one day in a new town. one job fair. one pink pullover, unwrinkled.

You know ’em if you’re one of the 92 million Americans who are unemployed — yes, that many! — and you’re a serious job hunter.

The job fair. Where employers {cough} gather in a hotel conference room to recruit {cough, cough} employees {uh huh} for open positions {cough, cough, keel over} or potential positions {that’ll never materialize}.

As one who’s been without work, once for a three-year stretch during the pitch-black chapter in Washington state, and a participant at more than one of these job fairs, I can speak with authority and experience.

They’re not job fairs. On second thought, they are. They’re events where the chance of landing a job is fair — to none.

I bring this up because Yavapai College is hosting a job fair in my new town, unofficially. That means I don’t have a domicile. I’m looking for a place to live, a room to rent. In the meantime, I sleep in my car in the nearby mountains. (It’s just too dang cool still to set up a tent. I’m soooo full of stories! Like homelessness. What experiences and insights I could provide readers if only I’d get serious and disciplined about writing every day!)

Anyway. Job fair today. In the town where I live, unofficially.

At the local college. A reasonable number of companies are participating. Does that mean they’re hiring? N.O. More than likely it means they’re getting their names out there. Advertising their presence. Not a bad thing.

However, for job seekers, especially those like myself who know what it is to crawl naked across burning coals embedded with nails — pointy side up — for a life-saving chance for work THAT WOULD NEVER COME, these fairs can just fuel the disappointment, discouragement and despair of looking for jobs that doesn’t exist and meeting with companies who tell you upfront, “we’re not hiring but we’ll keep your resume on file.”

Shoot me now.

Don’t misread. I’m not predicting that today’s fair will be like all the others — excursions into hopelessness and despair that only add weight to an already overburdened heavy heavy heart. An unemployed heart.

Experience has taught me well and, on this topic, taught the distinction between a job fair with companies who are actively hiring — like they did back 20 years ago — and companies gathered to promote their presence and/or gather up a buncha resumes that’ll get jammed into a file cabinet, never to be viewed again until a massive spring-cleaning recycling project in five years.

So why go? Circles back to company presence. A couple participants are in my career proper — communications — and specifically broadcasting, more specifically radio. Which is a passion and I’d give about anything to get back into that field!

There’s no harm in me knowing about them and them knowing about me — a mutual introduction, basically. It’s something positive I can do for myself as I endeavor to gain footing in a new town, a new community and, indeed, a new chapter.

And fortunately I have the pullover sweater for it!!

Yes, ONE sweater, one pale pink sweater bought for $1 at a thrift store in the small mountain town of Payson, AZ, about a week ago because it was cold and I had no heavy clothing in the car.

One UNWRINKLED pink pullover! The bulk of my clothes remains packed — stacked and hence wrinkled — inside a big duffel bag in a storage unit.

One simple pale pink pullover concealing a T-shirt will gussie me up for the job fair!

Yeah, I’s got stories awright! And this story of one simple pink pullover and one job fair that may or may not have one simple job to offer is still {ahem} unfolding …

 

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