My fury

Some, including the friends I have left behind, would likely accuse me of nursing a grudge over my failed job search for far too long, since 2001, in fact. They might even accuse me of addiction to that grievance.[1]

I will leave the psychoanalysis for others. I have been diagnosed with a post-traumatic stress disorder-related condition, stemming in part from the abuse I suffer on the job market, that exacerbates traumas from my childhood and employment experiences.

What I know now, whenever I go on line with Uber and Lyft, because driving for those companies is the only employment I can find, is that whenever I don’t immediately have an order, I feel a tightening in my chest. I’m not making nearly enough money—less than minimum wage—and I need money. Desperately.

Simultaneously, my present and former experience reinforce a realization that while others profit vastly from my labor, I am viewed as utterly expendable, disposable, and not even as worth the cost of living.

The dissonance between my reality and the situation that my accomplishments, including a Ph.D., say I should have is intense, especially when I’m wondering whether I’ll ever get another order, or even get enough orders to top up my bank accounts so I can continue to pay my bills, including, not insignificantly, the car costs that keep me in operation. That dissonance reflects an extreme and ongoing injustice. It is trauma heaped upon trauma.

It’s easy, far too easy, for others to say from vantage points of relative privilege, that that’s life. I should let it go.

But I suffer the precarity of my finances. I suffer the loss of the social contacts I would have in academia. I suffer the indignity and feel the disdain of being regarded as nothing more than a glorified taxi driver and as accordingly expendable, disposable, and infinitely replaceable. I suffer these every day.

This is not a single event constrained in time. It is every fucking day, seven days a week, whenever my car isn’t being serviced, because I can’t even afford to take time off.

And it is the knowledge that I will have to do this every single fucking day until I die. That I haven’t even a clue what I will do if I live longer than I can drive.

In all of this, to say that I cannot help but feel profoundly betrayed still profoundly understates the matter, that literally every word in the Pledge of Allegiance, that I, along with my fellow school children, recited every morning until I realized that I could not reconcile that Pledge with the Vietnam War,[2] is a lie, that a more honest pledge would have been:


This page is part of a series on my job hunt:

  1. Grievance as fury

  2. Poverty, as a constraint on networking opportunities, as a constraint on social mobility, and as rationalizing dehumanization, but also as a perspective on what I am expected to do to find work and its absolute futility.

  3. The transparent absurdity of my job search since 2001 and, after twenty long and infuriating years, the inescapable conclusion that yes, the job market really is a scam.[3] and that I face discrimination, it which it is apparent that there is nothing I can do to overcome biases arrayed against me.

  4. The denial of my human rights and therefore, my reduction to subhuman status.

  5. That which I am not, whether or not neoliberalism or any other expression of power relations requires it.

  6. That which I should be, largely as a consequence of my education.

  7. That which I am, including my résumé

  1. [1]James Kimmel, Jr., “What the Science of Addiction Tells Us About Trump,” Politico, December 12, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/12/12/trump-grievance-addiction-444570
  2. [2]David Benfell, “Hypocrisy, Pennsylvania Style,” Not Housebroken, January 27, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/01/27/hypocrisy-pennsylvania-style/
  3. [3]David Benfell, “About that alleged ‘labor shortage,’” Not Housebroken, May 12, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/05/09/about-that-alleged-labor-shortage/