Kat Hudson

Kat Hudson
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
May 16
Kathryn Hudson has been a writer for most of her life. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, she currently calls Baltimore, Md., her home. As an award-winning journalist, Ms. Hudson spent several years as a newspaper reporter. She is currently raising a beautiful daughter on her own as a single mother along with two obnoxious cats (they are probably both French-Canadian). In her free time she writes. In her regular life, she juggles a cute infant along with a job in sales, blogs, and short films about everything. She welcomes new friends and correspondence, especially from befuddled new parents like herself.


Editor’s Pick
MAY 28, 2010 4:41PM

Why you probably won't hire me anytime soon

Rate: 54 Flag

I turned 41 a few weeks ago. It’s probably something I shouldn’t publish in such a public forum, but I am told I look good for my age. And forty is the new thirty. And age is just a number. I try to believe all of that because, frankly, as my job search stretches into its fourth month, I wonder and I worry.

Admitting that I didn’t exactly jump into my job search at first is something else I probably shouldn't tell. There was and has been a not-so-small part of me that likes making my own hours and not having some jerk tell me what to do every day. I have no problem saying my last boss was something of a jerk. I don’t know if he was over-compensating for being so short (I’m 5’6” and I looked down on him), or if it was because he was 27 and an ex-Marine. I don’t know. But telling the world all of that is probably not in my best interest if a potential employer ever reads this post.

If it hops like a rabbit...

Looking over my resume, I wonder if I’d hire me were I in such a position. I have only held a few long-term jobs and it shows. It screams the words “JOB HOPPER” almost immediately. It also shows how I didn’t finish college and makes me out to be something of a dreamer. I am a dreamer, unapologetic about it, too.

I guess I’m just trying to figure out why I’ve only had three interviews in three months. The last one was over the phone. It was a sales job that sounded perfect. It was working at a diet center. The words “inside sales” usually implies all phone work which I’m totally comfortable with doing. Then the interviewer said I’d also meet with and counsel clients. I quickly realized that as much as I would have enjoyed the fringe benefits of working at such a place, I’m too fat to meet with clients and convince them that they were in the right place to lose weight. I thanked the nice lady and hung up the phone.

I’m not a little overweight, I’m a lot overweight. I refuse to give out my number here, but let’s just say that I was almost as excited to get free help losing weight as I was to work at that diet center. Looking in the mirror, I wonder yet again, would I hire me? Fat discrimination is as real as ageism and other “isms.” Maybe I’m too fat to get hired?

I fight authority--authority always wins 

Of course, all of this pondering comes at a time when thousands of baby adults are graduating from college this time of year. Dewy faces with high expectations and aspirations that hopefully weren’t drowned in a keg of beer. That’s what employers hope for, after all. So many of the classifieds I've seen lately flat-out state that they are looking for “recent college graduates.” How is a 41-year-old fat college dropout who has problems with authority supposed to compete with that?

The answer is I can’t.

Once upon a time I wanted to go to college and even had scholarships. My parents, caught up in the cult of Jehovah’s Witnesses, refused to let me go. I often wish I’d pushed harder or just ran off and tried to make it on my own, but I was their brightest hope for a good kid. I did what they told me to do. That’s probably why I hate authority as much as I do. It has never served my interests, only its own.

A few years later, I finally got to take some college classes. I remember how excited I was at the promise of finally having a future. But I didn’t have enough money to pay for school and eventually had to let work take priority over everything. I managed to go to a trade school, The Broadcasting Institute of Maryland, where I graduated at the top of my class and served as class president.

The only job offers I got were out of town and my then-husband had no intentions of leaving Baltimore. Now that radio is such a sad state of affairs (along with newspapers), it’s a real shark fight to get a job in it. So many of my good friends who’ve worked in the business have been tossed out of the aquarium; they’re selling cars, installing elevators or applying for the same jobs I am.

Wouldn't it be loverly? 

The only thing I feel completely fit to do is write. I loved being a journalist, but I hated having someone else dictate what I wrote. I have often joked that if someone would pay me to write what I like, I’d sit around and do it all day. And you’d have to force me to stop.

I am still waiting for that phone call. 



UPDATE: I found a blogging contest where I stand a real chance at winning! The prize is a JOB for six months WRITING!!! It will pay me enough to live on and provide me with a badly-needed new NOTEBOOK COMPUTER! So, if you read this blog, do me a favor...vote for me to win!

 Vote for Me
Good Mood Gig from SAM-e 

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In some contexts, "recent college graduates" is code for "cheap and don't yet know enough to stand up for their rights" - alas. However, I will try to be upbeat in the rest of this comment because there are some good employers out there still.

