I might get a lot more time to write soon – sort of.

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I had written two of these posts, one was good, and the other, well it’s this post. I want to start out by bringing your attention the the following word:

Breadwinner.

It’s a fun word, and it’s so imbued with sexism, it’s almost not worth using. All that said, its something I identify with. Why? Because I’ve spent my entire adult life earning the primary income for my family. Even holding down two jobs at one point to make it happen. I’m apparently about to lose that title. Not because my wife got a kick ass job that pays 50% more than mine, although that would be awesome, no, it’s because today my layoff notice went into the mail. I’ll be receiving it later this week. I don’t need to see it, because I know it’s coming, sort of like a letter bomb that kills slowly, starting with the soul. It’s the first time in my life I’ve been staring down the barrel of involuntary separation from a job. I’m a good worker – received awards, have real accomplishments to point at, and even manage to help my organization become more competitive, in short, I’ve done all of the right things, but I’m still looking at losing my job.

The last day of work is July 1. In theory, it’ll be a temporary shutdown* and I’ll get my job back. That’s all far from certain though. In fact, as the impacts of this shutdown start to come into focus, it’s looking increasingly like I will be among those not asked to return. Basically, I have a month in which I need to begin making plans. Do I just throw in the towel on this job and start seriously looking for another, or would it be better to hang-tight and assume cooler heads will prevail? Assuming the cooler heads will prevail I should be cheering the extra time off and pretend to be a full-time professional writer until I’m allowed to go back to work. Really though, I want to cry because we just finally got our finances in order and we won’t last a month without my paycheck. I can draw a bit of unemployment, but in order to qualify I’ve got to be actively looking for work, and in any case it won’t do much to cover the bills. What all this means is that yes, I will not be working, but I will be even less able to focus on writing because I’ll be working on getting a new job that I don’t really want. Me and some 10,000 other people will be fighting for the same couple hundred jobs that might be available elsewhere.

If the layoff is extended (or permanent), in all likelihood I won’t manage to find a new job that pays more than half of what I make now – Not that I make lot mind, it’s just that I’ll have to start over. Anytime you do that, you’re going to take a few steps back. Practically speaking though, I’ll have to take a LOT of steps back. Turns out I’m too specialized in a field that has 0 application anywhere else – I have dipped my toes into a few applicant pools only to find that my skill-set isn’t a good match for what the hiring organization is looking for.

It may be true that I have this fantasy of becoming a professional writer (by all accounts this is a long-shot, even with a shit-load of hard work), alternatively, I think it would be cool to operate a distillery (I’d like to make whiskey**). At this point an optimist would be telling me to go for it. Shoot for my dreams. I, however, am a realist***, and realistically, I need to make sure my family has food to eat, a place to sleep, and clothes to wear.

I think what all this means is that this comfortable life that we’ve built that affords me a few hours here and there to frantically chase a fairy-tale will go away. On July 2, I won’t be waking up at 9 to pour a cup of coffee and sit at my laptop to be brilliant. I’ll pour the coffee, which may or may not be mostly bourbon, then fire up my laptop to file unemployment, hone my resume, and continue the soul-crushing search for a job. I’ll also be seriously considering alternatives, some of which don’t involve remaining on our little swamp, with our chickens, ducks, geese, and children. Maybe I’ll have some luck and start a successful distillery, maybe I’ll finish a book or two and find success as a writer, or perhaps become a writer or for a game development company, then again, it’s just as likely that I’ll pull up stakes and take on a completely new adventure.

Life is full of uncertainties, setbacks, and heartbreak. For now though, I’m certain I’m going to see about a bourbon, after that, I don’t know, we’ll see.


 

* There’s even a chance things will turn around and I won’t leave at all
** That’s a whole other rant. Do you have any idea how illegal it is to make your own whiskey at home? I’ll give you a hint: If you’re thinking about making whiskey, you might be better off selling crack instead. The laws are more lenient.
*** My wife calls me a pessimist.

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21 thoughts on “I might get a lot more time to write soon – sort of.

  1. I’ve been through that with my husband. It sucks.

    Get unemployment — it’s an earned benefit, not a handout. Unless you’re over 60 and could somehow swing an early retirement, you need to be serious in your job search. Go to interviews telling them, “I want this change to be on my terms.”

    Sorry this is happening in your career, but keep trying to turn it into something better.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I almost gave this a “like” before I saw the content. Geez. That’s some pretty heavy stuff. I mean, I hear you can get some decent cash through blogging for money, but I don’t know too much about that. I’ve just heard its a thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. efrussel says:

    Oh, no! Dave, I’m so sorry to hear it. I’ve been laid off before (though, to be honest, I was about twenty and my solution was to sit back, drink, and play Morrowind until I blew through savings, so. Not so helpful). But I know how cut loose and adrift and sometimes unwanted it made me feel.

    Debyfredricks up above me sounds like a smart lady, and that sounds like good advice. I hope you come out of this happier, and with something even better. Best of everything to you and yours.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for that! – I wasn’t even thinking about Morrowind and drinking, although it did remind me I haven’t yet played through Oblivion yet, so there is that. I’m already on the job hunt. Surprisingly, I already have a lead – may not go anywhere, but it’s something to cling to!

      Like

  4. BreeAnn says:

    I’m in the same boat. If you start a whiskey distilery I will gladly be your first customer! Don’t feel like foe one second if you choose to search for another job that you will start at the bottom, often times that’s not true at all. Changing jobs can give you an opportunity to turn that excellent job history, great accomplishments and solid years of service to work for you. I have changed jobs twice, both times I took my time, choose carefully and took a job I wanted ( not the first one that was offered, but the first one I wanted) I was able to move into higher paying jobs and positions. I say look, you never know what adventure you might find. Shoot for your ideal, apply for fun and see how the dice roll. You might discover that you are doing exactly what you want and be willing to wait. You might also find a new promising opportunity. Stressful times but luckily lots of opportunity too.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. tori says:

    Oh Dave, you’re brilliant and beyond what effen-gee is paying you. I’ve been thinking of all you guys with this whole budget circus and who was getting surprise vacay notices. I think you are def smart enough and clearly creative enough to come out of this smelling like roses. I wish I had something profound to offer, but the best I can do is a turn of the fish wheel- the salmon are running, so you could be a Red-winner, at least in the interim of awesome…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have come to look at this as a sign of spring, snow is melting, here come the cranes and yes a pink slip. 5 springs in a row but it has always worked out in the end. Know it is hard but obsessing does not help.

    Good luck

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m trying to not think about it too much. I’m starting to wonder why we (by we, I mean other people) vote for folks who can’t seem to make a plan. The most frustrating thing about this whole mess is that the argument boils down to whether or not 2.97 billion is taken from the savings account or the full 3 billion. Seems like that’s not really a long term fix, is it? Ah well. The job search has already turned up a few promising leads anyhow.

      Like

  7. Sorry to be away for so long. I’ve tried to keep up with blogging, but when I saw your post, I just had to dig out some time to leave a comment.
    I’m sorry to hear of your stress- what a lousy thing. I hope good things come your way. I know from first hand how difficult it can be to write when under duress. Small moments – a quick read through of a chapter, little edits can help keep you centered.
    I wish you all the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Tori J. says:

    I’m sorry about this news. I saw it a little late but I hope you’re doing okay.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. […] digress from the political rant a bit, and make this into something more positive, I posted something like this almost exactly two years ago. In response to the layoff threat two years ago, I went and got […]

    Liked by 1 person

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