The unemployment blues

I am a one in ten…” sang UB-40 many years ago, and I’m humming the tune more and more these days. Yet Reggae is not blues, and the past few weeks I definitely developing a bad case of blues. It took we several years of therapy to get over these spells of anxiety and depression (nothing clinical, I guess, yet a thorn in the side), and I tend to blame money, and its lack.

In my twenty something years of being an active member of the Israeli workforce, I’ve searched for a new Job about four times. In all those times, the search took several months, and was in vain. I always got a new job by a recommendation of a friend ,a colleague or an acquaintance. I’m afraid this round would not differ. Do I suck at interviews? Does my morbid obesity (a medical term, not a poetic statement) deflect all good intentions? Am I “too much” but “not enough”? Am I too fuzzy with my my eclectic CV?

Compared to my last unemployment season, I was able to carry myself better. But the facade is cracking. I’m getting the blues, I’m loosing my nerve, and (if one may draw another chromatic metaphor) going back to black

אני אחד מעשר…” כך שרו יו-בי40 לפני שנים הרבה, ואני מזמזם את הנעימה הזו יותר ויותר בימים האחרונים. אך רגאיי איננו בלוז, ובימים האחרונים אני מפתח, בוודאות, מקרה קשה של בלוז. נצרכו שנים של טיפול כדי להתגבר על אותן תקופות של חרדה ודכאון (שום דבר קליני, אני יודע, אבל עדיין מציק) ואני מאשים בכך את הכסף והעדרו

בעשרים ומשהו השנים של היותי חלק מכח העבודה הישראלי, חיפשתי עבודה ארבע פעמים. בכל אותן הפעמים, החיפוש ארך מספר חודשים והיה עקר. לעבודה החדשה הגעתי, תמיד, בהמלצה של חבר, עמית או מכר. חוששני שמהדורה זו אינה שונה. האם כשלתי בראיונות? האם משקל היתר שלי מסיט את כל הכוונות הטובות? אני “יותר מדי” אך “לא מספיק”? קורות חיי הנרחבים נראים מטושטשים מדי, תמהני

לעומת תקופת אבטלתי הקודמת, נשאתי עצמי ביתר כבוד. אך עתה גם מעטה זה נסדק. אני מאבד את שלוותי ובטחוני וחוזר אל הבלוז, או במטבע לשון צבעוני יותר: חוזר לשחור


5 thoughts on “The unemployment blues

  1. Greetings,

    Sorry to hear about your unemployment blues. I recently completed an MSc in international political economy only to leave university to find myself unemployed with the jobs I have experience and the skill set for simply not responding to my applications.

    The thing is I spent a year studying which included the recession hitting the UK and impact of neo liberal ideology which I knew would put me in a situation of unemployment… There is the possibility of long term unemployment and I have found the situation expected but extremely difficult with the onset of unemployment blues hitting within a month (I am getting towards three months of unemployment). My experience of previous job hunting has been finding work through contacts either friends or family or right place right time (completely blind luck). I did manage to get a short temp job after the MSc thanks to my MSc supervisor but since then I have not even had an interview.

    I hope you have some luck job hunting sooner rather later. I did enjoy the UB40 song I will have to listen to more of their work.

    • Dear thewesterncountrybumpkin,

      Albeit the miles between us, I fully understand your position. I always wondered if a full understanding of a situation is actually a good thing when you are helpless against it. In this case (and many others) ignorance IS bliss.

      I’ve been unemployed years ago, just after the WTC towers came tumbling down (my unfair lady). It took me seven months to get back to a horrible job, and a year later – back to high-tech. It took my dignity, my self esteem, my confidence and any optimistic vies I held. Although I’ve recuperated since, I still can’t be the man I was before that crash.

      I dare say you are young enough to find alternatives, and humble enough to do some odd jobs. and best of all – you are in the UK! I’m 10 klicks from the Gaza border and the next elections (a fortnight from now) are gonna bring a right-wing fanatic to power (third term in a row). Count your blessings… 🙂

      • Dear Sceasary,

        I do agree that ignorance can be indeed bliss and my hopeless situation was getting me down with days flying by being unproductive while losing a lot of motivation. However, I am trying to be more positive in this new year and change the things I can do something about or at least try to do something about. I am quite worried that I will fall to the depression that unemployment can bring and I have read quite a lot of similar stories to yours. This was the main reason I started a blog on wordpress was to try give myself motivation and create pressure to keep up the changes I am making to my life style.

