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I read an article recently where the writer basically tore anyone who had been unemployed for a year a new one. Like, really ripped into them. There was accusations about not trying hard enough to find a job, using the “time off” as an opportunity to travel, shop and all around slack off while people who really needed the unemployment insurance weren’t able to receive it.
This writer was not unemployed.
The article made me angry. I mean, here I am, almost 11 months unemployed. Eleven months of job searching, sending out resumes, reaching out to people and all I have to show for it is two interviews and a pile of rejection letters saying thanks, but no thanks, and countless job inquiries left unanswered by HR teams that are buried in resumes from people just like me.
I have a degree, work experience, people skills. I am marketable.
But I am unemployed.
Let me be clear; in the year I have been without a job I have traveled home to visit my family. I have shopped. I have even laid on my couch for hours at a time watching Gilmore Girls marathons.
But I’ve also worked my tail off trying to find a job.
I am lucky, my husband has a job that basically supports our lifestyle. And an extravagant lifestyle it is not. But we’re comfortable and fortunate to own a home and be able to afford our necessities while also being able to have a little fun once in a while.
The small (very small) amount of money I receive each weeks goes directly towards bills, or groceries, or if we’re lucky that week, savings. It’s not going to the mall.
Why haven’t I “sucked it up” and gotten a part-time retail job? Why aren’t I waiting tables or folding sweaters?
Because I didn’t have to. Not yet. Because the whole point of unemployment benefits is to sustain you while you try and find a job that will support you. And taking a part-time job that pays less per week than I’m receiving on unemployment makes no sense whatsoever.
Unless a new proposed bill passes in the next few weeks, come mid-November my “income” stops. And when that happens, I will do what I need to do to contribute to our family. My nose isn’t in the air. I don’t think I’m better than anyone else. And if the bill passes, allowing the unemployed of Rhode Island — the state with the third highest unemployment rate in the country — 13 additional weeks of unemployment benefits, you bet I’ll be taking it.
Because that’s 13 more weeks to find a full-time job.
A year ago, I might have felt the same way as that writer, because unless you’re in these (old, because you really shouldn’t be buying new ones) shoes, you really don’t know the pain, frustration and self-doubt that surrounds you each time you have to answer “no” when the automated unemployment system asks you if you have returned to full-time work this week.
You just don’t know.
Since becoming unemployed, I’ve noticed my wardrobe has taken a turn for the…comfortable. Stacey and Clinton would be so mad at me. At last count, I had seven pairs of black stretchy yoga pants (four capri, three long) in my rotation. One for every day if you want to look at it that way.
I wear them around the house, to run errands, pop into Starbucks, then repurpose them for exercising before tossing them in the wash. All-purpose clothing, apparently.
I’m not proud of this shift, but if I don’t have a lot to do during the day, I just don’t see the point anymore in dressing to impress at the grocery store. The pants aren’t sloppy. They fit quite nice, actually. I bet you Michael would agree.
And it’s not like I’m wearing them out at night or to a party. Yet.
The only downside to this shift is that black yoga pants? Don’t go with heels. Although, they look super cute with fabulous flats so HA! Win again.
I just remembered, the count is actually at eight. I guess I have to count my black leggings (that I do NOT wear as pants) too.
I do miss the daily routine of dressing up for work. There was something satisfying and rewarding about pairing a cute skirt and top or tailored pants with high heels. Most of my closet is basically rendered useless to me most days as it’s filled with business casual and guess what? Unemployment means very infrequent clothes buying.
I know that eventually I’ll be able to put them back on, (or, you know, buy really cute maternity clothes instead. What?) so in the meantime, I’m just going to enjoy my stretchy pants paradise and hope that I don’t run into the What Not to Wear crew at the grocery store.
Based on my experience, I have decided there are four emotional stages of unemployment.
June 1st marked six months of being unemployed. In that time, I’ve applied to countless jobs. I’ve received a handful of rejection letters, had two interviews that went nowhere and heard nothing from the rest. In short, it’s frustrating.
If you go back through my winter achieves, you can probably tell I was depressed. Some days it was hard to get off the couch and when I did, it was usually to snap at Michael over something stupid, then cry. He was so good to me during that time period, remaining understanding and knowing that all I needed him to do was be there.
Then there was a shift. I began to think, “screw you” to the people not responding to me, got off the couch and started to get busy. Eventually that turned into full blown acceptance. I don’t have a job. It is what it is.
It’s no secret that I want to start trying to have children soon. Of course, having or not having a job is a factor in this. Do I find a job now, then leave in x-amount of months to raise a baby? Do I continue to try and find freelance and online jobs that allow me to work from home? (Not as easy to find as I had hoped.) Do I start working part time somewhere in the hopes of having flexible hours?
In three weeks my unemployment insurance runs out. According to the paperwork I’ve received, I MAY qualify for an extension. May. And because this state is AWESOME, they won’t tell me if I qualify until after my first round of money runs out. I’m left in the dark with a hope, but that’s about it.
If it runs out and I don’t qualify for an extension, I’m going to have to find something, probably in retail. I’m not looking down my nose at retail jobs, absolutely not. I just decided not to take one these past few months and use that time and weekly unemployment money to search for another full time job.
But it might be time to start looking.
