Just over two years ago, I lost my job. I knew what was happening the moment my boss's eyes broke contact with mine to glance outside his office window. Then he broke the news to me: after 13 years in the logistics industry, I was out of work in the middle of the biggest American recession in decades. I got an attorney to help with potential financial and legal issues.
Then I bought a journal.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Within two weeks after losing my job, a court employee hand-delivers a foreclosure notice to my door. Although my job loss wasn't the catalyst for this action, it doesn't help either. Our attorney tells us that the notice was served due to a missed paperwork deadline — and not to worry. Too late.
Thursday, March 12
I get names and e-mail addresses for three possible job leads from a former boss. Meanwhile, my wife and daughter take turns watching TV shows like Keeping Up With The Kardashians and Millionaire Matchmaker, which does little to help boost my morale.
Wednesday, March 18
I watch a show about the Atlanta "day trade shooter," who in 1999 went on a shooting spree at his workplace after losing a lot of money through online day trading. During the show, a psychiatrist mentions the term "entitlement" when describing the psyche of the middle-aged man. That is, when a man's ability to provide for his wife and family is threatened, some will resort to violence because they can't handle failure. For the first time in my life, I partially sympathize with a murderer.
Friday, March 20
I've applied to 25 jobs spanning a wide spectrum of industries — production, education, supervision, logistics, and others — without results. Maine Public Radio tells me that the job seeker who doesn't blog, tweet, or use Facebook is at a great disadvantage to those who do. Since companies today rely heavily on social networking, it's critical for the job hunter to establish, and maintain, an online "presence." I suddenly feel old.
Monday, March 23
I'm uplifted after watching The Pursuit of Happyness. But any ideas of chasing dreams are quickly dashed as our pile of bills tells me that I need a job — not a career change. The news features a story of a 10-year-old boy who decides to sell his favorite toys at a family yard sale while his father was out looking for work. "I just wanna help my father right now," the boy tells the camera, while his father sits nearby in silence.
Tuesday, March 24
A former coworker calls me last night telling me how another coworker of ours had his layoff offer rescinded as my car was leaving the parking lot. Why would anyone want to share this with me a month afterward? Later, as my youngest daughter reads her writing assignment to me, my eyes well up. I study her face while she reads and realize my girl is three years away from high school. For the past seven years my work shifts have mostly kept me on the wrong side of family life. Sensing her excitement while she shares her own words with me, I see how much her assignment means to her — so it matters to me.