I'll say my number: it's around 250 now but it's been as high as 350. I actually think you'd be great at the diet center - face to face too - because you could empathize with the people on the other side of the counter and they would feel able to talk to you. If they ask you stuff you say, "I started working here earlier this year. I'm on the program too! But let's talk about you some more..."

My only job idea right now is that it's a perfect time to start one's own business, and then when the permanent jobs do ask what we're doing now, we can tell them about whatever that is. :)

Thank you for letting us know how it's going, and wishing you all the best,
Bonus: just one idea for your business: you could help/counsel other people who wanted to produce their own movies! Something written for them to take away from your bubbly "seminar" would be a snap for you - or they could hire you to co-produce and help them along.
Thanks, Julianne!

Yes, I know some employers are after the "cheap" labor of graduates. It sucks, too, because those same kids, if in a bind, can live at home with mom and dad. If they're not still at home. I have rent to pay, a car payment and other goodies to worry about. My folks are dead.

I used to weigh a lot more and have recently dropped 15 pounds (I think it's my new boyfriend--giggles!), but they wanted someone who was at their goal weight or very close to it. If my goal weight were 250, I'd be in like Flynn, but I think they'd still think of me as too fat.

I wouldn't mind working for myself, but employers get all weird about it. Freelance writing is one thing; owning a little business and then leaving it freaks people out for odd reasons. I think they feel like if you couldn't cut it on your own, you're not good enough for them. Or something like that.

I have decided to try my hand at self-publishing some e-books. I think that is something I'd be darling at.
Second Editor's Pick???

Somebody pinch me! No really, it won't hurt, I'm squishy.

I haven't been around this week due to illness. Suddenly I'm feeling pretty good but my head seems to be inflating. Uh-oh.
Way to go on the EP!
If only sarcasm was marketable; there would be a lot of fat cats on this site. Alas, we must "struggle for the legal tender" - I don't know, retail?
"40 is the new 30"...I'm sure i blogged that 50 is the new 30,,,you are still a kitten
Well, I love this piece... not only because I instantly became 25, but because it
ate my comment? lol, loved the realness... it made me smile. We should start a business ... of some sort. :D
If you want a remote "dayjob" where no one will ever see your face and you can work in your jammies and you get real live honest to goodness great health insurance send me a message.
Way to get a job AND an EP. Wanna sell insurance? See above!
As someone who has spent years reviewing resumes and conducting interviews with job applicants, I can honestly say that your record of past career decisions and, more importantly, acquired attitudes virtually guarantees continued, perhaps even permanent unemployment.

Have you ever considered acquiring some authority rather than railing against it?

Forget about applying for jobs where slimness is rationally relevant. You won't get the job, and to refuse you is not illegal discrimination in that context.

I wouldn't be so tough on someone so clearly in trouble, but your allocation of blame is not appealing. I'm tempted to quote someone who wisely said something like, "The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in the stars, but in ourselves."
Hi, Gordon, your harsh assessment of me made me giggle a little.

I'm not feeling "in trouble" so much as frustrated. Get authority instead of rail against it? So NOT me. I've been a boss. It sucked. It sucked the life out of me and then I got canned after giving them 80 hours a week for way too long.

Thanks for not kicking me too much.
Great post, Kat._r
I'm in a similar boat - I'm in my 20s, and I have a bachelor's degree, but with two young kids and one on the way (and I can't hide it) I am basically unemployable. Frankly, when I was in a position to hire, I wouldn't have picked me up either - although I'm smart, motivated, etc. - I've got the dreaded family!

The best advice I can give anyone looking for work right now (young, older or otherwise) is: don't be too picky. You might have to take work for low pay, shifts you don't like, jobs that sound boring. Once you get your foot in the door, do a great job and maintain an excellent attitude, even if you have to fake it to within an inch of your life. The cream always rises to the top. My very best employees never stayed at 8.00 per hour for long.
Great post. I'm 43 and also overweight. But I found a job after several years as a stay-home mom while overweight and not young, so don't give up hope entirely. As for that call saying: come write a weekly (or daily or monthly) column and we'll pay you: I'm still waiting too. Keep us posted and let us know if you get the call or end up somewhere else.
This post is so weird, I felt like you were writing my post for me. We have so much in common, if you find that (write what-ever you want) job, let me know, I am in... :-)
Any particular reason why anyone *should* hire you? And for what?

Maybe you should concentrate on that.
Oh honey... I feel your pain... just add 20 years! I was laid off in March and my job search is going nowhere. I'm also a college dropout, anti-authority, snarky artist/writer/creative type. I'm struggling with what I want to be when I grow up, scared about my incomeless status and don't know how to make it change. (Also overweight... are we related???)

