Monthly Archives: May 2013

Job Search Blues

I begin writing this at 4:13 PM on a Tuesday.  I’ve been officially out of work for three weeks as of today.  I’ve sent in dozens of job applications, all via on-line job sites or email addresses.  I’ve heard back from three.  One of them is a start-up company that has no money but appreciates the small bits of work I’ve done for them.  (And it’s been a great learning experience!)  The other two I’ve had interviews with.  They’ve both assured me they’ll contact me about a second interview.  So far, no contact has been made.  I’m a little concerned.

So you’re likely asking yourself, based on the things I said I’d be blogging about, what anything I’ve written so far has to do with them.  Well… nothing, in some ways.  Everything in others.  I shall explain.  (Because that’s what you do in venues like this.)

My first love when it comes to how I expend my energy, creativity and talent is writing.  The genre that I work in is pure fantasy.  I get enough reality in my daily life.  Escapism is all I want after a long day of facts, numbers, posts, mail and working with vendors and members.  I love it all, don’t get me wrong.  But eight hours a day is enough (most of the time).  It’s nice to get totally disconnected from that every now and then.  And really nice when it is my own imagination, as opposed to someone else’s, that takes me there.  (And I can bring others along with me if and when I choose, which is the best part.)

Most of my interaction with my favorite genre is through computer games that I have enjoyed now for a long time.  I started with Asheron’s Call, then moved on to the now defunct City of Heroes.  From there I started playing (and still do play), Lord of the Rings Online, or LotRO for short.  This is my escapism.  This is where I tend to fight off the reality-inspired blues and exhaustion that gang up on me at the end of each work day.

Now that I’m currently not working, this changes the dynamic within which I get to sit down and veg out for a couple hours each night.  Getting a regular pay check and being able to add to the overall stability of my household gives me a little more room to take time off and dive deeply into an animated, well-constructed and well-thought-out Middle-earth.  Take that piece away, though, and it makes one wonder if I have the “right” to use my time for enjoyment.  Shouldn’t I be searching for a job 24/7?

Well, the answer to that is of course “no.”  Looking for work is often much more challenging and difficult than working an actual job.  Certainly more frustrating in today’s job market.  Washington, DC, is rife with openings, seemingly.  Yet with over 3-dozen applications out there currently, I’ve only heard from three, and two of those found me on LinkedIn.  They weren’t even responses to an application I’ve sent in.  I mean, YAY, that my profile on LI is strong enough to have anyone seek me out.  But 1 for 35 is not exactly great otherwise.

So what is this all leading up to?  Not entirely sure.  I guess I’m just getting out a few frustrations regarding where I am and where I want to be, and how wide the gap is between the two.  I want to write, but I get too tired to write.  I want to game, but I need to balance that out with having a job and a steady paycheck to go with it.  I want to work, but until people start responding to my applications, I sit in limbo.  And how best to wile away the time while in limbo?  LotRO!  (Or insert your game of choice here.)

Pretty vicious circle, and obviously one I’m not oblivious to.  I have responsibilities just like everyone else does.  They are all much more easily met if I’m working.  Even if I have to meet them after a long day at work and a horrible commute home (which I had at my last job, but I’d never have quit that job because of the commute; I loved that job), I’d still much rather be doing the kind of work that garners a paycheck and benefits than exhausting myself with worry and frustration over the not knowing the who/what/where/when/why/how of my next job.  Those are the things that plague all writers though.  Right?

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Wills & Thrills

So today my wife and I finally got our wills notarized and done.  We’ve only been married over 16 years, so it’s not like this is late or anything.  It’s a pretty big ordeal, though, when you have to sit down and actually contemplate, if not calculate, what you want to happen after you are dead. Gone. Deceased. Bought the farm. Pushing up the daisies.  You probably know this schtick.

So we go down to the lawyer’s office, which coincidentally happens to be just around the corner from our internist’s office.  I know it’s only a coincidence because it’s around the corner and on the next block, not the same block as the internist’s office.  Otherwise that would just be freaky.

From the point that my wife contacted this lawyer (whom was recommended to her by a good friend), to today, was nearly 8 months.  As the lawyer said, the birthing process was almost over!

She had to get three people to witness the signing of the documents, so she went around the office to get some folks that had a few minutes to lend to the process.  One of them was one of the three receptionists.  One of them was another lawyer in the office.  The last was a woman who works for the building’s land lord!  All that matters, though, is that they can sign and provide contact information for any possible legal proceedings based on the wills.  So we initialed each page, and signed the final page.  Then each of them initialed each page and signed off in their section.  The whole thing took about 15 minutes, maybe.

Their work completed, they left the room.  Then it was our turn to sign off on our Power of Attorney papers.  I didn’t waver at all:  If the doctor says it’s time to let me go, pull the plug and the feeding tube.  If the doc thinks a morphine drip will help, fine, whatever.  Just don’t try to rescue me from whatever is about to kill me.  Let me fucking go!

