I am determined to say yes to most things. “YES” to moving to Seattle from Chicago, my hometown. Then YES to moving to Quebec. Then YES out of shear necessity to one-day becoming fluent in French.
Or shall I say Oui.
I find the unbeaten path, covered in brambles and I march down it – unafraid – until I look around and I am completely lost. And I can’t even try that old explorer’s trick because the sun beats down from directly above my head.
That’s kind of where I am right now.
Lost. Without a compass.
Approximately 1 year and a half ago, I gave up my copywriting job. It came with a team I adored and all these hidden benefits: happy hour and that glorious time when you can loudly declare “I SO need a drink. I’ve been BUSTING my ass.” A treasure chest of work gossip “Did you HEAR what SO-AND-SO said to SO-AND SO.” UNBELIEVABLE.
It made me feel like a big shot.
Then came my last day, approximately two weeks before The Big Move. How bad could unemployment be?
Just look a the success of theEverywhereist, a fellow Seattle blogger who travels the world with her husband. She makes a living with her blog. She travels. She writes.
Could I be that kind of awesome?
After a few months of culture shock, I hit my stride and things got good. Very good. I started every meal with a baguette and a spoonful of confiture. I went on field trips with my French class in the middle of the afternoon. Being the only experience and child-free writer in this French-speaking land, I got all the rare writing jobs. I did things like interview Larry Clark and hang out back stage with Couer de Pirate. By hang-out, I mean stare at her and get really nervous and watch a journalist with a faux hawk whip out a notebook and start asking her questions in French (bien sur!).
I felt like a kid again. A cleaner, more well-adjusted, semi-literate French-speaking kid.
We would have stayed, but the situation became shaky, which came with a heavy does of ‘holy crap, we could lose our visas…” So we moved back to Seattle prematurely. And now I am very sporadically employed in very expensive apartment.
Thankfully, The Husband loves his new new job.
Being sporadically employed gets a different reaction here than in Quebec. In the states, it’s like having leprosy. People physically recoil when I tell them I am unemployed and childfree. Either that, or they tell me not to worry, I will be a writer one day and gently pat me on the head.
What do you DO?
Well, I start the day at noon. I write a random blog post. I go on photo hunts. I look for jobs. I don’t wear a bra. If Elwood is being good, I give him a treat. I then read all people’s random blogs and like them because I want them to like me. If the phone rings, I sprint towards it because I am certain it’s that dream job calling me up.
It’s a voice recording from a guy telling me I need a new cable package.
Sometimes I get suck in a job cart and it can take me four hours just to send in one resume. Sometimes I make dinner. Sometimes I eat pound cake for dinner.
No I mean, for a living…
The only reason a person asks this is to assess your intelligence or whether you’re interesting or not. A brilliant-hearted friend of mine once said instead of asking this, they should ask what you’re doing to make the world a better place.
The answer to that is I tried. Not even non-profits who “desperately need people” want an out-of-work writer.
“You’re in the pool.” But when do I actually have to volunteer? What’s my schedule?
“We’ll call you.”
My current plan is not to make the world a worse place.
Advice to the Unemployed Aborad
Be patient. Relax. Enjoy the braless days. Play in the sunshine. Go on walks. Lots of walks.
When you’re feeling especially down, dress in a business suit, wear a vanity bluetooth, and go to your neighborhood’s busiest lunch spot.
You’ll realize you don’t miss the high stakes corporate life. Who cares if you don’t have work stories or the promise of apromotion? You get unlimited vacation. You sound like a bohemian. You get experiences 9-to-5ers miss. You won’t sob anymore while watching Office Space.
PS. I’ve been thinking about getting this HIRE ME customizable swag from VisualizeMe complete with my resume on the back. A walking business card. Do you think people will mistake me for a prostitute?