Jobless – Part 11

So…..it was that time when my severance pay ran out. Last week I began the process of filing for unemployment. Truly I never expected to get to this place. I’ve worked consistently since graduating from college and this is a first for me. Jobs were never hard to get. I only can recall two I applied for and wasn’t chosen…until this phase of life. But age, the salaried requirements of an experienced employee, and my initial desire to remain in Statesville and commute to a job have all taken their toll.

Nothing makes someone feel quite so stupid as filling out government paperwork (even if it is online). It actually makes me angry. I know my reading comprehension is above the norm. Shouldn’t government forms be written in a manner that those below the norm can understand? I made a couple of mistakes on the questions and had to call them to help me fix them….yes, I was that person who calls at 4:55 on a Friday afternoon, when the call center closes at 5 (groan). The woman I spoke with couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful…but I felt horrible for taking a few minutes of her weekend. Still, I needed to get it done so would do it again…and she didn’t seem bothered at all. There are nice people in the world in government jobs.

I may have filed late. I’m still trying to figure that out. I’ve been consistently looking for a job, so that part should be OK. I think that’s what concerns them most….that I haven’t done everything I needed to know, But there’s an expectation that you know these things. I didn’t. I feel a bit out of my depth.

I’ve expanded my search to include no location limits. I’ve gone from hating that idea to being excited by it. Those who know me know I love travel and love being new places. What a great way to explore a new area of the country! Your priorities can change at different times. It’s most important to me at the moment to not lose salary….and to love the job I get and the environment I work in.

I have no illusions that it will be easy, as a 59-year old introvert (yes, I promise you I am), to make new friends if I have to move. But I also know that I will do the hard stuff it takes to do just that. I’ve moved before and have gotten engaged in life each place I lived. (Well, maybe not Columbia, SC as much. That was a tough nut to crack. I read a lot during my time there. They have great libraries.) You find you have skills to cope. My family is supportive of me doing this if necessary. I’ve received a few “How could you leave your family?”….but never from my family. They may even a little excited of the possibility of having a new place to visit.

A move will require that I do a major downsizing of my stuff, but I needed to do that anyway. I’m not moving all of this I have accumulated over the years. This will be tremendously difficult for me. I have ADD….and am not good at marathon clean-out sessions. Therefore I’ve taken to making myself start pulling things for about 15-minutes at a time. Monday and Tuesday morning I pulled out dresser drawers and went through them. I filled a grocery bag or two and took them to Iredell Christian Ministries. Today was a food distribution day there, and when I started putting out the bag of things I took in their “free for the taking” area, one lady immediately picked up a couple of things and said how helpful they would be to her. I have so very much….much more than I need. It spurs me on to know someone else will be helped, or find pleasure in, things that are just taking up space in my home.

I’m starting to watch finances a lot closer. I’m trying not to eat out as much, though I didn’t do great this weekend. Being single this is often my social outlet, so it won’t completely go off the table. I haven’t set a limit on myself yet because I don’t think it is necessary…and I’m not a huge offender. I eat at home most of the time anyway. But even things like making sure I’m not wasting food matters more when you are watching pennies. Right now I am trying to eat food I have accumulated over time. This week’s main meal (because singles often eat in bulk) is a big pot of lentils I made with the hambone I saved from cleaning up after a family meal at church for a funeral (it was going to be thrown away). One man’s trash is another’s treasure. And the lentils are great….a treasure indeed.

Earlier this week I cut off my cable and land line service. I’m definitely keeping my internet and that speed is supposed to increase, simply because they will move my old Time Warner service to Spectrum. Funny how that happens. Since I only rarely watch TV, and don’t currently need a land line, this was a relatively easy decision. We’ll see how living with it in reality works out.

It is a time when one of my worst habits is coming in handy. I’ve had a history of forgetting to deposit/cash checks. Mostly dental insurance payments, but all kinds really. I used to just forget to go to the bank. That doesn’t happen much these days since I can deposit by phone….but around my house there are still old ones. Really old ones. I’ve already sent two back to be reissued (as you probably know, checks only have a 6-month shelf life.) Hopefully they will get this done and my bad habit is now a good gift. (And don’t tell me how much I lost for not cashing on time and investing the money…yep, I know.)

Ah, what else? I guess there are a few weird things about now. First is actually having to use that emergency fund I have built up over the years. I really didn’t expect to use it for what it was designed for. It’s not that huge….how can I stretch it?

And then there’s the uncertainty. I have to preface everything with, “Depending on whether I have a job” or “Unless I have an interview” and now have to add “If I still live here.” I was going to go ahead and get my plane ticket for my trip to Wales in November (which I plan to take regardless of job status), but what if I am living somewhere else then? I started to go ahead and book, and then realized I couldn’t until I had a certain amount of confidence in the airport I would be traveling from.

So I carry on. It’s frustrating and often lonely, despite the wonderful people who try to make it less so. It’s that roller coaster of life….optimistic one minute and tense because you don’t know what is ahead the next. Always looking at the worse case scenario (which makes me feel better since I know I could survive that…and I have a dark sense of humor), I was thinking about what I would have in my shopping cart if I were homeless. When it gets down to it, I don’t need the stuff. Keep in mind this is the sort of warped mental exercise I do for fun. I don’t really expect it to happen, and if it does it will not be soon. I’m not ready to give up the bedroom suite my dad refinished for me when I was in college or my rocking chairs. Still, they’re not fitting in the cart, so I will need another option. All my other stuff….it’s on the table. Especially if a move is required. My goal then is to get rid of half of my belongings and 9/10 of the paper that currently is in this house. (Yes, I have issues.) Sometimes we need to be challenged to clean up our life.

I’ll end with this quote. It made me laugh.

Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they are unemployed.” – Prince Philip

9 Comments

    1. Do not , do not evaluate yourself by the results of a merciless job market for an amazing person like you. I’m selfishly praying for a job near Statesville but yielding to the better plans of God. Cast wide the net. Steve

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  1. Great post! As a 58-year-old introvert who recently became unemployed, boy can I relate. I can also relate to getting rid of stuff. When I was 45 I sold my house, quit my job, bought a motorhome, and hit the road with my dog for 5 years. I got rid of everything except what I could fit in my 30-foot motorhome and some boxes stored at my parents’ house. It can be done and I must say, it was very freeing. Good luck!

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    1. You know, I don’t think I would have been able to get rid of a lot of stuff a few years ago. I was still too attached. But now, the only daunting thing is going through it all! I love your adventurous spirit and where your life has taken you. I almost feel like a dandelion, at seed. I could blow anywhere!

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  2. Yes! I used to be somewhat sentimental about stuff, but find that state of mind is leaving me. I look at the future as an adventure, and most particularly now. Will I sell my house or stay put? What job will I end up with and will it meet my perceived needs? How many of my perceived needs are wants? How can I let this experience change me well? Lots to chew on mentally….but really I’m not seeing a bad scenario out there. Selling everything and bumming around the world has its appeal.

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  3. I don’t know if it is any consolation but it is far better to be unemployed and looking for the next opportunity then feel stuck in a job that is making you miserable! I speak from experience. Good luck!

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