Friday was my last day at the state House <sniff sniff> and today is my first day of being unemployed. While I had grand, self-pitying plans to sleep in, stay in my PJs, eat peanut butter from the jar, and wallow at the book store later, while thumbing my nose at the job vacancy list serve emails I receive daily and that have so far led to nothing, none of this came to pass.
Instead I got up at 8, packed a lunch for the husband, gave the rest of the peanut butter jar to the dog, and have been applying for jobs ever since. I think I’m addicted to rejection. The cold, unfeeling auto-reply, the inexplicable lack of response from people in the customer service industry, the cruel ‘you are qualified for this pay grade but are not being considered for this position’ email that comes after each federal job to which I eagerly submit a resume and rock star cover letter. I just can’t get enough and so I keep applying, day after day, month after month. The thrill of rejection never dies. I may be a masochist but I’m not lazy.
Although I am still in my PJs because let’s be for real, one day of unemployment has its perks.
I firmly believe that we go through some things, some seasons, in our lives so that we can be there for others who go through the same things, and so that we can walk beside people in our lives who will face similar circumstances. We can learn a lot about what we value when the unexpected arises in our own lives.
To be able to say, with all honesty and humility and gentleness, ‘I’ve been there, I know what you’re talking about,’ is a gift, though I do think it’s presumptuous to say ‘I know how you feel,’ because even similar experiences don’t yield identical responses.
From something as common as moving away from everyone you know to the relatively unique experience of Martha, I believe that the last few months have been one lesson after another about how to relate to others in less-than-ideal situations. If a stint of unemployment makes it on that list, then these next few days, possibly weeks, and potentially months are worth something beyond what I can see right now.
And so while my rejection letter body count rises and the days flip by on my shoe desk calendar that I thought would be at home in an office today, I will look forward to the day down the road when a friend or neighbor faces unemployment and dim prospects and say, in genuine compassion, ‘Ugh, I’ve been there, I know what you’re talking about.’ And nothing more.
Until I have friends and a job though, I’ll stay at home with said shoe calendar, in my PJs, applying for jobs and blogging away to the masterful musical stylings of one Yo Yo Ma.
And then I will take a nap because although I’m not lazy, I am unemployed and this application business really takes it out of you.