Hang in... I can't say yet that it gets better, but the alternatives just suck.

You know I enjoyed this. Creative people are yearning to be free and are too intelligent most of the time to be tamed by ignorance. As to the people who found fault with this post, and make comments that weren't lovely, well, typical of people who like to judge and have no understanding of creativity and looks like they might have been men. Wow, that explains a lot at least to me. R
I've been writing a lot about Fat discrimination and my recent weight loss. People are much nicer to the thinner me. However, I used it as excuse for too long not to get out there and work....Magical things happen when you are ready and they can't happen when you/me are not out there virtually or in real time....
Perhaps Kat will cleanse the blog of the column-inch hogging spam ads polluting the comments section here (along with elsewhere on Salon.)

In the meantime, I think that they serve as a useful reminder of what passes for the Greatest New Frontier of Enrepreneurship in the USA, circa 2010: the business of Hype. The fastest growing business in America, to judge by the classified ads these days.
Gordon Osmond: I'd like to know what you do for a living.

If you're retired, I'd like to know what you did when you were working.

I'd prefer a complete accounting of your employment history, but I'd be satisfied with knowing about your most recent line of work, and the sort of position that you held that involved you reviewing employment applications.
There are a lot of people in your position! Millions. Most of them will get a job sometime. You have the brains and skills to get a better job. I wish you luck and patience. Try to use some hours every day to gain or sharpen a skill--not necessarily job-related. This can help you keep your sanity while you are job-hunting.
Hello Kat,

Oh I really appreciated every word of what you said here, I am about to turn fifty this November, I am happy about that.Age discrimination well if thats what they call it these days, they may as well refer to me as grandma. They are not even nice about it, so what have decided to do? Well, thankfully I really zoned in to going to back to school, for what else? but what I have always loved and wanted and that is write. That is what I do, I do it whole heartedly as well. Get this, if I am stuck for something to write about I am stuck and a barge could come along and try and get me out, if I don't like the barge I don't care either. I just sit feeling lost and exasperated that there is nothing that is helping my lungs to breathe.
I am enrolled in a school a couple of blocks away from my house, the classes are catered to older students, as I am not willing to sit in a class with much younger students. I have four students of my own, my youngest is in a class all of her own. She just turned 18 and has informed me, that thanks to her wonderfully thought out plan, I am going to be a grandma. Yeay...kind of I am happy for her, she is so head strong, she is washing heads, goregeous. She was telling me this morning, that she would like to send her father away to Italy for Father's Day alone. I was like, "really", why would he want to go Italy alone for a week? her typical bitchy response was "to get away from the house". meekly I replied "oh".

Yeah, I have fun at home, I know sell Avon, it isn't a bad thing, some people are good at stuff like this, they resell everything with mark-up. If you are good at math, and have brains you can sell bubble soap, I am not good either, I just love to tell people they are pretty and look great. Is there a job I can do that at? Yes, but the problem is other dumb bitches are there first, oh mi God, it is disgusting out there, but I am told to keep plugging away and I will find my dream job. I dream fluently allready, not that I like my dreams all the time, but sometimes I am like don't bother to wake me up. I mean that in all reality. lol I wish you the best of luck, it's amazing what life could throw away when we think we know where were going. Best of Luck!

P.S. Yes, Authority always wins, I also love the song by John Mellon Camp
"I did what they told me to do. That’s probably why I hate authority as much as I do. It has never served my interests, only its own." What an excellent quote!! Great article. kp
The world is screaming at us for our attention. Silly as it sounds, our attention, in a money economy is "worth" something. If I were in a really rebellious mood like you get sometimes, Kat, I would die just so I would be unavailable. Since I am alive, every day feels like I'm standing in the smorgasbord line at the cafeteria, deciding which food items I am interested in. I ask myself what, among the hundreds of ads, emails, blogs and articles available 24/7, I will read. I pick your article when I see your name. I enjoy reading your articles. They are so honest! You get my attention. I don't have a job to give you since I retired 6 years ago and sort of need one myself, but I can give you my full attention!!
Great piece. I've been out of college for two years, and all the feelings you've expressed are things I've felt since I left school. (I don't think I was ever quite wide-eyed and hopeful, particularly with the way the economy's been since pretty much late 2007.) You might be surprised at the number of people who feel kind of... well... screwed in this labor economy. People who feel like they'll never have a job that will make them truly happy. It's such a sad thought, but it's also a reminder that we need to keep making sure we have a satisfying life outside of work. Obviously, KEEP WRITING.
Excellent post. I rarely read Open Salon but I might have to poke in here once in a while if everyone is as good as you.

