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Notes on being employmentally challenged

Jeffrey Preis: Entry level requested, above snoball purveyance

Jeffrey Preis: Entry level sought, anywhere above snoball level

To say I’m completely unemployed would be untrue. I worked at a snoball stand roughly five times before it abruptly closed less than two months after its opening. Working at a snoball stand, or any sector of the food industry, was never a part of my plan. I’ve found this sudden, yet temporary, closing as the harbinger of doom for my employment.

I’m beginning to think I’m employmentally challenged.

I’ve been dipping my toes into the pool of employment and the carpet keeps getting pulled out from under me. Many people blame “the economy” for dwindling work opportunities. But who am I to point fingers, when the majority of my jobs since graduating from college two years ago have paid barely minimum wage -- or entailed free labor? And with the advent of one full year of unemployment quickly approaching, there’s no one person to blame (well, maybe myself a little bit; it depends who’s asking).

There is, however, something to blame. And that’s you, New Orleans. You, with all your distracting music fests, intoxicating substances, parades, and the general fun-loving public residing here.

In all fairness (to me), New Orleans has a job market that rivals that of Mexico. The opportunities aren’t abundant and the pay is not that high. And I want a job that will jumpstart a career — no bar backing, no doorman, no personal assistant. In the interest of transparency, I interviewed and was denied employment from all of these various positions. Can I claim over-qualification as the reason for rejection? Actually, let’s not open that can of worms.

I’ve been swimming against an endless current of apathy partnered with distraction, and it’s time for change. Lately, the movie Fight Club has started to make a lot more sense … maybe a right hook to the Dome would overpower the boredom that controls my every day. Because for the first time, I’ve found it hard to stay positive during a time when everything seems to be going against me (strep three times in four months, surgery, back problems, denied job after job). The last truly exciting thing that happened to me in the past couple months was when I received a large package of 15 pints of ice cream from some family friends after my tonsillectomy. It’s these moments that make me realize that I know some of the greatest people in the world. And that I can measure my (not intentionally) carefree days based on the amount of ice cream I’ve eaten.

I’ve thought about every niche — obviously, I worked at a snoball stand. But the opportunities are so scarce that I’ve thought about joining the Peace Corps. Mainly so the government knows I’m alive and not some non-W2 form entity. I feel like all I’ve done in the last 9 months is contribute to the above-average unemployment rate in Louisiana. But I’ve steered clear of Orleans Parish Prison, so I’d say that’s worthy of a pat on the back. Let’s give credit where credit is due (jk here).

I’m in my mid-20s and history and Friends tell me I’m supposed to be in the prime of my life — not cleaning my backyard and going to Lakeside Mall to kill time. I have no idea where the future will take me — perhaps I’ll dabble in some other food industry artistry, but I do know my home will always be here. The life I’ve come to know and love the past 26 years — the life that has led to this point of unemployment in a city where the cares blow away with a brisk wind and sip of a beer — will remain, and no lack of job or hurricane can change that.

So until I find that job I’ve been looking for, I’ll continue to face the existential crisis of going around the corner to get a snoball and considering that a business trip.

And, with this column, I will take you along for the ride. Stay tuned.