It’s been a full 7 months since I haven’t had a job. This is the longest time that I’ve been unemployed since I was 16 years old. It’s been an education in many ways, and I thought I’d share the things that I’ve learned. In no particular order:
- There is never enough time. When you are working and trying to manage taking care of a home, family,aging parents, etc., all you do is wish you had more time. You think of all that you could get done if you just had one more weekend day. But, when I suddenly had freed up at least nine hours of my day, I found that I still was wishing for more time. The day still flies by, and your to do list is never done.
- Getting dressed is overrated. I
sometimes go from my bed to driving the girls to school, then back home to sit in front of the computer. With no where to go and no one to see me, showering and changing seems superfluous. Living in my sweats is quite comfortable.
- I still don’t like to clean. Just because I’m home doesn’t mean that I want to do housework. I’ve definitely undertaken way more cleaning and organization tasks since I’ve been out of work, but it’s not because it was high on my list of priorities. Here’s how it usually happened: ME (scrambling through our junk drawer): “Where is the !@#% tape? I thought we had tape in here. I need the tape! Everyone else: Shrugs or doesn’t answer. ME: “This drawer really needs to be cleaned out.” Everyone else: crickets So, I start taking everything out the junk drawer, trashing the trash, putting away stuff that doesn’t belong there, and cleaning all the crumbs and other nasty things from the drawer. Then I reorganize it.
- Slow down. I was always late and always in a hurry when I was working. Now I have the luxury of actually doing the speed limit some of the time, and I am really consciously trying to slow down and notice things. Life already goes by so quickly, why are we trying to go faster? I am really going to try to stay in a lower gear when I’m working again. I had the most pleasant experience at the post office. I was there to buy stamps for my Christmas cards. It was about five days from Christmas eve, and there is a line of five people with one postal employee. It could have been annoying and stressful. The woman at the desk was trying to get a package to a military base by Christmas eve. Another woman in line had a Christmas tree hat on. The man in front of me complimented the woman’s hat, and we all agreed. We all cheered when the postal employee found that he could express mail the package to the military base. The postal clerk started singing with the carol that was playing – “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” And, it was. I thoroughly enjoyed the moment.
- Appreciate the time off. This one is hard. It’s not really time off. I’ve been looking for another job since I was let go from my job. A job search can use up a significant chunk of your day, everyday. And, without knowing when I will be earning an income again, it’s not like I can take off for Bora Bora for a month. But, I was out of work over the summer, and I did try to enjoy each beautiful summer day we had. As we got into the holidays (which is also a very slow time for employment activities), I decorated my house fully. I sat in my living room and enjoyed the lights. And I was able to entertain family and friends without the stress of getting everything done in the evenings and weekends.
- Have patience. Being unemployed and searching for a new job is depressing. Having to talk about being unemployed makes me feel like a loser. I am on a constant roller coaster of emotions when I send out my resume or have interviews, but then hear back that I’m “not a fit”. Every day that goes by has me feeling a little more desperate. I question my resume, what I said, what I wore – am I doing everything I can to get employed?? I have to remind myself again and again to have patience. I will get a job, and it will be the right one at the right time.
Those are the main points. I’m sure there are others, but these are the ones that I have taken to heart.