Thursday, May 7, 2009

Ebb, Flow

Unemployment is so weird. See, while you guys are at work, I'm at home. Everyday. I'm doing stuff, but not work stuff, and the stuff I do is for myself, not for someone else.

I admit that I really enjoyed the first month of joblessness, back then when I was eating out at all those restaurants and gaining 10 pounds. I was afraid to say it, even to myself, because I was paying attention all those years in church and I knew that if I said I was having fun then God would punish me by not letting me find a job for a really long time. But if I'm honest I have to admit that I was enjoying it then, and I still do sometimes. 

Mostly I feel like I'm playing hooky from a job. I feel like I'm going to be fired any minute for not showing up since February. I can hear my hateful, hateful, petty, insecure, incompetent, idiotic (whew, that felt good) old boss's voice on the phone tell me that I'm being terminated for absenteeism. (But then I realize she wouldn't know how to terminate me without me there.) I feel like I'm doing something very wrong, especially on really sunny days. Especially when I'm at the beach with my toes in the sand on a sunny day. Very wrong.

I stay fairly busy, or at least occupied. I look for jobs. This takes up anywhere from 5 to 8 hours a day. I do it until I'm frustrated and swearing and sometimes near tears. Then I do errands. There's dry cleaning my interview outfits, trips to the bank, care packages for tiny Japanese friends, things to do with the move. I clean - the house, the garage, the car. And then I do things I enjoy - tour the Japanese and Chinese gardens, see movies, go to shows (I saw Joshua James at the Aladdin last night - woooooooooow. Wow! Yay!) I went to the Holocaust Memorial earlier this week - amazing. I read. I still break my diet and try out new places to eat. I meet friends, I do a little shopping. I enjoy those activities a lot and feel lucky to have the time and energy to do them. I'm taking those classes at my Apple store, which I love, and next week I sign up for a web design class at PCC. (Although I can't think of the software name, Dreamweaver, without hearing that terrible song. It's a problem.) I'm looking into volunteer positions. And when I have absolutely nothing else to do, there's not a thing I can think of that needs my attention, and nothing is on the television, and I've replied to every e-mail I've ever gotten, I work out.

I have times when I get down (meaning sad, not funky) that no one has snatched me up. I wonder about my skills, if I'm even good at what I do. Maybe I'm good but I can't communicate it? Is my age coming into play? My salary? Will I ever make a decent salary again? Can I live on what will likely be a major pay cut if I ever do find a job? Will I have to move out of this apartment? Why is this happening to me? That doesn't happen very often, but I know from experience those times will increase the longer I go without a job. 

When I work, I'm a single-minded, intense, stressed. I put everything into my job and I have nothing left over for myself. I'm exhausted every night. I've gotten better in the last few years since returning from Japan and realizing that my time there was a study in giving too much to a job. But I still take a lot of pride in what I do, and I put a lot into it. Because of that, I am especially aware of how I feel right now - I'm energetic, fairly relaxed, I have time to notice details. I laugh a lot (although I laugh a lot all the time), I feel lucky for the fun things I do. I'm interested and exploring and learning. I feel grateful for the break. I just hope God doesn't notice.


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  2. Ah LSL, depending on the belief system you ascribe to these days, maybe He put you there to notice details, have some fun, and to feel energetic and relaxed. Why not just say "thanks"?

  3. Amazing how busy you can be when not working, isn't it? I wonder how I managed to keep house when I had to spend 9+ hours a day stewing in an office.

    Your God guilt thing is amusing and reminded me of an episode in the book/radio versions of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, where the true Ruler of the Universe turns out to be a simple man living with a cat, who he calls "The Lord".

    So the answer to your joblessness is that it pleases your cat (or it's revenge for the lint-rolling).

    For all the effort you're putting into looking, it sounds like you're actually more into the break (and making great use of it). It would be lovely if you found a new direction and moved forward into something more right for you rather than back into a similar job to your last.

  4. When I moved to Seattle and was unemployed finding a job was a full time job and I never really let myself enjoy the joblessness because I knew I only had enough to live on for 6 weeks and then I was up shit creek. I often wish I could have a do over so that I could enjoy some of it. I think you're doing the right thing and I'm glad to hear you find joy where you can!

  5. Sometimes, I would like to kick the shit out of whatever lunacy represented itself as religion and spirituality in the formative years of your life. Just saying.

    When I was forced out of my job ('cuz seriously? I only quit 'cuz I had to) at Habihell many moons ago, I lost my entire gorram identity. It was awful--at first. Eventually, it became this amazing gift where I learned to be a whole, three-dimensional person again instead of My Resume.

    Despite this fact, job hunting remained a pain in the ass that fostered a serious amount of self-doubt. I suppose me demanding that you tell said doubt to suck it prolly won't help. But still, LSL's doubt? Yeah, SUCK IT.