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I had a bizarre job interview yesterday.

I was scratching my head when they called to schedule the interview last week. I had never heard of this company and certainly didn’t remember applying for a job with them. I even asked the lady on the phone what position this was regarding. She just told me to show up and we’ll toss around some ideas.

Mmm. Okay. So… ideas. I have lots of those.

My first thought was that this was some sort of pyramid scheme sales job where you vacuum someone’s living room and then try to sell them really sharp knives. But after doing a little research on the tubes, I saw that they were a legitimate local business with some high-profile clients. Their website, however, was also a little vague, not really stating what services they offer. Just a flash coverflow portfolio of 5 or 6 sample websites that (I’m guessing) they created. The “About Us” page basically said that they’ve been in business for 20 years. Doing what? I don’t know.

I asked around. No one has heard of this business. One person said, “I think I’ve seen their office. It looks like some rich girl wanted her own agency so her daddy bought an old building and slapped a sign on the door.” But no one had any experience or prior dealings with them.

What do I have to lose, right? I need a job and I’m going to show up for any interview I’m lucky enough to get. Who knows? It could be a great opportunity!

So I packed up my bag with writing samples and some pieces of my design work. I got all suited-up and drove to the downtown office. Didn’t look sketchy. Didn’t look shady. I felt at ease when I walked in and saw a lady sitting at the front desk. I walked over to her and told her my name.

Was that a smirk? Yeah, she smirked at me. Later, I realized it was an “I’m sorry for what you’re about to go through” smirk. She told me to have a seat (in a very low chair) at a large antique table (my head was barely above the table top) and disappeared up the stairs for about 5 minutes.

When she came back, she told me, “He’ll be right down,” then sat in her chair and stared at me. For a good 2 minutes. 2 minutes of staring at me. I couldn’t think of any small talk, so I looked around the room at the posters on the wall (which I realized weren’t posters at all but magazine advertisements from the late 80’s) and waited for the mystery man to be ‘right down’.

Just when I was about to compliment Sally McStaresALot on her artsy glasses, I heard a rumbling from upstairs. Remember – this is a converted row house and it is just as creeky and echoey as a hipster’s apartment. I watched as a grown man in a shirt and tie stomped down the stairs like a gorilla on roller skates, stomping loudly, but carefully, on every step. When he got to the bottom, he froze. Looked at me. Pointed. Shouted, “GRAY TIE! IS THAT A GRAY TIE? LET’S COMPARE TIES!”

Before I could answer – or even look down to see that I was, indeed, wearing a gray-ish striped tie, he ran down the hall out of view. I sat, peering over the antique table, mouth agape. Holding my tie. The secretary was smirking at me again.

He ran back into the room and went behind the secretary’s desk and started fidgeting with her radio. He turned it up. Loud. Really loud. Then he looked over at me and screamed, “HEY MAN! TURN IT DOWN! TURN IT DOWN, MAN! WE’RE TRYING TO WORK OVER HERE!” Then he turned it down. Slightly.

“LET ME JUST GRAB YOUR RESUME AND I’LL BE RIGHT OVER, MAN!”

He grabs two pieces of blank paper from the secretary’s printer and sits down next to me. Looking over the blank paper. It’s clearly blank. I’m looking right at it. It’s blank. White. Paper. Nothing on it. Blank.

“EVER ROB A BANK?”

“No.”

“DO YOU WANT TO? DO YOU WANT TO ROB A BANK?”

Uh… Great. What do I say here? I think he wants me to say yes. But I don’t know… I mean, this is a total trick question. There is only one correct answer. Judging by the way this guy is all energized, I figure he wants me to be an adrenaline junkie who lives for exhilaration and thrills.

“Well, I prefer to get my excitement other ways, like …”

“HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN OUTTA SCHOOL?”

“Almost 10 years. I graduated in 2000 from…”

“YOUNG GENES! YOUNG GENES! YOU GOT YOUNG GENES, MAN!”

“…”

“I WOULDA GUESSED YOU WERE RIGHT OUT OF SCHOOL!”

