After six months of working full-time for a local branch of the government, I was let go. I was great at my job, and told that often; my bosses even tried to find another position to put me in (but couldn’t get approval to create a new opening). But they are restructuring the department, I was the last person hired, and when it came time to lay people off, I was at the top of the list.
There are a couple of pieces of good news: I’m still an active candidate for employment, on several lists, so it’s just a matter of time before I’m called in for another position. And, I’ve got a great recommendation from my former assignment, so I’m likely to get whatever opens up. Also, I qualified for unemployment, since losing my job wasn’t my fault, and have a little income that way.
The bad news list is a bit longer:
It will be fall, at least, before I’m hired into a new job. Maybe winter. That’s just based on the usual hiring schedule; working for the government is like working for a major corporation, in that you can’t just decide to hire, or decide to hire a specific person. You have to follow procedure.
Some of the postings due to open up require tests that I know I can ace, since I did before, but the tests aren’t scheduled yet, and might not be for months.
The unemployment payment is based on my six months, not a full year, so it’s much less than what I made at work. It’s slightly less than half of my rent, actually, which means I have to find the rest of my rent plus all of the other things one pays for in a month (utilities, food, etc) for me and my son.
I was hoping I could keep this to myself. I was doing so good the last six months. I was paying my bills all on my own, without needing help from anyone. I had just gotten to where I was paying my bills for the upcoming month, in advance, to give me a little cushion in case of emergency. I’d started paying off my credit card, too, and making plans to repay the rest of my debt. I was paying into a pension plan, union dues, health insurance… I felt safer, financially, than I had in years, and finally ready to move forward with other parts of my life, since I felt like a grownup at last. Responsible. Ready to be a partner and not a burden.
And I lost it, without having done anything wrong.
I kept myself together long enough to finish the two weeks they asked me to work after they notified me the position was ending. I’m glad that I did — it’s no one’s fault that they couldn’t keep me, but because I kept doing my job, I earned even more respect from my bosses. They thanked me for sticking around, and gave me fancy chocolate on my last day. I left on the best note possible, I think.
But the month since then, I’ve been a wreck. I’m not sleeping, and that makes it hard to get anything done during the day. I make to do lists, and I accomplish a lot, in bursts, but then realize I don’t know what day it is. I check my email sporadically, which leads people to think I’m ignoring them. I have bills piling up, another car repair that needs to happen, work I could chase after if I just had the energy to deal with it… But I wasn’t there yet. Eventually I got that point where I decided No, I can’t let my life be like this. I can’t lose everything I worked so hard to get.
I can’t lose feeling secure. I’m just not sure I have a choice.
So I took the weekend off from being online. I talked about what was happening to me. I told my mom, which makes it all a bit more real. I made a plan, some lists. I took a long nap. Tomorrow, I will nap some more. Maybe read a book. Do my laundry. Try to breathe.
Next week, I will sit down with my lists and my plan and start transitioning back to being a full time freelancer. I’ll catch up where I’m behind, and explore my options for what comes next.
I’m not giving up.