There are two tidbits of depressing advice/wisdom I had to reference often in my professional life, before two years ago.
1) Most people hate their jobs
2) Your job doesn’t have to define you
And while these things are depressing when you’re in college and hoping your professional life will be amazing and rewarding, they are still true.
I’ve been lucky that I’ve never had a job I hate, but I’ve had plenty of jobs where I was unchallenged and unfulfilled and therefore BORED TO DEATH. Hence those two tidbits being mantras to remind me how blessed I still was. Even if I was bored or unfulfilled. I got laid off the first week of March in 2013 for the third time in my life. I was depressed (THREE TIMES!) and had no idea how we were going to survive because we had some financial issues we were dealing with.
Then I got an opportunity to work with a company that does a lot of different things – but one of them? Web development on WordPress run sites.
That’s my favorite thing in the world to do! It started out small, hourly, but having someone regularly to do handle that part of the clientele brought on more work in that area so I’ve spent the last two years getting a steady paycheck doing something I love. Also? I’ve learned more about PHP and CSS and WordPress and databases and hosting and domains and DNS in the last two years than I had in the 10 years prior.
Unfortunately – the company hasn’t had much work in the web development department lately – and I find myself looking for work. AGAIN. I don’t want to call this a layoff because I’m staying on with the company in a very limited capacity in case anything comes along, but financially? It might as well be. My regular paycheck is no longer something to be trusted and it will be reduced at least 90% I think, depending on what they still need me for.
When things like this happen, my mania is spotlighted. I normally only deal with your garden variety anxiety struggles. But, during extreme situations, I suffer these manic episodes that are (usually?) short-lived but still a reminder of how close I sit on the precipice of severe mental and emotional collapse. This was basically the roller coaster I rode yesterday. ENJOY THE RIDE!
(Sidenote: I’m feeling more stable this morning. I’m lucky that these episodes are rare and short-lived. I’ll write more about where my heart settled tomorrow. But it is somewhere in between these two extremes. Thankfully.)
[sobbing uncontrollably] WHY IS THIS HAPPENING AGAIN? Why can’t I just enjoy a feeling of professional and financial security for more than 2 years? Am I just the layoff Queen? DO I HAVE TO CANCEL MY TRIP TO HARRY POTTER WORLD?
[smiling broadly with tears in my eyes] I am so lucky to have had that job for even two years. I learned so much that it’s made me hirable even at 39. Some people get laid off from jobs where they’ve been doing the same thing every day for 25 years and can’t find work because they have no usable skills. I can’t believe how lucky I was. I’m in such a better position than most. I worked for and with women who were great role models – something I needed both professionally, and spiritually. I’ve been blessed.
[crying while soaking in the bathtub] I AM JOBLESS AT 39! What if we don’t sell our house soon? What if we’re stuck in this huge house without my paycheck anymore? What if my stupid professional luck causes us to lose what savings we have built up? Donnie has worked so hard to get our finances in order – what if my stupid inability to hold a job ruins that forever? Why did he get strapped with such a financially unlucky wife? He deserves better.
[smiling while scrubbing the porch] This is the universe giving me some free time so I can get our house in shape for the market and keep it that way! This is a blessing in disguise! Our house is going to sell SO FAST – all because had the time to take care of it! This cloud is ALL SILVER LINING, BABY!
[curled up in the fetal position in bed] There’s no point. Why do I even bother? I’m no use to anyone.
[smiling while eating donuts] I’m blessed with amazing friends who bring me treats to make me feel better. They call me or email me with potential work! They send me love and tidings of support. I am so lucky and I will take this blessing and use it to be strong and to make my professional life even 100 times more rewarding than it was before! NOTHING CAN STOP ME! I CAN CONQUER THE WORLD!
[sobbing uncontrollably] I’m the worst investment ever. Why bother visiting my brother in Denver in July? Why bother going to Harry Potter world? It’s all so selfish and pointless and zaps money from our savings while I’m contributing nothing financially to the family. I give nothing but take everything.
[Smiling while drinking tea.] Look at me. Drinking tea. Life truly is beautiful. I don’t have a steady source of income, but I have this amazing family and a roof over my head and my health and friends and a wonderful community and I have been giving blessings beyond anything I deserve in my life. This one setback is NOTHING, this is just a tiny bump in the road. I’m going to be fine. We’re going to be fine. The world is beautiful and I am strong and powerful and I can now start the path to my dreams.