“No, I’ve lived in Virginia since college and worked at…”

“MAN! YOU LOOK YOUNG! I NEED SOME OF THOSE GENES!”

“…”

[Now he’s whispering] “The sandbox. You know? That’s what we need around here, man. Sandbox mentality.”

“…”

“We need to get back to that innocence, man. THE SANDBOX, MAN! THE SANDBOX! EVER PLAY IN A SANDBOX WHEN YOU WERE A KID?”

“Yeah, sure.”

“THAT’S WHAT WE NEED AROUND HERE, MAN! CREATIVE SANDBOX THINKERS! THAT’S WHAT WE NEED!”

“I consider myself to be a creative and …”

[Whispering again] “It’s all about electronic calendars, man.”

“…How so?”

“THAT’S WHAT WE NEED, MAN! IT’S THE NEW MILLENNIUM!”

“Now, are you talking about creating electronic calendars? Selling them? To existing clients? New clients?”

“WELL, SELLING. AND CREATING. AND NOT SO MUCH TO EXISTING CLIENTS. BUT NOT REALLY TO NEW CLIENTS, MAN. IT’S JUST SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT.”

“…”

“…”

We’re staring at each other.

“…”

“…”

I’m really frustrated. I don’t have any clue what this guy wants from me, so I ask, point blank, “Look, I don’t remember applying for this job. Can you give me a little background on what this position will entail?”

He then goes into a rambling speech about sandboxes, lunch boxes, electronic calendars, supermarkets and the maintenance worker he keeps locked up in the closet. He’s talking fast. I can’t follow, nor understand, what he is saying. I start to think I’m going insane and can no longer process the English language. At one point during his incoherent speech, I thought I was going to pass out. But I didn’t. Thank God.

“MULL IT OVER, MAN! THINK ABOUT IT FOR A FEW DAYS AND LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK.”

“Here, let me give you a copy of my résumé.” I hand it to him and watch him as he looks it over, dripping sweat from his brow all over it.

“SKILLS?!?” He takes out his pen and starts scratching and scribbling over the ‘Skills’ section of my résumé. “IT’S ALL ABOUT THE SANDBOX MAN. I KNOW YOU’VE GOT SKILLS! YOU GOT THEM YOUNG GENES!”

“Okay. Nice meeting you. I’ll. Just. Go. Now…?”

“MULL IT OVER, MAN. MULL IT. MULLET. MULLET OVER. LIKE THE HAIRSTYLE. MULLETS.”

“…”

“…”

“Bye?”

“SEE YA, LATER!”

I get up to leave, shake his hand and wave to the secretary, who is now looking at me with a look of ‘take me with you’ written all over her face. As soon as I exit the building, I exhale. I can feel my heart pounding out of frustration and disappointment. I’m trying to process what just happened. I get to my car and sit in it for a minute before driving home. I need a stiff drink.

I still can’t make sense out of it. I have no clue what job I interviewed for. I never got the man’s name. Very funny, guys! Now where are the hidden cameras? I’m so discouraged and disheartened. As funny and crazy as this story is, I’m actually quite pissed off about the whole thing. What a waste of time. I’m a guy with experience, creativity and talent. I’ve been out of work for 120 days. The only interviews I can get are with lunatics who want me to rob a bank. This job search is killing me slowly.

This is Day 120, folks. I need a job. I need one now. I’m thinking about robbing a bank then playing in the sandbox with my electronic calendar.

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A quick check of my dashboard weather app shows the current temperature at 98º, with a high expected of 103º sometime within the next couple of hours. While a few 100º days are to be expected in a typical Richmond summer, they are still too much for this native Buffalonian to handle without an frosty beverage and a portable kiddie pool filled with ice water.

The humidity can bite me. There. I said it. Bite me, humidity. I like to swim, but I don’t like to have the sensation of just exiting a lukewarm pool without ever having entered one. I can’t even get the mail without feeling like the angels are drooling on me with their hot and sticky saliva. I feel like I’m in an invisible giant’s crock pot, slow roastin’ and marinating like some sort of human meat stew. Mmmm. Smells like dinner, Ma!

