The Defiance of Being Unemployed
In just two short weeks of being unemployed, I’ve progressively disengaged from the corporate world. I haven’t put on dress pants in the better part of a month. I did my hair yesterday for the first time in four days because I wanted to look presentable for “Girls Night”. I left my phone in the car for three full hours yesterday without once worrying about an impending email “emergency.” I’m a far cry from hammocking over downtown (although, I think she’s my new spirit animal), but I’m feeling pretty removed.
Except…I can’t figure out if that’s a good thing. This week, I’ve schizophrenically bounced between being deliriously grateful for my professional freedom and somewhat nostalgic for the days when I booked a flight to someplace other than my Grandfather’s 90th birthday party. I do NOT miss the stress, the political bullshit, the urgency to address truly inconsequential minutiae. If I’m honest, I think I miss feeling important, which is somewhat sad and incredibly hard to admit.
For the entirety of my husband and I’s relationship, I’ve been the breadwinner. My work afforded us quite a bit of financial freedom, and I took pride in being able to make a substantial contribution to our financial stability and our quality of life. I ate a big ‘ole piece of humble pie last week when our mortgage broker kindly told me she didn’t need my W-2 or my tax returns since my income wouldn’t be figured in to our loan amount. I almost sent them to her anyways just to prove that, at one point, I was not a freeloader. While I am still contributing to our income and strategically exhausting my professional network for any and every consulting opportunity, I am not pulling in a regular paycheck. Every day this week, I’ve logged in to our online banking just praying the number in my account stays the same. That is, of course, ridiculous given that I know every time I use my debit card, but, hell, I’m back to believing in unicorns and mermaids too. Don’t judge!
It’s also been…ummm… interesting to fill 50 hours worth of time with non-corporate activity. Surprisingly, it’s not as hard as I expected. It’s amazing how busy a new puppy, a (potentially) new house, and six months back log of annoying chores can keep you! Idle time and I are not buds; boredom usually leads me to going back to school, and I really can’t afford that coping mechanism now, so busy we must stay (channeling Yoda today).
This busy is a different busy though. Now, I chit chat for a few minutes with the lady making my coffee. I’m not jetting out of my car to be the first one in the Post Office line or slipping in last as the door to the yoga studio locks behind me. I voluntarily helped a friend paint the house she’s flipping and let my pup play for a bit with the dog in the waiting room of our vet’s office after our appointment was over. I’m not wasting time, but I am experiencing it instead of only giving it the exact amount of seconds allotted in my schedule. Previously, those “delays” would have been unscheduled annoyances and the source of anxiety and some degree of bitchiness on my part. Shockingly, however, I like the lady that makes my coffee…she’s funny, and she smiles a lot more when I’m actually looking at her face instead of my cell phone.
In industry, we’d call this new phase of my life a “growth opportunity.” Since I’m now unemployed, I can call it what it actually is…a total mind fuck. Allowing myself to just be here, trusting that meaningful and lucrative contract work will come my way, enjoying the experience of the time I now have, honoring the numerous contributions I make to my marriage and our life that do not come with a price tag, and ultimately, letting that be enough. Whew buddy…for me, that is some serious defiance. I’ve got work to do to be okay with that.
For the moment, my puppy’s awake, which means work is O-VER! Time to put on some yoga pants and hit up the park to wear his cray-cray ass out. On the way home, we’ll stop off at the grocery store where I’ll magically figure out how to buy dinner without spending a dime and have a not-so-meaningful but highly entertaining conversation with the check out guy about absolutely nothing. Later, I might shower and throw on a pair of dress pants before I take my afternoon conference call so I can feel all smart-like during the 1.25 hours of my day I can bill for. If I’m lucky, the puppy curled up next to me will not groan loudly during said call making me sound like some corporate asshole whose belly is rumbling because I was too busy to eat lunch. See…serious Mind. Fuck.
There’s one consistency I can count on though. Come 5pm, I will pour a finger (or two) of bourbon for the hubs and I. This is our signal that the work week, regardless of what work that is, has come to an end. No matter my confusion over the my new 9 to 5, that part makes perfect sense.