In Transition: The Gift of Time

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.

About Tricia Ransom

Patricia Ransom: wife, daughter, friend. Learning, laughing, living. Chicago, Illinois, downstate. Townie, urbanite, traveller. Note: The opinions expressed on this blog belong solely to me and should not be assumed to reflect the opinions of any of my employers past, current, or future.
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2 Responses to In Transition: The Gift of Time

  1. Ray Colon says:

    Hi Patricia,

    I’m glad that you are experiencing new things and feeling more relaxed during this time.

    From my experience, I can say that time away from work can enable us to get to those things that we have put off, but I don’t remember feeling as at ease as you seem to be during my period of unemployment. Perhaps you have done a better job than I have in the past with savings, which coupled with unemployment can see you through for a time. I was close to living paycheck-to-paycheck just before my unemployment, so the stress related to the immediacy of my job search weighed me down.

    The only period in which I experienced a similar euphoria of exploration was for the two weeks between the job offer and the start date. The job search was finally over and, thankfully, only the waiting remained.



    • Patricia Ransom says:

      Hi Ray!

      I’m feeling the ease because my husband has a good, and good-paying, job. I’m on his health insurance and my parents graciously are paying for my school this semester. Trust me, if it weren’t for these things I’d be a nervous wreck! Right now I don’t have to work, which takes the pressure off.

      The other reason I’m so relaxed? My husband. He’s one of those laid-back people that sees lemonade in lemons. Me, I see fruit that cost way too much and that will rot cause what are we going to do with lemons?!?!


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