Monday, April 22, 2013

3 Weeks

So, it's been 3 weeks since I posted about getting laid off.  And where am I?  Spinning my gears mostly.  I was working with the placement company that my former employer hires to help all of those they lay off.  Got my resume into decent shape, I thought.  Then I showed it to Lynx, my former tent mate and great friend from my Camp Tohi days.  (So glad we found each other on Facebook.  I've really missed her!)  Well, she just about reached through the Internet all the way from Ohio and smacked me.  Apparently I was underselling myself again and while the guy I was working with was right about a lot of things as far as people reading my resume, wasn't so hot on the "getting it through the computer screening for keywords" process that so many employers use these days.

That, and I still have no idea what I want to do when I grow up.  I take it back.  I know what I'd like to be doing, and what would probably make my soul sing, at least for a little while, but those jobs are few and far between, usually don't pay much or offer benefits and I'd probably have to move.  All things working against it.  Yes, deep down in that secret place in my heart that I keep sealed off because it'll only get me hurt, I still want to "be Lynn from the nature center".  Or at least be able to teach there full time.  No, I don't want to teach in a classroom.  I never have, and I've already talked about how NCLB has destroyed teaching for at least one friend and I really don't want to go down that road myself.

I've applied for a couple of jobs, but I'm really not holding my breath with them.  I'm both way over and way under qualified for them at the same time.  And I'm not even sure they're what I really want to be doing.  And you know what, I don't even really care about that at the moment.  As much as I love all the extra time I'm getting with Boo, I need to go back to work.
For many reasons.  I need to know that, while maybe financially tight, I'm bringing in enough money to keep the roof over our heads, food on the table and insurance paid for.  And while I love Gak and his job has provided us with scheduling flexibility over the years, it just doesn't cover us financially like my job did.
It's been so very hard for me these past 3 weeks to find my place in the routine.  We've got one that works, but I still feel like an interloper in my own apartment most mornings.  Boo and Gak had a routine that worked and that they'd developed over time the last (almost) 5 years.  Trust me, I'm thrilled that my boys can take good care of themselves and have it figured out, but it's been hard putting myself into that space.  I need to be around adults again.  I miss the connections and conversations with my coworkers and friends at work.  I miss connecting with my regular customers.  (And trust me, I've spent plenty of time the last few weeks worrying how some of them are, and feeling really bad that I didn't get a chance to say bye to many of them.... but... I understand, kinda...)  I need my own routine back.

There are two good things to come from this change.  The first being that I do get to spend more time with Boo.  That's never a bad thing (even when it seems like it because he's being whiny boy who's pushing all my buttons...).  The other is that except for a few days where I've really over done it physically, I haven't had the unending brain fog, the daily exhaustion chills and the crashing and crashing hard by 8 or 9:00 pm.  I've been able to get "enough" sleep and rest.  I haven't had the added stress of an actual job.  (And while I've been job searching, I haven't been doing it as many hours a day as I was at the office... and I really need to be actively searching more/better.... but that's a different story.)  So, yeah, I've actually been feeling fairly good physically.  Which makes me dread going back to work as much as I need to.  I don't want to head back into brain fog land.  I don't want to have the exhaustion chills some days as early as 8 am, but almost always for at least a little bit by 3 pm and almost always by 8:30 pm.  Only a few days have I had the "someone is trying to dislocate my hip by driving a screwdriver into it" pain or other joint/muscle pain and that's after I've overexerted myself.    I've been able to actually do things with my husband after the boy goes to bed.  I've been able to get things done.

So, even though this has been a good thing in the short term, I'm afraid of the long term.  It would be so easy for me to just give in, call it quits and become the lump on the sofa living off society if I didn't keep making myself move on days I don't want to.  I'm not that person.  I'm the one who earns her keep, does her fair share and makes sure I can give to others.  I'm not one to play the system and take advantage of it.  I despise people like that.  Sure, everyone needs a hand up now and again (which is why I'm collecting unemployment right now, but I've paid into that most of my adult life...).  But people who work the system so that they don't have to work or be a productive part of society, those I can't stand.  And I refuse to use my health to become one, as tempting as it may sound on mornings after I've over done it by going to the gym for 45 minutes, going for a 3 mile bike ride and walking to and from Boo's daycare.  Yep, that's enough some days to leave me completely useless the next day.  And there are so many people who can do all that and work an 8+ hour work day and be fine.  So, like it or not, I do have health issues that I can't ignore.

Anyhow, enough of the depressing and frustrating story of being unemployed.

In less than 8 hours we'll be at Boo's kindergarten registration appointment.  Yes, you read that right.  Boo goes to kindergarten in the fall.  In just over a month he'll be 5.  Yes, you read that right too.  I'm both excited and sad about it.  Sad because my baby is growing up so fast.  Excited because this will begin a (hopefully) great new chapter in Boo's life and I love watching him grow and explore the world.  And his world's about to get a whole lot bigger.

