This isn’t the first time I’ve been unemployed.  This isn’t the first time that my mortal soul has been beaten down by the pressure of feeling devalued and dehumanized.  This isn’t the first time I’ve had to dig deep inside me to find the strength, optimism, and hope that seem to buoy me as I navigate the world of job apps, monster.com, rejections, waiting, and the never hearing back.  Follow-up is an HR skill that I wish was better put to use in our world.  Even if it’s just to say no, we’re not interested in your resume.  I’d rather get the rejection than have to spend hours going from a hopeful sendoff of yet another application to the internal death-spiral of doubt and self-loathing that happens every single time.

Yesterday was no exception to a down day.  It was one in a string of hopeful beginnings, anxious afternoons, and disaffected evenings.  At one point, Caleb pulled me aside and told me to take a break.  He insisted that I’d done enough head-bashing for one day, and that I needed to pull away.  He was right, of course, but when I did break away from the eternal scrolling down of posts that I’m not qualified for, or are just not a good match to my skills, I went for a walk and had a good cry.  Well, a muffled, wet-cheeked, don’t-look-at-me kind of cry, but it still felt like a little pressure release.  I needed it.

I also reached out to a friend who is in a similar situation.  He insisted I tell him what was really on my mind, even though I am *loathe* to do that to someone I care about.  Still, I did – I sent him a nice long e-mail detailing just where I’m at in my head, and he very kindly, very sweetly, wrote a reply that made me feel a bit better.

Just like a good friend will do.

This morning, I talked some more with Caleb about an email response I got from a job I had applied for (!!!) and what it might mean if I take the post.  It would mean moving to a place I think I’d really, really like.  It would be a terrible rate of pay, but given how simply I can live – no frills living is what I do best – I could make it work.  Part-time with some perks that make it worth it, in a town near the sea.  Time to write, a bike ride away from work, and the salty Pacific Northwest air.  Access to planes, trains, and busses, and a vibrant college all within the city limits.  It could be good for me.  I could make it work.

It has given me a little spark of a better focus today.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had to claw back from nothing, from chaos, and try to eek my way forward.  I will do this, and I will find my way, on my own.  I know what I’m doing, really.  I just need to trust in myself, find the patience and courage I need to get by for now, and not be so pig-headed when all I need to do is talk to someone.

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