It’s days like these when I really thank the Gods of Modern Technology for blessing us with sweet, sweet air conditioning. I have so much respect for those of you who have outdoor jobs. I don’t know how you do it, even with the promise of a paycheck. Heck, I’m unemployed right now and if someone offered me an honest day’s pay to nail some shingles to a roof, I’d think twice. If you’re a roofer or a road construction person or one of those sign-twirlers outside the Little Caesars advertising a $5.55 pizza, I salute you. I salute you with a tip of my hat and a raise of this ice-cold Tropical Smoothie.

DISCLAIMER: That being said, I WOULD take an outdoor job, even in this heat. Hey, I need the money and am willing to work hard for it. But I would totally not be happy about it. I might even cry a little bit. Hey – I know the value of hard work. I’m just trying to make the point that it’s frickin’ hot out there with a little bit of humor. So calm down all you people who are about to comment and say that I’m lazy. Because I would dig a ditch or twirl a sign if it meant putting a roast in the crock pot.

So anyway – a little bit of news from the freelance front: I am now a legitimate blogger, as evidenced by my posts on RichmondInsideOut. Click on ‘Blog’ and read about my adventures as I tour Richmond and promote the region’s historic awesomeness. If you’re around on August 27th, I personally invite you to come on out to the RIO party from 5-7pm at Easy Street. The first 100 registrants get a couple of free drinks and are allowed to shake my hand. But you’re not allowed to look me in the eye. Ever. Oh, just kidding. You can look all you want. You can register here.

DISCLAIMER #2 – I spelled ‘cemetery’ wrong in the Segway post. As much as I don’t want to call attention to it, I feel like I need to inform you that I’m normally a pretty good speller. So don’t hold a little misspelling against me. I probably have more spelling and grammatical errors that I’m unaware of, but don’t tell me about them because I’ll get really down on myself and finish a whole gallon of mint-chocolate chip ice cream. So please be aware that I KNOW I spelled it wrong and feel bad about it. Thank you and good day.

Gearing up for an interview on Wednesday afternoon. This one kind of took me by surprise, since I don’t remember applying to this company. And I really don’t have any clue on what position this company is looking to fill. Guess I’ll have to be prepared to talk about my writing or my design or my TV production skills and bring examples of each. Sound a little sketchy? Maybe. But I won’t know until go find out. Couldn’t hurt, right?

As for the Charlotte job, I’m still waiting to hear something. I can’t even begin to tell you how I’ve permanently disfigured my fingers by crossing them. And it’s hotter in Richmond today than it is in Charlotte. So Charlotte is winning the battle of places that I should live because I don’t want to die a slow-cooked death. I mean, really – the neighborhood pool smells like a delicious ham stew.

This is Day 117, folks. Hottest day of the year. Check out the RIO blog. Don’t hold spelling errors against me. Mystery interview coming up. Charlotte on my mind.

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Being Captain Jobless, I tend to go on a lot of interviews. Okay, not A LOT of interviews, but some. Well, maybe just a few. Yeah. I go on a few interviews every now and then, whenever I’m lucky enough to score the opportunity. From the moment I schedule an in-person sit-down, my mind immediately starts putting together an outfit that would both express my personality and be appropriate for the job and the company.

For example, if a hip, trendy advertising agency wants to see me on Wednesday afternoon (which they do this Wednesday, thank you very much), I think a nice, modern-fit blazer with a button up shirt and maybe some flat-fronted khakis or dark pants with brown shoes and a killer smile would be appropriate. Honestly, I think I could get away with wearing dark denim on an informal interview like this, but wouldn’t risk it just in case the interviewer is a little older and a stickler for tradition. Never a good idea to wear jeans to an interview, no matter what the position. Ever. Okay, well, maybe Wal-Mart.

Other places of employment require a suit. Interview at a large corporation? Better believe I’m rockin’ a suity-suit. Nice tie, not too flashy. Shiny shoes. Jacket buttoned when I’m standing, unbuttoned when I sit to let the great pumpkin breath.

