It’s been a very, very long time since I’ve written. Mostly, because I haven’t felt up to it. I’m exhausted beyond words and totally dejected after my long (and fruitless) job hunt. There is a grind to sending out dozens of resumes, of getting initial calls. The excitement of the call, but the immediate disappointment when you learn that people want to pay you less than a fast food worker to edit a national magazine, to do graphic design, to work on the web.

Right now I have the ability to say “no,” but time is short -- March is just around the corner, and with it the demise of my job. Nine months may seem like a long time, but it really isn’t. Not when you consider that I’ve been looking since this past March, with little result.

I hate the feeling of desperation this brings -- the raw need to prove myself to strangers, to try to convince them to hire me not just because I’m ready to move on, but also because I need that job. And the feeling that the interview I’m on is my last chance, that no one else will bother to call. I sat and suffered subtle racial jokes about people who live in Southeast Washington and insinuations about my sexuality (based on the fact that I live in a “gay” neighborhood) by two women at a Defense Department contractor. Not only was the experience humiliating, but they asked to take my portfolio with them -- it wasn’t exactly irreplaceable, but it wasn’t cheap, either. Weeks passed, and I finally emailed them to check on the status of the job, learning that they’d already made an offer to another candidate. So why did they bother to take the portfolio if they didn’t like me? Why waste it? There’s no feeling worse than waiting, hoping that someone -- even someone you don’t like -- is going to hire you. If I’m ever in the position to hire someone, I’ll make sure to give him or her a prompt letter of rejection.

Yesterday, I went on a second interview for a content development job at an organization I’ve loved since I was three years old. I know that it’s an honor to have even gotten that second interview -- to make it as a finalist candidate at a prestigious organization. But I have this dreadful feeling that I’m not going to get it. And it makes even the interview seem like a waste of time, a nasty tease by fate. A further humiliation. I keep going over what I said, how I said it -- highlighting my mistakes, the slips that will cost me the job. “They’re not going to hire you,” I tell myself. “Why do you even bother?”

They say it takes six months to find a job in this market. I’ve been looking since March, which brings me up to three. I can’t help but remember the bubble years, the giddiness of being able to walk into any company and get a job. Now you have to fight tooth and nail just to get an interview. And what you’re fighting for is a paycut, hoping that it won’t be bigger than say 10%, because how the hell are you going to be able to pay the bills on that?

This is precisely why I haven’t been writing.