Just in case you have lost count, it has been 529 calendar days since I have had a job. I know. That’s a lot of days.
But on July 13th (it will have been 542 days then) I will get back to work full time! I’ll be working in Greensboro as a company’s Benefits Manager.
I’m excited on many fronts. First of all, it’s a new twist to what I have done in the past. I’m someone who loves tackling new things and this has been my hope in the search.
Of course, there is some fear since there are aspects of the job I have advised people on, but never had to do myself. But I’ll figure it out. I’m fortunate to have friends in Human Resources at other companies who will be there to advise me this time. I talked to one last week as I was mulling over the offer and her encouragement made me feel much more confident about accepting the offer.
I will be commuting, but it will be a more relaxing commute than driving to Charlotte (which also would have been fine). The distance is no further than when I was commuting to my old job in Winston. Since I am a great lover of audiobooks, podcasts, and NPR, car time doesn’t bother me at all. I have missed it. Plus working in Greensboro may mean more time with my Greensboro friends – which is always a good thing.
I may do a future post on the whole job interviewing process, as this 50-something found it more interesting than anticipated. It was disconcerting to realize I was considered old more often than experienced. It makes me sad for our world.
So many of you, known and unknown, have been such great supporters. Thank you for caring enough to cheer me on through the process, to tell me about job possibilities, to give me advice, keep me entertained, and pray for me. So many people don’t bother, so the gift of you who did is a cherished one.
I gained a lot of knowledge through this process, and took advantage of the tools made available to me. I am even better prepared to help others in the future. (If anyone in NC is looking for someone with their Masters in Accounting, let me know – one of my buddies is still in the hunt and she is a great hire.)
Overall this has been a wonderful period of my life and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I was not in debt (except for my house), and was able to quickly cut expenses that were not necessities. My former employer was fair with their severance, or it would have been a more critical situation. Don’t count on severance being available to you – many employers are cutting it out. I won’t count on it in the future.
Current unemployment compensation with the federal coronavirus subsidy is a great blessing, but the additional money probably won’t be there in the future. Living on regular unemployment is close to impossible.
In my case, without the safety nets I had, six months of expenses would not have been enough. Know that benchmark is definitely the minimum.
I don’t want anyone to think this has been all sunshine and sunflowers. It has required lots of energy, perseverance, deep thought, running down obstacles, strategizing, and pep talks. I wish I had counted the job applications I submitted. Hundreds. Lots of disappointments, though I also found a lot of places I knew I didn’t want to work. Knowing that is a good thing.
I trust God and tried to keep my thoughts and eyes looking heavenward instead of worrying about the future and the uncertainty. It kept it all in perspective.
In life you have to keep moving and pivoting. You may as well call them Plans 1, 2, and 3, because most of us go through more than 26 iterations of what our next steps will be.
But you also need rest. No, my house never got a good cleaning. I knew that would have added more stress to my plate and being jobless was more than enough stress for me.
The most important thing I can share, though, is that being unemployed for 542 days is not in the top five toughest things I have endured in life. It was not even in my top five concerns the day I got the job offer. I can lose all of my possessions, but health and people are irreplaceable. I got a head start on remembering that before the coronavirus hit.
One more thing, though. Make sure you are living your priorities. A job is good, and important in providing for ourselves and contributing to the world, but it’s a sad excuse for a life. Make sure there is more to yours than work. Live joyfully. Engage with your people.
“If I were a flower… I would be a sunflower. To always follow the sun, turn my back to darkness, stand proud, tall and straight even with my head full of seeds.” – Pam Stewart