Monday, September 27, 2010

The Lottery of the Job Hunt

I was reading a blog post a few days ago (I don't remember where) talking about the lottery. I don't play the lottery, although I know my parents buy two tickets a week. I've bought a scratch card a few times in my life, and even won a few dollars once or twice, but generally I laugh and agree with those who say it is a "tax on the poor" or a "tax on the mathematically-challenged." (And don't get me started on how it doesn't actually help education because they simply pay less for education out of the general fund, so it is like the schools didn't get the extra money at all, but the general fund benefited!)

However, I found it interesting how many people wrote in to say that they knew they were unlikely to win but they paid the $1 for the hope and dreams they get when they think about what they could get if they won the lottery.

I dream about what I'll do when I get a good paying job all the time, without paying a $1 for the privilege. Because my husband and I are both unemployed right now, both for longer than 6 months now, we have put our lives in a sort of holding pattern. The Unemployment Insurance benefits we get keep us going (barely) for the short term, so that we can cover our bills and survive while we look for work, but we know it won't last forever. We feel lucky to be able to manage, but we've always been fairly frugal on the day to day stuff (not as frugal on collections, but that's a different story!).

Being unemployed, one of the tasks I do all the time is look at job listings. I'm happy to say that there have been a few more per week the last few weeks, so maybe things are picking up. I got an email the other day indicating that I might be called in for an interview in about two weeks time, for a very good job which I would love to get (but realistically have to know that they are interviewing a bunch of people with more experience than I because it is a very good job indeed).

I often think ahead to how our lives could be if my husband and I had good careers going again: about moving to our dream house, taking vacations, and being able to relax a bit about money once again.

I don't have to pay a dollar for this dream, but I wonder if I have just as good a chance at winning some of these jobs as striking it rich in the lottery. The job market is almost as tough as the lottery--with just as bad of odds, it seems. At least it shouldn't be as random but have some connection to how deserving I am as a candidate so maybe the odds are more in my favor than the lottery, but still, sometimes it feels hopeless.

The good thing about this hopeful daydream is that it keeps me focused on applying for jobs, unlike the hope connected to the lottery which only takes more money out of pocket. I guess that makes me the winner, even if this new interview leads nowhere. I can keep trying and I am really out nothing.

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