A Cautionary Tale

I’ve been pretty quiet the past week because I’ve been insanely busy working multiple jobs yet again, along with balancing everything else in my life. In any event, I come with a story.

A friend of mine, let’s call her B, finished her four year degree in Engineering in spring 2009 at a rather well known university. She’s always been quiet, so it was definitely good for her to have moved away from home for four years. Two years ago she moved home and there she has remained since. Two years of no work/job whatsoever aside from maybe the odd day here or there doing some stuff through her mom’s various volunteer groups for festivals and things in town. Now her mother has been a stay at home mom as long as I’ve known her, but keeps active with various little projects – often seasonal ones. Along with Bridge Club and things of that nature. B essentially now has spent 2 years essentially doing nothing. She sits at home and reads or watches tv. She gets up after noon every day and loafs around. The only time she is likely to go to anything of a social nature is if it is with me or one of her two siblings.

I like her, she is my friend, but it gets frustrating at times when I take her to bigger events – like a party. She has always been quiet and it’s gotten worse because now she really has nothing to talk about because she does nothing. One time at a house party, I excused myself to go to the bathroom and left her talking to someone else we had just met. When I came back downstairs I was distracted my someone else and started talking to them. I was probably gone for 5 minutes, but B came looking for me. She hovers around me if I invite her to things essentially. Doesn’t really speak unless addressed directly and even then just gives yes or no answers usually.

My other friends who have met her have all said the same thing – they’ll try to engage her in conversation and she won’t really reply. She has done better lately in some smaller situations – there’s a group of us who regularly goes to a trivia night at the pub and she’s had to learn to ‘fend for herself’ as it were, as the guy I’m rather smitten with often attends as well, meaning I often have my attention directed towards him.

I showed up at her house yesterday around lunch as I was on my way home from teaching – so for time frame say about 12:30pm – to drop something off. She wasn’t even out of bed yet. Her mother had to go wake her up. Again – it is lunch time. I know from what she’s said in the past that it is very common for her to sleep until lunch.

She often now exhibits signs of annoyance when people ask her what she does. The typical conversation goes along the lines of this –

New person to group: So B, are you still in school?
B: No.
NPTG: Oh – what did you study.
B: Engineering.
NPTG: When did you graduate?
B: 2009.
NPTG: So is that what you do now?
B: No.
NPTG: Oh, where do you work now then?
B: I don’t work.
NPTG: Umm…

My point is this – aside from wondering if there is something else going on with B that I don’t know about in terms of health (physical/mental/emotional) that prevents her from working, I have to wonder how she’ll ever manage to get a job now. She’s been out of school for two years and done nothing to fill her time. That blank space on a resume does not look good to potential employers. Add in that she has no job experience in her field and seems set on only applying to engineering jobs…her odds aren’t looking to hot. Add in the fact that I’m not sure how active she has been in applying to positions…and I start to wonder how she’ll fair in such a competitive market. Plus, even if she did get an interview, she’s not exactly the type of person who immediately inspires confidence.

If you ever find yourself in this sort of position, my advice is this – find something to do to put on a resume. Get a McJob if you have to. Honestly. Go to a temp agency – have them help you find work. Just get something that will keep you busy and put a little cash in your pocket. I spent labour day weekend in September fearing unemployment. I had interviewed for the substitute teacher list 2 weeks before and still hadn’t heard. My summer job had ended and I was facing what I saw as some very bleak prospects. I spent the entire weekend applying to any job I could find that interested me. All said in done I applied to at least 12 jobs that weekend – some I wasn’t even technically qualified for. Within days I had interviews with 2 of them.

So again – if you ever find yourself in a position where you are out of school and unemployed – at least find something productive. Volunteer at the food bank or animal shelter or SOMETHING. If nothing else it will get you out of the house and it helps pad your resume. It will also give you something to talk about in social situations. You also need to accept that no experience in the workforce is really going to hinder you when you hit your 20s. It is one thing to have 2 years of no work on your resume if you decided to start a family or something. It’s another if you just didn’t find any motivation to go do something.

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About Miss Substitute Teacher

Working as a substitute teacher. Kids really do say the darnedest things!
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4 Responses to A Cautionary Tale

  1. sychela says:

    Agreed! I have similar friends and sometimes listening to them complain about their situations makes me want to tear my hair out. You’re 28 years old and probably not going to be accepted to law school. So maybe now is a good time to think about a more humble job.

    • Well part of B’s problem is she doesn’t fully know what she wants to do and she just wants to find a job in town which is clearly not happening. I think people need to really think things through and unfortunately many are enabled by friends or family. In B’s case her parents are totally enabling her by letting her live at home and do nothing. If I tried to pull that my parents would’ve had a fit.

  2. Observer says:

    It’s interesting…. I would assume your friend has a combination of shyness and self confidence issues – which would only be compounded with the no job…

    I think she needs to exercise (regular class and maybe personal trainer), then set goals (which she should track), work (even if free work – just get out there), and get out meeting new people. The casual chit chat is something that comes easy to some, but needs a bit of work for others.

    Otherwise, I suspect things may spiral worse…

    • Well that’s the funny thing – she is a bigger girl and she started going to the gym. Or at least saying she was always going to the gym. No idea how consistent it is, nor what she does when there. We were at a big party last night with a ton of different people and once again she was following me around a fair bit. There were people I hadn’t seen in years and I’d get talking with them and B had nothing to add to the conversation because she hasn’t done anything. It was super awkward.

      I think at this point it’s only going to get worse for the moment which is not good at all. =/

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