I wanted to comment on the "recent college graduates" request for employers. Boy is that different than my day. When I graduated from college, I experienced the exact opposite. Everyone with a job to give wanted experience. How do you get experience, if the only way to get it is to have it already? Even recruiters who seemed desperate for clients to help find jobs, didn't even want to see my resume until I had experience. Then they'd be glad to help me change jobs. I would bet more college graduates are having an experience similar to mine these days. Just saying, it's not all rosy for the new college graduates out there either.

And judging from your little introductory blurb, you sound like a great success. Hardly an unemployed fat girl who can't get a job in a diet center. So you know how to put your best foot forward. I suspect you'll be doing just what you want before long.

And "dirty girl" I have read some of your stuff! I think your column has been picked up on other outlets than Gutter Magazine. You're more widely read than you realize. And anyone who can turn the phrase "That’s probably why I hate authority as much as I do. It has never served my interests, only its own." should be a writer (you mind if I use that sometime?). Stick with writing. You're the real thing.
I can totally relate to this. As far as authority is concerned, I don't have a problem with it, as long as the person holding it is fair, reasonable and respectful. My problem is, that although I look perfectly healthy, I have Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. This means I have very little stamina, and after a couple of hours of physical exertion, I'm done for. I used to work retail part-time, but had to quit, because even a four or five-hour shift wore me out so much, I was unable to do anything else that day. Add to that extreme light- noise- and strong-odor-sensitivity and I guess I'll be unemployed for the rest of my life.
You think you have a problem at 40? I'm 63 and looking for a job. I don't have my age on my resume, but I do list my graduation from college in 2006. (Associates degrees in legal studies and English) Neither have done me much good. I'm back in school this summer taking medical billing and coding classes. I'm hoping desperately that this will help me find a job. If I were in your shoes, I would figure out a way to wrestle a pell grant and get some training. Good luck.
I used to think that the over 50 crowd had the most difficulty in the job market, but at 44 I have had several different one year long assignments and it makes me look flighty. I wanted to work in different areas/jobs so that I could be a well rounded person (I'm round, too but that's not the problem) and then it looks bad. I have problems with authority when they don't do things right. So I hear you.
I could be long winded but IMHO it's all encapsulated in the phrase: "It's not what you know, it's who you know"... and that can even be "somebody else who works there"....
Kat, think about becoming an AmeriCorps or Vista volunteer. I've known several over the years, including several counterculture types who had problems with authority. You'll fit right in. The benefits are getting better and better and you can accure your education stipend 'til you decide to finish your degree. If you have a partner to help pay the bills it's not a bad deal; you can afford to live on the stipend pretty comfortably. As of this summer, the living allowance for the program I'm affiliated with, goes up to $11,8000 for an eleven month term of service. You are also eligible for food stamps while serving (In my area that's $200 a month). I've written AmeriCorps grants and administered another for a statewide program. At 54 I'm now thinking of becoming an AmeriCorps volunteer because of the education stipend. You get a $5,400 stipend per year of service (you can serve up to two years). Many colleges are offering some sort of match for AmeriCorps/Vista service. The school I'm thinking of attending is offering a 1:1 match against the stipend for up to two years of service. That will save me $21,600 (half of the tuition for grad school).

You can also sign up to do a short summer term of about 10 weeks. They'll pay you a $2,000 living stipend, and I believe you can get about $1,400 for an education stipend. They're recruiting for the summer term now, as well as for the annual term that starts the end of August/early Sept. It's also a good way to extend your unemployment benefits.

BTW, my sympathy on the whole JW thing. My parents also didn't want me to go to college. My mother (a Mormon) locked me out of the house the day of my final exam on Immanuel Kant, 'cause college was "turning me against God." I sobbed my way through my final, ended up in a women's shelter, and didn't have contact with my family for ten years.

But they can never take my degree away from me.
HR managers love to discriminate. It makes them feel powerful. Having the same long-term job your whole life wouldn't help a bit. They would say you hadn't done enough different things and thus were not "flexible".

The unfortunate fact is that it's been a long time since we've had a "normal" job market, where most people who are looking for a job could expect to find full-time employment. The more competition, the more opportunity for petty tyrants who couldn't do a real job themselves to save their lives to humiliate job-hunters.

