Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday morning, waiting for the day

As I was considering writing this morning, I realized that I'm in a different frame of mind over the last few days than I have been since I was laid off from a job I had held for more than twenty years last November.

It is the case for most of us that our jobs are a big part of our lives, but they don't dominate. At least, those of us with a healthy balance of work life and home life are able to limit the influence of the job in the part of our lives when we are not at work.

So, why should it be any different, now that my job is to find a job? The answer, one I knew intellectually months ago but am only now beginning to accept within the whole of my being, is that it need not be different at all.

In fact, I have the authority in my current job to decide exactly how much influence my looking-for-a-job job is allowed in the greater scope of my existence today.

There's a big emotional adjustment which takes place as one moves from a prolonged period of employment to my current situation. I just calculated it: until I was laid off, I had been employed for more than 35 years straight, minus one week when I was laid off in 1985 and was working again seven days later.

It is such a blessing, though, to be a member of a species which is easily the most-adaptable one on this planet. In only five months, I have come to know my new job really well, to incorporate the time I spend working at my new job into my home life, and to learn how to manage both my time and my emotions in regard to the job.

Here's the thing: disappointments while doing my job don't have to wreck my day. Since my workplace is now within my own home, it is easy to allow those down moments to bleed into my life with my supportive and delightful wife. To a large extent, that's exactly what was going on at first.

Only this week I determined that it is possible to be off work, even in the job I have now. It is okay to walk away from the computer, fully accepting that I have done a good job today, and it is time to leave work.

I spoke with a brother-in-law a couple of days ago, and he was so empowering to talk to as he mentioned that he was out of work for ten months only a few years ago. He talked about how wearing it is on your enthusiasm when you are searching for work for as long as he was, and as I now have been (I'm only halfway to his ten-month record, and I told him I didn't plan to break it). He was encouraging and empathetic, and still a realist. I was grateful for the support and the acknowledgment that it may be some time before I am out of this job and into one where I leave the house early in the morning and come home late in the day, five days a week, and I have customers to care for and equipment to maintain and checks with my name on them coming from some entity which is not the Colorado unemployment insurance division.

This morning? I'm off work, and I plan to get some chores done around the house. It's what husbands do on their days off, right?

Thanks for your help, Stan.


Lynilu said...

What a good post, Rick.

It is easy to become discouraged or despondent, given what is going on with so many these days. It is important to have connections, as you do with your BIL, to normalize it all. Too many among us pull back, not wanting to "share" because of pride, yet the dreaded act of sharing is what helps us deal with it.

I like how you've framed your job. If we could all accept that what we have available is a job, giving it the same attention, structure and importance as the previous one, how much more productive it would be. No, it doesn't mean this will immediately produce a paying position, but it will keep a person positive, directed and at the ready. No one wants to hire a sad-sack, and trust me, it shows regardless of our best behavior in interviews.

Being retired, it is easy to fall into a pattern of hanging around the house, becoming less active. I decided a couple days ago to structure part of my time so that I'm still out there and active. Great minds do run in the same path, don't WE? ;D Keep up the good attitude, my friend.

AscenderRisesAbove said...

I think the key is to get one of those daytimers and treat the day as if you are on the job; taking note in the daytimer of what you had accomplished; writing the master list on sunday. I prefer the two pages a day as you can record your phone conversations and there is room to tape notes scribbled down during the day. The two page a day also gives you more hours to scheduale; as i recall they begin at 6 in the morning and end at 9ish

Rick Hamrick said...

Lynilu--so happy to see you here!

You said, "I structure part of my time so that I'm still out there and active."

You are so right, my friend! Regardless of the circumstances which are causing us to lean toward isolation, the answer is to break out. So wise of you to reinforce that vital concept! Thank you, Lynilu.

Rick Hamrick said...

AscenderRisesAbove--I so admire folks like yourself who are are able to use such tools as daytimers and lists and notes and stuff.

I'm more a 'jot a note on a piece of paper, and then lose the piece of paper' kind of organizer.

kikipotamus said...

Good for you for coming to this realization. I remember how down I got when I was first looking for a job in Windsor. It really felt so disheartening at the time. I felt beaten down and hopeless. Yet it really did not take that long, now that I look back, to get some good prospects. Plus right after I took the job I took, the passport office invited me to come for their all-day testing, as I had passed the first tier of screening. It will happen, it just takes time and diligence and persistence. Most of all, good for you for recognizing the need to separate work from home life. Hugs.