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Jennifer Ketcham Headshot

To the Courageously Unemployed

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Being in the adult business guaranteed one thing (two, if you count contracting some sort of STD). As an adult performer, it's never too hard to find work. Because of that, I didn't understand the economic crisis the rest of the world seemed to be suffering. Now, over 15 months out of the porn business, enrolled in a junior college and ready to move into the next stage of my life, it's time to start applying for jobs equally as structured as my school schedule. Unfortunately, due to a ten year absence from the real world work force, and a somewhat questionable work history, I'm finding it quite difficult to land a steady job. In fact, it's difficult to find anything at all, steady or not.

And it seems I am not alone.

Las Vegas, as Ryan Grim and Arthur Delaney reported on the front page of the Huffington Post, is now bank owned. The US Bureau Of Labor Statistics says the state of Nevada was 14.2% unemployed in June 2010. The Bureau then said the next highest employment in a large million-plus metropolitan city such as Las Vegas was in Riverside-San Bernadino-Ontario, here in California, at 13.9%. After that Detroit-Warren-Livonia, Michigan, at 13.7%. You'll find much lower jobless rates in lovely places where I'd imagine people don't want to work, like Hawaii, at 6.3%, and Vermont, at 6%. The lowest of the country seems to fall in the Dakotas, North at 3.6% and South at 4.5%. But the wonderfully low percentage of people unemployed in South Dakota just doesn't make a difference to the hard working and hopeful folks of Los Angeles, where I currently reside, and we have nearly four unemployed people to their one, coming in at an uncomfortable 12.3% unemployed. I land somewhere in that 12.3%. It is very uncomfortable.

So while I'm not in school I spend my time, like the rest of the jobless folks in Los Angeles, sweeping the city streets for signs of waitressing jobs, barista positions, booze running girl spots in nightclubs and larger size fetcher gigs in retail stores. I glue my eyes to the computer; Craigslist and helpwanted ads burn my retinas and sour my mood with each tap of the send button, a vague and motivated resume attached with hope. And though my search has been going on for less than two weeks, I feel my spirit dying, the drive to be self-sufficient abandons the need to stay within the line of work (writing) I wish to make my career. And I can't help but wonder...

How much courage does it take to continue looking for a job after a long period of unemployment? I ask this to those who've been unemployed much longer than I, those who keep pounding the pavement in hope of a call back, or one chance to prove their worth. And if one has been blessed enough to receive an unemployment check (porn doesn't really provide anything like that, which is why I say he/she is blessed), how do you make that decision to go out and look for a job when money keeps coming your way regardless of how many rejections you face? How many rejections can one woman face before waving a white flag and giving up entirely? And what does "giving up" mean for someone who is not an ex-porn star?

For me, giving up would be returning to a life I've already decided I do not want, so it's back to the streets of LA in search of "Help Wanted" signs and a hunt on the internet, where most life and the jobs therein seem to reside. I tip my hat to those of you who haven't given up yet, to the courageously unemployed.