But, since I've been awake for the last hour or so, I'd better head back to bed and try and get some more sleep before I have to face the day.  Either that, or it is going to be a long day and afternoon and I will crash by 8 and feel miserable.  (But, I was stuck in my own head and hopefully now that I've poured it all out I'll be able to go back to sleep again....)

Peace to all and may your challenges be small and the love of your friends and family be large.

Monday, April 01, 2013


Well, the day I've been dreading for the past year or more finally happened last Tuesday, March 26th...

Boo and I had a lovely, if slightly snowy, day with Amma for her birthday on the 25th.  We didn't make our usual trip to the Zoo because of said snow, but we had an enjoyable swim, a wonderful brunch, a visit with PopPop and some time at the Lego store.  Amma and I even both found new swimsuits online (a backup for her and a replacement to mine that decided to rip in the center back shoulder area....).

Then Tuesday came.  I get up, get a boy-o to school and head in to the office.  I get my day underway by reheating the leftover half of my Monte Cristo sandwich from Monday's brunch.  (An aside, can I tell you how awesome Knook and Kranny on 23 near Phoenixville is?  Yeah, never had a bad anything and the owner is so sweet.)  I settle in and start checking the emails from the weekend and Monday and downloading some software I need for the upcoming reporting month.

Then Monty comes up.  Has this expression on his face like he's about to do something he really, really, really doesn't want to do.  Yeah.  That look.  Tells me he's been asked to walk me down to Katie's office.  Oh, and did you know Al's in the building?  Yup.  Al's from corporate HR.  There's only one reason why I'd be walked down to the business manager's office when corporate HR is here.  Corporate decided to do another RIF (reduction in force for those blessed enough not to know) and thanks to my oh-so-wonderful reviews the last two years, I was on the short list.

I do know that both Monty and Katie fought as hard as they could to keep the RIF from happening and to keep me from being a victim of it.  I could tell that neither of them wanted to be doing this, and Al didn't look too happy either.  (I'll give you this, Al is a very compassionate guy and I'd never, ever, in a million years want to be an HR person, ever, since his job mostly sucks in this economy...)  I'll tell you that while I didn't get the executive treatment for my severance package, I didn't just get a boot to the ass and a "good luck!".  I can't say that I'm happy with it, because, let's face it, I'd rather have my job, but it'll help keep us afloat for a little while.  Actually, a fairly long while if I play my cards right and can manage to keep costs down as low as I can.

So, yeah.  I'm unemployed at the moment.  Yes, I've signed up for unemployment.  No, I don't feel the slightest bit guilty about taking this "entitlement" because I've been employed almost non-stop since 1999 and have been paying into the system all this time.  This isn't "free" money, this is money I've paid into a system for just this kind of event.  Sure, I'd be thrilled never to have to rely on it, but I'm not stupid enough to turn down a helping hand.
I have to get my resume in full order.  I will admit that I took most of last week of as "vacation", since I'd been griping that I needed one for many months now and really, I honestly doubt delaying a week would really change the outcome of any job search.  Besides, I have no clue where I want to go next.  I don't know if I want to stay in the power industry, or if I want to do something else.  Do I want to continue to be some kind of software/technological support or do I want to do something else?  I do know that I don't want to move and that I'll need a job with at least half decent benefits and that I don't want to do sales.

It is times like this that I truly envy people like my brother who at least have a clue of what industry they want to work in, even if they haven't a clue what exact position they want.  I've got nothing.  I fell into this job 12.5 years ago when I gave Monty my resume to take in just to shut him up.  I never wanted to be in the regulatory or power industry.  I never wanted to be in software development or support.  I had some skills that came in handy and I could talk intelligently to customers.  The rest, I learned over the years.  I really have no idea what I want to do.
No, wait, I take that back.  I know what my dream job is, but they're few and far between, don't pay much and rarely have any benefits what so ever.  Yeah, that's right.  My dream job is still to be an educator at a nature center or the like.  And no, I'm not going to try and join the park service (see that not really wanting to move at this point above as well as the fact that 90% of park rangers are really just police officers, which isn't what I want to do...)  I'm not going to get my emergency teaching certificate and start subbing and working towards my full certification.  I never wanted to teach in a formal setting and NCLB has made that into something I want to avoid like the plague actually.  (It's bad enough what I'm going to deal with being a parent.... there's a reason my friend Michelle ran from the job screaming several years ago now...)

So, I've got to figure out which way is up and what path I might like to try.  And I've got to figure out how I fit into Gak and Boo's morning schedule's and routines.  I haven't been a part of the daily home scene since Boo was 11 weeks old or so and the boys have it down pretty pat after almost 5 years.  (Yeah, that's right,  Boo turns 5 two months from today... go ahead, I'll wait while the shock wears off.)  So, I don't have a job outside the house and I have no idea what my job inside the house is right now either.

But, this is the season of new beginnings and rebirth, both spiritually and physically.  I just hope that I don't have to wander as far and as long as my Jewish ancestors did.

Peace to all and may you not have an unwelcome surprises and at least a general direction to head.

p.s. I wish I could say this was all a horrible April Fool's joke, but I can't.