm. Maybe they both suck equally.

    I really like your Maury Povich and dildo backup plan, though. See? You’re a forward thinker.

    Good luck.

    • SAA says:

      I’m a social retard, though, just the thought of sitting down with some human resource person gives me the vapors. But I never really thought of practicing before hand, that might be worth a try. Thanks!

  7. pixy says:

    your boyfriend’s vision had tears in my eyes. or, at least your articulation of it.
    i’m pretty sure that’s what i am on the weekends because my job (which i’ll GLADLY give you if you wanna come to portland) takes so much out of me that i just don’t care on the weekends. and i get horny when i’m depressed. hence the need for the dildo.

  8. SAA says:

    I can’t lie, that was all him. He’s a clever mo-fo.

  9. Greg Olear says:

    Oh, man, you should have sued for sexual harassment when they were still solvent. Hostile work environment. Three words your former employer should probably familiarize himself with, unless his name is Sir Mixalot.

    With any luck, the joblessness/unemployment collection will be a fruitful writing period for you, as mine was for me when I was your age, many moons ago. And hey, the economy’s getting better, slowly but surely, so there’s that.

    Funny as usual, Stacie.

    • SAA says:

      Thanks! I know I dropped the ball on that one, it took me a fucking year just to say something. I’m not usually so retiring, the whole thing was just so sleazy I think I just wanted to ignore it.

      • Greg Olear says:

        I only know about this because I worked in HR in my former life (not a terrible career choice, by the way, as all companies have HR depts. and you can easily do the work while writing), and had to sit through, and sometimes give, God knows how many lectures on the topic. Most people want to ignore it, and the asshole continues his pattern of hostile work environment abuse. Ugh.

        Sidenote: I seem to have established a pattern of extreme squareness when commenting on your posts: don’t drink so much, don’t let the old lech sexually harass you, don’t vote for dead writers for president, and so forth. I am slowly turning into my dad — or, at least, a dad — which makes sense because I am one…

        • James D. Irwin says:

          Woah, get a load of Captain Bringdown! He’s a real cuboid man…

          Seriously though, someone’s got to sit on TNB’s porch smoking cigars and dispensing wisdom to us kids…

        • SAA says:

          HA! It’s cool, I second what James said.

        • Greg Olear says:

          Okay, you convinced me. I’m smoking a cigar today.

          And today’s dispensed wisdom is this: if you’re a sleazy old dude, you might want to rethink the idea of hitting on your youthful employee whose favorite movie is Irreversible.

  10. Reno Romero says:

    Stacie:

    Well, shit. What can I say? Your story, although fucked up (but things will pan out), is so full of life. YOU are one funny fucker and I simply love your style. LOVE IT. All your stories have charm and bite to them. They all have great observations and self-effacing shit going on. Whatever “it” is you have it. At least in my book.

  11. Luke Kelly-Clyne says:

    “I have no interest in adding to the already massive debt I accrued spending four years jawing about mise en scène and whether or not Charles Foster Kane was supposed to be a sympathetic character. That information will totally help me when I’m cold calling for Verizon or fighting with drunks in a bar.”

    Brilliant.

  12. SAA says:

    Oh wow, thanks!

  13. Ashley Menchaca (N.O.Lady) says:

    Great post, Stacie. Hilarious and familiar in some ways. I totally get what you mean about being socially awkward and dreading the interviews. My soon to be 5 year old will be starting school this fall and for the first time in years I have to be accepted by adults. Judged, even. Yuck.

    I have a degree that will get me nowhere and no job experience in the last…shit…6-7 years. Yep, I’m pretty much fucked. All the people in my life can list all the reasons I would be great at everything but unfortunately, possible employers don’t give a fuck. I can picture myself walking into a stuffy room in heels, already uncomfortable bc I wear nike or converse almost everyday, long sleeves (to hide tattoos) and, sweating my ass off because of the New Orleans heat. They will take one look at me and say, “I’m sorry but the position has been filled.” Even if they could get past my obvious uncomforatble appearance, I suck at being fake or kissing ass. So, as I’ve said before, I’m fucked.

    Good Luck to you! And, at least you have your experience and hot ass to fall back on.

    It can’t be THAT hard to win lottery, right?

    • SAA says:

      That’s exactly how I feel, even if I have qualifications out the ass they’re probably going to pick the person who doesn’t completely blow the interview. Personally, I’m waiting for a load of cash to fall off a Brinks truck. Thanks!

  14. sheree says:

    Sorry you lost your job. Glad as hell you wrote this post. Hope you get a job soon with better work conditions!

  15. James D. Irwin says:

    I’ve never had a job, and the main reason I went back to university after I dropped out the first time was to try and hold off employment for as long as possible.

    My dad has always said he’s not worried about me because I’ve got enough charm and talent to make something of myself. I hate to start using the old man’s phrases at this young age, but you’re easily good enough at this writing business to make a living off it somehow.

    I’d certainly read anything you’d written.

    • SAA says:

      Oh Jesus, thank you. That’s so nice of you to say, it’s stuff like this that keeps me going through seemingly endless rejections.

  16. Medusae says:

    Oh nooooooooooes!!!

    Man. Sorry to hear that Sadams. 🙁
    Is it schadenfreude to like this article? Prolly.
    “One day I came to work to see the SEC raiding my building.” – That make me laugh a little hysterically, as if *I* was being audited. Your writing draws the reader right in.

    I LOATHE jobhunts, like most people, and it’s too bad you’ve been forced into it. :/
    Unlike you I didn’t really enjoy school, so the thought of voluntarily going back is anathema to me.

    That Maury Povich imagery has scared me out of my morning bathrobed stupor. JESUS CHRIST. I GOTTA GET A JOB!

    PS: My mom created a scrapbook of rejection letters. She keeps it in the bathroom.

    • SAA says:

      That’s awesome, I think I should do that. Most people don’t even send me letters, though, they must try to communicate the rejection telepathically. In my bathroom I keep The Exorcist, American Psycho, and Money, mostly just to scare visitors.

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