Friday, July 23rd, 2010

Okay, I admit it: I’m getting restless. I’ve been unemployed for three weeks now and it’s making me antsy, BUT IT’S NOT BECAUSE I DON’T WANT TO STAY AT HOME READING BOOKS, PETTING THE CAT AND WRITING DRIVEL ALL DAY. I hope we’re straight on that.

I’ve always said I don’t understand people who say they could never retire because they wouldn’t know what to do with themselves all day. That’s just sad. I can think of a gojillion things I’d rather do that go to work. Got that? A gojillion!

When my position was eliminated my employer sent me to a job-hunting seminar and one of the featured speakers at this seminar began her talk by pointing at me and asking, by way of trying to be motivational, “If you didn’t have to go to work, what would you do with yourself?”

I made a huge mistake answering her. Never having to work ever again would be my dream, so I laughed, which I realized later sounded a lot like a dismissive guffaw, and I said, “I wouldn’t do anything!

She rocked back on her heels and barked, “Huh!” heavily inflecting her canine reply with enough disdain to wilt a lesser man than I. “Well, you’ve got to do something! You can’t do nothing forever!

First, she’s wrong. I could do nothing for quite a long time. Twenty-one years in the military have trained me well in the ways of inertia. It makes my head fuzzy and I feel like a lump of mud, and if I kept it up for more than a week I’d be just as disgusted with myself as she was, but I could do it.

Second, what I meant was that I certainly wouldn’t end up biting my nails, wondering what to do with myself. I would instead happily spend the rest of my days reading & cat-petting & otherwise puttering, but I think she took it as a personal rebuke. I wanted to explain that and offer my apologies, until she doinked me a couple more times for by repeating the “You can’t just do nothing” meme throughout her talk. By the time she was done I was telegraphing death threats to her in Morse code by blinking my eyes.

So long as we understand that I would be able to cope rather well with not having to go to work, when “work” is defined as reporting to a cubicle daily to bang away at a pile of somebody else’s paperwork that never seems to get any smaller, I’ll continue my original thought: I’m getting a little restless about being out of work. It’s making me antsy because My Darling B shouldn’t have to venture into cubicle hell alone every day to bring home a paycheck.

I had these lofty dreams of becoming a writer, and she very graciously agreed to give me time to look for job vacancies that would let me pursue that dream. Isn’t she the perfect wife? She is, take my word for it. She’s also spoken for. You can’t have her. Just cry in your coffee and get over it.

But my dreams are not going to be enough to get me a job as a writer. Employers would like to see examples of your work, product, but the only things I’ve written in the past twenty-five years are performance appraisals, award write-ups and training manuals. They were damn good appraisals and write-ups, but I’m beginning to get the idea that, without the backup of some night classes in technical writing, they’re not going to win over a potential employer.

Shortly after my previous employer eliminated my position I got a call from the HR department inviting me to apply for a job as an admin assistant. In fact, it was the same job they hired me for five years ago. “Thanks for the years of dedicated service! Want your entry-level job back?” I’m sure they were trying to help, but it still felt like salt in the wound.

Yet now here I am, looking at entry-level jobs. The Great Wheel of Life has turned full circle in just a few years. I’d like to take those night classes but I don’t see how we’ll be able to afford them, or anything else, if I’m not bringing home a paycheck that’s a bit sturdier than the unemployment benefits crutch we’re leaning on now.

Great Wheel | 11:06 am CDT
Category: adventures in unemployment, daily drivel, My Darling B, O'Folks, work
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