Have an interview with an insurance company to do some door-to-door sales or something along those lines? They’re just looking for anyone who will wear a tie. Just throw on a pair of pants with a buttoned-up shirt (it can even be a short-sleever). As long as you have a pulse and are wearing a tie, they’ll give you a job.

So herein lies the problem, friends: I don’t have any decent interview clothes. I own one suit. I wear it to weddings, funerals, interviews and the fancy-schmancy Arby’s out in Short Pump (It’s really high-class. They even serve beer). I bought it a few years back on super-discount. The pants don’t fit anymore because… they shrunk. Yeah. THEY SHRUNK, okay? The jacket fits fine, but the cut of it makes me look like I’m about to host Late Night at the Apollo in 1998.

I have one sport coat, bought from some outlet store, once again many years ago. It’s made out of some kind of thick wool or Mexican rug, so it’s not exactly the ideal choice for a mid-August outing.

I own a few dress shirts, minus the ones that no longer fit around my marshmallow neck because, uh… THEY ALSO SHRUNK. So, I have maybe 2 or 3 that I can wear comfortably without popping a button or asphyxiating myself. Some of them are made of that shiny sateen material that makes you look like you’re covered in plastic wrap, especially in photos that require a flash. The colors are hideous, save for a striking green one that I wear to every. single. interview.

I’m also lacking in the necktie department. Most of my ties are from the days of high school dances and weddings of long-divorced relatives. They have super fabulous paisley patterns and are just wide enough to be considered outdated and just thin enough to look like they belong to a child. Remember ten years ago when Who Want’s to be a Millionaire took the world by storm and everyone wanted to dress like Regis with his monochrome shirt-tie combination? Yeah, well, I’m sportin’ neckwear from before then.

So what gives, Mr. Matt? Why don’t you have any decent clothes?

Good question. Honestly, no one too terribly close to me has died recently (knock on wood), so I haven’t really needed to update my funeral, wedding, interview, Arby’s suit. I have attended a bunch of weddings, but the jacket usually comes off and the top button of my shirt collar pops as soon as the ceremony is over and the bar opens. I spent 8 years working at a television station that allowed me to wear jeans, t-shirts and hoodies every day. Then I got a job in a corporate office, but the dress code was semi-relaxed. They just asked that I didn’t look like a hobo or a television director. So it’s not that I enjoy looking like a slob, it’s just that I never needed super dressy clothes. Now I need to update my wardrobe.

They say, “The clothes make the man,” and I agree with that. Therefore, I’ve decided to pry the plastic out of my cold, dead wallet and at pick up a nice blazer, a properly fitted shirt, some decent pants and a pair of shoes that don’t look a tank rolled over them. I need to buy a suit – badly, but I don’t think that would be wise right now because I just can’t afford one. A nice suit is expensive, and I need to eat. Unless somebody dies, then I’ll have to go buy one. So please, if you’re gonna die, just wait until after I get a job. I mean, this is why I’m getting the blazer/shirt/pants combo – to help me look a little more attractive & stylish to a perspective employer. One thing is for certain: I’m going to look and feel great at next Wednesday’s interview.

This is Day 113, folks. True story: I only own one brown belt. I stole it from my father when I was in high school. I think it’s from the late 70s.

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Malljob hooked me up with a full week of work, today being my only day off from the retail establishment. I’ve got a laundry list of things I need to get done today, including, well – laundry and a few days worth of articles and an impromptu Bloggers’ Symposium with my interweb partner-in-crime. Add to that the personal writing project that needs attention, employment opportunities that need my résumé, and an unkempt lawn and you’ve got yourself the recipe for a busy day. I’ve already pounded a pot of coffee and I’m about to start chewing on the doorknobs. Oh, and we’re starting a new exercise routine tonight. One that involves me curled up in the fetal position trying to catch my breath and sobbing while my wife runs around the park hurdling puddles like a gazelle.

