Author’s Note: This article was first published in January, 2011, when I became convinced that what I had for the previous 6 months was indeed a job. I’m still there, happy, productive and grateful. I repost it today in honor of the improving job numbers from this past Friday.
I didn’t hear those wonderful words when I finally left the ranks of the over-qualified, under-employed and over-the-hill corps. What I experienced was a more gradual invite.
“Call me in the morning, I may have a project for you,” or “Next week I’ll have a few hours putting together a bid. If we get the job, then I’ll have more hours for sure.” Those occasional hours became pretty consistent part-time work which then evolved into full time employment.
I probably would not have discovered the immense gratitude I feel for my current job, had it not been for the twenty-seven month trek through the unemployment desert. I consider myself a good, reliable, very qualified candidate but in all of that time I had one — as in a single — interview. As weeks turned to months without an income, I had to let go of the life insurance, the leased car, the dinners out, the health insurance. The payments to the utility company, the credit cards and the mortgage company became less and less frequent. Basic necessities were sometimes paid for because of the generosity of friends and family. There were consequences to my inability to pay our own way that threatened my sanity, shredded my credit rating and obliterated my self-esteem.
Two things saved my ass during the darkest of days: First, the ability to live in the moment, or a day at a time — a neat little trick I learned in AA — and my four year-old sons’ smile. It was never easy and at times I felt quite desperate and disheartened but when I looked around and saw the devastation that the economic crisis had brought to so many, I refused to complain. I found it petty and self-absorbed.
The persistent, optimistic side of me was convinced that better days were on the queue. Good friends were reminding me of this whenever I forgot.
A decent job is important because it allows me to provide for my family’s — and my own — needs; it lets me live up to my responsibilities and fulfill my obligations; it allows me to work with others and to be creatively engaged with society. More than anything, it connects me with the rest of humanity by reminding me of what traits I share with God. Genesis speaks of a working, creative deity that worked for six full days before taking a break. I believe, now more that ever, that we should all have the opportunity to follow God’s good example.
If you have a job, congratulations! If you’re looking for one, may you hear the words at the top of this post real soon. In the meantime, do not despair. Better days are on the queue. Ask your friends to remind you of this.