Friday, April 8, 2011

"Still Unemployed"

I'm at my favorite coffee shop, smoking a cigarette and waiting for my caffeine infusion. My plan had been to read, but wouldn't you know it, I've got other things on my mind. The book is for one of my classes. I have thirty pages to read and an online quiz to take about it. I've also got a research paper to write this weekend as well as six journal entries to catch up on. Oh and I seem to be falling behind in my statistics class, so it would probably be a good idea to do some general studying for that class as well.

The music side of things is getting better. I've been reworking the tracks for the Hip-Hop album and that's going well. I've still got one or two to remix, and I'll probably spend some time today on that. I'm pleased with what I've done. We'll see what the artist thinks, but the sound I'm looking for is there now. That's the thing about being a Producer--it's about the sound. The album stands at 8 tracks right now, and it feels about half done. I always try to overshoot the mark when it comes to the number of songs on an album; you always end up cutting something. Plus, I hate when people go totally lazy and do a ten-song album. Weak. If I can get the artist I'm working with to sign off on these 8, I can kick back on the project for a little while, let him write & record vocals. It's turning out to be a big project and that feels good. We've been throwing around names of other local artists we want to bring in to do guest vocals.

So what's on my mind? The thing I haven't mentioned in a while: work. Or, more specifically, the lack of it. This month is the one year anniversary of my being laid-off. I have done some temp work here and there, played some gigs, worked under the table for a friend or two, but I am still gainfully unemployed. It's not like I've been sitting around doing nothing. Lots of music. School is going well, and maybe I even put a little extra effort into doing those things well because I don't have a job right now. But there's still a weight on me because I don't have a regular job.

I've got a lot of feelings on the subject, but I try not to let them take over because most of them aren't healthy. The last job I had, I got it because I was trying to do what I was 'supposed' to do, what society told me to do: get a good stable job; start at the bottom & work your way up. Just get a job--any job--and be miserable because that's what everyone has to do. It's the whole erroneous conceit of America-the-meritocracy, this idea that if you just keep your head down and work hard, you'll be rewarded.

And hey, I know people that that's worked for them. It hasn't for me. My 'stable' job turned out to not be so stable after all. Being in a union didn't help me to hold on to my job, it was actually the direct reason I got laid off. Being a smart worker didn't lead me to promotions or new opportunities, it lead me to being stuck in my entry-level position. Standing up for myself & bringing my good ideas to the table didn't lead me to bigger and better things, it led to my not being trusted by my superiors because I was seen as a troublemaker who rocked the boat.

The teacher in my Issues of Diverse Populations class has a saying, talking about how just because you're a member of the dominant culture doesn't mean you will receive the benefits of it: "you can live in a rainy city and not get wet". Translation: just because I'm a straight-white-male from the middle class doesn't mean life is going to be easy for me. Just because society is set up for me to succeed doesn't mean I will.

Maybe if I had been someone to sit down, shut up, and go along with the way things are, I would have been more successful in life. But no, I have to be the guy who holds onto this crazy idea that I don't deserve to be treated like a bottom-feeder. I have to point out the racist, sexist, classist attitudes of those above me. 'Why can't you just play the game, Zach?!' Because that is not who I am. And I have not spent the past two and half years learning how to pretend to be someone I'm not. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Well, caffeine infusion time is done. Time to go home and make some more hits. Still stayin' sober over here.

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