Thursday, March 14, 2013

The first day of the rest of my life

Yesterday, for the first time in my life, I applied for unemployment. As I begin to get my affairs in order, the shock and paralysis of yesterday has started to wear off. I am a bundle of nervous energy that I direct at making to do lists, updating my linked in profile (which still needs some more work), and cancelling any unnecessary expenses (3 disks a month plus streaming, Netflix? I don't think so!). There are moments when I feel calm and even optimistic. Then there are the other moments where I swear I can feel my blood pounding and I almost feel light headed.

Thankfully, a friend who went through a similar situation a few years back has told me she intends to kidnap me at precisely 11 am to treat me to lunch and other "you are good enough, you are smart enough, and the world is your oyster, because people like you" type revelry.

We end up going to a cute little restaurant in Southeast where she lets me jabber on and on and on and on and assures me it's not the end of the world and that I'll do okay on unemployment for as long as I need to. She is full of sage advice like "Right now you are so full of nervous energy, you could probably shoot electricity out your finger tips." This is great news, because I can think of a couple of equity partners I'd want to electrocute right now, if I weren't such a staunch pacifist. She goes on to advise that I will never feel this energized to get this much done and that she recommends parlaying my new found energy into completing some projects. (Paint the house! Make a quilt! Learn to macrame and build a macrame room!) We've been friends for twenty-five years and are so much alike. It is a relief to talk to someone who really gets it and gets it from my anxious, creative spirit who would be completely happy puttering with words, ideas and music all day, but has to find a real job perspective.

Luckily, for me, I balance my internal loopiness with the ability to be analytical, disciplined and focused on doing things that are not in my natural comfort zone. When I started working on sales compensation, I had taught myself to be a whiz at excel, but had absolutely no finance experience. I generally learn quickly and find fun in the challenge of learning something new and becoming good at it. It's helped me become a Jill of all administrative and operational trades, but a big piece of my heart will always belong to writing, making music and finding ways for my introverted self to express itself through creative endeavor.

This is one of the the things Jen convinces me will be good about this respite. I can focus on where I want my life to go next and reclaim some of those pieces of myself. Over the years, I'd allowed them to drift further and further out of my sphere. They may never be part of my professional life, but I need them to be part of what makes my soul grow.

My new found freedom is still too new to be a willing one. I am still grieving. In an odd way, the stages here are starting to feel a little bit like a death - shock, disbelief, denial, anger, etc. I won't lie. There were times when I hated my job and when it gave me headaches. While most of the people I dealt with were awesome on multiple levels, there are always going to be a couple who make you feel like if they were on fire and you put them out, they'd complain about the water temperature. Mostly, though, I have loved it for the past few years. After eleven years, you get to know people. People get to know you. People come to trust you and know, even when there is a problem, that you will do everything in your power to help them. It's a nice feeling, knowing you have a good reputation and a daunting one to think about having to start over to build one from scratch.

But, I will. Tomorrow is a new day and maybe tomorrow I'll start to believe that when one door closes another opens.


mel unemployed said...

i've been feeling the same moment optimistic and kind of excited to have time for creative pursuits, the next moment sort of petrified about what my next move will be! i was there for almost 19 years--my first job out of college. the idea of going someplace new is daunting, but i'm sure we'll both be better off down the road. hang in there!

Martina said...

Thanks, Mel. It's somehow comforting to know that as freaked out and angst ridden as I feel right now, I am not alone. Something good will come out of this for both of us! You hang in there too!