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Why is Daddy Crying?

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Entries in unemployment (3)


First Day Jitters

Yesterday I got the call I’ve waited four months to get. The one that contains the phrase “I have your job offer letter and we’d like you to start work tomorrow.”

I was in the middle of a huge park on a dirt path next to a waterfall when I got the word. I did a cartwheel, tripped on a root, and almost knocked my first-born into the raging river waters. It’s been a long journey—one that I’ve been so very eager to see end.

Then it hit me. She said “you start tomorrow.”

My mind sucked through the back of my head back to a time when I was just a kid getting ready for my first day of fifth grade. Still a bit sunburned from a long summer of bike riding, mowing grass, getting my ass beat by my brother, and trying to peek in on the girl living next door.

I flew home and kicked the door open in a panic. First things first – what the hell am I going to wear on my first day? I haven’t worn business clothes in months.

I remember as a kid going through my drawers and finding the coolest pair of Jams I could find. Digging through my wadded-up t-shirts I found the most bad-ass Ocean Pacific shirt and laid them on top of my red high-top Converse.

Twenty-three years later I’m laying out my suit, ironing my shirt, dusting off my dress shoes, and making sure I don’t forget to wear my lucky underwear.

Eating that night was always hard because I wouldn’t be able to shut my mind off. Will anyone remember me? Who’s class will I be in? Oh shit I hope I don’t get Ms. Jenkins, her breath smells like my dog’s ass. Then before long, I’d end up face first in the toilet vomiting up my first-day-of-school jitters.

I’m sure at some point tonight I’ll be “talking to Ralph on the big white phone.”

Then comes the sleeping. Setting the alarm clock. Then checking it once, twice, three times.

And not being able to sleep because you fear oversleeping. So you cuddle the alarm clock to make sure you don’t miss a single beep when it finally decides to go off. And it seems you’re waking up every 15 minutes to look at it.

Then the day arrives. You’re dressed and ready to go in record time. Back in the day I would have combed my hair 30 times and checked out my “look” from all angles. I’d make sure I knew exactly how to carry my book-bag so my cool factor would be at the optimum level. Double checked make sure my mom gave me my new Transformers lunch box instead of the Garfield one I carried last year when I was a baby.

Now, I just worry about whether my zipper’s open, that I have my wallet, and that I don’t say “fuck” on the first day.

Tomorrow I start a new job. Tomorrow I get a fresh start. This journey of nearly four months of unemployment has taught me so very much about myself, my friends, family, and the hell many people in this country are dealing with on a daily basis.

I’m very fortunate in so many ways.


Gimmie Back My Sweater Woman!!!

Hi, my name is WhyIsDaddyCrying and I’m addicted to wearing the same green-striped sweater every day. It’s been six days since I wore my sweater.

How am I able to make such a comment? Because my former really good family friend @momomatics (now a person I know and might give an occasional glance to) stole my damn sweater last weekend. Here’s a quick back story.

For the past three months since I became unemployed I’ve slowly become a piece of shit. Reasons to shower first thing in the morning become few and far between. The desire to slide a razor along your face to keep that “clean-cut look” dies completely. And, the wearing the same outfit every day seems to become the only comforting regularity you can latch to.

My green sweater became my security blanky.

One day the wifey said, “honey, you seriously need to wash that thing.” So I did, and found myself naked and camped out in front of the washer and dryer rocking back and forth for two hours till all was said and done.

A few weeks later our friends started to notice. “Hey man, ummmm….how many of those sweaters do you have?” And my head snapped immediately towards them in disgust. How could I ever betray my sweater with a second, or third sweater. I’m faithful damn it!

I mean…it was there with me at the top of the Sears Tower.

During family moments like decorating the Christmas Tree!

Volunteering at my kid’s class and playing games!

Then I woke up last weekend after hosting a family get-together with @momomatics family and it was gone. GONE!!!!

