Tuesday, July 15, 2008

This, Too, Shall Pass?

My quarter life has probably left me behind but the adventures and the crisis, continues to regale both me, and you, dear reader. The latest episode hit me like a ton of bricks a few weeks ago when I was laid off. Being unemployed in this economy is nothing radical, but definitely a test of things to come for me.
Initially, as I contemplated my future and what it held for me, it was interesting – and exasperating – to see how others reacted to this piece of news. My family has been largely supportive in spite of the occasional hypothetical plea of “if only you were married.” That argument, in hindsight, was a momentary cry of frustration but unfortunately does no good under these circumstances. But I would not have been able to hit the ground running with my job search without the positive reinforcement from my parents. I could always go home, yes, but first I had to give it my best shot.
As for friends and acquaintances, while some had already gone through a similar situation or knew of someone who had, they gave me a pragmatic insight of the days to come and the decisions I had to make, while helping me land my next gig. There were others who empathized well enough without being too patronizing. But I think many people projected their own fears and insecurities on to me – as if it were truly the end of the world. I agree that your job, your work, your passion, defines who you are to a very large extent. But it should not be the only thing that defines you. However, it is true that most people relate to you depending on what you do and not who you are as a person. How many times have you been a little more friendly to someone you just met because you thought his/her work was interesting or glamorous? It all adds up to the rigmarole of the social hierarchy we choose to live in.
In any case, unemployment certainly has its benefits. You can wake up late, have your pick of a coffee shop with free wi-fi, and garner sympathy drinks from your friends. But as I walked around the city during the day, I was also envious of the people walking about with such a sense of purpose - going to and from their work place - until I realized that I did have a purpose: finding a job, exercising, believing in myself. It is the only thing I have and yes, at the moment, it defines me.