Job hunting has always been a full-time endeavor. In this fine economy, the hunt entails double time, triple time and often being on call like a doctor.

Is anyone hiring doctors?

With the Tucson Citizen going under and the rest of the country following suit, I am not alone trying to find a new job.

More than 15,700 folks across metro Tucson and 116,500 across the state have been laid off since the end of 2007, with more surely on the way.

As I am not alone in my hunt, I am also not alone in the way the job hunting process unfolds.

It starts with panic. We e-mail everyone we know, from each boss we ever had to our kindergarten teacher.

We even include that dude from 21 years ago who eventually joined us after we ran away to New York, since he recently found us on Facebook.

No matter that he’s back living with his parents in Michigan and, if we recall correctly, used to keep moldy green pizza under his bed.

“Hey buddy,” we e-mail, “you got a job for me?” Perhaps he can pay us to regularly clean beneath his bed.

The hunt moves to desperation. We scramble to all the job sites and blanket the Earth with our résumés.

We apply for each position we come across, regardless of pay, hours, location or even working conditions.

“Perhaps it might be cool to be a corrections officer,” we think. “Maybe I am cut out for Border Patrol.”

This stage includes a lot of typos, weeping and often sending out wrong versions of our résumé, like the one that hasn’t been updated since we were a salad bar girl at Bonanza.

We also apply for stuff for which we aren’t even qualified. Who cares if our only medical experience was dissecting a frog in high school? We apply for that surgeon job in the Virgin Islands.

Then we get mad. “Heck with you if you don’t want to hire me to clean beneath your bed,” we write to the Michigan pizza man. “You don’t know what you’re missing. I’m the best dang moldy green pizza cleaner in town.”

After we completely sever any contacts that may have helped and torch bridges we haven’t even crossed yet, our anger morphs into self-pity.

“Woe is me,” we lament. “No one wants to hire me.”

Here come thoughts of being worthless, unemployable and destined to live in the Rillito riverbed, like that guy who eats graham crackers for dinner at his camp beneath a tree.

To offset this pity, we vow to be constructive.

So we go get drunk. If we happen not to drink, we can always escape through meditation, long walks around the guy’s riverbed camp and frequent, lengthy naps. My nap record was eight hours the other Sunday.

Once we sober up or wake up, we begin our stint of wild dreaming.

Here’s where we shoot off résumés to Hawaii, Australia and Paris. Costa Rica, Madagascar, Rome. It doesn’t really matter what types of jobs are open in these places; we just know they will take us far away.

As we check for phone messages every half-hour, our e-mails every five minutes and our Facebook every three seconds to see if anyone posted a job opening on our wall, we slowly sink into surrender.

“No one is hiring,” we say. Or at least not for jobs that would tickle our fancies.

Thus the fun begins. We get innovative. Recalling how we once traded artwork for a sandwich during our early New York days, we break out the paints.

We gather up our markers and hook up a sign that says: “Will create for food.”

We dig out our tattoo guns, dust off our flute and research how to start a business selling wacky yard art. We practice haircuts and pedicures on our dog.

We still may not have found a job or even been offered a sandwich, but at least the dog looks cool with a Mohawk.

And if anyone needs a haircut, tattoo or wacky yard art, you just may find me working as a surgeon in the Virgin Islands.

Ryn Gargulinski is an artist, poet and Tucson Citizen reporter who nearly showed up for corrections officer training a few weeks back. Listen to a preview of her column at 8:10 a.m. Thursdays on KLPX 96.1 FM.

This column originally appeared in the Feb. 27, 2009, issue of the Tucson Citizen.