Setting the stage, for the morning: at this writing, CNN Headline News is reporting that two students were shot at 7 a.m. local time today at Western High School in Las Vegas — that’s only half an hour ago on Eastern Standard Time here in Tallahassee, Florida, where I’m living (so to speak), and also not working – both for the time being.
They’re also reporting that last night the University of Florida football team resoundingly defeated Ohio State to stake its likely claim on the national NCAA Division I championship.
I didn’t even know the game had been played. And to think: there was once a time in my life when I was a foam-at-the-mouth football fan. The synapses twitch and boggle.
CNN also reports that Mark McGwire, due to suspected steroids use during his otherwise enormously productive career, is unlikely to be nominated into the Baseball Hall of Fame. And, this: the president’s request to up the ante militarily in Iraq — and which will require an additional couple of billion dollars in funding — is meeting “sober challenge” from Democrats, let’s call it, who purportedly want the numbers (and a sane game plan) spelled out in the administration’s proposal first before they’ll even consider supporting it in Congress.
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So that’s today’s lead-in, over breakfast … and now to the business at hand:
I’m an increasingly visible, well-published philosophy writer on the Internet, and there’s evidence I have a following of readers, however strangely silent (!). I just began this avocation last year after spending almost two decades building up to it. So you know: it’s an avocation, because there’s no such field as philosophy (much less “ontological speculation”) outside of this planet’s universities or its profit-oriented spin-offs. So I write for free, and must depend on outside income.
As a tease for what I’m about to tell you next: we appear to be living in a time (and place) where an individual can become increasingly well-recognized, even borderline famous … but yet remain destitute.
Hooray for us.
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On Saturday, January 6, I turned 60 years old. That was three days ago.
Two days ago, at the end of both my work week and my shift, I was fired from my part-time “day job” doing retail sales for a Tallahassee-only store chain. I doubt upper management knew or cared about my birthday the day before — a birthday that was ignored by my co-workers … but ironically (if surreally) was celebrated in the Comments section of my Myspace page, replete with animated balloons.
One of those wishing me well on my birthday was actress Jennifer Beals, by the way, who I don’t know and have never met. I genuinely appreciated all of the happy birthdays mailed me on Myspace, publicly and privately, though. I mention Ms. Beals in particular because her page was the best known of those kind and thoughtful folks taking the time out of their days to wish (and to do — this was an action taken) something nice on behalf of a complete stranger – and it simply added to what remains a point/counterpoint snapshot-in-time experience for me.
I have more to add on this remarkable Myspace topic at the end of this essay.
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One day ago — yesterday — I was handling the firing calmly, even casually, and almost with relief. Relief, because I gave a lot of myself to that job, and never missed a day of work, even when I was pretty damned sick — and because I was unhappy, too, being there, despite scattered on-the-job-moments of genuine exhilaration. It was a revelation to me during the last year that I had an out-of-left-field flair for being an engaging salesman! — an occupation I used to sneer at.
My company, which had six employees quit on them just prior to the Christmas holiday period, decided to shake things up (and out) the first of this year. I strongly suspect there was a degree of panic involved. I don’t believe its upper management was nearly as contemptuous of me as it insisted it was, when citing a disingenuous list of affronts that I had been accused of “behavioring” during the recent highly agitating and soullessly-empty holiday period.
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Today I’m beginning to feel the grief, anger and despair associated with having been removed from a low, every-two-weeks paycheck that I was convinced, regardless, was the only income available to me through any employer in this old school, Deep South region.
For to date, when I have applied for fulltime or secondary jobs here, I’ve only once received a return call, much less been offered an interview — even for positions I was far more qualified to work in than I was in my late, just-pulled-from-beneath-my-feet … (job.)
Tomorrow, when my final paycheck is deposited in my account, I’ll go back out there and see what I can muster in terms of employment.
Also, by the way — the general manager who fired me told me I was one of the company’s highest paid part-time employees, from whom they “expected more.”
They paid me $10/hour, up from the $8/hour I had been receiving my first 10 months on the job. My hours initially dropped from 32 to 28 when I got my “raise” about six weeks ago — and had I not been fired, my hours would have fallen even further, down to 24 or 25 (the freshly-adjusted work schedule wasn’t very clear about that), to begin just this week — an issue which, of course, is now moot.
Welcome to the New America: In the workplace, it’s far too commonly the norm that profits will come before people — almost always.
One can literally bank on that, in fact.
This is my-y coun-try.
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A shift in gears: I only just now got around to going online to see what this Tuesday had to offer me on the Internet.
What’s below is a cut-and-pasted article promoted by AOL this day, by way of CareerBuilder.com:
………..SEVERAL MAJ0R HIRING TRENDS FOR ’07
Is finding a new job on your list of New Year’s resolutions? The market may be in your favor.
……………..HOT CAREERS FOR 2007
Thinking about finding a new job or a new career path? See who’s hiring:
· Registered nurses
· Postsecondary teachers
· General and operations managers
· Elementary school teachers (non-special education)
· Accountants and auditors
· Business operation specialists
· Computer software engineers, applications
· Maintenance and repair workers, general
· Computer systems analysts
· Secondary school teachers
· Computer software engineers, systems software
· Physicians and surgeons
· Network systems and data communications analysts
· Automotive service technicians and mechanics
Recent reports from the U.S. Labor Department indicate that while the expansion of the U.S. economy is slowing, it is doing so at a reasonable pace, and inflation has steadied. A moderated, yet stable, job market is expected to carry over into 2007 with gains that will remain strong enough to keep the unemployment rate in check.
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I’m suspicious of just about every word in that article, above. Aren’t you?
For starters, none of those fields would hire me. Would they hire you — short of maybe $100K spent by you in further education?
Smells like just another well-disguised, garden-variety corporate (by-way-of-their-media subsidiaries) manipulation article.
Another perky puff-piece press release promoting consciously-falsified optimism.
Wall Street. What incredible blind arrogance and hubris.
Do I sound angry much? Resentful much?
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There’s not much more to add today, really, except this — and you’re probably not going to believe it, but this synchronicity just happened in the last few hours — and in probably a lot less of a duration than that. Such timing!
Only moments ago I checked into my Myspace page, to see what the day might have awaiting me there.
I saw that I had two new individuals (as yet unviewed) join my Friends’ pages, and I had a (public) Comment published there this morning, as well.
I love my Comments section. You just never know who’s going to do or say something incontrovertibly wonderful.
Today’s Comment was from an unidentified woman Myspace friend identifying herself as, “Angel of Relevance,” and whose lone posted photo of herself looks a great deal like film actress Linda Hamilton.
It was another lovely (and completely unexpected) birthday card, with sparkling lavender roses (tulips?), and a great big banner wishing me, “Happy Birthday.”
And beneath that, was this added personal note, written for me – it’s there to be viewed by whoever should happen across the bottom of my page from this day forward. It reads, simply:
………I hope you had a wonderful birthday!
That did the trick:
Her well-intended, even loving words finally let me see the actual current me: I’m a chronic lifelong underachiever who’s beginning the final phase of his life alone, unemployed and riddled with self-doubts.
So the floodgates have burst open, at long last, and I’ve now begun sobbing for my loss — and for so much more, as well … which I’m doing as I write this.
And so the healing begins.
God bless you, Angel.
God bless Myspace.
And, you know what else?
Piss on that stupid, irrelevant job.
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Donald Croft Brickner’s Myspace page may be viewed at this web address:
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