Good Networkin' Gone Bad ...

So, my husband is still looking for full-time employment. When the job boards failed him, he turned his attention full-throttle toward good ole fashioned networking.

In pursuit of finding someone who knows someone who might know someone else, he's reached out to nearly every single person he's ever met--starting with the crossing guard who helped him get to kindergarten safely and ending with the Dunkin' Donuts cashier who just handed him a 99¢ iced coffee.

But it hasn't really worked out as he'd hoped. In fact, if anything, I'd say it's sort of backfired.

Let me explain. His non-stop emailing and pressing the "Connect" button on LinkedIn has yielded nothing other than hours (days, probably, if properly tallied) of phone calls, which force him to say things, like, "Yeah, man, great to hear your voice," before launching into his saga. In reality, "reconnecting" has depressed him further.

It turns out many of the people he was hoping might provide some help have experienced similar problems themselves. Now, what began as a misery-love-company respite from job hunting has suddenly become pretty frightening. A colleague who was levels above him just left his shift at Best Buy to pursue work as a file clerk for better benefits.

Another former coworker became a fitness trainer and dog walker (why is that a recurring theme?) but still had to rely on her boyfriend to pay her most basic living expenses. College friends have also been downsized and have resorted to providing for their families by restoring and selling antiques. A former roommate convinced my man he'd struck gold when he began a career as a solar panel salesman. Inspired, my husband decided he'd ask this fella to pass along his resume. Guess what? He'd been laid off just days after their initial call.

Two other friends who'd lost their jobs and found new ones in the time since my husband was let go, have both lost those as well! I couldn't make this up. Another friend whose company was moving out of state accepted a new position and then resigned due to irreconcilable differences. (She's in accounting-irreconcilable-get it? I have to laugh to keep from crying, indulge me.) Once again, I totally admire her courage in the face of this massively challenging job market. It's ugly out there.

As one-offs or outliers, (my new least favorite corporate buzzword, which probably isn't new but since I was home for months eating layer cakes, I'm still adjusting to it) you probably wouldn't think much of these tales. But lump them together and you have enough fodder for a substantial, albeit Stephen King-like scary, book. It's hard to stay positive when the people you're hoping can assist you are also sitting around in pajamas praying the scratch-off ticket they're holding is "the one."

Desperation can lead to crazy thoughts, let's be honest. Lately my husband's been muttering about becoming an exterminator or a limo driver. (I believe I referenced his driving style here.) As we approach the one-year anniversary of his lay off, we are trying to keep our chins up (when we aren't looking on the ground for loose change) and our expenses down. I'll keep you posted.

Other updates:

How's my new job going? Lordy, how much time do you have? I know after countless entries about wanting to get back to work, I should just be grateful to have found a job, but it's not exactly what I expected. While it hasn't been a full-on bait-and-switch, let's just say soon I may be composing quizzes--like the kind that help you determine if you're a Fonzie or a Potsie. (I'm a total Chachi, by the way.) Yes, I know. Don't tell my dad or he'll be wanting a full college tuition reimbursement. So there's that.

In other news, I've still not heard a word about my night out with former Top Chef contestant and daytime TV co-host Carla Hall.  The Chew has not gotten in touch regarding my win despite promising that I'd be contacted once the fall season began. As much as I do love a night out, I'm not dying for a mocktail and tapas with someone who clearly couldn't care less,  BUT I would love to put a stop to the constant "Did you go out with Carla yet??" posed by everyone from family members and neighbors to the woman who waxes my eyebrows, who likes to follow it up with "ABC lied to you! You get nothing! What a shame!"

If anything, this year has not been dull. It's had roller coaster-like highs and lows and just as much stomach-clenching terror. All we can do now is remain buckled until the ride has come to a complete stop.

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