To be honest, I wouldn’t mind starting a family and working part time. These six months have given me a lot (a LOT) of time to think and although some people might not agree with it, that drive to be a career woman is quickly fading. When I see my professional future, instead of demanding clients and busy Outlook calendars, I see a job, maybe administrative, where I can go in, do my job, and come home. Without taking the stress of the day home to me. And I see another job, that of a mother.
But in order to achieve this vision, I need a J-O-B. I just hope it doesn’t take me another six months to find one.
Blog? I have one of these? Oh, yeah. I totally copped out with the birthday posts (although, not really, I suppose. I DID want to wish them a happy birthday), but it’s just been too nice out to blog. It’s been sunny! And warm! And sitting in front of the computer just seems wrong.
I don’t have much of a coherent post, so I’ll give you some tidbits.
- We bought a boat. Our maiden voyage was on Michael’s birthday and lo, it was glorious. Or at least, the first leg of the trip was. By the time we returned the wind had picked up and that last hour was cold. Really cold. But still, boat! On the water! With my boys!
You can tell the wind was starting to pick up based on the direction Kodiak’s hair is blowing.
Life vests for safety, people.
- I’m applying for a job that requires a typing certificate. In order to receive this certificate, I have to take a typing test at a government center 45 minutes away. I had an appointment to take that test at 9 a.m., however when I got there, they informed me the program wasn’t accessible because tech support changed the password and could I come back tomorrow?
Think they could have called me to tell me that?
- When I get a job, the thing I will miss the most is time home with Michael. He works different hours each week so often we are home together during the day. We’ve always been super close, but unemployment has given us the opportunity to be even closer during our first year of marriage. It’s been really nice, despite having one less paycheck.
The thing is, we’ve become pretty co-dependant. Not in a hold my hand while I go to the bathroom type of co-dependant, but more like a where are you going can I come with you type of co-dependant. Don’t get me wrong, we can survive alone, but we don’t like to. I’ll definitely miss him when I go back to work.
- Baby? Still want one. Like, yesterday. Trying? Not yet. But soon? Maybe?
- Idol — I was Adam all the way. Don’t get me wrong, Kris is good, but too John Mayer for my taste. Adam is just really unique and maybe it’s better he didn’t win so he can move forward without being under the Idol thumb. I’ll definitely be buying his CD.
- Um, it’s sunny. And warm. I have to get off the computer immediately.
I saw a segment on the nightly news last night about a man who lost his $70k job while his wife was going through cancer treatment. He was forced to take a job as a janitor because no one would hire him. Not with his degree, not with his experience.
He went on to talk about how depressed he had become. How day after day he sends out resumes to no avail. No one is calling him back.
I so understand that. I cannot tell you how many jobs I’ve applied for. The amount of response I’ve received is depressing. Every day I question my worth and ability.
I understand. I know what the economy is like and I know that the thousands of unemployed people in the state are going for the same jobs I am.
But it still stings.
So it turned out the position is only part time and while I was expecting a pay cut, it looks like it would be a PAY CUT so yeah, I don’t think this is going to happen.
I’m frustrated, but am happy I at least had an interview. I am so tired of not hearing back from anyone that just the opportunity to put on some heels and go try and sell myself felt good.
Unfortunately, I”m still in the same old position. I’m not superstitious, but how great could a job really be if I got hired on Friday the 13th?
OK that was lame.
After a lovely lunch with a girl I haven’t seen in forever, I have a job interview secured for tomorrow.
It has absolutely nothing to do with public relations.
I am realistic — it would mean a pay cut, but could be rewarding in many other ways.
I am optimistic.
I am excited.
I have to figure out what to wear.
Years ago I met up with a friend of mine and drooled over her fabulous blue bag. It was slouchy and a good size and the perfect shade of blue. I never even knew I wanted a blue bag until I saw it. But as soon as I did, my fate was sealed. She got it at Target of all places, and I was willing to forgo quality just to own that perfect blue bag.
Of course by the time I got to Target, it was gone. Everywhere. I spent weeks searching for the bag online and in stores — from eBay to Craigslist. It was gone. Since then, whenever I come across a selection of blue bags I hope to come across that perfect color again. It has never happened.
I found the bag. A bag in the perfect shade of blue with just the right amount of slouchiness and I want it. Oh, how I want it.
But, I’m unemployed. And it’s expensive. And I know I can’t justify the purchase right now so I am hoping and praying that a) I get a job SOON and b) the bag is still available when I do.
Unless of course you’d like to donate to the Perfect Blue Bag Fund, in which case I will gladly accept.
(Did she just write a whole post about a purse? I think she did. Wow, she’s cool.)
Michael told me that lately I have permanent sleepy face.
This doesn’t surprise me one bit. I haven’t worn makeup in days, I’ve taken a nap around three o’clock almost every day this week and the highlight of every day is seeing what Ina Garten is cooking at 1:30.
I’m still doing stuff — errands, job searching, job searching, job searching, cleaning, cooking, job searching…but the boredom still remains victorious. Hence, sleepy face.
Sleepy face isn’t cute. So I made a list today and my goal is to check off every single item. The plan is this will keep me busy until Michael gets home from work, then I’ll insist we get out of this house, even if it’s just for a chai and a drive by the ocean so I can toss the sleepy face into the sea.
I might still take a nap, though.