We had a great weekend with Wifey’s birthday on Saturday. Had a absolutely amazing dinner at Acacia (on Cary & Robinson, for all you RVAers), then met up with some friends for drinks at a couple of nighttime hotspots around town. Going out on the town with friends is something we haven’t been able to do for a hot minute because of our money situation. But, being a special occasion, we sucked it up, had some laughs and celebrated her making it through another year. Needless to say, somebody had a head like a mule (her father’s saying for ‘headache’) for her brunch shift the next morning.

Being Monday, I have high expectations for the week ahead. While I’m not sure I’ll hear anything back from the job opportunity in Charlotte this week (still keeping fingers and toes crossed for that one), I am expecting a couple of calls for other projects that will keep me afloat for a little while longer. With malljobbin’ all this week, I’m limited to working on my freelance undertakings in the early morning or late at night. Which is fine with me. I’m usually pretty productive in the early mornings, right after I gnaw on a doorknob.

I wasn’t going to mention Noodles the kitten because I don’t want to be one of those insane feline-freaks who talk about cats on their blog. Okay, I’ll be honest. My last blog about the cat received the most traffic on this site in a while. Cat people are strange, and they like to read about the kittehs. Believe me, I used to work with a cat lady. She would spend the better part of her day searching for cats on the internet and looking at pictures and videos of cats sleeping. So, yeah. Shameless inclusion of Noodles the Cat in this post, just so I can tag it “Cat” and get more traffic. Whatever. Don’t hate.

This is Day 110, folks. Busy week ahead. New exercise routine that will give me shin splints and hopefully get rid of one of my chins. Malljobbin’ like a champ. Ready to sink my teeth into a regular full-time career. In the meantime, I think I’ll sink my teeth into the cat.

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Well, I wouldn’t say that I don’t like them. It’s more that they don’t like me.

I’ve had cats in the past. Those sneaky little jerks hide just on the other side of a corner and wait for me come strollin’ along, whistlin’ a happy tune with my guard down. And when I do, it’s akin to an all-out kamikaze mission. They pop out like they’ve been launched from a cannon – or CATapult, if you will – claws unsheathed and teeth glistening with the sweet anticipation of savoring human flesh. As one of these war-cats latches on to my leg with its claws and face, I scream like a school girl, thrashing and kicking until the beast finally lets go and is thrown into a wall or some kind of bundle of live electrical wires.

Now, when I was a child, I lived across the street from a dairy farm. The barn was home to many cats who killed mice for the delicious reward of fresh cowjuice. I wouldn’t say they were ferrel cats because they were friendly to humans and always looking for attention. Being a young animal-lover, I would scoop the kittens up, sometimes 3 at a time, wrap them in my oversized B.U.M. Equipment t-shirt and carry them back to my house, causing my mother to exclaim in her IWantTheNeighborsToHear voice, “JESUS MURPHY, Matthew! We don’t NEED any more damn CATS! Take them BACK to the BARN right NOW or I will turn them into MEATBALLS and FEED them to your FATHER!”

So, in short, here’s what I think happened:

The kittens I wrapped up in my shirt and took to my parents house – then re-wrapped in my shirt and took back to the dairy farm- told their brothers and sisters about the crazy lady across the street who turns kittens into meatballs and the fat little kid with a bad haircut who comes to collect them. Being barn cats, they multiplied like crazy, passing on the legend of the cat-meatball lady and her kitten-collecting son. Eventually, this cat tale reached every corner of North America, causing the feline population to despise me and feel that they have to defend themselves from the clutches of my grasp or end up on my father’s spaghetti.

Yesterday, I adopted a stray kitten that one of my local twitter-friends found living inside the engine compartment of his neighbor’s vehicle. My wife has wanted a cat since we’ve known each other because she grew up with them not attacking her. I’ve always been content to have a big, dopey dog by my side, protecting me from a surprise feline frenzy. But with her birthday on Saturday, I figured I’d A) get her a cat for her birthday and B) do a good deed by rescuing a kitten who needs some love. The wife loves him and we’ve decided to name him Luigi Rigatoni Fettuccine Alfredo. But we just call him Noodles.

I think he’s too young to have heard the legend of the CatMeatball, so I’m hoping I can have a fresh start in regards to my relationship with cats. Unless the legend has become engrained in their DNA through some evolutionary necessity.