Check out craigslist.org sometime. Lots of businesses are looking for highly skilled people to do work they would normally expect to pay $40 an hour for from a specialist contractor. They want someone to meet with clients and run their offices, and they call it an "internship" because they don't intend to pay, even though they know it's completely illegal.
41? You're a child! My daughter is 3 years younger than you. I'm way over that and I was out looking for a job for the last 2 years after getting a Masters in my 50's. You can reinvent yourself at any age. I am a writer and currently working on a new screenplay (my 10th!) that me and my writing partner want to market to some big players! It's never too late. Look at Betty White for God's sake.
Well done - don't worry about the wieght thing! a) your picture indicates you're pretty; b) you're obviously very bright.

Let's go with very bright.

May I suggest technical writing?

Those of us with liberal arts degrees here in the Pacific Northwest have found employment by being able to apply analytical skills, concise writing, and a general regard for the use of the English language in the tech world, where these thing are not always found - you've read the directions to your toaster oven, right?

And you can work from home.

Just be able to learn a software app and write the user interface content, and even the Help.

My favorite line that has gotten me in trouble, and jobs: "How hard can that be?"

Good luck!
Oh Kat! There's something touchy about this. I too would rather set my own hours and have a resume that screams job hopper. I'm even older than you which might trump fat though I have degrees though which helps enormously. I have no advice for you (at least none you'd take) except that my guess is, something will turn up and you'll use that to your advantage. I'm amazed though at how many people I meet who've managed to eke out livings as "life coaches" or some kind of new age healers or consultants. If you have confidence in yourself on the phone (or internet) there are possibilities.
It is hard to be middle-aged, reinventing one's self. Writing can lead to other things. Keep it up. I enjoyed your essay and think so many women can related to it. I am fat also. The prejudice against fat is less pervasive with most US women averaging out at a size 14. Our whole society is overweight for the most part.
I found your writing very interesting. This reader was sympathetic with your circumstances, yet you were not whinning. I look forward to reading more of your writings.
Kat ...

I'm sorry you're having personal problems. I hope things turn out well for you.

IMO, two things: you seem to wear your defiance of authority as a badge of honor. Well .... no. Authority is authority. Suck it up and deal with it. We all have to do that. Grow up, here.

As for your weight, that's a different and difficult problem, no question. The overweight are treated with less enthusiasm as those more "normal," for want of a better word. As are those who are "less attractive," whatever that might be to various beholders.

Can you lose a lot of that weight? It's hard, I realize, but that seems to be a possibility. Of course, only you know your physicality -- is it genetic, neurotic, e.g.

In any event, you've got to take command of yourself and your personal situation and DO something about it.
Are you me?

No, really, I think you are me.

I just turned 39 a few weeks ago. I've had more jobs, including more sales jobs, than I can count and there are many people who call me a "job hunter". I also dropped out of school for very many reasons (health and finances being at the top) and have been struggling with my own weight issues, which have run the gamut. Yes, I did get a call from a Diet Center to do inside sales. No, I didn't make the appointment (this was about 3 years ago) because I felt I was too fat.

I feel I've been poisoned by corporate America and can't go back to working for another jerk. I jumped through hoops at my last "job", being told to clean the toilet the day before I was fired, after working 2 straight weeks without a day off, which are the only 2 weeks I worked for that company before I was fired so he could hire a friend. I was driving almost 90 miles each way for that job as well. In addition, I'm 5'7" and that boss was also shorter than me - and was in the Army prior to being my boss. This job was in another state to which I had moved for a different job which had started lying to me during the interview, including about pay and benefits.

So, what do I do now? Well, I write and I'm trying to make a living of it (some sites do pay though not much). I'm also starting to make jewelry again and will have my own site up and soon - though, I'm about to file for bankruptcy due to my divorce, health situation (lupus and more) and lack of better paying work.

I think it gets better. I believe that many people who have been downsized are starting to realize that they cannot continue to be cogs on a corporate wheel. Some of us have to be our own bosses. While I was married, I bought and sold antique jewelry (and made some jewelry) to sell on eBay. I loved doing this and being in charge of my own destiny Don't know if I'd do eBay again but after I have more items to sell, I may set up my own site. I'm also getting more hits, finally, to my personal writing sites and to the other site for which I write. It just takes time. Follow your dream and let me know how it goes.

Take care,
Whatever you do, don't turn 50. Pass the half-century mark and you're thrown on the scrap heap so I went back to school to relive my childhood wait out the recession. You can get by on student loans and Pell grants. It's not much of an existence, but you can survive and that is the choice I was down to. Something to think about. Great piece.
Good, honest evaluation of the current job market for us "over 40" folks. I hope that phone rings soon, or that emailed offer arrives for you.
Pursue your passion - writing - with wild abandon and refuse to 'work for the man' again. You will be successful if you do what you love.
You might be able to market that avatar. Your eyes and the expression could jump start many a manly heart. Is this the one you used when you wrote the sex column for Gutter Magazine? I've no doubt you had quite a following.

