To those in a career that feeds both your soul and your bellies, I salute you. Although I am not quite sure of your existence.
My journey in unemployment started on March 15th, 2016. As of today, I have been unemployed for 77 days, 9 hours and 52 seconds, 53 seconds, 54... And boy, have these past 77 days been a ride. A wild ride? Eh, not really. An enjoyable ride? Uhh...sorta? Well, let's get to that in a moment. First, you deserve to know why I am in this unemployed state - how I found myself here and how I have remained here.
I am one privileged motherf***er. I was born into a loving family with two parents who were committed to each other in God's eyes and in the state's eyes. The state of Connecticut, for those who are wondering. Both went to great schools on the east coast, excelled, and were on their way to true adulthood. My parents are white and I am as well. My parents are physically able, as am I. My parents were raised in accepting and loving (if not sometimes tumultuous) homes and raised me in one just as accepting and loving. My grandparents worked full-time jobs as long as I knew them and supported their families and my parents followed suit as they made their way into adulthood. It became only natural that I followed in the footsteps of those that came before me.
I went to a private liberal arts school on the east coast and although my student loans are through the roof, they could have been quite a lot worse had it not been for the aid my parents and my school were able to give me. So here I am, benefitting from their privilege. My parents encouraged me to study what made me happiest rather than that which would set me on a career path and I half listened to them. I chose Psychology as my major, which I absolutely loved and left me with no real career path; however, Psychology was the least whimsical pursuit I could have chosen in college. Without any knowledge of how the world works, I chose a useless major that would no sooner get me a job in my field than it would get me a job as a rocket scientist. I would need a Masters to make my way into my chosen field, but as a sophomore in college when I chose my major, I had no idea the road I was setting myself on.
Fast forward two more years and I graduated from my swanky school with incredible friends, incredible experiences, a desire to affect change, and not a single clue how to make it happen. I started off on what seemed to be the right path, but quickly realized I was not prepared for any of the curveballs life was going to throw at me after years of being taken care of by my parents, my school, and my friends. I pledged my allegiance to a mission group and promised a year of service abroad to my fantastic friends and family who donated to the cause. Two months into my year, I couldn't take it anymore and ended my service year early. I came home to feelings of shame and embarrassment and barely left my parents' home while I recuperated. They allowed me to sit and wallow and readjust to my privilege while they supported me financially and emotionally.
After a few months of swallowing my guilt and shame I finally pulled myself together enough to apply for a few jobs. The plan was to continue living with my parents until a college friend moved to the area. We would move in together and try this whole "adult" thing out for ourselves. I got a job at a daycare taking care of and teaching some young privileged children in the area. I only know they were privileged based on how much I knew their parents paid for their care. I know I am judging and making assumptions, but I'm feeling a little self-righteous in my unemployment, so bear with me here. After about a month working at the day care, my college friend moved in with my parents and I while she and I looked for an apartment that would accommodate the two of us, her dog, and our income level. As we looked, I became close friends with a co-worker and we all three decided that three was better than two and began to look for three-bedroom apartments.
I worked at the daycare for a full six months before deciding my finances couldn't rely on a teacher's salary and I found an office job that paid a bit more. I lived with these ladies (and the dog) for a full year before we parted ways and I found a smaller apartment in my favorite neighborhood with my old co-worker. Oh, and I fell in love.
Where 2014 had been a year of new challenges and changes, 2015 became the year to adjust to them. When my office job started to feed on my soul, I retreated into my relationship and looked for my happiness there. When the love in my relationship started to dwindle, I retreated back into my job and looked for friendships that would distract me from my life outside of work. When my greatest work friend decided our company was no longer best for her, I realized that everywhere I had retreated to was not what I wanted it to be and it was time for some real change. I ended my relationship of almost a year and a half. I received a promotion at work that allowed me to stay on in a new role that better suited my skills. My roommate and I began to talk about our future together and began to plan for separate apartments when our lease was up. I began to dream about a future where I had my own things in my own apartment that were organized exactly as I wanted them. I began to dream about finding a love that inspired me and encouraged me rather than bringing me down. I began to dream about a job that appreciated my natural abilities and encouraged them and even promoted me because of them. And one of these dreams came true.
My promotion in January of 2016 did not have the affect I desired and I still remained unhappy at my job. Our lease wasn't up until April of 2016 and I was still bogged down by the clutter of our two separate lives living under one roof. I did however, find love again. I had the relationship I wanted with a person who wanted me as I was and at my best and at my worst. This was the relationship to remind me that I could have what I wanted and that I did not have to compromise me or my beliefs or my pride to have what I want. This relationship inspired me to find myself more than anything has before. Ah, the privilege.
So here we are. In March of 2016, I quit that job. The next month, my roommate moved out and I now have an emptier apartment that I can decorate to my liking. However, you might see the conundrum...I have no income. I have savings, but I am not willing to spend it on anything frivolous when it might need to go to paying my bills until I find the job that is right for me. Because I do not have a job, I have a half empty apartment that I cannot fill with furniture and homeware that I so crave to be a part of my lifestyle. It's too bad about my privilege not extending to every corner of my life, huh?
I have the relationship, but I can't spend money on the person I love to shower them with extra affection because I need to save every penny. I have the apartment, but I cannot fill it with my wants because my needs are too important. And I left the crappy job, but have yet to find the replacement job.
The first month of unemployment I sat on the couch, cuddled my partner's cat, and watched every episode of Grey's Anatomy that was on Netflix. It was the perfect distraction and I could afford to not look for a job within that first month. My privilege got in the way of my goals and I became passive in my job hunt because I could be. Every week or so, I would apply to one or two more jobs, considering that "trying". Even now, two and a half months later, I have not even begun to "try". I am passive. I am lazy. I am fine, so I do not need to try. I have savings. I found a temp agency willing to try me out. I dogsat. I am not trying, I am just simply getting by.
So this is the blog to try to inspire something. I'm not sure if I am inspiring myself to find the job or if I'm inspiring myself to find meaning in this unemployed period. I'm not sure what my goal is or where this will take me, but it is all part of the journey.
Are you having fun yet?