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A day at the beach cost me a job. A staffing agency calls me one morning saying that a local company wants to interview me — so what would be a good time? "11 or 3 is fine. I'm heading out so please leave a message," I tell her. I spend the afternoon swimming with my brother and two nephews while my wife plans to join us later. When she arrives I ask my wife if there were any calls. She says a woman from the agency called saying that the company was unable to interview me and she'd like me to call her back. "Her message is on the machine," my wife tells me.

I play the message when I return home and, through her heavy accent, I hear the same words my wife relayed to me earlier. I drink heavily that night and wake up late the following morning to a new message flashing on our machine. It's the staffing agency asking me why I'm not at my pre-scheduled 11 o'clock job interview. "What interview?" is all I can muster when the heavy-accented woman comes on the line. We go back and forth for 15 minutes on what she said versus what we heard. I finally ask her if she can call the company back to see if they would like to reschedule my job interview. "I'll try," she offers. Five minutes later I'm told that the company has already moved on to the next available candidate. Truth is, I had no right to be enjoying myself as though I'm on vacation, too.

Friday, August 20

A local man killed himself the other night after a stand-off with police. Violence upsets me lately. Also, my depression has morphed into my dreams, where I'm constantly placed in negative situations. Usually I'm taunted by past coworkers and bosses, getting fired or humiliated in front of others. Even sleep can't provide me any sanctuary from my dark thoughts.

Tuesday, September 21

After forwarding two online applications and filling one out in-person recently, my wife suggests that I widen my job search. "How much wider?" I ask. "Two hundred miles wider," she replies.

Saturday, November 27

Driving back home from my daughter's parent/teacher conferences, I soil myself in the car again. Pulling into the driveway, I know I'm screwed because my wife is home and in close proximity to the downstairs bathroom. This bathroom has a shower unused for almost five years, so I know the minute I turn it on my wife's ears will prick up. And they do: She's standing right outside the bathroom door waiting for me to finish. "I got real sick in the car and shit myself," I offer. "What the hell, hon?" is all she can say. Maybe I'm reverting back to infancy.

Saturday, December 4

At a recent meeting with a Maine Career Center counselor I express my desire for a career change. She asks what career path I'm interested in and asks to look at my resume. During the session she grows more excited as I explain my career choice and how I plan on making it happen. She gives me a task list to complete for our follow-up session two weeks later. During those two weeks I completed my online searching, made several phone calls, and conducted interviews with people who could possibly share some insight into my career choice. I head into the follow-up meeting eager and well-prepared —

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  Topics: Lifestyle Features , unemployment, recession, job search
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    Just over two years ago, I lost my job. I knew what was happening the moment my boss's eyes broke contact with mine to glance outside his office window.
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