I mean aside from being like a store clerk or burger flipper, not that those aren’t honest jobs.
The negative stuff below is not a self-flagellating, “pity poor me” thing, it is my attempt to be realistic about my employment prospects.
I am 52.
I worked in Japan for four years at a Japanese company almost 30 years ago, proofreading and then translating Japanese into English.
Then I became a freelance translator in the U.S., from 1990 to 2003. My clients were all in Japan.
I tried my hand at investing for the last 12 years. Gave it a long, patient shot, and I guess I am just not good at it.
So I have no recent work experience, and haven’t worked at a company since 1990. My resume is sparse, to say the least.
I was a good translator, but it was just as a large volume, piecework business. My work didn’t require any sort of initiative or decision making. I don’t have any past responsibilities, accomplishments or projects, etc. that I can point to. I didn’t really even have to do any self promotion (fortunately), because just two or three clients really gave me all the work I could handle.
I have no contacts or network. Advice to build a network would be as useful to me as advice to flap my arms and fly to the moon. It is not something I have the tools to do. I don’t even have a network of friends. I don’t mean “poor me,” I mean that is just the way I am. I am an introvert. Reading the Straight Dope is a large part of my social interaction. (Don’t judge me! :p)
I have no certifications other than Japanese Proficiency Level 1, the top level.
I have no desire to try to resume a freelance career. If I was to go back to translating, I would want to do it as an in-house translator. And I don’t even know if such jobs exist anymore, or if it is all outsourced.
When I started translating, I was actually kind of a hot commodity, as there still weren’t a lot of people who were familiar with technical terminology, could write well and could read Japanese in the 1980s.
Now people with those skills are a dime a dozen, and much younger than me (which also means they are more familiar with current technology and translating tools).
Lastly, I am a lousy interview. I can smile and make eye contact, etc., and have a decent appearance, but I can’t think fast verbally. Small talk and answering questions that require any sort of thought or insight are minefields for me. Either I can’t think of anything to say, or I start to ramble, nesting parenthetical comments within parenthetical comments. Even I start to think, as I ramble, “Jesus Christ, what are you doing? Get it back on track!”
So a weak work history, lack of recent experience, failed to keep up with the field, old, lack of network, poor interview, an overwhelmingly positive outlook (wait, isn’t today Opposite Day?), and just the fact that it is hard for anyone to get a job, am I right to think that trying to get a conventional job by conventional means is going to entail a lot of futility?