Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Guy Without Luck

My heart goes out to my buddy Sherwood Thomas.  We've known each other for decades now, and he's fun to hang with.  Anyway, for the life him, try as he might, he just can't find a good job.  He got his PhD over a decade ago, racked up an impressive record of successful teaching over the years, and published some scholarly publications.  He's well-travelled, having visited or lived in various countries throughout the world.  Moreover, he's currently an officer in the U.S. Army, having enlisted six years ago to serve his country. He trained as both an intelligence analyst and human resources specialist, has a top security clearance, and deployed to Afghanistan under the 82nd Airborne in 2007.  His Army evaluation reports have nothing but great things to say.  Committed to health and strength, he gets top scores on the Army Physical Fitness Test.  Moreover, he has a great credit score, having dutifully paid off his  loans.  He's managed to provide for his children by taking on two to three jobs at any one time.  Heck, he's trained in first aid, CPR, and physical security. 

I knew that Sherwood was telling me this not because he wanted to boast; rather, he was expressing his frustration.  "What more can I do, Der?"  I didn't know what to say, but I knew he needed some kind of encouragement.  "Your ship's gonna come in one of these days, dude," I said lamely.  "In the meantime, you just gotta see the glass half full.  I mean, think of all the experiences you've had that you wouldn't have had had you got that 9 to5 dream job, huh?"  Sherwood smiled politely.  I tried one more tactic.  "At least you're not dying from AIDS in an impoverished, forsaken African village somewhere.  Comparatively, things aren't so bad, right?"  He nodded.  "Yeah, definitely.  Especially when you put it that way."  Sherwood smiled politely again.

"I tell you what, Sher," I said, trying to leave our discussion on a positive note.  "If you don't have an awesome job by this time next year....I'll eat my shoe."   "Yeah?  Deal!"