Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Non-Rant On Unemployment

Some afternoons when I'm walking the dogs, it just hits me. I'm unemployed. Being unemployed is not something that's on my mind 24/7 like you may think it is. My life so quickly becomes a routine that being home all day starts to feel normal; not at all like some big life event happened out of nowhere and caused this change. It's been 83 days now since I was laid off unexpectedly. That seems like such a huge number when I count it up. I can't have been unemployed, job searching, at home with nothing to do all day for 83 days!

But I have. And that's okay.

Last time I felt horrible about myself because of my unemployment. Even though I quit my job to move across the country with my husband for his job which is not a bad reason to be out of work. I was out of work for 7 months that time and I remember feeling so awful about myself, so frantic to find a job. Every rejection e-mail was like a punch to the gut. Why didn't they want me? What am I doing wrong?

This time doesn't feel like that. Which is odd since this time I'm not unemployed by choice. Being let go was one of the worst feelings I've ever had. It was hurtful and embarrassing and humbling. Even 83 days later, when I think about some of the events that took place that week, I feel a giant scream of anxiety shoot through my chest. But as the days pass by, I've been pleasantly surprised to see that these feelings haven't bled over into the rest of my life. The manner with which I became unemployed makes me feel not so great, but my actual unemployment isn't the torturous experience it was last time.

Maybe I've matured? Maybe I just disliked my last job SO MUCH that being out of work feels like a much needed respite? Maybe I just like myself more this time around?

Whatever it is, I'm always pleasantly surprised when the fact that I'm unemployed randomly dawns on me during the day rather than allowing it to keep me up at night or to ruin my days.

The dogs and I took our usual route around the complex earlier today. We squinted into the sun and watched cars drive by with moms picking their kids up from school, students off to class, and people returning to work after a late lunch break. I shuffled along, keeping a slow pace so Gizmo could smell every blade of grass that tickled his fancy and so Tuffy could roll around on some stinky part of the ground that makes him want to rub all over it in ecstasy. Me, in my cut off jean shorts and fluffy topknot, with nowhere to go. No meetings to take, calls to make, or tasks to complete. I pulled the dogs aside before we went back home and sat them down in the shade. I stared at my feet in the grass and Gizmo's giant panting smile as the cold blades hit his hot belly. And it hit me, I'm unemployed.

And that's okay.

***Hey there Maryland Unemployment people...I do apply for a bunch of jobs during the day when I'm not lounging in the sun and/or typing blog posts. I swear.


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