#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

Only Terrorists Wear Jeggings

“How is the job search going?”


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.


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.