It’s funny, the more I write lately the more I feel I’m keeping this blog alive (albeit barely, with my ever-more-sporadic posting schedule) mostly as a journal for myself. I’m too lazy to keep a real journal, and I’m on my computer all the time anyways, and some things I just want to remember.
So my apologies for the ever-more self-indulgent and overly thoughtful posts…
Today I am feeling overwhelmed by gratitude. And it is a feeling I’d like to remember and be able to reflect upon, because I think that in the coming months the doubt and fear and anger might creep back in and I’ll need a reminder that everything will be (and really, already is) okay.
The gist of it is, I lost my job. Out of the clear blue sky. I’ve worked for that job for 5.5 years, ever since I graduated from law school. I had plans in place. I had 3 months paid maternity leave set up, then I was supposed to work from home with the baby for 4 more weeks, and then it was agreed that we’d put her in daycare 3 days/week and I’d work from home with her the other two. I haven’t always loved (or even liked) my job, but I thought this year was truly going to make it worth it. Generous maternity leave and being able to keep my daughter home with me two days per week… I had it all worked out and I had worked SO hard to get my ducks in a row before I started maternity leave so that once the baby arrived, I could have three months TRULY off of work. Three months to just forget about my job, or anything related to it, and just focus all my energy on my baby girl. I was so excited.
Then Friday night, at 7:30pm just as we were finishing dinner– I got a call. I was on the phone less than 10 minutes but everything changed. The details aren’t important but the bottom line is that quite suddenly the head of the firm will no longer be practicing law, and thus I am out of a job. Just like that.
There was shock. And tears (after I got off the phone, I’m not really one to cry to my boss). And unfortunately no baby— at 40 weeks and 5 days pregnant, I was sort of hoping that the stress of it all would put me into labor, but no such luck. And anger. A lot of anger, over the next 24 hours. Because… really? All I want to do is forget about work and focus on my baby girl, and now I’m suddenly unemployed and need to dive head first into a job search. A rather urgent one, as I have no idea how long finding a job may take and it isn’t like I have a steady income to tide us over until I find something.
Because I’m a do-er (in that, action is my therapy and doing things makes me feel like I have control over uncontrollable situations), and also because I’m an over-sharer (hence, blog), I went into action immediately. I texted a few of my good friends to let them know what was going on. I put a post up on Facebook basically stating that I was unexpectedly on the job hunt and would love any leads people might have. I emailed our financial planner and accountant to let them know what was going on and get advice for our best moves right this minute to put us in the best financial position for my undetermined period of unemployment.
And then an unexpected thing happened, although I don’t know why it was unexpected really as I should have already known how lucky I am. People started calling me. And texting me. And facebooking me. And emailing me. The support I’ve received is overwhelming. Just people letting me know that they’re upset for me and thinking of me has meant so much. And then all the people who have told me they’re looking out for me, they’ve already emailed people asking after job opportunities, they have ideas for possible employment, they have my back. I’m not a person who feels like I have a ton of friends, owing largely to the fact that I’m a homebody and don’t make an effort to see people all that much, but I realized that the community of people I have is both larger and stronger than I really ever realized. And I’m so lucky that so many people care, and want to help me find new opportunities.
Not to mention my wonderful husband. I have to admit that if he lost his job I would freak out a bit. I would try to be strong for him but I honestly think I’d fail. He’s succeeded. He’s shown nothing but faith that this will all be okay. He’s been the strong one so that I can be the one who got to freak out. He’s reminded me that we’ll really be fine (even if it takes a while for me to find work) and also that the only thing that REALLY matters is that we get to meet our kid this week.
So yes, the timing sucks. And I’m sad that I won’t get to spend the first few months of our daughter’s life focused entirely on her. But I’m also feeling that this situation has shown me just how lucky we really are. To be in the position we are that a job loss sucks but doesn’t mean we won’t be able to pay the mortgage next month. And that we have so many people who love and support us and want to help. You never want to need a safety net, but when you do need it, you’re so very grateful it is there and strong. So today I am choosing gratefulness. And I will try to remember that, and maybe reread this post, on the days when sadness or anger threaten to overwhelm.