It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

“There were times in my life when I had one thing to do all day, but I still couldn’t get to it. I gotta go to the post office, but I’d probably have to put on pants. And they’re only open till five. Looks like I’m going to have to do that next week.” —Jim Gaffigan

People think when you’re laid off that you have all the time in the world to accomplish all kinds of cool stuff. And, theoretically, you do. King of Queens’ Carrie thought she was going to read the Great Gatsby and catch up on assembling all of her photo albums. Turns out she mostly just played chopsticks on the piano and watched Dr. Phil.

Yeah. That’s reality.

I have all kinds of ambitious plans, but a few minor roadblocks.

#1 You’re supposed to be looking for a job. Time spent doing anything else seems complacent. You want to be able to tell people you have leads when they ask. And they will. Repeatedly.

#2 Or at least be worrying about looking for a job. You can’t really enjoy anything else you’re doing because you keep remembering you have no job. Images of Hannah and I living in a cardboard box flash through my mind as pages on my mental calendar fly off at an absurd pace.

#3 You can’t spend any money. Catching up with friends for lunch, taking care of long put off home improvement projects, working on your crafts, getting ahead on Christmas shopping—all cost money and can hardly be justified when mama ain’t workin.

#4 Turns out exercising isn’t any more fun now than it was when I was employed. I still hate it only now I can feel twice as guilty for not doing it when, clearly, I have plenty of time!

#5 Some days depression = frittering = nothing accomplished = compounding feelings of uselessness. I really wish I could go back to work just so I wouldn’t have to feel bad about not using my time off wisely.

I was going to add the events of a typical day of a laid off person, but eh. I don’t feel like it. Friends is on.

Displaced, Misplaced. Potato, Potahto. Also Known as “How I Just Got Laid Off.”

It was a typical morning. Ok I’ll drive Hannah to the bus stop, eat breakfast, go to work and…the universe pipes up “Aaaaand let me stop you right there.”

I was displaced from my job on October 1.

Hmm, displaced sounds a lot like misplaced, I mused. I looked them both up.

Displaced: forced to leave your home, typically because of war, persecution, or natural disaster.

I laughed to myself. Well my management was a disaster.

Misplaced: incorrectly positioned or temporarily lost.

Well. I definitely felt misplaced.

My job was not the greatest job, but it definitely wasn’t the worst. I worked with some great people and a couple of awful people. Most days I thought I was probably supposed to be doing something else, but I had it pretty good. So I just hung out. For 8 years.

Lately, I’d begun to feel the urge to either punch someone or run away on a daily basis. We had the worst management I’d ever seen. The inmates were running the asylum. And Nurse Ratched was nowhere to be found.

Still. It stings to be laid off. Your ride on the roller coaster begins. You ride up the hills of hope and down to the depths of despair several times a day. You go from wanting to cuss someone out to wishing you were with your friends again. You go from wishing you’d said nothing to wishing you’d said so much more.

I’d upset the apple cart on more than one occasion by asking questions and making suggestions. And for this, I was labeled a troublemaker. But in an effort to always grow toward the sun, I felt that communication was the way to keep morale up and misunderstandings at bay. Helpful hint: when your boss says call or stop by his office with aaaaany concerns, he actually means keep your big trap shut.

So after many “Things happen for a reason” days and several “Something better is around the corner” weeks, I feel fine about it. Maybe I was DISPLACED from being MISPLACED. Because I was not meant to be there. My place is yet to be found.