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Wednesday, December 29, 2004


Forward motion

Lately I've been waking up with dreams of big shouting arguments with family members; (are ex-in-laws considered outlaws?), and a couple of my brothers. Apparently my mind still wants to say the kind of things I usually manage to keep behind my teeth.
I don't want to erupt and dump old, buried anger on people, but sometimes it won't go away until I find better ways of dealing with it. But anger at injustice can be a source of motive to do good. I started trying to capture some of the ideas and feelings going through my mind, and it's been a challenge, not because of writer's block, but because too many things are trying to get out at once.

I've been reading about job-seeking and employment in the library, trying to find things that will help me get past the emotional obstacles. I found a quote that reminded me of an old song. "He's just...making the best of a bad situation...", resulting in some strange decisions. Yes, I know the feeling well. One of the exercises I've seen recommended is to articulate the "yes...buts", so I can deal with them rationally.

I'm not sure I would even hire myself on the basis of a standard employment application, so I'm not too terribly surprised that employers generally haven't even been willing to take a second look. On the other side, I don't want to work for a bully or a slave-driver, and I cannot possibly predict from the employment application how they are going to be.

I'm also going to try to include more links to others sites here. One of them, related to what I'm trying to do is the Job Hunter's Bible

Monday, December 27, 2004


After Christmas

I've been thinking about tree roots. I had the experience of trying to dig up a stump one time, and I thought it was interesting to see how the tree roots didn't quite behave as I expected them to.
Ever since I started from Nebraska, I've noticed that I am exceptionally reluctant to reach out and make contact with people. I don't go out of my way to speak to people and I don't invite people to speak to me. It isn't enough that I'm reasonably polite and can carry on a conversation once I get started...It's getting started.
It's certainly not easy to change. I hadn't really noticed the similarities to my difficulties with seeking employment are part of the same pattern, but now that I think of it, there is definitely a common element.

Among the job-hunting techniques I've noticed is a classification of my skills. One source categorizes these as Physical, social, and intellectual skills.
My physical skills are nothing impressive; I've always considered myself to be slow, clumsy, and weak. As I've mentioned, my social skills are not very great: I've never been good at sales and the like. Finding employment is in some respects a test of sales ability: I need to sell a potential employer on my ability to do the job or jobs they need done. Rather, such strengths as I have are in intellectual areas, such as reading comprhenension, mathematics, analysis, and so forth. I routinely test quite high in those areas. Unfortunately, finding employment is nothing like a mathematical theorem.
So, the question I've been asking myself, is: have I been spending too much time honing my intellectual skills to the neglect of social skills, and isn't this imbalance a good part of what is defeating me? And my own answer, is, probably.
Next question, for me: what can I do to improve my social skills? For that, I don't have a clear answer.

Thursday, December 23, 2004


Coming weekend

I'm going to be out of touch for the Christmas weekend: the library is closed, and I don't have a reliable way to get incoming phone messages.

I've been pondering several ideas over the past few weeks. One of them is the idea that no one succeeds without a "supporting cast". An emotionally supportive family can be a big part of one's support structure, but mine has tended to have a pattern of attempts to control one another that have gone as far as verbal abuse.
Sometimes, it's necessary to withdraw, get out, break free of the situation, in order just keep more damage from being inflicted. To use a sports analogy, empty stands are less demoralizing than active hecklers and booleaders. But there's a reason teams have cheerleaders.
Until I undertand the reasons for my difficulties with employment, underemployment, and unemployment, I'm all too likely to unconsciously repeat them. I've considered both internal weaknesses and external factors. One idea that I reject is the idea that the reason I have had problems with employment, underemployment, and unemployment is that "I am lazy". That's an epithet, not a prescription for improvement.
But I still need to squarely face the reasons for my own unwillingness to seek "stopgap" kinds of work. There are other things I do instead that are both unproductive and unsatisfying, and it's not clear to me why this is so. My thoughts on these subjects are rather scattered at the moment.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004



It's been a long time since I updated, as I've been reminded.
I've been a little bit depressed about my own efforts and sometimes doubtful about my value to society or my own little corner of it. I must confess to a tendency to curl up and hide in a corner, which is the principal reason I haven't been updating lately.
I'm also dealing with pressure from the Bartlett House to find a job, any job, but since discussing this topic tends to get me into more trouble than it solves, I'll not say more.
I have more or less made a transfer into the ward here, but I still haven't had a get-acquainted interview with the Bishop. Not having transportation makes it a little difficult, given that the meetingplace is several miles from downtown.
Thanksgiving was on the lonely side: I had a nice dinner, but sociality has been on the thin side. I don't like to press for invitations, or impose on people. Christmas looks to be about the same.
There's a man I met at church here in Morgantown who has given me a couple of opportunities to work with him and earn some money for basic necessities. He's currently unemployed himself, but he's been friendly; I've been going to church with him and we've had some nice conversations.
Somehow, I think, things will work out, or so I keep hoping, but for now I'm still just getting by. Not as much progress as I hope for, but not as bad as I, or some people, have feared. Merry Christmas to all.

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