Unemployment: Day 80

My 90th day of unemployment is just days away. My bestie reminded me last week that it was approaching, and unlike so many Americans who aren’t working, I’ve had enough money to make to the 90-day mark without being  foreclosing, visiting a food bank for assistance or pounding the pavement for any and every job I can get. In fact, I’ve worked on some really great projects, traveled and even took a writing class in New York City. I have to agree, I’ve been quite comfortable, and I owe that all to God.

Since my last day of work, I’ve been restless, bored to tears, but happy to lounge around, write, research jobs and catch up on Boss (check that out, please), instead of fighting annoying morning traffic, or worse, school zones. What I haven’t done is stress about where my next meal will come from or how I will pay my bills. At all.

I remember taking a driving course when I was 15. They put me on the expressway to drive, and when I told my mom, she asked me, “You weren’t nervous?!” I told her no, and her reply was, “Girl, you’re too foolish to know when to be scared.” Maybe this is one of those situations, but whatever the reason, I’ve had no worries.

A Twitter follower just announced that this is her first day of “FUNemployment.” That’s a nice spin, right? Earlier this summer, a writer friend who actually made his living freelancing until recently suggested that no one really wants to be unemployed. My personal reasoning was it was all good because the job I left, or that left me, wasn’t a good fit for me. He told me, “I’m sure, but still, it’s just an inconvenience.” I didn’t argue because just a few days in, I hadn’t experienced true inconvenience, as I had one more paycheck coming in.

Yeah, he was right. As I write, I have the State of Tennessee Unemployment Office on my cell’s speaker phone. They’ve been playing this terrible hold music for the past 45 minutes. I’m wasting my precious daytime minutes, but I’ve never gotten hold music, only a call-back message, so I’m willing to wait. See, I haven’t received any unemployment since I filed on June 1. Today is August 21. I’m beyond pissed about it.

I’ve struggled to seamlessly answer the “So, what do you do?” question without fumbling with my words. The fact is that I do work without being tied down to a particular company or organization for now. I’m a writer and I work on freelance projects. End of story.

I thank God for gifts and talents and the right mind to save money and contribute to a retirement plan when I was working. All things work for the good.

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14 Days

I guess I should update you on what’s going on with me so far. If you’ve been reading, you know that I’ve committed a major no-no, which is not posting for over a week. I haven’t worked in two weeks, so there should be plenty of time to blog, right? Nah. I’ve been glued to this computer doing other stuff. Other stuff that’s more important than giving you my opinion on the tomfoolery going on in the world today (imagine that!).

In the past two weeks, I’ve been to the unemployment office three times AFTER I filed my claim online. I’ve applied for food stamps. I’ve applied to jobs atleast 2-3 times daily, had two phone interviews for jobs, received a rejection letter for one,  lost a contract opportunity in facilitation, got the green light for a story for a local pub only to find out it won’t happen. On top of that, I have a houseguest, and she’s 18. The golden age of psudeo-independence. Oh yes, it’s been a very busy 14 days.

But I’m still bored to tears. I know. I need to sit my ass down right? LOL.

I am though. In fact, that’s all I’ve been doing, give or take a few walks in the park or a trip to the magazine section in Starbucks (at the mall). Oh, and sleeping. I, once the Queen of Sleep, am tired of it. Turns out, this doing nothing thing is exhausting. The great thing, though, is if I don’t have anywhere to go, if I so choose, I can take an impromptu nap anytime I feel like it. There’s no better freedom.

Don’t get all inspirational on me and tell me I can go out and explore nature, become a tourist in my own city, yadda, yadda. I know that, and I am doing that to a degree. I think I’m still wrapping my mind around not going to a job every day. Last night, I thought to myself, “I can’t watch ‘Girls’ at 11:30. I won’t be able to wake up in the morning.”

Wake up for what? To go to work…or watch The View? Because I surely did the latter. In the last two weeks, I realized that daytime television sucks, all of the good movies come on in the mid-morning, Parks and Recreation is my new favorite show and I might like bacon more than sausage as far as breakfast food goes.

I’m living the life over here, people.

The good news is I’m writing more and I haven’t gone a day without opening my blinds and letting the sunshine in. I’m still moving and still smiling.

I’m off to fill out some more applications.

A Birthday Present

A month ago today was April 10, my 31st birthday. I’d partied (a little too hard) the previous weekend, taken the day off to celebrate with a little Me Time. You know, the usual: massage, lunch, mani/pedi and a little shopping. My day was filled with love from friends and family and countless Facebook and Twitter posts just because. Life was good.

I happily returned to work the next day. My inbox was filled with birthday wishes from coworkers along with an Outlook appointment to meet with my supervisors. To catch you up, two years ago, I transitioned into a new position at my job as a Resource Development Coordinator, which really means I do whatever my supervisor, the CEO, requests, including sitting in on board of directors and executive committee meetings.  There was a board meeting going on at that very moment and thankfully, I didn’t have to attend.

Long story, short, in that meeting I was informed that I would no longer be employed as of May 31 due to budget cuts.

Oh.

Happy belated birthday to me.

I didn’t say much. Gave a few nods, signed my agreement form and told my higher-ups that business is business. There were no hard feelings. Truthfully, there weren’t. I guess I saw it coming. After five years of doing a “whole lot of stuff” at this organization, being laid off was a gift in a way.

Why? Because I don’t like my job.

I don’t hate my coworkers, the fringe benefits or being paid a decent salary every two weeks, but I do hate the job itself. It has almost sucked the life out of me. I’ve read every “Signs You Need Another Job” story the Internet and magazines have to offer, and I fit the description of all of them. Recently, my mother asked me why I was dressing like a bum to go to work. There was a time when I lived in dresses, skirts and heels, even when I worked in a warehouse in my previous job. These days, I rock flats (ick), the same four or five pairs of slacks and cardigans with little to no fashion “umph” whatsoever. How tragic. I told her, “I guess I dress how I feel.”

This exact time last year, I was fresh off of a six-week medical leave. I didn’t want to come back. I was writing, making more contacts, doing what I wanted to do, and NOT going to work. I vowed to give it six months and then I’d kick the job search into full gear. Maybe apply for this fancy summer journalism course in New York City. A year later, I’m in the same position. Complacent and bored to tears.

That’s when God stepped in. He knew the only way to get me out of this place was by force. I’d gotten comfortable with my situation because I’m blessed and in this economic climate, people would kill to have my job, any job anyway. How I wish I could’ve secured a job on my own and turned in a two weeks notice, but it didn’t happen that way. I’m not mad nor ashamed because this 8-5 deal isn’t me. In fact, I’m happy. A weight has been lifted. Yes, I’m a little scared, but that’s normal and healthy.

What now?

I trust that God will help me  find my way to bigger and better things. I figure, and I pray this will only come around in my life once, so I should take advantage while I have no attachments. I have skills that can bring in income. I write, teach school and facilitate trainings. It’s a running that joke between friends that I am a “Jamaican” or similar to “Tommy” on Martin. I’m always asked “What the hell do you do for a living?!”

Since April 11, I’ve wondered if I’ll be as happy as I think or will I become depressed. Turn the lights off, close my blinds and drown myself in microwavable dinners and wine? Or will I get up, get out and do something? I guess it’s time to show and prove.

So in short, life is still good, but this time around, I’m on the countdown. Twenty more days, and I’ll say farewell to my “old” life.  Let’s see what happens next.