September 27, 2019

September Shortlist – How can art lift unhelpful stigmas associated with unemployment?

Christian Masters, 28

It’s a strange tragedy that the subject of unemployment is so under-represented in the arts.

The same colorful feelings that have inspired an overflow of love songs are just as real for the unemployee. The loneliness, the idealizing, the fear of rejection, the heartbreak, the moving on, the first date—all part of searching for a ‘good job’.

I began this project to bring some comic relief to my own soul wrenching experience of job searching, little ditties to poke fun at my self-pitying. But it has since grown into a conviction, a reminder that unemployment has the potential to be a valuable and defining period of one’s life. There’s no harder work than when you’re looking for it. When are questions of identity, purpose, and self-worth more relentless than when we are without jobs, without a business card to hide behind?

I’m convinced that our lives shouldn’t read like a CV. I hope these songs remind listeners to reflect on (and maybe even welcome) the gaps in our careers. And in doing so, commiserate with others and dispel unhelpful stigmas associated with being unemployed. Job searching is universal. So why is it so lonely?

Make art out of unemployment.

Good Job, 2019