Since the beginning of February, I have been without consistent employment. Sure, I’ve been freelancing with relative consistency and office temping, written more than I’ve ever written and traveled more than I’ve ever traveled. Still, as I sit between temp contracts (and save for a few freelance writing gigs) I can count myself among those social castaways we refer to, with judgment and pity, as “the unemployed.” And, as I am here to tell you, it absolutely sucks.

I’ve gained ten pounds (ten! in four months! and I’m short!), tested a few new hairstyles and a couple new lifestyles, consumed unprecedented amounts of coffee and watched the weeks pass with an increasing sense of self-reflection as the temporary no man’s land I anticipated in late winter has turned into a seemingly permanent state of limbo. I’ve heard an impossibly manicured prospective employer gently inform me that I am overqualified to work for her, endured a pointed “don’t you have a real job yet?” from someone I terribly respect, and been on the receiving end of a whole lot of sympathetic nods. I will actually avoid social situations where the question “so, what do you do?” will be asked, which means that I haven’t been getting out as often as I probably should. My life has become a war zone of twentysomething career angst, and my home office is my fallout shelter.

I pretend I am not at the end of my fraying, tension-wrought rope so that I can get through the day without a deluge of self pity. This is the pill of poison I have chosen for myself, the aftermath of a spring of travel and whimsy. I carry on because I know this is temporary. I know this, because I haven’t ever stopped moving. I know this because I have skills, ambitions, a work ethic, and a burning curiosity to learn anything about everything.  I know this because to consider anything else is too hard.

Advertisements