We have a vet appointment this afternoon to assess the little guy’s health and get rid of the fleas. I’m trying to keep the dog away from him until the flea thing gets resolved. Although, the dog spent the better part of yesterday cowering in the corner. A 90-pound Chocolate Lab and he’s scared of a kitten. I don’t blame him. Cats can be vicious.

In employment news: Bad news for Wifey. She did not get the teaching job she interviewed for a couple weeks ago. It’s unfortunate and takes the wind right out of our sails, but I think there’s got to be something on the horizon for her very soon. School starts in a little over a month, so I’m guessing the counties are assessing their needs and will be calling soon.

I had a phone interview on Monday that I feel very confident about. I’m looking forward to hearing back from them. As always, I’m researching companies and trying to grow my freelancing opportunities. I wish I had a crystal ball to see where I’m going to be in 6 months. It’s the uncertainty that is so unnerving.

This is Day 106, folks. Trying my hand (again) at cat ownership. Hope the little guy is healthy and doesn’t want to eat my flesh. Here’s a pic:

Me & Noodles

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I like free stuff.

T-shirts. I have drawers full of free t-shirts. Promotional ones. T-shirts I’ve won in contests or scratch-offs or inside 30-packs of Labatt Blue Light. And I wear them. To cut the grass or to sit around the house. For the most part, you won’t see me around town sporting my Canadian Football League tee or my sleeveless Genny Light attire, but believe you me, I rock those tees like nobody’s business underneath polos and button-ups.

Hats. Ball caps. Free ones. Again, about 10 hats from Labatt Blue Light and other promotional giveaways. My favorite is a Buffalo Sabres hat with the old school logo. Free. From a promotional giveaway. Fits like a glove. Or a well-fitted hat.

Knick-knacks. Shot glasses. Hockey pucks. Mugs. Candles. Pens. Keychains. I’m a sucker for all things knick-knacky. Drawers full of useless memorabilia. 1988 youth soccer tournament? Oh, I’ve got a little hacky-sack soccer ball. Oktoberfest 2001? Yup, I have a beer stein from it. Proudly displayed on top of my desk. Holding my pennies.

Food. I love me some free food. If I happen to be at the grocery store when they’re doing some in-store sampling, the attendants will know me by name by the time I fill my cart with frozen pizzas and Hamburger Helper. I’ll even be that guy who circles around and pretends to read over ingredients labels while they set up the table. Yes, I WOULD like a sample of granola yogurt and goat cheese on a cardboard cracker.

Because I like free stuff.

When you’re unemployed and really trying to hold on to the little money that is coming in, finding free stuff becomes an adventure. Not only the free t-shirts and promotional junk, but outings and time-wasters. It’s tough enough to keep the wife entertained when we’re spending money on movies, dinners and vacations. Now the challenge becomes finding the best way to take advantage of some of the free stuff our city has to offer. Parks, museums, the river – that sort of free stuff. It’s causing us to change our way of thinking on what constitutes a “date”. Guess what? Dates don’t have to cost money. And you can wear a promotional amusement park t-shirt and a beer-branded winter beanie while on a date to the grocery store for free ham biscuit sample night.

Because that’s how we roll. We’re getting by. Rediscovering that there’s more to having a date night than spending money. As long as we’re enjoying the time together and playing catch with my free D.A.R.E. frisbee from grade school, we’ll be just fine.

This is Day 103, folks. Had another interview this morning. I think it went well. I’m crossing my fingers extra tightly for this one. Sounds like the perfect opportunity for me. I want it bad and I think I’d do a great job with this company. I should know more in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, keep sending the positive vibes my way. If you need me, I’ll be downtown, periodically walking by the Vitamin Water truck in various disguises. I should have a fridge full of free Vitamin Water by the end of the week.

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I have lived in the great city of Richmond for nine years. In the last 100 days, I have met more people and made more professional and social connections than I have in the all the years past. This is all due to my unemployment, and mostly because of this blog and social networking functions like SMCRVA.

