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Time To Get Off This Spot

It’s been some time since I last updated on my current situation.

The summary…Big-eared, gap-toothed freak gets job in Chicago, lives in empty house on air mattress alone in Chicago while his family tries to sell their house in Virginia, four months later said family moves to Chicago, freak works at new job for exactly18 months before being given a choice to stay at half the salary or leave and get full salary for three full months…gap-toothed freak decides to leave after searching soul and talking with friends, colleagues and family.

December 1, 2009, was the first day of unemployment and the beginning of a pretty incredible internal journey. I woke up and had nowhere to go. The kids went to school, the wifey headed off to her job, and there I was…disheveled, hung-over from feeling sorry for myself the night before, scratching myself, and looking around the house thinking, “OK…now what?”

I had a brief explosion of support from my kick-ass Twitter peeps. I pimped my resume far and wide, and met and talked to some really great, helpful people.

This is a really bad comparison, but I imagine this is kind of what it’s like when you lose someone close to you. You find out who your true friends are and they rally around you. And, for a short time you feel like you can conquer the world. But then they leave because they have their lives to live. They have their families to take care of…

Then I found myself one early morning seven weeks later standing there, disheveled, hung-over from feeling sorry for myself the night before, scratching myself, and looking around the house thinking, “I have absolutely no place in this life.”

What used to be 5 a.m. daily runs have turned into 6:45 a.m. snooze-bar workouts.

I drink more than I should at night because…well because fuck it, I don’t have to work tomorrow.

I didn’t shave or cut my hair for weeks and was introduced by the wifey to the term “beard funk.”

My son was sitting on my lap the other day and reached out and poked my stomach.

I find myself regularly and randomly telling the cat secrets and make him “pinky-swear not to tell!!”

After interviewing for what would be my dream job, I got an email letting me know they’re “pursuing another candidate.”

Last week I spent the day with the executive director of a great organization here in the Chicago suburbs. I’ve worked with her since I’ve been in Chicago and she wanted to discuss a new position being created that she wants me to take. She has to go through the motions associated with advertising it, but when all is said-and-done, she says the job is mine. Of course I won’t consider it mine till the paperwork is signed and I’m on board, but still it’s a huge relief.

And as phenomenal and fortunate as that is, I’m still here in this spot. The spot where I’ve stood since the day I was let go. Watching life pass by each day. A ghost of me interacting with my family and friends. Self pity lurking in every corner ready to be grasped as an excuse when needed.

So why am I not happy with this very fortunate news? And I realized, I’m ecstatic with the news, I’m just not happy with myself and how I’ve handled this situation. And even more so—I think I’ve been waiting for someone to come by and pick me up, fix things, show me the new course to follow, then pat me on my ass and say, “now go get em tiger!”

But life doesn’t happen like that. Life’s going to continue with or without me—that much I have learned. And I’ve got such a great group of family and friends—but they all have their lives to lead too.

All you parents out there who’ve seen Nemo 4,398,219 times remember the scene when Marlin and Dory are with the turtles riding the East Australian Current and little Squirt gets tossed out into the still water. Crush, the father, says, “let us see what little Squirt does flying solo.”

It’s time for me to move off this spot. It’s time for me to cut the hair, trim the beard, get back in my regular routine, and leap back into the wild ride of the current of life I’ve ignored for too damn long. No one’s going to come out there and grab me and pull be back in. I’ve gotta do it on my own.

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Reader Comments (21)

Word! Your writing is inspirational... "Go get em tiger"

January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMeandering bohemian

It kind of sucks when the realization hits that you're the grownup and have to do all this crap yourself. I've been going thru the same thing, job hunting like a mad woman, with nothing to show for it but polite PFOs.

Don't beat yourself up for wallowing. Getting laid off is a real kick in the ego. Seven weeks is an incredibly short amount of time to be out of work and the fact that you got a position so quickly means you must have been busting your butt to find something else, even if you do feel otherwise.

January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMajor Bedhead

You are a very talented writer and a very intelligent (sensitive) man! Your wife and kiddos love you for who you are, a job doesn't make or break you. Keep pluggin away - "go get em tiger".

January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMrsHotMom

Isn't it amazing that we continue to grow and learn, even when we are all grown up? Just so you know, I've been in your corner the whole time, even though I haven't been constantly saying it.

