Sunday, June 5, 2011

Unemployment = Zero

I've just created the perfect equation for the way we feel when unemployed, and while it's absolutely correct it is also just as equally wrong.  I know, I know, you are thinking, 'Well, no work equals no money.'  and you'd be correct.  But its wrong in what we do to ourselves when we are unemployed.  We put so much stock into what we do for a living, in many cases it defines us, not just what we do, but who we are.  For some of us this is such an important part of our self image, that without a job, we feel like a big fat zero.  Which is wrong.

Yesterday, I was dreading going to a graduation party for one of my friends kids.  And it was for this very reason that I was hesitant to attend.  I didn't want to be THAT person at the party.  The one that looks down or away or quickly answers and then gives a long narrative on WHY they are unemployed.  I didn't want to do that... I ended up doing that each time someone asked me, "So what's new with you?"  And I was fine with just trying to talk about that, my kids, (one in college, one works in TV), my kids relationships, (one is still living life and looking at her options, the other is in a 'domestic partnership'-- I think that's what the kids are calling it this month), , my friends, (OMG that will take hours, lets just say they are all very interesting and have very interesting lives, that's BS, but the ones that have boring lives, even I don't want to hear about so I'll spare you) , That I'm not seeing anyone special yet, (and if he's cute) Why?(while smiling and batting my eyes. . .  still works), my screenplay, my weekly blog, starting on the second draft of my first fantasy novel.

The writing is the part that usually gets a raised eyebrow of accomplishment, but  inevitably if I didn't offer the information about "What I was doing for a living" they would ask, and that accomplishment goes from a risen precipice of , "Wow that's cool,." to the plunging depths of "Oh, I see."  or "Oh, I'm sorry."  or the worst one because it gets me 'explaining'  "Oh,what happened?"

I don't know why it makes me feel so much like that big, fat zero when I don't have a job to list after that question, as if being a mother, and single parent, and good friend, and all that creative writing isn't enough to define me.  Hell I don't even mind saying I'm single.  I have been for so long now that really feels like who I am, and I'm proud of who I am. . . well, I guess except for the unemployment part.  And for those of you like me who feel like everyone is staring at you just because you aren't working, or your job sucks, or it's well beneath your abilities, well you understand the weight of that question and how it makes you feel pity for yourself and out of control of your own life.

Well I've got news for people like us.  It's stupid.  You heard me, it's stupid to feel like this, and make your job or what you happen to be doing for a living right now, your definition of who you are, or worse yet, have that control your happiness.  Or your self esteem.  Time to start answering that question with a mysterious smile of confidence and security, and say, "Work? Oh, I don't work.  How about you?" (don't forget to bat your eyes....still works)

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