Thursday, April 28, 2011

Seeking Karmic Balance Between Job Hunting And Saving Turtles

Having spent more than two years now job hunting for librarian or computer/desktop help, I've long ago gotten to the frazzled psyche of a man who looks at an Application form and says aloud "Oh no.  Not again."

There's something... soul-crushing with filling out an application for employment.  There's the hassles of creating not just one resume but a series of resumes to cover every possible contingency that is out there... but now you've got to fill out a form that's asking for the information all over again.

So I was at an office this morning.  I dropped off my resume at a table at the St. Pete Job Fair last week, and the company called for me to come in and fill out an application (and apparently a face interview to follow it).  And I was sitting there, doing my best to fill out yet another application form...

...and I started getting one of those headaches.  The kind of headache that tells me "what the hell am I doing?"  The doubt that a long-time unemployed person gets after getting rejected and ignored long enough to haunt you.

And I panicked.

This is the absolutely worst thing to be doing when a job interview is on the line.  Panicking.  At that moment I knew the whole effort was going to be a waste, that I wasn't going to be any good for the interview.  I crossed out some of the personal info I already put on the form, handed the clipboard back in, apologized for wasting time and left.  Kicking myself mentally the whole way out.

This is what two years plus of job hunting does to you.  I try.  I do my best to get in the mindset when I go into job fairs, and interviews, and shipping resumes to hiring workplaces.  But the second that Doubt hits you...

The drive home was troubled.  That headache was still with me.  I took a scenic route home, looping around to get to a grocery store (needed milk, after all).  The road I took is undergoing construction, so the lanes are down to two (one each direction).  At one spot, the cars in front of me start swerving funny.  And then I quickly see why.

A turtle was crossing the road.

This is Florida.  This is occupational hazard to driving down here.  Lots of roads through wooded areas with nearby lakes.  Lots of places for turtles to live and grow.  And sad to say, turtles get the urge to wander from time to time.

And our roadways are not designed with turtle-safe passages underneath them.  Nor any turtle-level barricades to discourage them from passing the road.

To the cruel and disheartened, let me tell you: driving over a turtle is a bad thing.  Especially to me.  I've read Terry Prachett's Small Gods for one thing.  I have some inkling of the concept of spirit guides, animal totems, etc.  And turtles are a very spiritual animal.

Years ago, when I first coped with depression down in South Florida (was on Zoloft at the time), there was a day driving to work where I rescued a turtle off a major roadway... and I felt damn good the whole day.  It's not a day I've forgotten: it's been one of the few days I ever felt good.  Emphasis on ever.

I am not driving over a turtle.  I owe them.

I got out of the car, with the drivers in the cars stuck behind me sticking their heads out yelling about what the hell was going on.  I shouted back "I'm not driving over turtles" and focused my effort on picking up the little guy as he was scrambling across the road.

Turtle lifting is tricky.  You don't want to drop them, and they do wiggle a lot.  The turtle you see just wants to cross the road from Point A to Point Wherever the Turtle Thinks There's Turtle Happiness.  So to him, getting lifted off the road and floating through the air makes no sense.  Those stubby little turtle legs keep kicking in a walking motion.  I finally got my fingers safely under his shell and carried him over into the dirt in the direction he was going.  I made sure he'd be safe by carrying him a few more yards to the side than was necessary, in case the turtle changed his mind (Oh God. I hope not).  By then the drivers saw I was turtle rescuing and waved back to me that they understood the situation.  Got back in the car and kept driving in my own path.  I know the turtle and I will not cross paths again...

So that's been my day so far right now.  I screwed up a job interview and I saved a turtle off a busy road.  I wonder how the Karmic balance on that works out.

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