Good luck hunting.
You should have taken the diet job on the basis that you would keep a picture of yourself when hired on your desk so that people would see how successful you and the company were at their mission.
Why get a "job" when you already enjoy what you're doing? Is it because you're not making enough as a writer, and need a steady income? You sound like an independent thinker, and employers are scared of independent people. They look for "team players", people who suck up to the boss. That's not you, is it?
I'm 45, Disabled, suffer from some serious Chronic Pain (I just took two Vicodin AND two Methadone tablets!), have spastic pressure palsy issues, and am becomming so paralyzed in my upper quadrents that I can no longer grasp either a knife or a saute pan with my right hand - and I WAS a Chef who could draw two or three Sous Chef Offers, from the Nicests Restaurants in ANY City I went to, AT ONE TIME!!!
Hmmmm....will I take the 32K or the 36K option?
It's all over. Done. Gone. Kaput.
Write a Book, like I'm trying to; and don't feel so sorry for yourself!
Like many, I too resemble your unemployment plight and ambivalence. I mean aren't we all a mess? Talk about your nationwide choir of pissed out loud and stiff lipped singers of solidarity ;) The totality of America’s job related problems right now are of a certain type of head bustin' complex and I am also concerned over the emotional aftermath, which might heal quite slowly for some.

I’m unemployed at and overweight as well, K. While Osgood's comments are tough overall, I heartily agree with not setting one's self up for grief. I experienced poor outcomes too often myself by stubbornly accepting jobs outside my aptitude that paid well or at least better that creativity would--so this tart suggestion rung true for me. Your head start in writing does show. Scant few can 'bring in' prospective readers with their natural tone, but yours is friendly-like a neighbor pal over the fence shall we say. ;) Hang in there, baby. You've got talent. Congrats on the EP
Excellent. Funny, original working of what in lesser hands is trite. Your honesty and self-awareness is matched by your command of language: "How is a 41-year-old fat college dropout who has problems with authority supposed to compete with that?"
Out of respect for your parents I will moderate this: "Dang them!"
I left college in my senior year to be a full-time single parent. Never got the degree. We auto-didacts have the advantage tho of continuing to learn, always.
Next to last paragraph: you and me both, Kat.
I'm getting the feeling that employers want the youngest, dumbest, greenest bodies they can get their claws on for precisely the same reasons that world armies like the young, dumb ones. Too dumb to think, too dumb to know the usual tricks... sheesh(tm).
Hi all! I'm just checking in from the holiday weekend and still recovering from a nasty chest cold.

First of all, thanks to everyone for commenting. I like some of the suggestions I've received. I also love the encouragement you've given me. I think that was something lacking from my life a lot growing up. I've learned to be my own cheerleader, but I sure do appreciate a few good pats on the back.

To those of you who share my struggles--especially just those of us who are out of work, I want you to know that every time I've been out of work for a long period of time (more than a few months), I've almost always bounced back into something better-paying and better for my career. It's the one time I can take time in my life to explore many different options. That's what I'm doing now. Including entrepreneurship.

With all the devices like the Kindle, the iPad and all the other readers (including the iPhone) available--they NEED content. The publishing on demand (POD) world is also in constant need of new stuff. I've had almost 5,000 views of this blog as I write this. That's in less than 48 hours. Imagine this were a downloaded book that I was able to get a few dollars per book downloaded? Bye-bye money troubles.

So let's all put our heads together. No, despite the constant cries that the recession is over it's not. That's what our president said about people like us a few weeks ago. If you don't have a job, the recession is still alive and kicking our asses.

Well, as you can see from this blog, I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore. Today is a life-changer for me. I'll keep you all posted as to how well my plans work out.

Much love and hope to all of you good, good people!
"Tough times don't last but tough people do". I don't know who originated that but hearing it from Dr. Robert Schuller was always inspiring to me. rated. ~~

Great post. On the college issue, massive student loan debt is the new twenty. If I may b eso bold, you don't need a job, what you need is a purpose. Have you heard of the Amway organization? But seriously, I've got a gig I need help with it and I need a like-minded individual in proximity of DC for it. All I've got to do is finish the doc I want to do, the site I'm having built, and the book I'm writing. Sound familiar? If you want to hear the details, email me at my handle and add 'that email service google started' to it.

I need someone near DC and it's not just a job, it's an adventure.

