I’ve just finished making plans for my next trip to another city in search of work. While such preparations are a necessity, it’s a time-consuming routine: tickets to buy for the next bus or train, phone calls to make to confirm with a friend or family member that everything’s a go for my stay-over, and — if the area I’m going to is unfamiliar territory — checking out the area I’ll be staying in with the help of Google Maps.
I feel like a baton in a relay race: being passed on from one person to another, except it’s the baton (me) that is handling the transfer. Pack, travel, rest, unpack — this ceremony of transition will repeat until, hopefully, I land a long-term job that allows me to stay longer, perhaps even make the current town or city I’m in a place I can finally call home.
The concept of home that I’ve grown up with no longer exists now that I am a couch-surfer. Home used to be the one place where it was always the same while everything around me changed. Now it changes constantly, sometimes a few days, maybe a few weeks. It’s now one of many places I go to, much like one of many places I go to for interviews, a coffee, or groceries. My personal world-view has changed from being at the centre of a bicycle wheel watching everything rotate around me to being on the edge of that spinning tire, feeling like I’m going to fly off into space if I miscalculate my next move. Thankfully, those friends and family members who graciously offer space and a bed for me to sleep serve as the anchor that prevents that from happening. To them, I am most grateful.
The odd thing about my transition to a mobile job-searching lifestyle is that I’m reminded of a old (and rather silly) episode of the 1960’s Star Trek series where Captain James T. Kirk is forced to fight a large lumbering lizard creature called a Gorn. Despite being outmatched in size and physical strength, Kirk wins the fight by using the environment around him to fashion a portable projectile launcher which he then uses on the Gorn
Perhaps the reminder is not as odd as it appears. The Tim Horton’s I am at right serves as a base of operations for my job search: caffeine to wake me up, free Wi-Fi to log on the Internet so I can apply for jobs through Indeed (see above image), update my Kijiji and Craigslist “Looking For Work” ads, network with any co-workers and friends in the city or town I’m currently in, and of course to post to this job search blog. The nearby corner store or mall supplies me with food and other resources to make my stay in the area comfortable, ensuring a stable state of mind for my next interview when it comes up. The parks and other nearby scenery in the area I’m in serve as a respite from the job search when I need to take a break. In short, what is available around me in my travels can be forged into a tool or weapon, to be used in my war against unemployment.
Hopefully one day, like Kirk in that episode, I will overcome this challenge, just not look as silly while trying to do so.
Thanks for reading.