        My current goals are to lose weight which I put on while at university (I am almost 19 stone) with a better diet (I have turned vegan this year) and get into running. At the end of the day the unemployment gives me the time to make these changes while I keep job hunting and hopefully avoids getting obsessive with the continued rejections (I say rejections but the vast majority of applications made I never get responses from).

        You are quite right my situation could be a lot worse. While the UK politicians might be causing me to shout at my TV while we see massive cuts to the public sector along with cuts on income tax for the rich and corporation tax (which are rarely paid by corporations) with the elite using the anger inducing phrase “We are all in this together”. At least I don’t live under a government as far right wing as the Israeli government which is just jaw dropping at times. Still the mainstream UK media will rarely report on the Israel and even when the Israeli government are using air strikes in the Gaza the majority of coverage is still framed as sympothetic to Israel. The situation is much like the cold war dictatorships which human rights abuses were simply ignored by a lot of main stream media as they were Western allies. It is only through alternative media sources I am able to keep up to date with the conflict in the Middle East such as: (site at this moment is down for maintance but analyses the UK media content with weekly alerts on either the non reporting of news stories or how news has been framed). – the lack of reporting after Gisha released government documents of the blockade of supplies to the Gaza Strip.

        Only by following civil society pressure groups such as Amnesty Internation I really hear anything about the Middle Eastern conflict. Must be tough being in the middle of the conflict.

        Sorry this comment ended up being so long it has been a while since I have really had a chance to discuss this topic with anyone (I really miss university).

        Best wishes,


      • Dear Phil,

        No need to apologize on comment length…Hell, if there is one precious resource we have aplenty – that’s time!
        It is somewhat frighting, the fact your’e a vegan… I’ve just converted a few months ago (I’m still addicted to Kefir… but that’s my only vice).

        About your goals: 19 stones is my ideal weight… Once I’ll get there I’ll need to fend of the booty calls (excuse my American). I’m 28 (and some). If you changed your diet, started running and got depressed – The weight will have to shed off. Watch out for sugar and sodium, but apart from that – just keep it up.

        About jobs: I’ve paid about 60 pounds to get my CV re-written. I still can’t say what’s the big deal, but it got me many more responses. I’ve paid for premium accounts in Israeli job hunting sites and Linkedin. It’s a money well spent and it gets results. You should invest some time on the social networks and your profiles. It became a major (if not the single) channel for head hunters.

        I’m surprised to hear that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is portrayed favorably to the Israeli side. Things have changed considerably since I was in the UK my first time: It was my first trip abroad for the company (I was one of the founders, so it was REALLY exciting) and the wife kept calling me twice a day. One morning, I was relieved that no call came, and I said to myself “…finally, she’s getting by without the morning call, good for her”, and went to work cheerful. That evening, I was watching the news (she STILL did not call, hurrah!) and there was a weird comment “IDF retaliated, killing a little girl”. I was wondering “retaliate? what retaliation worth killing a girl? wait a minute… retaliating for what?” and I tried to text her. That did it, the floodgates came crashing – I got about 30 texts messages, that were delayed since the previous night “Where are you? why aren’t you calling? we are in the shelter for 40 hours straight! They keep on firing, call me the children are driving me nuts!!!” and so on. Needles to say, I’ve spent that night on skype. I guess the 7/7 shifted the scales.
        I think the UK media (as many other western countries) are just fed up. They given up on any resolution in our lifetime. The radical Islam is taking all the attention, while the legitimate claims of Palestinian secular (Muslim and Christian alike) are boring. We heard it all before, spice it up with a suicide bomber, or get off my screen.

        I don’t think my position is tough, as my life are so much better than my equal just 20Km away. But the frustration, the lack of hope, and the loss of freedom and civil rights are what makes a European passport such a coveted commodity.

        Enjoy that Chocolate cake.



      • Dear Phil,

        It has been a few years since we last corresponded, I was wondering how are you.
        The status line of your profile states you are out of a job. Is it still the case?
        How was the weight loss working for you? (I’m post bariatric…)

        If you have the time, let me know.


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