My wife, however, did waver just a bit.  She’s had her own run-ins with doctors, care-givers and insurance company people, and most of it over the past few years has been really bad.  She has health issues and as a result, is highly symptomatic and never really comfortable.  Doctors can’t figure out what’s wrong with her, meds don’t really help much, and she has been told by several care-givers thus far that they are stumped and maybe she should try a different doctor.  Seriously.  They gave up on trying to help her.  I know the whole “do no harm” thing, but doesn’t that cross over to “don’t abandon your patient?”

So for the Power of Attorney, she was hesitant about allowing a doctor to say that her life was essentially over and that she should be allowed to die off of any machinery and feeding tubes she may be connected to.  If they can’t help her live comfortably, why should they be given that kind of power to let her die?  An understandable reaction.  The lawyer tried to convince her that her emotions were coloring her decision instead of the reality of the situation that may or may not come up.  It took a bit.  In the end, though, she signed off on the same deal that I did.  In the end, it’s what we all go through in one form or another.  Except those who are lucky enough to die, comfortably, in their sleep, in their own bed, without being surrounded by medical equipment, nurses and family members holding hands.  But who gets that anymore?  Medicine knows how to prolong life, but society doesn’t know how to attend to those that live well past the age that our antiquated laws and morals have told us is a normal life span.

As I said, it can be a pretty traumatic thing, staring your own mortality in the face and reducing it down to 7 pages of legalities.

So the papers are signed, everything is done except for getting us our copies.  That’s when the building’s fire alarm goes off.

Oh, boy.  Everyone is told to evacuate the building.  My wife, I mentioned earlier, has medical issues, and she does not walk well.  At all!  And of course when you are evacuating a building because of a possible fire, you don’t take the elevators.  You take the stairs.  Thank goodness we were only up on the third floor.  And that it was only a drill.

We exited the building and waited for our lawyer across the street.  She, you see, didn’t exit the building with the rest of us.  She went to make the copies for us first!  There were two people outside with clipboards and reflective vests making sure people evacuated and went to their “designated meeting spot.”  We’re clients.  We don’t work there.  “Well, you can’t stand in front of the building.  You can just cross the street.”

…to the same block that our internist’s office is on.  The circle closes.

The lawyer comes out and crosses over to us.  She hands us our paperwork and says we are good to go, and tells my wife that she made the right decision.  If we need anything, anything, to give her a call.  We both liked her very much.  It was the first time we had met her in person.  She gave each of us a hug and kiss on the cheek, and she crossed back over… to the other side (of the street), to start filing back into the building with the other couple hundred people returning from their “designated meeting spot.”

The world continues to spin.  I suppose that’s a good sign.

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And… we’re off?

Okay, not entirely sure what I’m doing here.  I started a blog many moons ago with the stated purpose to keep writing and not allow my skills to diminish too much.  I wrote all of one blog.  This may go the same route, but at least I won’t forget which blog I used to start it with this time!  I have no clue where the other one is.  Sad.

I suppose a little about me is in order.  I am currently on the hunt for a new job, my previous employer having eliminated my position and my employment along with it.  I hope to find something involving health care and advocacy for patients’ rights, but I’m not going to quibble too much over the exact nature of my employer, so long as they don’t support the Koch Brothers or any of their ilk.  I’m a progressive sort.

As for my writing, I have written scores of short stories, mostly fantasy and superhero in nature.  I’ve written two full-length novels but have not done anything with them.  (I shopped one around, but it was many years ago and I’m sure it needs way more work than any editor wants to contend with.)  I used to belong to an “amateur press alliance,” or APA, that was all about the Champions role-playing game.  I wrote many of my short stories and novellas for there.  So while yes, I’ve been published, this is the epitome of “self-publishing!”  I wrote it, I copied it, I sent those copies in, and they were collated into one bound edition that then got sent out to others in the alliance to read.  I even won a few awards for my writing from the other members of the APA, which was quite gratifying.  But no one outside those confines ever saw what I wrote.

So here I am, throwing myself out there, hoping I can get some thoughts across about those things that I care most about.  For the time-being, I don’t even mind if no one else sees what I write.  If I can get some vaguely cohesive thoughts put together that have a discernible beginning, middle and end, I’ll be really happy!  Perhaps as time goes on I’ll even start sending out links to what I write to see if anyone takes an interest.

You can follow me on Twitter @joelblevy if you like, though I generally only re-Tweet funny and political stuff.  But I also follow a lot of the gaming/writing/entertainment industry folks that make life fun for the geeks of the world, a cultural sub-set that I most proudly belong to.  Feel free to contact me if you like.  Or just keep checking back now and then to see if I actually put up a second posting.

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