I Was Given Lemons So I Am Making Lemonade
As of Friday, I will not have a job. Because I have a bit of PTSD from the last time I did not have a job, I prepared for my body to shut down and the dark depression clouds to roll in. When they didn’t, I sat in shocked silence for a while and wondered if I wasn’t going to go down this horrid spiral again, perhaps I should take advantage of the gift of time wrapped up neatly with a bow of severance?
Last time I was without a job, I was fired. That is still hard to write or say out loud. It still holds a sense of shame for me even though it was done in a vindictive and cruel manner and not at all warranted by my work or performance. This time, the lovely job I have is dissolving. Again, no fault of mine or anyone’s aside from the parent company that owns it. It’s a sad, heartbreaking situation because it was a job that saved me in a lot of ways. It reminded me I was good at what I have been doing for the past fifteen years as a survival job and respectful and positive work environments still existed. It is a real shame to lose it.
Because it is ending in such a way, I am blessed with a severance and delightful send off package. I’ve never had one and it is a bittersweet thing that tastes weird in my mouth but I’m trying to be happy about it. In an effort to see the silver lining, I have been considering taking time off before finding another job. So much so that I haven’t really looked for a job. I peruse LinkedIn and Indeed and receive alerts. I’ve applied to a few that seem great for companies I really would love working for. But comparing it to how hardcore I was about a year ago when we were moving back, I am basically on vacation.
Except it is not a vacation. I plan to work a shitload.
I would be taking this time to work on the career I actually want: writing. And maybe an audition here and there since it is the slow season and I can test the waters. I plan to finish my second novel draft, write several articles ideas I’ve had for months, tweak my short story, and enter more flash fiction contests. While I have been chopping away at all these while having a full time job, I was just given a basket of lemons to do something with. So I am making lemonade.
This terrifies me. I was frozen solid when I was unemployed last time and dying of cabin fever. My brain was freaking out about every little thing and clouded with depressive thoughts and crippling anxiety. Yet, as I aforementioned, this time is different. I don’t have cabin fever even though I have worked from home the past six months. I live outside my favorite city in the world and close to all my friends. I can leave when the work day is done and go do a plethora of activities I love. I am not scraping pennies together these days because I’ve had a good job and so does my husband. We’ve been saving and I get the bonus of this severance. I also am able to supplement my income this go around with temp or extra work unlike before. It actually thrills me to think I could jump back into working on movie sets to make a little more cash. Or I could get unemployment or a part time job. My brain is pulsing with creativity and my imagination is in overdrive. I couldn’t create before because I was drowning. I’m swimming now. The list of positives goes on and on.
The negative is that is goes against my grain. I have trained myself to panic when I am not working. I think we all would and do. I thought I would have a job by now and start next week after my birthday and save the severance for a rainy day. And I am; I don’t plan to spend the severance to live off of. That would feel wasteful. However, I do plan to use it as a cushion for a few weeks while I spend time actually pursuing a dream: to write as my job.
I don’t know if this is a wise choice or one of a girl who has been beaten and broken in the past few years and could use a break in the clouds. I have mentioned the temptation not to work for a few weeks and write and those who have heard my pitch fully support it. I had one friend say “I can’t see why you wouldn’t do that.” Summer can be a tough time to find a job. Why not use that as an excuse to live a dream for a minute?
I am regarding it as an opportunity to hit the ground running. Right now, I plan to take June and do everything I can to put all the words in my brain on paper. I know myself and I know I will lose it by July if I don’t have a job to go to but that is future Rachel’s problem. For now, I am going on a birthday adventure and then starting a month of creativity. A birthday gift to myself.
I am making lemonade and I have a feeling it is going to taste fucking great.