Friday, March 15, 2013

Vacation, all I ever wanted

Today has felt really strange. Four days ago, I was worried about how to get everything done, so I wouldn't have to look at work during my week off. Now I suddenly have all the time I want and maybe even more.
My resume still needs some work, but I've done all the things (I think) you're supposed to do in this unfamiliar situation. I've filed an unemployment claim, I've gone through my monthly expenses to see which can be reduced or cut, I've come up with two options for paying of my credit card debt (neither of which, I am proud to say, involve selling my body or learning how to cook meth!), and I'm shopping around for health insurance. I, the consummate sucky networker, even have an information gathering call with the co-founder of a company here in Portland on Monday.

Already, I've learned some things:
  • Losing a job is a little like the lite version of losing a loved one: As corny as it might sound, there are stages of grief. Day one was pretty much the Day of Shock and Denial. I think it took until around lunch time for me to become convinced that I wasn't just having a bad dream. By day three, I was a freshly naturalized citizen of The Land of Pissed-off People (aka LOPP). I haven't experienced much in the way of guilt or bargaining, but that is because I know that I did absolutely nothing wrong and that sending out resumes is going to be more effective than any bargaining. I do, however, become overwhelmed and a bit weepy from time to time, but that seems to be lessening as each day passes and I do have enough perspective, even now, to recognize that it was a job not an arm or a loved one or a pet (which I guess is a little redundant, since pets fall under loved ones too!)
  • I have great friends and family: OK, I already knew this one, but, boy is adversity a good reminder! Suddenly, I find myself with a collection of advice, encouraging words, invitations for outings, (heartbreaking) offers from eight year olds to share their allowance, and "keep your chin up, you're awesome!" emails. My friends are also willing to tell me when I am wrong, like on Tuesday, when I briefly thought that watching all four seasons of Breaking Bad on Netflix could count as a career retraining program. Someone quickly stepped into remind me that perhaps need a little more guidance. After all, I get squirrely and start looking over my shoulder when I have an overdue library book and am probably not cut out for a life of crime. It's like having my own personal cheer leading squad without the annoying chirpiness, haireography, and stupid outfits.
  • Rrecommendations are a great self-esteem booster: Back in the old day (aka three days ago) when I was still employed, I used to keep a "Martina is awesome" file in my email. Any time someone said something about my work that made me glow with pride, it got dumped in there. If I was ever feeling beleaguered and needed a pick me up, I'd read a couple. Recommendations are a little like that. It's easy to get depressed and fretful about what happens next, but knowing people think highly of you and your professionalism somehow helps calm the panic and replace it with Marleyesque feelings of "Every little thing is gonna be alright!" 
  • Having no health insurance is scary: When I had health insurance, I rarely used it. Now that I don't have any, every headache becomes a possible brain tumor. Thankfully, I think I have narrowed down the major contenders, so that will now longer be a huge concern after tomorrow.
  • You'd be surprised how many expenses you have that can be cut (p.s. Cellphone companies are bastards): The first few days of my transition, I was almost obsessively "as God is my witness, I'll never eat out again!" And, I probably won't eat out as much, but I am trying to remember it's okay to be kind to myself. Being unemployed doesn't mean I have to give up everything, but it is a good opportunity to pare down. So far, I have talked to my phone/Internet provider and reduced out monthly bill, switched my Netflix subscription to streaming only, started planning a vegetable garden and come to the conclusion that my Verizon phone service costs way too much. Credo will buy out my plan and charge me about $25 less a month, while making donations to progressive causes. Ting will only charge me for what I use, but sadly won't buy out my plan, because I farted around too long and missed out on their buyout promotion by a day or two. That means paying $260 to break my contract, if I go with them, but even that would be a savings in the long run. The stupid things is that I probably should have done this a long time ago, because who needs to be wasting money when you can get the same thing for less?
  • When you're use to working, relaxing is HARD: Every day, I wake up and tell myself "Today, I will relax!" I have been through a shock. I deserve it, right? Then, every time I sit down to read a book or watch a movie, I soon find myself obsessively checking linked in, email, resume sites, the status of my unemployment claim, pretty much e anything that could lead to a job or strategies to tide me over until I find one.
  • In the midst of all the angst, there is some hope: The one exciting thing right now is the potential for a fresh, new path. I have a graduate degree in German literature. Before moving into operations and administration, then sales compensation, I taught, I worked as a translator, I did layout and proofing for a newspaper. Despite my sometimes tendency to sell myself short, I have marketable skills. it's just a matter of which direction I want to take them (and finding someone to pay me for it, but that is the kind of angst-ridden talk that has no place in a hopeful, anti-angst bullet, so shut it, angsty-me!)
  • And so, my project for the weekend is to learn how to relax, think about where this new path will lead me, and to remember in those anxious moments to just breathe and keep perspective, because everything really is going to be alright.


    mel unemployed said...

    girl, you feel like a soul sister! i can totally relate to everything you're writing about. keep writing! you could do that as a career--you're FUNNY! i hope you find something that isn't working for The Man and uses some of your less-used talents that you listed off...hope you find something that makes you happy! and try to's hard, but we need a break now and then....this situation is draining! :)mel

    Martina said...

    Thanks, Mel. You too! It has been a crazy week and a half, hasn't it?