State of the Unemployed Union

Anniversary

October 29, 2009
1 Comment

I knew this day would come. But that doesn’t mean that I am any more prepared to deal with it.

Today is the one year anniversary of the loss of my last job. As mentioned in my previous post, I have suffered varying degrees of depression since I lost my job. It  started out pretty severe with me sleeping all but two hours a day and planting myself on the couch for those two hours.

My husband talked me into joining a gym in order to give me a place to go on a regular basis and to aide in dealing with the depression. After three months of talking about it I finally joined. It was a huge and frightening step to take in my recovery. I would have to be around people that I did not know, and not only that, I would be exercising in front of them. Physical movement. Sweating. Gasping for breath.

The image of me working out was not attractive in any sense of the word. But I went. I began going for thirty minutes three times a week. I could indulge in the trashiest of t.v. shows while pounding through my scattered thoughts on the treadmill. And as time passed I really did begin to feel better. I even began to get to know the trainers, Ryan and Britt. They bestowed upon me the nickname of Princess. (I am the schlubbiest looking woman at the gym so the irony is not lost on me)

My well-being seemed to grow in inverse proportion to my job prospects. The better I felt, the fewer the job prospects. I had continued to send my resume and make follow up calls, but interviews were not requested and calls were not returned. I felt really good, though.

This good feeling lead me into confidently emailing my former employer informing them that I was still unemployed nearly a year out and could they forward my updated resume to associates in the industry who may be hiring I also asked that, if they were seeking an assistant, could I be considered? They wrote back that they were glad to hear from me, would happily forward my resume on my behalf, but were in no position to hire at this time. Fees were still down and expenses had to be contained.

Receiving that mostly positive response from my former employer increased my good feelings and got me thinking. Did I really want to go back if they had been able to rehire me? I think the answer to that question is no. If the economy and the position of the company were so shaky that I had lost my job after a mere eight months, even after some economic recovery, what would prevent the same thing from happening again? I would still just be an assistant. I would still have no control whatsoever over my career.

And I have come to realize in this year of unemployment that what I want most, more than job stability, more than a decent salary, is control. I want control over my career. I want to call the shots. Control over my career equals control over my life. I may need to take chances that I would not typically take. I may need to get out of my comfort zone. And it may be harder to earn the amount of money I need to earn. But if I am in control – if I call all the shots – I could be happy. And the money and the stability will follow. Thinking on these things is helping me to get through this day of dubious distinction.

Happy anniversary to me.