Great post! Oh, and...*smacks your ass* Now go get 'em!

January 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkathygee1

I got here when KathyGee1 retweeted your link. I love the line, "Life’s going to continue with or without me—that much I have learned." It is so true. Good for you for realizing it.

Good luck and, like Kathy said, go get 'em. (I'll refrain from smacking your know, since we just met and all.)

January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEmmieJ

Great post. Not to ask a totally self-interested question, but you are going to keep blogging, yes? We really don't care if you've got beard funk, as long as you keep posting.

January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNathan

Don't forget to do before and after pics of the haircut!!

Hope the job thing works out. My hubs is still on the search...this market sucks!

January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie

First though - Yea the beard is going!!!

Second thought - Such a good writer.

Last thought - Not to trivialize the weight of losing a job. But I swear stay at home moms go through something really similar to this. After the initial awesome, "I don't have to go to work on Monday!" thrill kind of wears off. You start to feel unmoored and unhinged. You are more alone with your thoughts than you have been in years. It's an eye opener.

But how amazing that you are taking the time to take stock and be a better man at the end of all this. Great post!

January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLotta

"Chin up young person."

January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLady of the House

Sometimes it takes a pause from regular programming to get you kicked back into gear and up and running again. Relish in the pause, it makes you a better friend, dad, husband, son and co worker.

January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterManiacal Mom

Maybe you have been looking in the wrong places for a job and it was right under your nose. Half the responses above said what a great writer you are maybe you should do something that you are good at, be your own boss. You still have time off before you get that promise of a job and put your blog in a book for a lot more people to enjoy reading. We could all use a bit a reality when reading a good book What ever job you do you do it well and be happy my friend.

January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Woohoo. Good luck with the job. At least you know something needs to change. Also, I think you will be fine. Everyone is allowed to be in a funk every now and then. But please for all that is holy, don't stop the blog.

January 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermepsipax

I can't believe you trust your cat. My dog is a total blabber mouth.

I'll smack my own ass and then tell you Go Get Em'!

January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterA Vapid Blonde

I wonder if this sort of thing can happen to a person who has a job but doesn't find much meaning in doing said job? I regret my choice of career and find myself thinking so many of the things you have mentioned in this post (and am also reminded that it's time to introduce my daughter to Nemo to see if she loves it like her brother did when he was two.) and I DO have to get up in the mornings to schlep to work. Think of it as one step at a time, and slowly, you'll start to get your groove back. Congrats on the new job when it's finalized!

January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea (@shutterbitch)

Hear, hear, Mister!! Thank you and good luck!

January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAna

sometimes we just have to wallow for a bit. its ok.

great blog.

January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLocoYaYa

No big deal; it took you a while to regain your footing, but you're back in the game. Now go get 'em, Tiger (I mean that in totally manly, heterosexual way :)

January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMike

Your ass must be kinda sore right now...lots of ass slapping going on. I'm a believer in "things happen for a reason", and if there seems to be no reason, you make one up. The uncertainty is the toughest part...not knowing if you'll EVER get a job. But when this current opportunity works out, you get back on your work horse, I believe you'll look back and see all kinds of "wow" in the past 7 weeks. Call it Monday morning quarterbacking, but it's all a lot clearer from the other end.
I'm impressed you're still running, whether it's 5 or 6:45. It's still a run, and I know I'm not gonna do it. I'm glad you are! (It's dark and cold at either of those times...ugh). So let me line up with the others, smack that little tushie, and say, "Go get 'em!"

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLojo

Hello, I'm a first time visitor and love your blog!

Congrats on the new job, that is great news.

And finally, I have SO been there. Unemployed in Chicago for a full year. I fell into the same rut of self-pity, feeling useless and hopeless. It sucks that we base so much of our identities on our work and income that we can't enjoy our involuntary free time when we get it.

January 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCyndi

I work from home & can understand the funk totally. Why do today what you can do tomorrow? It would be much easier for someone to kick you in the ass & make you do what needs to be done. Being a responsible adult sometimes sucks. Glad to hear the funk has passed and you are on your way to bigger and better things. Now go kick some ass!

January 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertoywithme

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