The Time I Thought They Forgot My Birthday

The Universe schooled me this week.

I thought my coworkers were going to forget my birthday. You know, kinda like what happened to Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles. Except I am a GROWN WOMAN and felt really dumb worrying about people forgetting my 43RD BIRTHDAY. And yet, I worried.

“Maybe you should drop a hint?” my sister half-joked.

“I can’t do that! I’ll look crazy!” I answered.

So the anxiety stayed in the back of my mind for the next few days. I wondered why I cared so much. I don’t really like being the center of attention, so why did it matter if they remembered or not. It matters because them remembering makes you feel like YOU matter, I thought to myself. Oh right. That makes sense. Conversely, if people forget, it means you don’t matter. Nobody wants to not matter. Duh.

Anyway, these girls remembered like a boss. They remembered so hard. Balloons, decorations, cupcakes, flowers, a card, lunch and treats. They even sung the birthday song. They outdid all previous coworker birthday celebrations. How could I ever have doubted them? That was silly.

Universe: When will you learn? I got this.

 

#Throwback Thursday: It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

Originally published 11/18/14

 

“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 unstoppable 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.

photo by memecenter.com

Please Exit In An Orderly Fashion

My friend got canned on Friday. Employer says he is welcome to stay while they look for a replacement and he looks for a new position. I thought to myself, wow, now THAT would be a conundrum.

On the one hand, you might as well stay and keep getting your paycheck while you find something else. Seems silly to cut off your nose to spite your face. On the other hand, how how how? I think it would be really hard to go back to a place that has let you go. To exit in such an orderly fashion after such an ego hit.

I think a lot of people would never go back. Or they’d go back for the paycheck, but secretly fantasize about burning the place to the ground.

But he said something very growing-toward-the-sun-ish that won my admiration. “It’s just business. I don’t have any hard feelings. If I get all bitter about it, it just makes things worse for me.”

Touché.

And that’s how it’s done. <mic drop>

Only Terrorists Wear Jeggings

“How is the job search going?”

VennDigram

That’s how it’s going.

And apparently it’s going that way for everyone else, too. Every job seeker I know is approximately one ignored resume away from deciding they’ve failed at life and should just go join the circus. (I hope the circus isn’t offended that they are a struggling career’s last resort.)

When you’re frustrated on the reg by a fruitless job search, tiny frustrations can morph into a gigantic I-want-to-run-over-someone-with-the-car frustrations. Like there being no un-spicy sushi in the grocery store case. Or the last 15 minutes of The Good Wife being cut off on my DVR. Or the discontinuation of my favorite jeans.

Me to retail clerk: Are you guys getting any more of the boot cut jeans?
Retail clerk: Ummmm probably not. We have mostly been selling the skinny jeans and the jeggings.
Me in my mind: What the hell is a jegging.
Me in real life: Oh.
Me in my mind: (throw my hands in the air, sigh loudly and cry “OH WHAT’S THE USE!” while collapsing onto the sales room floor)
Me in real life: (exit without refolding the tower of tshirts I had knocked over)

I pause to text my sister about how my boot cut mom jeans were extinct and everyone wears jeggings now. “Only terrorists wear jeggings,” she texted back. I laughed to myself. I enjoyed our shared rejection of jeggings. Then I logged onto ebay and found a pair of boot cut.

One thing that’s great about constant rejection is that you relish the small victories.

Sabbatical, Month 5: Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming

Lalalala…let me mosey on over to my computer and see what’s new on the job sites today. Click click click. Scroll scroll scroll.

Graphic Designer wanted. Oh goody, I AM a graphic designer! Alrighty, let me just shoot my 57th resume out into the Job Seeking Black Hole….aaaaaand done.

Now I just wait for a reply. Again.

I sit and ponder why the hiring peeps are never in a hurry. I’m sure they all have their reasons, but those reasons are always a mystery to the applying peeps. It stands to reason that if you place an ad asking for applicants, you must be in need of employees. So what’s with all the foot dragging!

