Society makes it very hard for adults who are unemployed and/or dependent on parents/caregivers to have any self esteem or self worth. If you are an unemployed and /or dependent adult and you have some modicum of self esteem or self worth please tell me how you manage to do it because I still haven’t figured out the secret.
I doubt I’ll get any takers on that though because I doubt it’s possible for someone in my situation to feel good about themselves and I doubt there are many other people in my situation. When I say I’m unemployed I do not mean I am temporarily unemployed or that I got laid off from my last job. I mean I’ve never had paid employment of any kind and my prospects of future employment are dim. I do not mean that in lieu of employment I raise children or go to school full time. I feel sad that I’ll never have children and regretful that I fucked up so much in school.
When I say I live with my parents, I do not mean I am living with them to help take care of them. I mean I am living with them so that they can take care of me. I do not mean that I’m living with my parents temporarily because I’ve hit a rough patch in life and that I’ll be moving out as soon as I get back on my feet. The truth is my whole life has been a rough patch and I’ve never been on my feet. I do not mean that I’m a young adult who’s learning to adjust to new adulthood. Despite my youthful appearance, I am well in to adulthood.
Because of my joblessness and dependence I have been labeled a leech, a parasite and a spoiled, ungrateful brat. I have been called lazy more times than I can count. I’ve been treated like crap and told that parasitic people don’t deserve to be treated nicely. I have been referred to as an adjunct. I wasn’t exactly sure what was meant by that last one but the dictionary definition of adjunct is “a thing added to something else as a supplementary rather than an essential part.”
I can deal with being called lazy because there’s a lot of truth in those accusations but I could really do without the name calling. Even if there is some truth in the comparisons to disgusting blood sucking creatures, they’re very hurtful and not at all helpful.
I try to tell myself that the people who say those kinds of things to me have some serious issues of their own and that those comments are more of a negative reflection on them than on me but I hear that kind of message constantly from all kinds of people and places even if it’s not usually voiced so bluntly, rudely or directly.
Most political discussions I read, hear about or witness eventually devolve in to complaints about those despicable lazy freeloaders who are mooching off the government rather than getting off their asses and finding jobs. The stereotypical description of the kind of loser you would never want to be or associate with involves a perpetually unemployed 30-year-old virgin who lives in their parents’ basement and plays video games all day. The fact that I have a room on the second floor and have no interest in video games doesn’t give me much comfort.
I get the message both implicitly and explicitly that since I am unemployed and dependent, I am not a real adult. I am not entitled to adult privileges. I don’t get a say in my own life. I am powerless and beholden to others. I am a child in an adult’s body.
I am told that I contribute nothing to society and that I should go do something with my life. I try to tell myself that you can contribute to society and do something with your life without getting paid for it but many people do not see contributions as valid unless they are accompanied by a paycheck. It’s as though I must earn money in order to earn dignity.
Kids are often asked what they want to be when they grow up. ‘Happy’ is not considered to be an acceptable answer. They’re expected to say what career they want to have. When you meet someone new as an adult one of the first questions you’re asked is “What do you do?” “I eat, sleep, breathe, read and play with my dog” is not considered to be an acceptable answer. You’re expected to say what you do for a job. It feels as though without a job I am considered to do nothing and to be nothing.
Independence and self sufficiency are seen as the ultimate goals of and the be all end all of adulthood. If you fail to achieve those goals you are seen as having failed at adulthood, if not life itself. At best you might get pity from people. More often you will get scorn. One thing you will rarely get is respect.
In addition to not being entitled to dignity or respect, some people seem to think that if you don’t have a job or “earn your keep” you are not entitled to luxuries or pleasures. How dare you eat good food, wear fancy clothes or go on fun vacations!
I am literally financially worthless because I have never earned a single cent in my life but worse than being financially worthless is feeling like because I’m dependent and unemployed I am worthless as a human being.
A few months ago I figured out a way to make a valuable contribution to society without having a job. I would donate blood. As a leech I’d obviously sucked a lot of blood from other people so it was time for me to allow others to suck my blood. I know some view me as unimportant because I don’t have a job but my blood might save the life of someone who has a very important job. My first blood donation went well but by the time I was eligible to donate again I had lost my ID. When I set out to get a replacement ID I discovered that you are now required to present bills addressed to you as proof of your identity. Since I am not financially independent and do not live on my own, I do not have any bills addressed to me. It felt like yet another way society has of telling me that without having a job and without being independent, I do not have a valid identity.
I’m sure a lot of people are thinking “Why don’t you just get a job?” The answer to that question is a story for another blog.