I’m Still Here

It’s coming up on a year since the day I was informed at work that my presence was no longer required. Just to be clear on that, a layoff. It’s business, and it happens. I don’t spend too much time dwelling on that, because I don’t think it’s healthy. But with the anniversary looming, it’s hard not to think about where I’ve been, and wonder where I’m going.
It’s coming up on a year since I have been able to collaborate with colleagues, mentor employees, participate in group brainstorming sessions. It’s coming up on a year since I have been compensated for writing and editing. It’s coming up on a year since I felt valued and recognized for my contributions.
But, it’s coming up on a year since I have had to wake early in the morning, drive in traffic to an office, sit in endless meetings that generally accomplished nothing, feel stymied by office politics and frustrated by stalled opportunities. It’s coming up on a year since I have driven home, stressed and exhausted, unable to leave the problems of the day behind. It’s coming up on a year since I have had my blackberry by my side during weekday evenings, so I would be sure to catch any request that might come in, regardless of the hour.
If you had asked me a year ago if I could survive a year without a steady job, I would have answered no. But here I am. If you had asked me a year ago if I would have been able to mentally and emotionally cope if I went a year without a steady job, I may have been doubtful. But here I am.
Some things have been really hard. I admit, I worry all the time, especially about finances. Since my severance ran out, I’ve had to survive by going through my savings, and now, my retirement funds. I joke that I will have to die early, because there will be no money left for my old age. And I’m only partially kidding. Thankfully, I have been able to obtain contract work, and while I can’t earn enough through that to fully support my non-extravagant but heavily mortgaged life, it definitely helps.
I miss going to an office. I miss working for a company that I believed in. I miss my coworkers, especially those who also became good friends. I miss wearing business clothes. I miss lunch in the fancy schmancy cafeteria. I miss being in the midst of the health care reform debate. I miss being employed. It’s a state of grace.
But on a day to day basis, in spite of all the worry, and missing things, I still feel very lucky. Mortgaged or not, there’s a roof over my head. I haven’t gone hungry. I won’t go homeless. In many ways, I have less stress than I did before. I have time to think, to write.
Earlier this week, I read a blog post written by Marc Chernoff, entitled “8 Things to Remember When Everything Goes Wrong.” It was a very inspiring and encouraging post. The part that resonated the most for me was this, “Everything in life is temporary. Every time it rains, it stops raining. Every time you get hurt, you heal.”
That echoes something I’ve been saying to myself for the last year. This is just a period of time. At some point, it will end, I’ll find my next, great job and things will change. A year goes by, maybe more. So, I’ll keep moving forward, maybe not on the path I thought I was supposed to travel, but forward all the same. It’s coming up on a year, and I’m still here.

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