A few months ago I interviewed at a great company. The position seemed tailor made for me. The money was there, the work was stuff I was made to do, they chatted with me for an hour and forty five minutes. Clearly, I had this in one the bag.

Fast forward Slow motion ahead four weeks where the hiring peeps tell me they are too busy to hire at the moment and will get back to me when things slow down. They still have not filled the position.

A few weeks ago I interviewed for a position at a great company. The position seemed tailor made for me. The money was there, the work was stuff I was made to do, the lady complimented my dress. Clearly, I had this in one the bag.

Fast forward Slow motion ahead three weeks to a random Friday afternoon. The company decided it only wanted to pay half the original salary and that I wasn’t one of their top picks because I had too much experience. They still have not filled the position.

All the waiting! All the dashed hopes! All of the nonsense! I wanted to flip out. I went to my sister’s and had chicken pot pies and cherry vodka instead.

That’s it. I’m done wrestling with the hiring peeps.

“We are going to see the manatees!” I announced. So the next day, we did. I had always thought of going, but never had. It occurred to me to stop waiting on a job (hiring peeps) and just start doing things that would make me feel good. Right now.

That day, it was seeing the damn manatees. Now it’s focusing on 5K training with my sister. Holding my nephew. Cooking yummy recipes. Taking hot baths. Watching Friday Night Lights. Photography with Hannah.

Dory says “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…” but I think she meant with the current and not against. Duh. I can try to control this situation as much as I want, but it’s like being caught in a rip tide. You struggle, you drown. You relax and let it carry you, you’ll eventually make it out just fine. I’m ready to surrender and go with the flow.

I’m obviously still job seeking, but also thinking about what else there is. Right now. What do Oprah & Co. say about things like this? “What is yours will not pass you by”

Well there you have it.

Dory

Too Many Cooks In The Kitchen

Layoffs Sabbaticals are full of triumph and tribulation. One day you feel like a superstar taking over the world, removing long put off tasks from your to do list….the next you’re in your uniform pajamas eating an entire bag of cinnamon toast crunch and wondering if things will ever be right again.

It was a cinnamon toast crunch kind of day when I decided I needed to do something for someone else. Hannah and I had done volunteer work before, but it’s challenging to find opportunities that allow kids her age. The few things that we had done together were one offs, not regular. I signed on to a volunteer web site to see what I could find.

Almost immediately, I found a great opportunity serving dinners on Christmas Eve at our local rescue mission. I thought it would be a great chance for Hannah to see that everyone’s lives aren’t easy and that it’s important to help where you can.

The email I got confirming our commitment said to be there at 9:00. There was some mumbling and grumbling that morning (not by me, of course), but we made it. We were waiting in the lobby with a few other people when a woman came out, welcomed us and told us we were early.

Well how early can we be? I thought.

Um, how about two and a half hours early. Yah.

The room was packed with volunteers when the coordinator began to assign tasks. It seemed to me that there were way too many volunteers for the number of vacant duties. But what did I know? I was sure they knew what they are doing.

Then we hung around. Patiently. Then not as patiently. Until 11:30 when it was finally time for everyone to come in and have Christmas lunch. Guests filed in and were immediately accosted by volunteers all trying to do their jobs.

Hannah and I had placemat duty. We both stood there waiting for our turn to help, but there were so many people there that we could barely see the tables we were supposed to be setting. More aggressive families moved about rapidly as we all “competed for placemat dominance” (Hannah’s words).

After about 20 minutes, it became clear to us that there was nothing for us to do there but be another 2 bodies crowding up the joint and loitering over the guests as they ate. It seemed better to me that we leave and ease some of the traffic and crowd that was surely taking away from the dining experience.

As we were walking back to our car, Hannah was talking about how she had been watching a mom with children and said, “I see homeless people in a whole new way. They’re just on a path that they may not have even chosen. But they’re just trying to live.” So I guess while we didn’t physically do much that day, my little girl’s already big heart was opened just a little more.

Laid Off: A Day in the Life

6:00am: Wake up and listen to Hannah whine about school/hair/clothes/face.

