Yesterday was a good day. I had a great informational interview with the COO of a fundraising company. Unfortunately, they have no administrative or operational openings right now, but he promised to keep me on his short list if anything does open up. He also offered to help me in any way he could, so it was a good contact and good practice for future interviews.
I learned how much I will get via unemployment. It's considerably less than I was making, but it is comforting to know that I can get by on it until I find something suitable. I've decided that the scariest part of being unemployed truly is the unknown. If it weren't for that, I could just relax and enjoy this respite. Even if I didn't have plenty to do looking for a new job, I have enough interests and curiosity that I could fill my days reading, writing, taking pictures, puttering around in the kitchen, playing violin, researching things, messing about learning to make horrifically bad paintings, exploring any number of heretofore undiscovered hobbies. It's the not knowing if it will take me seven days or seven months to find a new situation that freaks me out. While I am truly happy for those co-workers (mostly in sales) who have transitioned quickly into new jobs, every time I hear about another one I get a little pang of "What's wrong with me? Am I too slow finding something new? What if I don't ever find anything?" The fact that this is totally unrealistic thinking or that I haven't even been unemployed long enough for my unemployment benefits to kick in doesn't stop me from going down that road when I'm in the right mood. I'm just not used to not having something to do.
The truth is that it's generally not so bad during the day. I am around people then and even when I'm not, I'm busy looking for job leads, tweaking my resume, trying to think about potential directions. There is some part of me that sees this as a kick in the pants to find something that is more of a calling than a job. That is the exciting part. The part of me that was told when I took Strengthsfinder testing that I am "great to have around at the beginning of a project" loves this infinite possibility stuff. That part is excited to know future me and find out what she is doing.
It's the worry wart part of my personality that makes this such a pendulous experience. Today, for example, I was doing great. I spent the morning looking for leads, then spent some time talking to a friend online about my plans for tomorrow, which is my birthday, and it suddenly hit me how very much this is NOT how I wanted to start my plenty-ninth year. Next thing I knew, I was crying and feeling totally overwhelmed by the fact that I don't have this amazing savings to fall back on and pretty ticked off at myself for not having better planned for the eventuality that I could lose my job.
The dumb thing is that I really am not that bad off. I have a home. I'm in no danger of losing the core things that make my life good. And I guess that's the lesson of this experience. BREATHE. Keep things in perspective. Things WILL be okay.