(DISCLAIMER: This column is written by a sarcastic yoga instructor who tends to fall back on tongue-in-cheek comments whenever possible. This column is NOT meant to be A) taken seriously, B) used for any kind of life coaching or C) read by the irony impaired.)
Some of you may not know (or care) that in a previous life (2006-2010) I worked for a national sports organization overseeing speedskating events all around the world. I even had the opportunity to participate in the Humongous Winter Sports Gala held in the northern part of North America during February 2010.
During the Humongous Winter Sports Gala, I worked with media from around the world and even had the chance to work with Stephen Colbert from Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report.” Fun for all. Or so I thought.
In March, after returning to the middle part of North America, I found myself (along with some fellow staff members) abruptly unemployed. After several months of non-stop work, I was suddenly untethered to things like deadlines, desks or drama. It was like going 80 mph on the freeway and then slamming on the emergency brake. I call it unemployment whiplash.
Since then, I’ve spent my time productively organizing the weekdays into specific self-introspection workshops. Monday: Stare into the dark void of my life. Tuesday: Dashing my self-confidence into the rocks of reality. Wednesday: Well, you get the picture.
Surprisingly, my trusted (and crazy) dog has been my spiritual guide in this realm of unemployment. He showed me that if I lay around the house long enough, someone will give me a bowlful of food. He introduced the art of bird chasing, naps and belly scratching. He doesn’t care if I don’t have health insurance, a steady paycheck or self-esteem. He still loves me—especially when I sneak him pieces of Girl Scout cookies.
I’ve been surprised at how few job opportunities there are for sarcastic writers/yoga instructors. You’d think in these economic times, it would be a booming business. But I have run across a few interesting jobs like cliff diver, microwave tech and pallet recovery specialist. After a few weeks of experience, I’ve learned to decipher job listings so I don’t apply for “live-in nanny” by mistake. Here are some examples: Pest control (day care employee); Level 4 Chemist (meth lab worker); Wastewater technician (manure mover); Phlebotomist (vampire); Baggage handler (marriage counselor).
One of the funnest jobs I found was Mascot Handler (hahaha!!) whose duties included keeping the mascot from being beaten by the public. Is this a recurring problem? The company refused to hire me when I kept laughing at the mental image of a mascot running from a horde of children wielding blunt objects.
Since unemployment is new to me, I’m not sure how to spend the time I suddenly have available. The unemployment bylaws don’t give direction regarding daytime TV (How much is too much?), naptimes (If you’re still in your pajamas, is it really considered a nap?) and regular bathing (If I’m not going to work, do I need to shower?). Since advice is woefully unavailable, I’ve created my own itinerary for Monday through Sunday:
First: Stay up all night worrying about homelessness, lack of health insurance, job interviews, etc.
6 am: fall asleep
Noon: get up and eat Froot Loops
1 pm: look for jobs
1:10 pm: give up and take a nap
5 pm: make dinner (usually Froot Loops)
5:15 pm: go to bed
My dog tells me to be patient, that things will work out—and I’m inclined to agree. But then he also licks himself and disembowels stuffed animals. Maybe the Mascot Handler thing will work out. Who knows? In the meantime, I’ve got sarcasm to hone and yoga to practice.
Unemployed but hopeful. A journey into joblessness.