Wednesday, June 02, 2004

The Jobless Recovery

Matt is unemployed again. Or will be, by the end of this week.

We didn't expect his time at this company to be too long anyway. But we were hoping he'd have something else lined up by the time the sheetrock dust had laid him low.

This economy is starting to piss me off.

When I decided to spend my life with Matt, I knew that unless he wanted to get out of the industry altogether, he would always have a job. A good, well-paying, health-insured job. Buildings are always built, and they need good people to build them.

What I didn't know was that, starting in November 2001, we would have an almost cosmic streak of bad luck. I was laid off from my lucrative (for Mpls) managing editor position during the immediate post-9/11 panic when my magazine was shut down. ("Here's a box. Be gone by noon.")

Six months later, Matt was fired from the Lakes & Plains Regional Council of Carpenters and Joiners (another blog for another person on another day), and has since been bouncing from company to company as contractors streamline and shut down new hires.

I know you make your own luck. But I'm starting to wonder who's laughing at us out there, beyond the clouds.

Matt was told today that there wasn't any work beyond Friday. So on the way home he stopped at another company he'd heard was thinking of hiring. He walked in the door and the HR person dropped her head. "We just hired three guys yesterday," she said glumly. "I was thinking of calling you, but I'd heard you'd been picked up."

Everyone says things will pick up in construction "this summer," "in a couple weeks," "down the road a bit."

Publishing is even worse. And what burns me up is a new book we got in the store today. It was a book about how to get a good night's sleep. At the beginning of every chapter was a little poem or saying about sleep. One read:

"...But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep."
-- Walt Whitman

Jesus God. Whoever edited that book has a job. I don't.


  1. Good grief, it's not like Robert Frost is obscure or anything! *bashes whoever the editor of the book is over the head with a copy of the book*

    Sorry to hear about the joblessness, ugh. It sucks pretty badly all over the place right now.

  2. It would really suck for you to be alone, but has Matt considered going to another city-- not like the Twin Cities, but another part of the state or another state-- for work? They're hiring construction people left & right out here and in Northern MN, but I don't know that the pay would be worth it...

    This might be totally old news to you, but I just took a quick peek at the stuff on and found quite a few "construction" jobs available. Lots of them are temporary, but it sounds like you all would be OK with that right now.

    Hope it goes better for you... let me know if you need anything.

  3. I hear you. My SO is in the IT-business. He had work for 12 months before the crash. After that (say 3 yrs) he's had work for 12 months all in all. He will be unemployed again come september.
    *sends good work vibes your way*
    But at least we have socialized healthcare.

  4. Thanks, all, for the good thoughts.

    Lizzie, thanks for the link. *I* found an interesting prospect there, checking it out! The problem with construction is that a lot of companies say "construction" when they mean "labor" or "all-around handyman" and they generally pay $10-20 an hour, which is less than what Matt makes on unemployment. So it's kind of a bust.

    And as far as socialized health care -- don't I WISH!

  5. Ack, that sucks. As does sheetrock dust. Construction can be fickle- I wonder if the current steel shortage is playing a role in your bad luck? J's been sitting a lot lately b/c of lack of materials.

  6. The labor markets suck, whatever the admin is saying. Though I think that construction here is booming, at least I can't find anyone to reframe a door, so I have to learn to do it myself. Either that, or keep on coming and going through a window.

    I hope things will look up soon, krupskaya. A very nice blog!

  7. I'm commenting right and left, I know. Only not! HA!

    Just wanted to let you know, having been through the boom-and-bust, that it'll be okay. It's entirely possible to lose everything (but very few people do) and pick up and build a whole new life and you're fine. It's right to worry over all of these worries with respect to Matt's job (glad to hear he's found other work!) but in the end, what you have is you. And you will, honestly, be fine.