In this blog post, I’m going to give you some healthy advice on how to successfully kick unemployment’s ass and get through the tough times like when all your friends are going out to eat but you can’t go because you need the extra money to pay for the internet access so you can send out more résumés. Basically, I’m going to recap the last 100 days of my life. Here we go:

I was shaking when I came home mid-shift from work that day. It was a Wednesday. I had been working nights, so I told my wife I just wanted to watch Lost (best show EVAR) and we’d talk about it afterwards. I may have been in a state of shock because it was totally unexpected and I had not anticipated having such a conversation with my supervisor. When the show was over, we turned off the TV and talked. There were tears. Not on my end. Money was already tight and we were barely squeaking by with a steady paycheck. Our minds immediately went into worst-case scenario mode. I swear, we almost starting packing that night because we just couldn’t see ourselves making rent. Anyway – we decided then and there to put our personal plans on hold and focus on me landing a job and her becoming a teacher.

The first couple of weeks were spent glued to the computer, updating my résumé and sending it out to any company that would accept it. I heard nothing for a long time. I started writing this blog on Thursday morning, on Day 1 of my unemployment. I gained a few readers right off the bat, probably because of the facebook and twitter updates linking to the posts. These readers were mostly local and through them I was electronically introduced to even more local people, who became twitter followers and linkedin connections. My professional network had started to grow, even though I didn’t have a profession to network.

Going to face-to-face networking events and “tweetups” (yeah, I hate that word, too), gave me the opportunity to hand out some self-made business cards promoting my writing/blogging/marketing/designing/whateverelseIcando. I got a gig writing some articles on a freelance basis for an SEO company, which in turn, gave me the writing samples I needed so I could send them out to other companies looking to hire freelance writers. Still, the money gained from the freelance writing is not even coming close to what I was pulling down at my former job. But it’s keeping me busy and gives me a reason to wake up and accomplish a goal – knocking out an article (or two) by noon.

I also scored a part time job at the mall through a former coworker who works weekends at the retail establishment for the extra scratch and the discount on cargo shorts. The job is easy, but it is paying about the same as what I was making at Subway in college. So far, I’ve probably made negative $234 dollars, because of the gas it burns for me to get there and the money I had to spend on clothes to wear while working.

Let’s not forget the wife in all of this. My wife is the hardest working and most driven woman I have ever met. She has never turned down an opportunity to make $3 or $300. She wakes up at 6am and sometimes won’t return home until after midnight. All in the name of paying a car payment or being able to buy us a can of soup. I cannot even begin to explain the guilt I feel for the fact that she is constantly working. Baby sitting, running a day camp, slingin’ brunch & bloody marys – she does it all. I can’t wait for her to get placed in a great school so she can concentrate on being a teacher. She’s going to rock the fingerpaints and macaroni art like a modern-day Frida Kahlo. Except without the whole unibrow thing.

So we’ve endured the past 100 days. We’re surviving. I haven’t stopped sending out résumés, and I’ve gained a little more freelance work. I’m still networking like a champ, professionally and socially. It’s because of the social networking that I have the freelance jobs and one of the two interviews I had yesterday. I have a follow up interview this afternoon. I have another interview on Monday. I will give more details later, but two of those three interviews are for jobs that are not in Richmond. One of them (the follow up) is actually quite far from Richmond. Doesn’t hurt to feel them out and see what they can offer, right? Right.

So how does one survive 100 days of unemployment? By treating every day like your job is to find a job. By meeting the right people who can put you in touch with companies that may need your assistance – even for a small side job. By reluctantly but gratefully accepting the charity of your family. By resigning yourself to doing any work that is thrown your way, including part-time retail malljobs. By eating Ramen and sacrificing the beer. By focusing every day on the type of work you WANT to do and actually doing it either for fun or for minimal profit – just to keep you sharp for when that sweet job comes a’courtin’. And it will.

This is Day 100, folks. Still spend a good portion of my day clicking through the job boards. Managing life on a strict budget. Making great connections. Hopefully taking the necessary steps to ensure this blog doesn’t reach a 200 Days edition.

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