Seattle P-I Book Critic Running Out Of Unemployment…Now

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer shut down March 17, 2009 to be replaced by an online-only site with much fewer staff.

The former book critic, John Douglas Marshall, hasn’t yet found gainful employment.

He wrote in the Atlantic last Friday that he’s cashed his last unemployment check. Nearly 3 years of unemployment, 400 applications, three in-person interviews.

It’s not a happy story. He’s been freelancing and applying for jobs. He’s clearly a qualified, intelligent human being, like so many of the jobless.

And yet…

I honestly thought that I could land another regular job, even if I was a few years short of retirement. That turned out to be a Fractured Fairy Tale, as my blue file folder testifies.

That folder, now 3 inches thick, scarcely contains all the weekly logs of jobs that I applied for in order to qualify for unemployment – three jobs every week during two years of federal unemployment, then four jobs every week during six months of Washington State unemployment. That totaled 400 job applications, from my first to be communications director for a Seattle private school on 4/8/2009 to my last to be a technical editor for a staffing agency on 6/30/2011.

My weekly logs contain jobs in writing, editing, marketing and communications, jobs at non-profits, at publications and publishers, at retail concerns, at universities and colleges, at ad agencies, law firms, the zoo, even a few newspapers. … I never heard back from most places I applied and only scored three in-person job interviews from my 400 applications, three in-person interviews that taught me how close I could come to landing a job and still not get it.

Ugh, ugh, ugh. Our condolences go out to Marshall, who is one of those people who is doing everything right and not able to catch a break. Like millions of other Americans today.