6:50: Drive to bus stop in pajamas and listen to Hannah whine about school/hair/clothes/face.

7:15: Drive back home while wondering if I should stop at CVS for candy. Resist.

7:30: Fix eggs. Eat right out of frying pan so as to avoid dishes.

7:45: Check Facebook. Feel compelled to click on article: Read about 9 Nerdy Actors Who Grew Up to be Hearthrobs. Wonder why Anthony Michael Hall is on there. Decide it’s fine.

8:00: Check email and review job listings which haven’t changed at all since the previous day. Wonder if I will have to become a Starbucks barista. Think that barista sounds cool. File it under “last resort”.

9:00: Take a walk with sister. Hash out latest quandaries. Feel double accomplished. Vow to carry motivation throughout the day.

10:30: Get back in bed with laptop instead. Feel justified as I am “researching” various items on Amazon that I cannot afford. Check Facebook. Like friend’s photo of her cat.

12:00: Make a wrap. Watch Roseanne reruns. Wonder why Becky #1 left the show. Ponder if she regrets it to this day. Decide Sarah Chalke was much better on Scrubs. Wonder if John Goodman ever fought with Roseanne and why I never see him on talk shows.

12:30: Try to figure out John Goodman’s age. Look him up on Wikipedia. Decide to Wikipedia each cast member.

1:00: IM friend and talk about King of Queens episodes. Realize there are two about layoffs—one where Carrie is laid off and one where Doug is. Try to decide which I like best. Carrie.

1:30: Look at list of calls I need to make. Make dr appointment. Decide that’s enough phone calls for the day. No need to overwhelm myself.

1:45: Consider going to grocery store. Getting dressed huge hurdle. Look in pantry—determine I can get one more lunch for Hannah from peanut butter, bread and only slightly shriveled grapes in fridge.

2:00: Check Facebook. Take a quiz to see which Disney Princess I am. Cinderella. Vehemently disagree to myself.

2:15: Text friend. Discuss how no, I didn’t get the job I interviewed for last week. Go over Everything Happens for a Reason script.

3:00: Have a snack. Think about volunteering somewhere in the community. Table the idea.

3:15: Decide most productive part of the day is over. Might as well watch Friends reruns.

4:00: Load dishwasher in last ditch attempt to accomplish something. Notice I have twice as many forks as I do spoons. Vow to use more forks going forward. Spoons only when necessary.

4:30: Pick up Hannah. Listen to her whine about school/hair/clothes/face.

5:00: Check email. Have an Etsy order to fill. More Taylor Swift magnets. Seems too late in the day to start project. Put on mental list for tomorrow. Preemptively pat myself on the back.

6:00: Heat up leftovers for Hannah. Eat some beans out of the can while standing at the counter. Notice floor full of crumbs. Do nothing.

7:00: Take a shower, but don’t shave legs. Because, why. Consider skipping conditioner. Chicken out.

7:15: Contemplate plucking eyebrows. Decide against it since percentage of time I leave the house + people I make eye contact with nowadays = much less than the trouble it takes to pluck.

7:30: Fold a basket of laundry while watching Extra. Feel like a winner.

8:00: Listen to Hannah whine about school/hair/clothes/face.

8:20: Go through mail. Actually look at ads. Consider clipping coupons. Don’t.

8:30: Stumble upon rerun of the Cosby Show. Google Bill Cosby scandal to see what’s going on with it.

8:45: Look at bank account. Think about what expenses I could cut. Hate doing that.

8:50: Check out Pinterest. Pin recipes (that I will never make). Pin DIY projects (that I will never do).

9:00: Listen to Hannah whine about school/hair/clothes/face.

9:20: Get into bed. Text with hot boyfriend. Discuss Hannah’s whining about school/hair/clothes/face.

9:45: Check Facebook. Watch video of Better Call Saul preview. Appropriately lower expectations for series.

10:00: Lie there and think of worse case scenarios. Eat peanut butter from the jar. Take sleeping pill.

10:30: Notice how little current TV I watch. Fall asleep to King of Queens repeats.
wasting-time

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.

LaidOff