After I finally got over the shakes and sweats, it became all too clear…an intervention had begun. My three-month stint of time with my sweater had come to a forceful end.

And to make matters even worse I discovered it wasn’t an intervention…worse—it’s aversion therapy! @momomatics is chronicling this “aversion therapy” on her blog. She’s not only taken my sweater, but she’s making it experience all of my worst nightmares. Chucky-Cheese….the fucking BUTCHER!!!!

While I continue to wallow, drink too much, and cry….go check out the crux of my pain at @momomatics blog.

Part 1 of the Sweater Chronicles: The Abduction – Also Called – The Night We Made WhyIsDaddyCrying Cry

Part 2 of the Sweater Chronicles: Aversion Therapy

She claims part 3 is coming any day…hopefully my sweater is coming home soon after. Although after that sweaty meat-holding bastard wore it….


My New Road

Yesterday I officially became unemployed. My severance ran out, Cobra kicked in, and the wifey and I stood staring at each other holding calculators and shaky, hopeful grins.

Three months ago I was given a choice from my employer – take half the pay immediately and you won’t be guaranteed a job come the end of the fiscal year, or take your full pay and benefits for three months and look for another job. After a weekend of sleepless nights and long discussions, the wifey and I chose the latter.

I’ve had one iron in the fire the whole time—a great job working for an organization that would allow me to rock a newly created position. I’ve worked with, and known, the executive director for a couple years and she is eager to bring me on. The only constraint thus far has been the internal bureaucracy requiring dozens of people to sign off on the job description and another dozen to oversee the posting of the job before it’s awarded to the “qualified candidate.”

Supposedly I’m to start work a week from today.

I’ve changed quite a bit over the past three months. I’ve spent a considerable amount time alone…in my home…on the phone…on the computer….but very little face time with people. I’ve seen my Achilles-heel. I’ve seen it look me dead in the eye with its “sexy come-hither” look. I’ve been angry as shit. I’ve been depressed. I’ve taken it out on my wife, my kids, my friends and family…myself.

I’ve drank too much, felt too sorry, looked for oblivious forces to blame it on such as…karma. I’ve looked back at my life and picked it apart… “what if I didn’t move to Chicago?” “What if I’d taken that job in North Carolina..?”

What if…

And at the end of the day, after all that wondering, I’m still here, in Chicago with my family and friends, about to start a new job after ONLY three months. I’m still here…in my life…not my life’s past…but my life now.

Where it is…right now.

And I’m so fortunate. I’m so lucky to be where I am. I’ve met more people than I care to have met who’ve been unemployed so much longer than I was.

Tomorrow I’m meeting with my new boss to talk further about the job and to begin signing paper work. Within a week or two I’ll be employed again, making a paycheck, benefits, and picking up the pieces. We’ll struggle to fill the short gap between paychecks, but we’re fortunate it’s only a short gap and confident it’ll work out.

But there’s still one thing that’s keeping me from fully enjoying the knowledge of this good fortune. It’s that I know I’ve changed. I’m not who I was three months ago. I’m not who I was two years ago. In fact, I have no fucking clue who I am right now. I feel like I’ve lost some type of identity, direction, path, or journey. I’ve lost something that I desperately need to recover.

I’ve always felt that our 30s were such a fickle time. The 20s it’s all about starting the career and finding that love. The 30s are all about, “OK, I’m in the career, I’ve got my love, maybe some kids on the way….” and then it all hits home. Like a cannon to the chest. You have no idea who you are…

I am fortunate. I have a phenomenal wife. I look in my kids’ eyes and I undoubtedly know they adore me. I have a job on the horizon. I am fortunate.

And so that will be my focus. Despite this nagging, empty feeling of self-purpose, I’ll funnel my energy and heart into family and my career.

I’ll do that, but not without ignoring the fact that this journey has absolutely ripped my chest open and given me front row seats to my soul and then handed me the keys along with the responsibility to choose my new road.

My new road…