Tuesday, December 20, 2011

On Unemployment... and Writing

Six weeks ago, I was laid off from the day job. The same day job that should've only lasted three weeks in 2007. This fact hasn't softened the blow and I've been staving off a major bout of emo-ness for weeks. This totally explains why I still haven't cleaned the basement.

Unless you've been laid off or are very close (read: married or related) to someone who has been laid off, you might not realize what a slap in the face the situation is. You've been rejected. The company that you've worked for has essentially left you for someone else. Yeah, I know there's circumstances like budget cuts or reorganizations, but it doesn't matter at this point. You feel worthless.

It's very easy to fall in to the trap of doing nothing while on unemployment. At first, it's like you've taken a few days off from the day job. You sleep in, stay up late, wear a crazy amount of lounge pants. Then, a month has gone by. The dishes pile up and you're working on your final pair of socks--for the third day in a row. Sure, you've looked for work because if you don't you don't get paid, but the job search yields no results. Probably because your heart isn't in it.

Because of the depression.

The local unemployment office has a workshop called, "Coping with Job Loss" that is so popular I have to wait until next month to attend. I'm hoping it will give me some great tips on getting past this hump. To be honest, it's a miracle I'm as cheerful as I am right now.

One good thing about not having a day job is that this gives me a lot more time to write, revise, and read. It's because of this I was able to complete NaNoWriMo in two weeks. My current goal is to complete requested revisions before it becomes 2012. I'm also trying to take charge of my health by exercising regularly and eating better. With no true schedule, this is a challenge but one I'm willing to meet head on.

To those who have been or are unemployed, how have you handled the time?

Last.fm hit of the day: Numb by Portishead


  1. I'm so sorry to hear this. Working in theater I have layoffs when my stage is dark but I always know that there is an end date to my time off. When I'm off I babysit, temp, sell crafts on etsy, do clothing alterations for friends, sell things on ebay or amazon. I go to the gym and the coffee shop because they are both good places to see people and also to network and talk to people. I try to write and revise even though I might not be getting paid for it.
    Hang in there. You will find something but until then put some of the extra focus into your writing.

  2. I was let go (via email! how tacky!) from my job in 2007 and was unemployed for about 5 months. In that time, I began writing my first book, took lots of walks, and wound up losing 30 pounds. But I also was constantly stressed about applying to every job I could find.

    My advice is to keep looking for a job, of course, but don't let that keep you chained to your computer all day. Take walks, go to the movies during the day, exercise, read, volunteer. Stay busy! After three months, I began temping at some insurance place. Not glamourous, but I loved waking up and having a place to go in the morning.

    Good luck with the job search!

  3. Before I landed my current job, I was laid off and unemployed for three months. At first I thought being unemployed will give me tons of time to do other things. However, the weight of responsibility to support my wife and kids was heavy on me. Most of my days were spent looking for work or going to interviews. Indeed, the attachment to email I have now while querying my novel reminds me a little of those job-hunting days.

    My advice: keep busy. Look for work, and try to structure your days as if you were working (get up at a set time during the week, have lunch at a set time, quit at a set time, etc). Schedules and routines will help keep you sane. And stay connected to friends and family. You can't do this alone.

    All the best to you, Alicia--I hope you find something soon.

  4. I have to say, the shock and hurt has hit me like a ton of bricks, every time. Even when I knew/suspected it was coming, I wasn't ready for it.

    The light at the end of the tunnel is this - every time I HAVE been laid off (three times, so far) I have ended up in another day job that paid more money and had nicer people or otherwise improved my life substantially. I know the whole "when a door closes, a window opens" thing is trite and frustrating (except when The Bloggess gets hold of it) but it really is true. You're going to end up in a much better place, even though right now it sucks to be you, big time. Sending my best wishes

  5. Oh, Alicia. I applaud your honesty and your positive attitude. I can only imagine that unemployment can become incredibly depressing, but it sounds like you're making the best of a tough situation. Fingers crossed that things on the job front look up very soon!

  6. When my dad was between jobs, the best thing he did was get up at the same time, dress well, and sit at the dining room table that he transformed into his getting-a-job desk.

  7. Oh man, I'm so sorry. I've been unemployed this fall, but that was by choice. However, I have been unemployed at times when I didn't want to be (moved to a new place and took a long time to find a job). That is frustrating, and then with depression on top, I'm sure things are rough for you right now. So my heart goes out to you.
    I've been staying busy with school work, writing, and house projects. Lounge pants are still a staple of my wardrobe. (But I don't find jeans very comfortable.) That's good you've been able to get so much writing done. I hope you have a Merry Christmas, despite these rough times.

  8. Wow, that stinks. While I would LOVE the time to write and revise, not having a job right now would hurt. Sending you gihugic hugs right now. I hope your 2012 is much, much better!

  9. I'm sorry that you've been laid off from work. I hope things improve for you soon. :) Have a Happy New Year.


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