I’ve been unemployed, not lazy.
Early this morning, my best pal asked me about the job hunt. To say that my response was “prickly” is a kindness.
Since August 1, less than an hour after I was “restructured,” I’ve been calling contacts, researching, setting up a new professional “head shot”, building resumes and cover letters, editing, applying, networking, and catching up with mentors and friends.
She knows that it has been hard and that I’ve been working at it as if job-hunting were a job. She was gentle. I was not. She knows I’ve been unemployed, not lazy.
Unfortunately, it’s true that we can verbally vomit on the folks we care about.
What I wish I’d said was, “Thanks so much, Katie, for believing in me. It’s a lonely and tough road to be unemployed and have the Speaker of the House (Boehner) equate unemployment with laziness. I wonder how many folks we know feel as he does about people looking for work-about me?”
“And then there’s House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who appeared at the American Enterprise Institute last week to discuss the economy. Asked about Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) anti-poverty plans, Boehner was quite candid about his thoughts on the unemployed.
‘I think this idea that’s been born out the last – maybe out of the economy last couple of years that, ‘You know, I really don’t have to work. I don’t really want to do this, I think I’d just rather sit around.’ This is a very sick idea for our country.’http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/boehner-blasts-americas-unemployed-lazy
Shame. That’s what I felt after reading this. And anger and discouragement.
While I was looking for a job where I could contribute without just drawing a paycheck, I sat with my friend’s grandmother who moved to Kansas recently and unexpectedly. It’s lonely here sometimes and we learned a bit about keeping company.
A local small business owner invited me to help introduce K-State students to his doggone goods and services, set up a marketing booth, and even help unload freight while I looked for a job. It was good to get out of the job-search mode for a bit and re-enter into heavy lifting.
When I wasn’t researching or applying, I helped friends, attended multiple networking events, listened to folks, volunteered, and worked hard at beating discouragement to the door of each day.
I dove into several books about finding a good fit between my body of work and what is available/needed in the culture of work. I ran, wrangled with unemployment, and served my pals and their pals. I called out for help.
I received grace from many folks.
Recently, I began to wonder if people I knew expected me to be always working at the job-hunt – especially if they saw me meeting with other people at coffee shops or walking high hills and paths with friends.
One person even mentioned how she wished she could afford to take off time to “get a tan, too.” All I could say is that I’d been meeting college students outdoors on behalf of my friend’s local business and – on Labor Day – paddling with M3 to St. George. I said, “I hope we both get what we were looking for” and walked away.
This morning was the toughest start to any day so far.
I’d growled at my friend when she was lovingly checking in on the search. Afterwards, I did what I have refused to do – until today; I crawled into bed and felt sorry for myself. Soon, I remembered self-pity was a waste of my time and got up and got back to the work of finding qualified work.
And the phone rang.
It was an invitation to join a small team at K-State…THE job I had wanted.
I get to work with strong women who are not intimidated by strength and who expect me to rise to the challenge. OH BOY!
I cried. Snot-blowing tears of relief and gratitude.
So, to my friends encamped among the political “isles” and along the many aisles of worship and work, thank you for your patience and time.
Thank you for cheering me on and holding me accountable.
Thank you for asking me questions rather than my friends or gossiping.
Thank you for believing in me and knowing that I am not lazy, though until next Monday morning, I will be unemployed.
You and this experience have taught me much about how I will approach people in their grief and loss.
More celebrating the small successes along the way
Because we are all in this together.
Still searching for the North Star (and no longer searching for a job.)