Here are some words I’ve become familiar with as an unemployed/freelance journalist.  I have given their modern, Great Recession-era definitions in the interest of relevance and usefulness.

1.) Hiring (v).  The state of being in which a publication pretends to have job openings.  This is just a slight variation on “lying.” Example: Our company is now hiring for the following positions: Associate Editor, Marketing Director.  What they mean to say is that they’re going to hire from within the company for both positions unless Mark Twain comes back from the grave to submit his resume.  And he’d probably be an afterthought.

2.) Networking (v).  Applying for jobs based on how much people like you — not on how qualified you are.   See “schmoozing” or “kissing up to” or “begging.”

3.) Courtesy (n).  This word is obsolete.  Before the Great Recession, you might apply to a job on a Monday and receive a response email the next day, telling you that your resume had been received and you’d be hearing from them soon.  By Friday, you’d have an interview scheduled or you’d know that they didn’t want you.  Today, you’re lucky to even get the first email notification.  Lately it feels like we’re shooting our resumes into outer space.  They keep traveling noiselessly through blackness until they’re out of sight, and there’s no way to know if they collide with anything.  I think it might be time to come up with new strategies, like printing up a bunch of resumes and putting them in random mailboxes.  Or digging for material with which to blackmail someone into giving us a job.  Something like that.

4.) Fear (n).  The emotion that results after comparing the number of zeros on your paycheck to the number of zeros on your student loan statements.

5.) Coping (v).  Eating Kraft Dinner two nights in a row.  Watching movies, because reading news or books makes us think about how somebody got paid to write them.  Starting a blog so that we’ll have an outlet to practice what we’ve learned, so that maybe someone will read some words we’ve written, and so that when the smoke finally clears and we find ourselves employed, we’ll still know our way around our English language.

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