I was unemployed for the first half of this year. I was laid off from my job in December, which was a blessing in disguise because I hated that job and was miserable, mostly because of my boss who was a millionaire and a criminal, doing what he could to be a money-grubbing asshole and asking me to lie to tax auditors for him. No thanks, lay me off before I go to the police. That’s pretty much how that went down.
It didn’t help that when I got laid off I was in the throes of a crippling bout of major depression. I was more depressed than I’ve ever been in my life and just couldn’t handle the stress of work anymore. I spent most of last December crying in my bed and worrying the hell out of my parents, who eventually saved me from myself.
So, unemployment. Most people immediately start looking for jobs and will take anything they can get, but me? I was just too depressed for that. Job searching is one of the most soul-crushing, depressing, scary things imaginable, right? So every day I asked myself how I was supposed to go out and look for a job and actually perform a job when I was in such a dark place.
For months, I halfheartedly applied for jobs I didn’t want or knew I couldn’t get. I didn’t get called for a single interview at any of them, which was quite discouraging since I thought that after my last job I had mad skills and would be a good addition to any office environment (if I could only get out of bed in the morning, which I couldn’t.)
Throughout all this time, I was writing. Writing short stories, working on novels, doing online writing challenges – every day I was writing.
It was during this dark time of the soul that I came to the realization that there is really only one thing in the world I am happy doing, and that’s writing fiction. I want to be a writer. Well, I am a writer, but what I want to be is a published author, and there was no way I was ever going to reach that goal stuck in the kind of job that sucked the life out of me day after day and left me in the evenings a tired husk, my brain fried. I knew I needed to make money, but I didn’t want to make money at the expense of my writing.
What to do?
There’s a restaurant up the street from my house. I could walk to it if I weren’t so lazy. I’ve eaten at this place a million times and always thought to myself how great it would be to waitress there, they must make so much money, oh, how I miss waitressing. I waited tables for seven years in my youth, and after having my daughter thought that I should get a “real job.” How wrong was I?
So, I applied at the restaurant and waited. I was putting all my eggs in one basket, I know, but after a few weeks of waiting I finally got the call for my first interview after unemployment at the place I wanted to work at most, and surprise! I got the job.
Some people might think that going from being an office manager to a waitress is a step down. The place I work at is more like a diner/family restaurant. Nothing fancy. You drink out of plastic cups and wipe your mouths with paper napkins, but the food is delicious and the rest of the staff is great.
The thing is, I knew the moment I got laid off from my last job that all I wanted next was the kind of job where I could just go in, do the work, and go home. No drama, no stress, no worrying about what was going to happen the next day or next month, no worrying about someone else’s business. I just wanted something brainless and easy so that I could come home every day and focus on the one thing that matters to me: writing.
What went right for you this year?
This #Reverb13 prompt was easy. I got the job that I wanted and now I am living the life I envisioned for myself while I was on unemployment. I get up in the morning and have hours to do what I want before work and hours to do it again after work. I have written more in the last year than I ever have in my life, hundreds of thousands of words, and now I have the time (and the brain power) to work on my goal while I keep my little family afloat. Sorta. But that’s a post for another time.