Tuesday, May 01, 2007

One Month After the Layoff

IT'S BEEN A BUSY few days. This week will see the end of my free month with the career-counseling company whose services I received as part of my layoff. I had the pleasure of joining a friend of mine and his cohorts in Atlantic City for a bachelor party. In addition, over the past week, I've been assisting my friend and former supervisor, M., by proofreading pages of her graduate thesis.

This past month flew by. I am glad I dived right into the career-development process. I was delayed early by the understandable need to assist my parents when Dad had to visit the hospital. And I also had two days where my motivation was considerably subpar. Seeing as my motivation to get up in the morning during my final weeks of work was usually subpar, this is an improvement. My spirits seemed to sag around the times when I speculated the most about needing to change careers. I am still thinking about that. I have not forgotten my writing on, well, writing, either, and in making that a greater part of my life. Speaking with friends has helped greatly in refocusing my efforts and in just venting.

It took a little time to get into the swing of spending most of my time in the apartment. I am ashamed to admit that I still haven't rearranged my "home office" to my liking. If Thursday, my first day without access to the career service's Website, is a rainy day, I'll "reward" myself with a storm of housekeeping to match the cleansing waters outside.

If there's anything that gives me pride from this past month, it's my gym attendance. My weight is close to the same as the beginning of the month, but I have visited the gym five times per week since my layoff, and I have new muscle on my frame. I tracked each visit on paper (thank you, InDesign) to chart my progress. With this habit established, I can focus more completely on my diet, which — though much better — still needs work. Not hitting the bagel store each weekday morning alone has been beneficial, both to my waistline, my blood sugar, and my wallet. ($3.89 each visit adds up!) Plus, this has given me the chance to get the hell out of the house once per day. I've also been able to take good long walks with the return of reliably clear weather. If I can keep this up, I will come ever closer to fulfilling my pledge of improving my fitness and diet, and maybe enjoy whatever job I eventually get just a little bit longer.

At one month out, I realize I bear my previous employer, and those who currently do my job, no ill will. This tells me I was done with the joint long before I departed. I have reminisced with M. about some of the ill-advised or short-sighted things that happened in our last months there. But those are now learning experiences. They will serve us both in getting our full worth from future employers or clients. It's way too early to call this game over. Likely, we'll both face job changes again, possibly even involuntary. By then we will both be far more resilient, as a result of our experience at the previous employer, and by absorbing the lessons from the career center. I can't see how this layoff hurts us long-term, even if it takes months to find work.

I have exciting times coming. M. graduates in two weeks, and she was gracious enough to invite me to a party she is throwing to celebrate it. I have the privilege of watching two pairs of friends marry in May and June. I face the challenge of continuing my fitness training, which has been successful so far. I will place into practice the lessons I've absorbed on job hunting in the coming weeks as well. I will share as much as I can here, in pursuit of my goal to write faithfully and truly. I may never sell a word of my work, but it doesn't mean I shouldn't write as well as I can muster. Silence is a luxury no mortal has.

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