At this time, 10:17 am, one week ago, I was fired.
I had only been at the job for 10 and a half weeks so I didn’t even think it was possible, but it was tricky from the get go. I was not only navigating a new field, but a volatile personality. I can sit here and write a post about my nightmare experience, but I can’t change the damage that’s been done. My ego will be bruised for a while, I will panic about money and question every penny I spend, my plans of moving are derailed, I have doubts about my abilities, about my professionalism, about what I want to be when I grown up–except for the fact that I’m 31.
I’ve found a temporary office at the corner coffee shop where I’ve joined the ranks of the fellow unemployed, the freelancers, the folks retired, the college students, and the mom’s with stroller’s getting out of the house for a short break. I haven’t fully accepted that this is my life yet, but it’s a day-to-day process. I won’t allow myself to be completely paralyzed however. I have updated my Linkdin, sent out a couple of resumes, and swallowed the humiliation and contacted a few key people within my network. It’s important to me that I process this blip in my life (it doesn’t seem like a blip now, but I have been assured by some very smart folks that it will indeed be a “blip”), but also move forward.
I assure you, the underdog will triumph, again.
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I spent yesterday morning job searching and sending out resumes. One friend sent me a job at the hospital she works at for a Content Editor position. The main jest was to write and produce stories for the website. The job sounded great and I spent a couple of hours crafting a cover letter and filling out online forms. Four hours later I received a rejection email. It’s not my first rejection, and won’t be the last, however, it was the first rejection after learning I would be ousted by my current employer at the end of June.
I then went to dinner at my dad’s house and the start of “you should look into this and that” came from my dad and stepmother (who randomly burst out with “You should be an Esthetician! You like doing nails!”). I was pretty calm throughout all of this, but I could feel the panic and self-doubt slowly creeping in. Reality has officially set in.
I have dialogues with myself: I have no transferable skills. Yes you do. What if I don’t find a job by June? You’ll figure it out. How am I suppose to work full-time and look for a job full-time? You’ll find a way to do it.
There are many more doubts than I had a couple of days ago when I actually felt good about knowing I’d be laid off. Now I’m not so sure. I knew it was going to happen and I know I need change, but looming deadline has got me a little freaked. The lack of decent jobs, the knowing there are thousands out there with more experience, knowing while I have skills, employers may see them as skewed. Marketing, proofreading, public relations, copywriter, advertising director, supervisor of web designer and graphic designer–I’ve touched a lot of things but may not seen proficient in one area or another. I also wonder if my educational and cultural organization experience, along with my master’s degree in nonprofit management is seen as suspicious as I am also looking at for-profits, writing jobs, and other organizations that my background isn’t in.
So I just need to keep talking myself down, figure out how to write great cover letters and how to correctly sell myself, and keep on searching. I still have four months to figure it out.
Here is what I bought at the bookstore today:
1. Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck
2. I Don’t Know What I Want, But I Know It’s Not This by Julie Jansen.
3. Granata Magazine. This issues theme: Work.
4. The Atlantic Monthly. The cover issue headline: The Recession’s Long Shadow
Yes, all of the above share a common theme. A theme I am all too familiar with and find fascinating yet fear. I learned yesterday my position will be eliminated at the end of this fiscal year. I have four months to find a job and get out. I was not surprised. I knew the day was coming. I actually feel a lot more relieved than devastated. Actually, I’m not really devastated at all. I’ve been in a work and pay plateau for two years now. I’ve been slowly looking for work for months, but now I really need to step it up. The problem-my life’s problem-I don’t know what I want to do. Though I’ve become good at marketing and public relations I’m sick of being a bull shitter for a living. But right now I feel it’s the only thing I know.
I’m not always gung-ho for self-help books, but there are valid exercises in both that I’m more than willing to explore. I’ve always said I don’t want my work to be my life, and I still feel that way, but I do want to be happy for the 40 hours I spend away from home. I do want to feel some sort of meaning, and if I don’t, I want to be paid considerably more to feel nothingness.
Life is a at a crossroads, but I’m really, surprisingly, okay. I feel confident that I will figure it out. Will I have crap days? Yes, of course. But I also feel strangely empowered to make even more changes in my life. So for a while, this blog, may become more of a spring-board of ideas about my future.
