Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Blessing in Disguse: Story of being Unemployed for a Month

This story starts like most stories of being laid off start. I was tailgating at the VA Tech vs Boise State game when my phone rang. It was the irritatingly dumb sounding voice of my subcontracting manager telling me that due to a cut in funding from my project, I was not to report to work tomorrow. There was no good bye lunch or happy hour for me, no severance, not pat on the back or shoulder to cry on. No, I was just told not to report to work the following day. From there I proceeded to drink another beer and eat some more chili before heading into the stadium.

It has been one month to the day since I was let go by my previous job as an IT Techy. Contrary to the normal behavior when one loses their only source of income, I was never worried, angry, sad, nauseous, or even gassy. Instead I was excited and relieved that I could take some time to reflect on my life and really decide what I wanted from it.

My previous job was located in Fairfax, VA and I was commuting from Washington DC. That commute was horrid for me, and this was the first thing on the list of changes I wanted for my new job. The second bolded, underlined, and italicized item on the list was to get paid for what I was worth. I wasn't getting paid for my Masters Degree and it was about time I did. The third and final upgrade to my next job would be better benefits. I was a sub contractor at my previous job and wasn't even getting paid vacation (however the overtime pay made up for it a lot of the times).

With all of the above changes needing to be met in order for me to accept a new job offer, I was off in search of my grail of a job (insert Monty Python coconut galloping noise here). I started applying to big government contractors and getting my resume out via e-mail to all of my contacts. I exhausted every networking source I could, and I'm pretty sure some people have left my network after communicating with me so much (please come back, I love you all). Finally I was contacted by a small company and asked to interview. I went though all the steps, jumped through all the hoops, kissed all the ass that needed a lip touch, and eventually received and offer letter. This job met all of my standards as far as the changes I needed in my career, so I accepted it (and now I'll be near all of the awesome food trucks in DC).

Now to the non-boring part of being unemployed.....

Once the job was secured I could concentrate on my inner happiness (except for the torturing of my liver, sorry liver, I love you & mean it). After being a commuter/working slave for so long I felt that I needed to rejuvenate my body. I got as much sleep as possible, and I even had a friend comment that I looked more rested and calm than I have ever looked to her before (wonder what she thought of me before? Bitch.... Kidding <3).

After realizing that 12 hours of sleep was only part of the remedy of inner happiness, I realized I needed to destress my body and mind.... what better way than to rediscover the art of day drinking. Thanks be to Santa Clause that I have such great friends that are bartenders and/or just work evenings. This allowed me to not go about my day drinking alone (that would be considered alcoholism children). Whether it was a pitcher of swirl margaritas at Lauriol Plaza, double margaritas on the rocks at Logan Tavern (served up by the ever so fabulous Eric), tall beers and lunch at hooters with Kevin in Chinatown on a random Monday, or even Yuenglings with the here and there shots of Jameson at Levelone with my newly dubbed big sister in DC; I rediscovered my inner college student. This was the epiphany I needed in order to relax and stay focused on being happy. This may come across to some of you as borderline alcoholism, but 64.27% of the time I wasn't even getting drunk. The alcohol was like a metaphorical campfire to gather around with good friends and enjoy each others company as well as a few (sometimes a lot of) laughs. As I venture onward to begin a new chapter in my career life, I want to salute the art of day drinking... I honestly and truly believe that everyone should rediscover this holy of holys once in their lifetime (prior to retirement).

My last and final ode to unemployment was the ability to go and visit my beautiful and wonderful girlfriend who lives 4 hours away while she finishes her degree. Long distance relationships aren't the easiest in the world (this is my first and hopefully only one), however having copious amounts of free time allowed me to make that 4 hour drive more often than I would if I were working. I also was able to stay longer than if I had job (thanks to her roommate for not hating me for being there too often). Going back and hanging around undergrads was fun (even the "old man" jokes were enjoyable at times), even attended a VA Tech game in the rain (sucks they lost to freaking JMU though).

The overall unemployment experience for me has been that of a positive one. This is what I will think of every time I hear unemployment rising in this country. I will hope that everyone getting their pink slip, or the call that they shouldn't report to work the following day, will be able to enjoy their time away from the grind of earning a pay check and sucking the days metaphorical or actual dick.

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