Greetings from Day 20 of my unemployment!
I am here to report to those of you still working that aside from the paycheck and insurance benefits, having a job gives one a sense of purpose each day. Being employed generally keeps one showering regularly and a reason to get out of bed in the morning besides coffee.
Sure, I wore a lot of Lycra while I worked full time from home, but since I was laid off nearly four weeks ago, even the leggings are starting to seem kind of fancy compared to the grey Gap sweats I tend to gravitate towards when dressing most days. Yoga pants seem like a good in between.
There has also been a complete reversal of too much and too little in my life. For instance, there were never enough hours in the day to squeeze in all the things I wanted to do – like writing, yoga and meditation – vs. the things I needed to do – like my job, folding laundry and food shopping.
Now, I have so much time I don’t even know what to do with myself, leaving me unfocused and unproductive. It’s just like freshman year of college, when all that unstructured time and lack of accountability left me sitting in my dorm room most days smoking cigarettes and watching General Hospital.
While I was working, my inbox would be flooded with about 100 emails each day – press releases, BNN reports and annoying spam from Zappos – but now that I’m unemployed and using a new email (and one that few people know) I get about five emails a day. Legit.
My calendar is also looking a lot different than it did a year ago. Back then, my days were filled with calls for work, meetings to cover as a reporter and basketball practices for my son. The only event still on my calendar for today is a game for my 11-year-old’s rec team tonight at the middle school in town.
At least a reason to shower.
Initially, being out of a job was kind of nice after three years of crazy, non-stop work. It was like a giant weight had been lifted from my shoulders.
I started working full time when I still had four kids living at home and had to juggle the usual mom stuff with all the joys of raising teenagers – driving lessons, car accidents, alcohol, underage drunkards, college visits, college applications and wild and unpredictable mood swings.
Oh, and I had just gotten a divorce.
I had never worked harder in my life than in the first 18 months of the job other than when the kids were small and my days were more physically than mentally grueling. And it was great.
Then just as fast, I only had two kids living at home, with the other half away at college, and it bears repeating that those of you with two kids are geniuses. It’s much more doable than four.
But now I have two kids and zero jobs and it’s kind of boring.
I have had some minor victories: I did put together a resume and updated my LinkedIn profile; I’ve already paid all my bills for the month and yesterday I finally figured out how to sync all of my Apple devices and cloud with my updated Apple ID.
Today I might investigate the iTunes Home Sharing to sync my music library. I mean, what the hell?
So what have I learned about myself in these last four weeks? Pretty much that I am really good at making excuses. Whereas before there wasn’t enough time to write a book/lose weight/find a boyfriend/clean out my crawl space/make healthy meals/finish knitting that sweater, now I realize that it’s just a matter of doing it.
“The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too,” Goethe wrote. “Begin it now.”
Or you’ll be stuck wearing sweats in your kitchen with kind of dirty hair.