by Mariam Williams
Monday was my anniversary. Six months unemployed, six months to the day. Monday, October 13, 2008; Monday April 13, 2009.
I almost glazed over it without realizing it. I didn’t notice the date at all until I wrote it out, “Monday, April 13, 2009,” in the notebook that holds my notes from various sermons and bible studies. I had been too busy rewriting an essay to be submitted for publication, chasing down another freelance assignment, trying to figure out a balance between making a profit from writing and pricing myself out of the market, and trying to craft my resume to fit the description of yet another job that doesn’t quite fit me but that will do if this goes on much longer. Thanks to a couple of freelance writing assignments and that severance pay that the state Unemployment Insurance Benefits Department determined was really wages in lieu of notice, I haven’t run out of benefit money yet, but the balance is quite low. The extension application process is probably next.
I don’t fear the process, though. My insatiable craving for information and the writing that pours forth from the information I gather occupies so much of my time that I feel busier now than I felt for most of the time that I was working. The rejection letters don’t sting as much any more. I can laugh away the sympathetic looks I get from family and friends who remember that I’m on an employment hiatus just after they complain that they dread Mondays, and I might just smile a little bit every time I hear a prayer request for God to deliver someone from the gossip, tattling, backstabbing, politicking, and concrete ceilings on the job. I’m fine with dining out maybe once a month, when all the food in the house suddenly repulses me, no matter what it is. Being alone most of the time has never bothered me very much, although I know that’s not good. I’ve managed to keep myself entertained by seeing 14 plays just since October, and I saw 13 for free. I ushered at ten of them, and my mom or a friend provided tickets to three others. Insufficient healthcare coverage still concerns me, but over all, things aren’t so bad.
I didn’t think I would be unemployed for this long. I hear that the average time for unemployment these days is eight months, but I was sure my situation would be different. I’m sure that if I went to Starbucks or Wal-Mart or Six Flags it would be, but I still can’t see going for the survival job yet. I waited so long to get a job in my field, tried so hard to convince an employer that the one consistent trend in the randomness of my resume was the adept use of my written and oral communications skills, that to risk deviating from the path for only God knows how long, putting an even larger gap in my years of direct experience, and possibly getting stuck in something else is too large of a white flag to drape across my back for the moment.
As I write this, I’m looking at the sermon notes from Monday, April 13, 2009 and trying to capture the spirit of the message, but it’s impossible. There was too much life in the sanctuary that night for pen and paper, or keyboard and monitor. I remember the preacher describing my very situation: applying for positions you just know are for you and getting turned down; having doors close; following up on leads and connections that go nowhere; getting your hopes up only to be disappointed again and again and again. I knew he was talking to me, but I didn’t emote the way the rest of the church did when the preacher said that when God moves, he will compensate you for all the suffering you’ve been through. Nor did I dance or shout when he said that God makes concluding moves–moves that that will end your situation in a way that will never allow you to return to it again. Nothing really hit me Monday night. Instead, I woke up with those words in my spirit Tuesday morning and smiled as I thought of how wonderful it would be to be compensated for this blog and to make so much money writing that I never have to return to the unemployment line again.
© Mariam Williams, aka The Pink-Slipped Girl, and The Pink Slip Blog – Living Life Laid Off, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mariam Williams and The Pink Slip Blog – Living Life Laid Off or http://livinglifelaidoff.com, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Any use and/or duplication of any photo contained within this blog without express and written permission from Mariam Williams is strictly prohibited.