Welcome to my rollercoaster.
I wish I knew how to really articulate myself when it comes to writing about music. When I talk about music I use adjectives like: amazing, soulful, awesome, rockin’, and if I’m really feeling frisky, badass. There is a skill very few have when it comes to writing about music. For me it’s a feeling. It’s a resonantion of a time or feeling. Music can be our friend when we are mad (I crank Fiona Apple), lonely (Carol King), hopeful (Mavis Staples), hopeful for love (Ray LaMontagne), in love (Ben Harper), it can make us feel better in times of despair (Bruce Springsteen).
When natural (or horribly man-made) disasters happen I am glued to the television. Watching the sadness and fear in faces, hearing stories of death and survival, and honestly feeling like I will never be able to really do anything to help beyond writing a check to do something because I am not as self-less as I can be. I got so obsessed with the news coverage from Katrina I had nightmares. I wouldn’t let myself do it this time with Haiti. I couldn’t stomach it because I was so wrapped in my depression I couldn’t take on more.
But I’m a music lover so I watched the Hope For Haiti Now telethon, and not only did I discover and finally see coverage of the awful, gut-wrentching situation. I was horrified. My first thought was “I want to adopt to Haitian baby.” Now I know I can’t do that at this time, but I still want to do something. I’ve considerad volunteer opportunities but I’ve been lazy and spending too much time thinking about what I want to do, and not what really needs to be done or who needs the most help.
It’s hard not to be down at the state of the world. I’m angry about so many things in America, but I also realize I’m a very lucky women.
So, now that this post has taken a completely different turn from the beginning, I just want to vow this: this year I will volunteer and on a very different note, I want to make more iTunes playlists…and write about how the songs I’m into a certain week is also like a journal. I miss making mix tapes, and I wish I still had many of them. They are an audio diary of our lives, and that’s important to me.
Listening to the boys on the busy but quiet subway platform harmonize “Just My Imagination” after a long day restored my faith in the soul of humanity.
Minutes later I got onto the train–the two girls behind me that sounded like extras on “The Hills” with their excessively loud voices, sentences filled with “like,” and an umbrella tapping on the back on the seat, killed it.
It’s nights like this–when its cold and there are inches of snow on the ground–that I wish we were a real couple.
Walking home from the train tonight I looked into the window of the Trattoria down the street. I saw us sitting in the window munching on pizza and sipping red wine while watching the snow fall and feeling sorry for those trudging towards their destination. Inside we would feel warm and cozy, talking about our days and gazing in each other’s eyes. I’d feel happy just sitting with you talking.
It’s not worth another talk, they are all the same. It’s not worth whoulda, coulda, shoulda. I know that all already.
I just sometimes wish things were different.
The nonprofit that I work at has decided to not to operate on Fridays. The building will be closed. However, that means we have to cram a full week of work into 4 days. Yes, our salary’s stay the same, though we are currently in pay freeze and our employers no longer contribute to our 401k, and the word “bonus” is a joke in the nonprofit industry. Our institution has been going though lots of changes, and for the most part I’ve accepted them. I feel like “free Fridays” should make me happy but it doesn’t. I worry about the longer hours, the pressure of work not getting done, where this closing one day a week will eventually lead. I worry my staff won’t make the next round of budget cuts, I may not either. I worry about having an extra day to the weekend. Though it helps having a weekday when it comes to making doctor’s appointments, picking up dry cleaning, calling tech help lines, or hopefully job interviews.
I guess I’m worried about the extra day because I’ve been feeling so bored lately. I’ve been thinking about taking a class, finding volunteer work, and looking for a new job after the new year. I’m just worried I’ll spend Fridays staying in bed all day watching Netflix or daytime TV court shows. I do spend time on the weekends with friends or family, but there are plenty of nights when I hang out alone when my friends are out with their spouses or significant others. I’m wondering if I could get a part time job. Maybe make some extra money–I curse myself that I never learned how to waitress. I’d love to find a freelance editing or writing job or maybe take a web design class. Maybe I’ve been looking at this glass half empty, maybe this is just what I need to begin something new.