Sunday, May 08, 2005

Life On The Edge

So this is what it’s like to be unemployed. There are a myriad of emotions that pass through me daily, and I’m not sure what’s going to become dominant quite yet. At times I feel hopeful, other times down. It’s strange, but my stress level is down overall, mainly because I’m not working all the time. You would think that the stress of being unemployed would be far worse, but I guess I didn’t really realize how much stress I was getting from my job. This is the first Sunday I can remember in a long time where I didn’t have work to do. It’s really funny – I have a lot more time on my hands but there is still not enough time to do all the things I’d like to be doing.

My landlady had several people over today for lunch and asked me if I wanted to come and eat with them. It was a lot of fun. One of them (her cousin or sister, I couldn’t figure out which) is a singer in a band. I’ve got one of their CDs, but only because my landlady gave it to me. They are actually quite good. One of the other guests was very funny, and we got a lot of laughs out of each other. He asked me about what I was thinking about in terms of employment, and I told him that my parole officer was doing most of my thinking for me. It didn’t get him, but two of the other guests bought it for a few seconds. What’s more interesting is that it turns out this man is a consultant who helps people with their resumes. He offered to look at mine, which I gratefully accepted.

The resume I showed him was the one I hurriedly prepared to send to the customer I mentioned before. I had thrown it together pretty quickly using L’s (as I’ll call my new girlfriend from now on) resume as a template. He had quite a few good suggestions, mainly on some of the syntax and a few on presentation. Overall he said it looked great and that I had some fantastic material in it. I was happy to hear that since I don’t see resumes all the time and have no reference points.

The next part was something I didn’t like to hear as much. He told me that it can take up to three months to find a job that is worth taking. He cautioned me to not take the first job that came along, but to wait to find the right job for me. It’s good advice, but I don’t like the idea of being out of work for that long. I’ve decided now that I will not be going back into my industry. It’s just too risky and too stressful, and there are a lot of people who’ve been laid off recently.

L has told me, based on stories that I’ve let her read, that I should start writing. Not as a career, but as an outlet and as something I can give my son as he grows. I told her that I wanted to write him a continual story that could change in complexity as he got older – I thought it would be really neat for him to have a long-term story like that just for him. I think I would have really liked that when I was growing up.

She met my son last week and told me she was really impressed by the bond he and I share. Of course he flirted with her shamelessly, but what she said really stood out was that I adored him and he adored me. She didn’t get to see what he looked like when I picked him up at daycare. When I arrived he was kind of zoning out in a swing (he loves swings) and he didn’t recognize me because I had a baseball cap on, something I almost never wear. When I took it off his eyes got wide and he got a big smile on his face. As the woman started to unstrap him he started laughing, his legs started kicking and he started trying to push out of the swing with his arms. When he finally got out he ran to me. I’m almost crying her thinking about it. That little guy means the world to me. He was wearing a baseball cap too, and I have the daycare provider to thank for that. He has always hated hats and hoods and wastes no time in yanking them off. The rule at daycare, however, is that he has to wear his hat to go outside, mainly because he is fair-skinned and would get sunburned easily. He seemed to like that I wore one too – he really liked it when I put his hat on top of mine and wore it. It seems like I’m becoming somebody he likes to be like, which just makes me about as happy as I can be.

I’ve been doing a lot of cleaning and sorting, computer work, studying (for a computer certification), job scanning etc. Another thing I’ve been doing is getting used to not working, and I don’t mean being unemployed. My job had been getting very involved lately, and I didn’t realize how much of my life I’d been giving up. That’s another reason for a career change. I will not be one of those people who realize in their twilight years that they wish they’d worked less and spent more time with family.

So there it is, my life in a nutshell. I wonder if I’ll look back on this time in my life with pride or if I’ll just hope I never go through things like this again. I’m going to go for the pride one.