Welcome to the party, pal!
Well, the layoff has finally come, sort of. Half a week of work next week to finish up on the last project we’ve got, and then into a strange semi-employed state – a sort of furlough/limbo wherein I’ve still got my badge and my laptop, and am on call as needed. Which is good, since it means my boss wants to keep me around, so that when things pick up, I can come back “to normal.” I like my job, I like the work, I pretty much get to make my own schedule around the contract stuff, so I don’t want to leave – hopefully finances won’t make that a necessity. So I’ll get unemployment, which is enough in Nevada to cover my rent but not also my health insurance and anything else.
I’m not in the awful state so many find themselves, at ground zero with no prospects. Thank FSM my second job/contract work involves health care IT for the Feds, not the worst line of work to be in right now. And technical writers/instructional designers in Reno are thin on the ground, so contract work won’t be as hard to pick up as it would in some other lines of work.
In a way it’s liberating – there’s something about the ax falling when you’ve been waiting for it so long that’s a relief. Like Ann Boleyn, when all is said and done you can go to the block with, so to speak, your head on straight. And when I think of all I’ve survived in my life (which I’d hardly discuss now on a blog which future employers will likely be examining), honestly, this isn’t even close to the bottom of the list of awfulness. Given a decent amount of contract work, some temping, offering myself up as a writing coach (something I’ve considered for a while but knew I didn’t really have time to do properly before now), and cutting back on lifestyle (no more Chateau Ferrande, Whole Foods flowers, monthly maid service, 2x/day Starbucks, and no doubt other things more painful), I know I can make it for the foreseeable future.
And since job hunting no longer requires hitting the Hopperesque coffee shop with the classifieds first thing in the morning and pounding the pavement all day, I have the opportunity to make the most of my free time. I’ve set a lot of good things in motion in the last year, including working out with a trainer – something I will cut back on but which, unless absolutely necessary, I won’t give up as I consider it part of my mental and physical self-care – starting this blog and this novel at long last, getting control of my eating, drinking and spending. So that, like the heroines in Jane Austen who, also being unemployed, had to fill their time using their “internal resources,” I’m reasonably well-equipped to manage my free time. I’ve only been snowboarding three times this year, and with only a month to go in the season have hardly recaptured the cost of my pass, so that’ll be on the schedule. (Funny, I went last week and was shocked how many people there were for a Thursday afternoon – then I realized that all the other unemployed people had the same idea I did.) Living 30 minutes from 8,000 feet means there’s lots of hiking I can do, as well.
And of course there’s the book, and the blog. I can’t count how many times I stopped writing because it was time to go to work and get paid. I have a lot more time now to work on the book – between gall bladder surgery and double employment I’ve only managed two chapters in four months, so the pace of that will pick up. So, as long as I can make it until/if forced by circumstances to take a new full time job for the money and insurance, an opportunity for a little personal, low-budget Renaissance – albeit with no Medici to patronize me.
So, after a couple days in the proverbial basement, I’m out now. I can’t sum up with some bullshit about being totally synergized about these exciting challenges, because that’s not me. But I don’t feel awful, and I’m not that scared, and things could be worse.
EDIT: My bad – being blind, I always have my IE text size set to “Larger,” and didn’t even notice how tiny/crappy the text is on these posts…ay caramba. So over the next few days I will go back and reset them all to a readable size.