I have officially become part of a national statistic, mainly being part of the 9% (give or take a few points, depending on where one lives) that is on the unemployment list. Let’s just get it out of the way right now, I’d rather be working!
Now, it wasn’t that the demise of my former occupation was unexpected. I knew the canning was coming, but I did try to stave it off as long as possible. I had never intended for the position to be a permanent one, but rather one that would tide me over while considering long term options. I had, for health reasons, made the difficult decision to get out of the hair game. I truly enjoyed being a hairdresser. I had fantastic clients, I got along with my co-workers, the company I worked for liked and respected me as a person as and as an employee. However I was developing a serious uptick in chemical sensitivity that exasperated my asthma, all while my shoulders and lower back felt agonized every time I shampooed. In hopes of keeping the damage done to my body minimized, I knew I had to change occupations.
It took 18 months to find the job I just lost. Lacking a completed degree, my age and the fact that I’d been in the cosmetology field for as long as I had made it a bit tough. But eventually I found one, and I sadly said goodbye to an occupation I’d thoroughly enjoyed. This one was quite different, being in a call center, but I don’t mind a challenge and thought I would be up to the task. It didn’t take me too long to realize that I had settled on an occupation that was utterly wrong for me.
I possess a very strong empathy trait, that and a code of ethics that screams for honesty, compassion, integrity and doing what I can to not waste someone’s time and/or money. While I appreciate what my company was trying to do, the way they wanted me to do it was, to me, quite problematic. I just couldn’t bring myself to consistently do things by the script. Yeah we had one, even though it wasn’t in front of us. We were still expected to go through certain questions, statements, and sales pitches in a particular formulation every single time before getting the reason the person called, “do you have what I need and how much?”. The thing is, people often don’t follow those set guidelines you are trying so hard to stick to. Often the caller would give me information early in, that told me that what I had to offer was not going to work for them, yet I was still expected to go through the entire process, then “close the deal”.
Yep, it was sales. Sylvie sucks on a grand scale at sales. I hate being patronized, being given a sale pitch when all I want is, “do you have one in stock?” or “how much is it?” I’ve often done my research before I walk into a store, especially for a large purchase. It went totally against the grain for me to do exactly what I loathe having done to me.
I lasted just over six months before being fired. The last time I was terminated from a job was when I was 19 years old! Me, the one who tends to be little miss over-achiever could not achieve continued employment at this job.
I cried many times over that job, knowing I was fighting a losing battle with trying to do it, and knowing it was something I couldn’t bring myself to do to their standards. Their standards weren’t necessarily wrong, nor were mine. We simply had different standards. I had, for another reason related to some HR issues I was having, was already looking for another position, but my “transition into new job” timing was obviously off.
So here I am, unemployed, waiting for an unemployment check to arrive, if it ever does, prowling every job board I can find, filling out applications, trying not to think about the state of our finances, and letting the boredom creep in, while trying not to panic.
I do know I need to use this time as a gift to me. Any of you who have followed my blog have read of how I tend to burn my candle from both ends, that I’ve been plagued with pesky issues of fatigue, insomnia, my less then stellar stress management skills and how my asthma, which is worsened with stress and fatigue have just made things a whole passel full of “fun”. It’s getting used to the downtime, the lack of 30,000 things on my agenda, the rapid fire thought processing, the actual having time to get all those little projects I’ve put off done. Suddenly the fire in my go, go, go has gone slow, slow, slow, and I risk becoming a slug.
Last week, my first week as an “I have no job” person, I spent in a teary-eyed funk. I didn’t realize how worn out I was emotionally and physically. This week is better, and I am trying to find something productive to do daily, like organize neglected cabinets. I am thankful for the support of friends and family and my wonderful husband, who encourages me daily.
So what do I do with myself, now that I have more than enough time on my hands? Well I am, filling out job apps, doing a bit more writing, organizing things for the pending book I hope to complete this year, farting around on the internet, keeping my house in a clean state, cooking dinner , and trying not to eat that bag of chips I know is on the top of my fridge. The felines in residence are delighted at my constant presence, and one is usually napping on my mouse pad, begging for a head rub, or generally being underfoot. I know in a short while (hopefully real short) I will look back on this time of idleness and be wistful of this time with so much time and so little to do.
One thing I know I will gain out of it is an even deeper respect for those who have gone through exactly what I am going through. It’s tough knowing you have skills, and not being able to find someone willing to utilize them. Its rather scary going through the waiting period to find out whether you will get or get rejected for that unemployment check that is barely enough to cover gas and groceries. It’s a frustrating, especially when one is a person used to being on the go to suddenly find oneself at a stop. It is rather scary, knowing that the timeline for all of this transition is completely unknown.
Oddly I am used to emotional rollercoasters. I shouldn’t be, but my life has hardly been one found in your Lazy River Ride scenario. After the initial emotional thrill ride, this latest entry into the story of my life has put me though, I find myself on that slow ride. To take the time to truly reflect, to honestly get the rest my mind and body needs is actually a good thing. My body feels the toll. Its been trying to tell me, I’ve just tried to avoid it, until now. My body quickly recognized the shift in “Sylvie activity”, and finally got my attention. I am making myself appreciate the slower time, despite craving my usual hummingbird level of activity. I’ve put it off way to long.
I know that we’ll survive; we will just have to be much more frugal for a while. I know that this too shall pass, but patience is not exactly a virtue of mine, so enforced waiting provides the perfect lesson for me to learn…again. Maybe this time the lesson will stick.