What its like to transition into unemployment

I’ve now been unemployed since the end of October now, and I can tell you it has its ups and downs. I had become part of something much larger than the work I was going in my community. As i’ve said before, Alaska is large in size and small in community. We became so very connected to people around the state doing the same work as me in their own communities and those connections made my work not only more valuable, but easier. We contributed to one another and each other’s work even from hundreds and thousands of miles away from each other in our very own state.

Then, I lost my job. At first, there are the “we would love your help in transitioning out… we want you to continue to be involved…” etc, etc. But the reality is, you slowly become pushed away and disconnected. The hardest part?

A piece of me has been taken away. The program I brought to Fairbanks feels as if its been taken away. Every day I regret not taking the steps to bring the program here on my own, but instead I feel like the piece of me that is lost is this one program itself. Being involved and volunteering is something I plan to continue to do with the program, but being ultimately removed from a role that I created is heartbreaking and has been the most difficult part for me.

People are easily replaced in non-profit. Even though my role was removed from the agency, some of that work has to be picked up by someone. I went from being part of the large prevention network in our state to feeling as if I might not belong there anymore because I am not longer in that “role.”

Your co-workers are not your best friends. When we work 40 hours a week, we become connected to many people who we begin to care about and consider our friends. But the reality is, most of your co-workers will not remain your friends or even check on you when you’ve gotten the big news that you’re no longer needed there. This is a reality we often don’t realize until this time. Now, mind you, that doesn’t mean that you won’t make lifelong friends at work, but everyone isn’t going to be that for you.

Now, what are the great parts?

Fitness. I can go cross-country skiing and swimming and running and crossfitting in the middle of the day! That is something I will miss a little (lot) since I am now officially training for a triathlon.

Sleeeeeeeep. I can sleep. I mean, really, nothing more to say about that.

House projects. Remember all of those little projects (I’m sure you have a list) that you want to get done but never have the time? Now you do. If you don’t have a list, you soon will.

Dinner planning is possible. Enough said!

Purging. Sounds weird, but so true. It gives you the time to go through and do your “spring cleaning” and downsize your life a little. Speaking of cleaning, I finally cleaned my bathtub.

So now that I’ve got all of this down, it’s time to figure out how to transition back into the world of the employed. But I can say I’m not nearly about distraught about that.




A Journey to Self-Discovery: Part I

So this is a pretty big blog post here. Almost three weeks ago, I lost my job. My position at the non-profit I’ve been working at and building a prevention program at lost its funding. I could go into a long explanation of this, but right now, I won’t. I’ve done a lot of thinking and began some soul searching on what is next for me. I have been lucky enough to visit home (Virginia) and get to do some of this soul searching (and job searching) while getting to visit friends and family.

Ya know, it is really surprising how people look at you when they’ve found out you’ve lost your job. It’s as if you’ve gotten a divorce or worse. But really, I’m OK. I don’t need anyone to reassure me that I’ll be OK, either. It’s nice to feel supported and cared about, in fact it’s actually something that I am very blessed to have in my life at this age, but losing my job has been a blessing in disguise. At first, I was devastated, but now I feel that I am being forced to find a new door that waiting for me to walk through it in my career. I finished my MSW in August, and it is being begged to used. Now I have time to self-reflect, and decide what is next for me as I search for what my community needs and where I fit into it.

This is my new journey: Part I.