How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Unemployed. In Greenland! But let’s back up a few months here and frame this story properly…

Back in December, I was informed that the University would not be renewing my contract and so I would be leaving my position at the library come the end of the fiscal year, June 30. A week before Christmas is a hell of a time to get that kind of news.

And who tells someone they’re fired 6 months ahead of time? Because let me tell you, that colors the way you spend those last 6 month. And we’re not talking rainbows and sunshine neither. (True story: 3 months ago I thought I was having a heart attack. At 33. From the stress. Turned out it was just indigestion. From the stress.)

I had 6 months to look for new jobs and did. Things were looking up as, a week before my job ended, I scored an interview for mid July, doing my old job only for more money and hey wouldn’t that be great, because I’d get two weeks of vacation, during which my folks were here. So Ducks in a row is what it was.

Except that I didn’t get the job. That was kind of a blow, I don’t mind telling you because I nailed that interview. We’re talking Gold Medal dismount. Or so I thought. Plainly it was lacking in something as they went with someone else. But that’s fine. I didn’t want that crummy job anyway. *Sniff*

Because really and truly, I’ve been looking forward to being unemployed. Which is weird to say but let me unpack that a moment: Did I mention the stress? Of working someplace that doesn’t think you’re good enough to keep around long term but clearly thinks your adequate enough to keep around for half a year? Mind games would be fun to play after 6 months of that fucked up situation. So yeah. I’m not loosing any sleep over being out of that job. And I mean that literally. I haven’t slept so good in the last 3 years as I have in the last 3 weeks.

Also I’ve been wanting time to write and focus on my novel since I got to Oregon 3 YEARS AGO. I sort of fell into a job right away, which was unintended, but a bonus.

But the gig is over and now, while I look for gainful employment in the worst economy since the Great Depression, battling a hundred other overqualified librarians in a thunder dome lined with razor blade covered books, vying for the one position, I have a moment to focus and actually do what I love, which is write. And so long as I don’t fritter it away, I can finish my novel in a month or two, while I look for other jobs, and maybe, if I’m lucky, back into a new career getting paid to write for a living. Even if it means a pay cut (and it will) even if it means moving to a smaller apartment (which is likewise very likely) because I won’t have to go up against fucking Master Blaster just to work at a fucking library.

Being a librarian pays the bills, but it’s not my dream job. And weirdly enough, being unemployed in the Second Great Depression is liberating. I don’t have any more excuses and if no one’s going to pay me to do the career I’ve built up over the last 8 years, then fuck it, I’ll write my books for a living. If I’m going to live under a bridge and starve to death, might as well do what I love.

But the card board Manse is a little ways off yet. The government teat of Unemployment is a sweet, sweet cushion between here and there. And for a few months at least, I can work at making my dreams come true. There are worse things in the world, like working a shitty job I don’t like, for a university that doesn’t appreciate all the hard work I did for them.

So that’s where I am: all I have left is the dole and a few daydreams of respect. But it beats dying or working for the man, which is just dying, only slower and from the inside out.

So. How’d you spend your summer vacation?