My names, Mitch
I went to college back in the late 70s, but that was only because I could live off the GI Bill benefits and food stamps. Mostly I spun records for the college radio station, although I finally got a useless AA degree. That previous commenter who said starting your own business might work could be right. So...you are a writer. How the heck can you make a living at THAT? Answer: You probably can't do it full-time, but part-time offers some solid opportunities in places you probably never considered:

Create a website and offer to edit book manuscripts and do what's called 'book packaging'. This is a HUGE market and few people around who can do it effectively. Editing and packaging can be done together or separately. Editing is a simple thing. A writer sends you a manuscript. You fix it, even if it means major changes. Reject the hopeless ones. Customer must pay your fee one-half upfront, half on delivery, and allow the customer to re-submit the edited version one time for requested changes. Typical fee? Anywhere from $500-$1,500. But in the end that ms has to be ready to submit to mainstream publishers.

Packaging can consist of many things, but usually it means editing the manuscript and then formatting it into a PDF doc ready for digital publishing or submission. This means everything from the title page to the 'About the Author' on the last page. Depending on the length and complexity of the manuscript, you can charge quite a bit for this service. Jennifer Basye Sander, co-author of 'The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Published' made a killing packaging raw manuscripts into press-ready interior text. You can even design covers if you have a penchant for it.

Once this business is rolling, make sure you post up about it on every writers' site you can find. They will come calling at your virtual door.

Robert Blevins
Managing Editor
Adventure Books of Seattle
I am going into my 30th month of my job search. Thank God for contract work. The point that I am trying to make is that you need to prepare yourself for a long period of unemployment. So, you might as well check into doing what interests you. I waited to years , sending out nearly 2000 resumes resulting in 5 interviews, when it struck me: I love to write. Not resumes, mind you, but rather writing about things that you are passionate about. So, I wrote a proposal for a reality TV show, got heavily into blogging, and am working on a couple manuscripts. That way, I feel like I am doing something productive, and keeps me from going bonkers.
Sucks, don't it? I'm a 50ish male, wanna-be artisan. I've now faced the music that I'm not going to make it as an artisan, and have wasted my working years trying. It was cool, but now I have to walk away from it to be more practical. Ain't it hard.
Its as likely as not that I'll end up self employed again, in some service capacity, because even if I get a computer science degree, I'm not the first to be hired anymore. I don't even get interviews very often.
When the employment outlook is grim, marginally employable people are the first to be forced to find alternate ways. Its a sort of desparate creativity. Its important to chronicle this great recession. Who better to do it than you (and me).
Judging by the number comments you've generated - you can write a popular Blog, at least. That's something! Perhaps it's that working combination of being both timely and confessional?

Well done. I recommend, for what it's worth, going for a jobs in sectors where there's a future: farming, biotechnology, energy, IT, Asia, mining.
But follow an interest: while your unemployed, join up with some associations that share your interests, to meet people in a social setting - this is critical to a life well spent, and will be a likely source of good leads on the jobs front. If you actually do these things - YOU WON'T FAIL.

Good Luck. And God Bless.
A lot of people have offered advice. You're the one who decides if it is relevant or not. I followed Greg Correll's mention here. I guess we do a lot of life analysis when we hit the 40s.
People that didn't get this need to understand that everyone needs the space for a good rant and cleansing anger.
Hope you find what you are looking for.
Enjoyed the post and appreciate your honesty. First thing I have to say is you are so lucky to be 41! I am even older, but I don't dare reveal my age, since I work - or used to work - in an industry (Advertising) that practically invented the word "age-ism".

A lot of what you said reflected my own frustration at being an older person in today's job market. But unlike you, I've never railed against authority. Although I've never felt at home in the corporate world. Add me to the list of people who are waiting to be offered a million dollars to write their blog. (It could happen, right?).

One of the hardest things about today's job market is that we are not permitted to sound "bitter" or "negative", in spite of overwhelming odds and job-postings clearly tailored for tech-savvy 20-somethings who will work for $3 an hour. I was fascinated reading the comments on here, because while many people seemed empathetic, others - especially recruiters - criticized your "bad attitude". Honestly, I can see their side of it, too. Feeling hopeless about your prospects is not exactly going to win over a prospective employer. I've been on the hiring side, too, and no one likes a whiner.

That said, I think it's important that we start to speak out honestly about the frustrations and inequities of looking for a job in this economy. Especially when we're not The Young and The Beautiful.

One thing that no one seems to talk about is the nightmare of online job applications. Although electronic searches may be a boon for recruiters, they are a nightmare for those of us looking for work.
The whole process is beyond "impersonal" - it's downright dehumanizing. I wish every HR person or recruiter could switch places with me for a few days to experience what it's like to send a carefully crafted cover letter and customized resume into the Black Hole of their electronic search system. Not gonna happen (unless some of the smugsters get pink slips soon). But at least it's a nice fantasy. I blogged about the whole online phenomenon recently: http://open.salon.com/blog/marcie_j/2010/05/30/reach_out_and_reject_someone

I wish I could wrap this up with a chipper "Hang in there!", but the truth is, there are a lot of us out here who are legitimately worried about how we are going to support our not-so-new selves in the New Economy.

