I am not technically unemployed. In fact, I have two temp agencies, a part-time seasonal job, a volunteer job, and I also occasionally babysit and dog-sit and do other things like that. For several months, I worked only a few hours a week, this week, I will work more than 50 hours, and go on 2 job interviews. The inconsistency and unpredictability of my work, and therefore, my income, is what has come to characterize this self-inflicted period of exile from the working world.
I am reminded constantly that I am very lucky to have these sources of income, especially because I am not eligible for unemployment insurance. But mostly because there are so many people in the US and around the world who do not have access to even marginal sources of income. I am so blessed to also have a very caring family who are helping me out.
There was recently an article in Rolling Stone by Jeff Tietz that brought this home for me. It detailed the day-to-day experiences of a number of homeless individuals and families who were living in their vans or motor homes in a safe haven parking lot in Santa Barbara. Reading this article absolutely broke my heart. I find it difficult to even write about it now without tearing up a little. Everyone should read it. It is a deeply important piece of journalism about the recession.
But I will feel unemployed, or at least marginally employed, until I have a job that provides health benefits, paid time off, and a retirement plan. It’s going to happen.
My new mantra: don’t quit before the miracle.