As I approach my third month of unemployment, I looked down at my calendar for the week. I have kept myself busy with training classes offered by various Work Force Centers around Colorado. As part of me receiving unemployment, I have to look for at least five jobs per week. However, since Covid 19 has decimated the job market, Colorado Unemployment counts training as job searching.
In the beginning of August, I took the necessary classes: How to Write a Resume, How to Interview, How to Write a Cover Letter. I have not had to look for a job in over twenty years, so I brushed up on the new ways to tackle my resume, writing cover letters, setting up a LinkedIn account. I have now spent most of September brushing up on different areas such as How to Manage Change, Setting Goals, Working Within Your Budget and Self Care.
In the Manage Change class, the instructor told my Zoom Class, “What you are experiencing with your job loss is just that, it’s loss. You are going through the five stages of grief. You are experiencing denial, anger, bargaining, depression and eventually you will reach acceptance.” It took all of me to keep from crying in that meeting, but as I type these words, tears are rolling down my face.
The day I was laid off, July 1 was weird. My then boss read a script to me over the phone. He had to read that script five more times to other team members, some more senior then myself. On that day, six of us were let go due to lack of sales and support contracts being down over seventy percent. I told my family, “It makes sense, if companies can’t pay rent, they sure as hell can’t pay a support contract.” The next day, July 2, was my 23rd Anniversary. My spouse and I took the kids to my mom’s and ordered curbside Mexican food. That weekend was July 4th, so I had a good time with my family at my mom’s for a bar-b-que.
The next week, I went into clean-up mode. I was given a two-week notice. Even though I no longer had to help customers, I was paid until July 15. I used that time to clean out twelve years of email and back up my corporate issued laptop. I was still in denial mode that I was unemployed. Even packing up my laptop and Fedxing it back to my employer, it still was not “real” that I was unemployed at 54 years old. The anger hit when I was taking my daughter to a cross county practice. It was the end of July and I heard the U.S. weekly jobless claims number on the radio. For twenty weeks in a row, that number was still at 1 million jobless claims. I was now part of that statistic.
It is now the middle of September. I have had one “interview” with a consulting firm’s headhunter. What seemed like a good idea to “friend” her on LinkedIn turned into an hour-long call of her telling me about herself, why she left real estate to become a recruiter, etc. Long story short, I was not what their client was looking for and the headhunter used me for free therapy time. I am now accepting that my job search is going to take a while.
This year, 2020, started out with so much promise for a lot of us, has turned into a constant gut punch of wrenching heartaches, sorrows, blockages, betrayals and frustrations leaving us fearful, depressed and traumatized. I learned in my twenties that sometimes we are the change agents in our lives. We choose to quit a horrible job, we choose to leave a bad relationship, we choose to move to a new city. Other times change is thrust upon us, such as getting laid off, loosing a spouse, or having a baby. What I am learning now is that change sometimes appears like a roadblock. And it is going to take a different way of thinking and acting for me to get around it.