Unemployment

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Three weeks ago my boss told me that I would be laid off at the end of March.

March 31st will be my last day working for the company.

She told me that over the phone. I guess it was easier for both of us to have that awkward conversation without facing each other.

The news hit me hard, but I tried to put on a brave face. To my dismay though, my voice turned high-pitched, then raspy over the three minute conversation. My cheeks turned red and my ears burned. I didn’t find it within me to negotiate in any way, to ask for other positions available, to cling on. She ended up the conversation saying that she would visit me on my last day to say good-bye.

A few weeks earlier several colleagues of mine (from offices outside Sacramento) were laid off. I felt sorry for them. I pitied them with the nonchalance and arrogance of someone whose job was solid. Untouchable.

I’d felt bad for the millions of people who had lost jobs due to this dreadful virus, but truthfully (and shamefully) I can’t say I mourned their loss too much.

How can you identify with them when you (and your spouse) still receive a full paycheck and your life in this world turned upside down is still orderly. Tranquil. When there is no threat of losing your home, car or other worldly possessions? Or losing sleep, losing hope, even losing a loved one to despair, isolation, or drugs, alcohol – whatever refuge one finds in wrecked times like these?

I thought I had been spared for some mysterious reason. I thought I must be special in some way. Good karma, maybe?

I still hang onto some hope things will improve by the end of March, but I am preparing for the worst. Like holding and staring at my last paycheck. Clearing my desk, packing my stuff. Saying goodbye to my coworkers who’d still have jobs and who’d pity me and pat me on the back. The awkward hugs and lousy jokes.

I believe everything happens for a reason. There is a better job for me out there.

In the meantime I’ll join the millions of jobless Americans and file for unemployment, learn whatever I need from this sobering lesson. And, most importantly, not dread tomorrow.

“There are two days in the year in which nothing can be done. One is called “yesterday” and the other is called “tomorrow.” So today is the right day to love, believe, do and, mostly, love.” – Dalai Lama

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