job loss and introvert things

Surprise! I’ve been unemployed for two weeks.

Long story short, I realized towards the end of last year, that I had become complacent. I was listening to all these great podcasts and the common theme between them was that “limiting beliefs” will keep you unsatisfied and stagnant. I realized that deep down I didn’t believe in myself anymore. I didn’t believe in my intelligence, my talent, my worth, anything.

I decided to stop doubting myself, cold turkey. I went out on a limb and joined a career organization in a field I am interested in learning more about. The group was one that I had been looking into since college. I had a great conversation with a leader in the field. I found a job about an hour away from my town and applied. I got a call the next day, interviewed that week, and got an offer (beyond anything I could have envisioned) the following week.

When I say that I was on a trajectory that would change my life, I am not exaggerating. I was planning on selling my house. I was thinking about reserving a spot on a foreign trip that is on my bucket list. I was ready to do all the things.

Then COVID-19 happened. The job was rescinded and my former position had already been replaced.

My last day of work was March 27th. In the past two weeks, I have vacuumed a lot, painted the guest bedroom and moved my sister into it, read a book, knit a small basket, watched the entire Harry Potter movie series, re-potted the majority of my plants, watched the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice again, walked Charlie a minimum of once every day, started painting the porch, started a throw-away pile, organized my studio, started repainting two old portraits, and took my recycling to the transfer station and cleaned the crates.

I did have one emotional breakdown/existential crisis though.

I’m worried that the chances that a job like the one I was offered won’t be around for a while. It was in a prime spot for me to commute for a bit until I sold my home and moved. I had just started to believe that I was ready to move. I’m afraid I will lose that energy I had. I was ready for a change. I was ready to get out of my comfort zone. Do I just hang tight and try to pick up where I left off before the shutdown?

It’s so nice to be an introvert – at least I know I will never get bored.

uncertainty vs. opportunity

About three months ago, I wrote this. In it, I explained that I am where I am because I made the best choice I could. I stopped asking, “Is this the path I’m supposed to take?” I chose based on what I know for a fact. I act with intention even though I can’t possibly foresee every outcome. A podcast I listened to over a year ago compared this way of living to way-finding. He argued that it’s not about finding your purpose or your destiny. Life’s about making choices and making them work.

I’m so happy in my home. I truly love it. I love my crazy dog. I have plans here. I have monthly plans. I have yearly plans. I’m making a life for myself… and my dog. Up until the past few weeks, I was content and everything seemed like it made sense.

Have you heard this one? “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”

What about this one? “When God closes a door, he opens a window.”

A door is closing, slowly but surely. I’m searching for that open window. I knew this could happen. I had hoped it would be in a few years or so. I just bought a house and was on a schedule to pay off my student debt by May of 2019. Now,  I’m in the exact position in my career that I was over two years ago.

My company is being evicted from it’s building, and I will, more than likely, be laid off.

The first person I told was my cousin. She told me that this could be a really good thing. This could be a moment that puts me on the road to something greater. She also said that no matter what happened, I would most definitely be okay. She’s a “sign-seer.” I am not. This isn’t an omen or divine intervention. It’s just life. I want to listen to her and look at this as an opportunity for a window to open. I know she’s right. I know I’ll be okay, but there are so many things to worry about.

I have several options rattling around in my brain.

  1. Find a job in PA. It’s close enough to my family to make a weekend trip, and far enough to be out of NY.
  2. Get a part-time job and never see my friends, family, or dog.
  3. Find a job I’m not interested in, nor using my experience in, that pays better.
  4. Commute an hour to the closest city to a job that is either in my field of interest or pays better.
  5. Get a two-year degree in engineering or nursing and change my field altogether so that I can stay in my hometown, perpetually single, with my dog and a homestead.
  6. Sell everything I own on eBay (plus the promise of my firstborn) and hope that puts a dent in my loans.

Parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents always think that young people have all the options in the world. They don’t see my world being uprooted. They don’t see the hours of job searching. They don’t see the looming bills to pay. Uncertainty, to them, means opportunity. It’s the proverbial “youth is wasted on the young” outlook.

I wouldn’t need to tell so many people if I didn’t work part-time at the bar. I can’t lie when people ask, “How is work?” Obviously, I’m grateful that I have so much support, but at this point, I’ve heard it all.

“I’ll get you a job.”
“We have an extra bedroom.”
“You have so much talent.”
“You’ll figure it out.”
“Rent out your house.”
“You can go anywhere.”
“So and so is hiring.”
“You should be a teacher.”
“Move to Texas.”
“Take the Civil Service Exam.”

I’m practicing smiling and saying, “Thank you. I will think about it.” I can only take so much well-meant advice before I go crazy. A friend of my dad says I should start telling people made up plans for my future to see which individuals are blabbermouths. It would be so entertaining to hear people say, “I heard you were starting a candle business,” or “So when are you moving to Canada?”

A couple of people understand where I’m coming from: my dad and mom, a few friends.  My friend was very apologetic and told me to fight. He said I should “pull a midnight coup d’etat.” He said “write your elected reps;” “write letters to the people at the agency.”  He recognized what I’m losing. He knows how good the opportunity that I had was and I appreciate him for it.

If there’s one good thing about uncertainty, it’s that it illuminates the people you really value for advice and support. There was a core group of people I wanted to tell, and each had their own unique response to ease my worries. Then there are people I didn’t plan to tell but was glad I did.