Two things happened in the past two days, and one of them ended up with me accepting a job offer.
Thing 1: In June of 2009 I took a stupid civil service test (SCST). It was the first kind of generic test they'd offered for a long time, a "Principal Administrative Associate" - kind of glorified clerk. The reason I took it is if I passed and was on the list, even though it wasn't the job I was doing I'd be in the civil service system and it would be harder to lay me off. 11,000 people took the SCST - they had to open up extra testing venues and times. It was partly the economy and partly the fact that the city had recently lost a law suit and was supposedly going to be forced to actually use the civil service lists instead of hiring most people as "provisional employees" outside of that system. Anyway, I stood in line in the rain and took the SCST. It was basic math, grammar, usage, and work-related hypotheticals - all multiple choice. I doubted I got any wrong.
Only they didn't release the results and I got laid off. In fact I think I may have been laid off when I was because of the test - get rid of me before the results were released. Well, anyway, they finally published the list - 14 months afterwards. 5301 people passed. I'm number 13. My nose was a little out of joint - I don't like the idea that 12 people did better than me. But then I read the fine print and my score is just a raw score but if you're a veteran you get points added to your score and if a disabled veteran more points added. So I've decided to conclude those 12 all got the extra points :-).
So it's a very low number and theoretically it should get me a job, but after calling all over the city bureaucracy I couldn't find out if or when they're actually going to use the list. I was still somewhat hopeful that it could result in a job but it was in no way a sure thing. But then:
Thing 2: I had interviewed a couple of weeks ago to be Adoption Coordinator for a non-profit agency providing foster care and adoption services. It's low pay (about 1/3 of what my last job paid) and it's 1.5 hours commute each way, so not exactly a dream job. But good work, honest work, and just the dignity of work. Plus health insurance, which I was running out of. Anyway, they offered it to me and I accepted. I start 8/30, after a full year of being unemployed. I feel very happy, relieved and grateful.