Good luck. And thanks for a great post.
Excellent posting. Rated.

Age discrimination is as American as cherry pie. I wonder if it's as bad in Canada, Europe or Australia as it is here, or what's to be done about it?

I read a graphical story by a cartoonist who was also a fitness buff who recounted how an attractive-sounding job at a health club turned out to consist mainly of "selling, selling and mopping the locker room floors".

As for recent graduates, I've worked with college students and while there are always exceptions, their work ethics are about what you'd expect from people who are used to partying when the urge strikes them.

And in my own utterly jaded opinion, looking for a decent job in the classifieds is like looking for a meaningful relationship in the "casual encounters" section of Craigslist!

Oh, and feel free to get as pissed off as you like at people who tell you your attitude sucks because you won't brown-nose or work for starvation wages. On that note, here's some recreational reading, the online version of a magazine published by disgruntled grunt workers and even a few professionals from back in the 80's:

Congratulations on your second EP. That's all that needs to be said about the quality of your writing. As to its impact, your post has elicited some of the best comments I've read since I joined OS. As to your current unemployment, I can't add anything new. I am confident that you will overcome. I'm just going to rate the post and identify your blog as a favorite.
As a fellow Baltimorean and former professional writer (and hirer of writers), I wouldn't hire you because, as you describe your resume, you're a quitter. You solve problems by leaving. What employer wants that?
I took your post a little personally, and want to respond. I hire people--about 6 a year--into entry level technical positions for the company I work for. They move on into long-term careers with the organization after I have trained them on entry jobs for a couple of years. My career has been successful because I have a talent for identifying and training people who will contribute to the success of the company.

You are right, I wouldn't hire you. Not because of your weight or your age--though you might not choose to believe that. I have successfully hired some very overweight people over 40, and I am 'old' and pretty heavy myself. I wouldn't hire you because I represent authority, and you have announced that you would fight me. I have learned how to spot people who resent and resist authority.

In my day to day work life I strive to be thoughtful, polite, and respectful of the people I hire. Why would I hire someone who wants to fight me? I have hired a few people with your attitude because they were bright and I thought I would give them a chance and they didn't work out. I had to fire them--not at all fun, very distressing for a manager who likes people --because they just didn't want to focus on the job at hand.

I am just trying to give you the hiring manager's view here, trying to be helpful for what its worth. I look for adults who are willing to work with me, the "authority", to make our company successful for the benefit of all of us. I can't use people who come across as entitled adolescents.

Finish your degree, too, by the way. Lots of people figure out ways to do that.
First, congrats on the EP.
I know what a struggle it is to be out of work for a long period of time. I also know what it is like to have parents who do not support your college ambitions. I earned a B.A. and a master's entirely on my own - no scholarships, no grants - and it was the most rewarding thing I ever did. Perhaps you could concentrate on finishing your degree. Even if you don't have a job at the time (you can live on loans, very frugally) you will be doing something you love, and have the great feeling of finishing it. You can also do some volunteering. That looks great on a resume.
Great post, and best of luck to you!
You're in a tough situation. I don't mean to be as harsh as I'm probably going to sound but you don't seem to have any obviously marketable skills, your resumé is spotty and as you recognize, there's a bias against overweight people.

On the other hand, you write well and you seem pretty bright. I'd be inclined to try to find anything, even volunteering or temping, with some organization whose work I liked. If you get taken on, even if it's a short-term contract, work hard at that and you have a very good chance at snagging a full-time position when it comes open.

And try to add a few technical skills, whether it's techie stuff, accounting or anything. Jst having something on your resumé that shows you're trying to make yourself more employable can help. Good luck.
You say you have a problem with authority because you feel that your parents let you down when you were young and vulnerable. It's good you have this insight, but now that you have it, why do you persist in the self-defeating behavior?
Holy crap! You're a college dropout radio girl too! You're gonna love my book - it begins when I got fired from my last radio gig a year and a half ago...and is called....Fat Girl DJ.

I decided to stop moving for radio after this last firing, and that effectively ended my full-time career. I feel your pain...and good luck!
"I have often joked that if someone would pay me to write what I like, I’d sit around and do it all day. And you’d have to force me to stop.

I am still waiting for that phone call. "

Me too. Good luck to you---job hunts are the worst.