Wednesday, March 11, 2009

There's good in the bad...

Ugh. So, I'm trying to look on the bright side of unemployment. And it's not like I don't know that there is one, it's just that I'm not in that camp of people who is actually helped by standing in front of the mirror in the morning and saying 5 life-affirming things. It's bunk, baby.

But, I've been emailing with my former boss, a man for whom I have enormous respect, and he wrote something that I'd been thinking, and feeling guilty for thinking, and it made me feel better. Here's a portion of his email (I don't think he'll mind being quoted anonomously in my rather obscure blog):

"My days are still busy but instead of making connections and applying for jobs, I'm doing food shopping, folding laundry and cleaning refrigerators. The problem is not that I'm doing these things but that I'm enjoying it."

I have been able to do a lot of things that I couldn't (or just didn't) do before. I have developed a knack for, and love of yoga. I've gone on errands in the middle of the day when there is no traffic (and in the Boston area, there is ALWAYS traffic). I've connected with good people over long lunches, beers, giant brunches, jelly donuts, mid-day coffee. I've leaped forward in my relationship with my man - if only because I think we both know how hard some people can take setbacks, and we've both done pretty well. I've played with my cats A LOT. I've gotten someone to trade modeling work for head-shots. I've paid more attention to small details in other people's lives. I've eaten more hummus. I've slept in (occasionally, past 8am!!).

I've been able to blog more. Maybe not a lot of quality content, but still. There are things. Some good things, that when I am on the other side of this situation, I'll be able to look at them and say that I was happy I had the opportunity to do. Feel free to remind me of this.


I went to the unemployment office today to ask some questions. They were busy, of course. But they stressed the importance of not giving up, which I thought was nice. They weren't sullen government employees who don't look you in the eye or care what you want. I bet they see a lot of desperate people. Kudos to them for remaining compassionate.


Scarlet Lily said...

As someone else who is also unemployed I feel a little qualified to reply. Granted, I'm in a totally different situation b/c I have a husband to support us. So while things are very very tight, we haven't had to dip into our savings TOO much to get through.

But everything you're saying is a very very good point and I genuinely believe it's a good learning exercise. Most people go their entire lives working and they usually don't have any leaves of absence. As a result, they never get to learn who they are w/o having their job define them. Additionally - as you mentioned - it gives you the wonderful, wonderful chance to pay attention to all the small things in life that get passed by too quickly.

I feel like I've learned a lot on this hiatus and it sounds like you are starting to as well. Most importantly, no amount of anxiety or guilt will get you a job any faster, so you should absolutely REVEL in your long lunches and wonderful days! You have nothing to prove to anyone and enjoying time off isn't a bad thing!

feather nester said...

Honey, I'm so happy to hear a different tone in your post today. It can be hard to remember, but no matter how bad it gets, it's temporary. It's not going to stay like this.

I think trying to be conscious of enjoying the small benefits to unemployment is really smart. That time when I was pregnant and couldn't work because of my back pain was awesome. And you don't even have the back pain! Yay! Another silver lining. :) (Feel free to mentally smack me. But know that I bruise easily.)

Just Another Idealist said...

I really don't think you should feel guilty for enjoying this time to yourself. I know it's hard because of the uncertaintly, but the 5 things really MIGHT work. You never know... ;-)