I’m laid off, and my biggest fear was that I would sit around the house looking inward and brooding. I thought I would wake up every morning and sit on the couch watching television. Was I wrong!
What being laid off has given me is time. Not time to do nothing, but time to do all those things that I’ve been wanting to do. I’ve cleaned out closets, organized cupboards, started cooking, worked on my knitting, driven around the city, ridden public transportation by myself, done daily grocery shopping, discovered second-hand and thrift stores.
I’ve done all of those while still taking 3 classes, working 2 part-time jobs, and learning to navigate unemployment. I’ve had time to be as busy as I want to be.
In the process I’ve become more relaxed, slightly more patient and accepting, and I think a lot more fun to be around. I notice that I smile more, and that I don’t get as stressed out as much. I really can put stuff off until tomorrow, and I know it’ll get done instead of being buried by other to-dos.
I like not working 40 hours a week. I like not working 8 hours a day. I like not working over weekends. I like not working at home in the evenings. I really really like it. I know it will change, and I know that I’ll adapt. But until then I’m enjoying my time.
I remember a conversation I had with someone in 2002. She had had a job with a non-profit marketing company in Manhattan; after 9-11 her company closed and she was out of work. She told me that the following 6 months were the most fun she had ever had…she got a job as a temp receptionist, and when she wasn’t working she was exploring the great city of New York. She said she gave herself picnics in Central Park, subway rides to neighborhoods she’d never been to before, and just wandered up and down streets and soaking in the energy of the city.
I didn’t understand what she was talking about – what about her time? What was she doing? She wasn’t working, wasn’t she nervous or stressed? I was thinking to myself “yes, yes, yes…those things are nice, but why aren’t you spending your time better? Why aren’t you looking for a job?”
I understand her now. Picnics, subway rides and wandering through neighborhoods are as important as a paycheck and career.
So I have to say “Thank You” to my former company. Without being laid-off I never would have had this time to relax and be me.