Okay, it’s only been one week. In December the average time it took an unemployed person to find a job was 19.7 weeks
(thank you, Wall Street Journal / AP story, I hate you, why did I ever look at you); I should not be freaking
here – this could take some time. I set up my meditation fountain (Christmas gift from Dear Jay’s Dad & Step-Mom) and
lit a scented candle (and no, I am not going to regret spending eighty dollars on Partylite last November. My sister sells
it. I am supporting her and her family, not some faceless corporation) and I got my first unemployment compensation check
I have a résumé, and a cover letter, and references, and I even found an awesome interview suit that was 33% off and
doesn’t make my butt look fat. (I know. I thought it was impossible, too.) I have searched on Yahoo Hot Jobs and Monster and
Career Builder and my local newspaper and other want ads. I’m one of 522,000 that were laid off in January, so it’s a bit
of a comfort to know I’m not alone. It’s just hard not to wish that karma would swiftly mete out justice in the form of a
particularly virulent strain of Ebola that would wipe out everyone at That Stupid Company That Laid Me Off (everyone except
the other 15% they laid off as well). I’m just sayin’.
At least I’m doing everything right, according to all those how-to-get-a-job books at the library. (Library! Free!
Yes!) Every morning, after I take Dear Jay to work, I fire up the old laptop and
“go to work” myself. I check the dedicated email account I set up for my job search. I look for new entries on the job listing
sites. I customize my cover letter and the plain-text version of my résumé and upload them into prospective employers’ databases.
I sit and wait for the phone(s) to ring.
But, you know, it’s hard to stay upbeat. I have to keep reminding myself that this is not like the other times in my
life when I was unemployed, when the wolf was at the door waiting as I came home from yet another job termination. (He’s a
big wolf. I call him Boris.) As much as Oprah’s bourgeois spiritualism makes me grind my
teeth, I try to use one of her practices: each day think of five things for which I am thankful. Okay, I call it my “Get a
Grip, Things Are Not Going to Hell in a Handbasket Quite Yet” list. It’s corny, but it keeps me from eating my own hair.
Money is coming in, from Dear Jay and the government.
We have over six months income saved in case this would happen.
We have not totaled the car.
Our home has not burned down.
We are not in the hospital with Ebola, or any other life-threatening condition.
So those are the Big Five. There are more, and in coming days I may post them here. But right now I need to tell you
about one more.
Those of you who know me well (like know-about-the-time-I-had-to-borrow-a-pair-of-tighty-whities-from-a-former-boyfriend
well) know that I am painfully self-conscious in social situations. I always think that everyone else has it all together,
and that I’m just a monumental eff-up, and the moment I open my mouth everyone will know. And then I open my mouth and some
outrageous flaky statement comes flying out before my self-editor kicks in, and everyone laughs; which makes me think that
they are laughing at me, not with me.
(Ooh, now I’ve shared my big, scary secret. I have power over you, secret. I pwn you!)
But not everyone has it all together, no matter how they seem to. Inside every one of us (okay, not Leona Helmsley,
but she’s dead; not Bernard Madoff, but he’s going to prison; or even Donald Trump, but he’s had a bad hair, um, life) – now, where was I? oh, yes – inside every one of us is a soul in constant fear that those around us will
realize just how fragile our psyche really is. That we’re a bundle of nervousness and insecurity and that we really don’t
know what the eff we’re doing 95% of the time.
So when someone I respect, someone who has overcome her own personal upheavals with grace and courage and a sense of
humor that makes me spit out my latté, presents me with the Lemonade Stand Award, I tell you, I nearly cried. A kleenix may
have been acquired; a sniffle may have been sniffed. I am honored. Really. I am reaching through the internet to give you
hugs, Molly Bee. Thank you.
Part of the award is passing it on. The three I’m passing it to are blog-less,
but no less deserving of it. They are:
My Mom, who has dealt with uncertain health in the last four months, yet has kept her sense of humor, even through
the fog of painkillers. Neck surgery, NSAID allergies, flu; and all on top of a wonky knee that is scheduled for a replacement
next week – surgery that has been postponed twice already. Third time’s the charm, Mom? I’ll be there to drive you and Dad
to the hospital (and promise not to drool on your sporty blue Jetta… too much) and take him home after your bionics have been
installed. They can rebuild you. They have the technology. They have the erector set.
My youngest sister, who has MS. You are blessed with a loving husband and a precocious daughter, and despite fighting
a scary-bad disease you still are there for them, and holding down a job, babysitting other’s little ones, selling Partylite,
volunteering at church and just being an all-around awesome sister. I wish we could hang together more often.
And (saving the best for last) my Dear Jay. You have not gotten angry at me or criticized my decisions or second-guessed
anything I’ve done since (and as a result of) this lay-off. You have stepped up to the plate at your work with energy and
courage. Every day you call me to tell me that you love me, and believe in me, and that we will get through this. You’re the
sugar in my lemonade.
And that, my friends, gives me the courage and the poise to run through these thunderstorms.
Though if you see me with a new, frizzy hairstyle?
Just call me Donald Trump.