Last post, I was trying to explain the feeling of unemployment. To give a sense of the immediate personal aftermath and the frantic, hurry-up-and-wait pace of Day One survival mode. What I didn't mention, though, was perhaps the single most important piece of surviving unemployment: support.
When I called my wife, I had no idea what she would say. I knew she'd be sympathetic and loving, but as far as how she'd take the news? I hesitated calling her at work, but knew I didn't want to wait for her to come home tired, to a house full of kids, and then say, "oh, hey, by the way, I'm not going to work tomorrow. Or ever." So, I dialed, she answered, I stalled with pleasantries, and then dropped the bombshell: "So, I guess I'm going to be looking for a new job..." and held my breath. Would she be frightened? Harried?
What she was, was amazing. "Well," she said after digesting the news, "now you have time to do what you've been wanting to do." And she was right. I could finish a novel, get my house in order and get my home studio ready, really dig into writing and producing my podcasts. We talked about earmarking money for studio equipment.
Yes, the reality is that I will probably, eventually have to get a real job, but even on that score she's 100% in my corner. More so than even I am at times. I told her if neither of these radio jobs I just applied for came through, I'd start looking at things like retail. I knew she'd be happy knowing I was making an effort to support the family. Her response: "We're doing okay. Use this time to find the right job. You belong in radio."
The point is, this could have been one of the worst weeks of my life. Should have been, to be honest. I hadn't only lost a job, but what was, really, the best job I'd ever have, working with the best co-workers I'd ever had, doing something I truly loved. Don't get me wrong: It hasn't been sunshine and pancakes, but my wife has made all the difference.
I've been in that other state of unemployment: That depressed, lethargic unemployment. This was several years ago, before any of my kids were born. I wasn't fired at that time -- I'd left a largely dead-end job to become a freelance videographer, and the truth was, there simply wasn't the work available to keep me afloat. Then, I felt like a failure. This time, what I feel is loved.
And not only by my wife and family, who are all wonderful. God has also blessed us with friends who would do anything for us, and that's a great feeling to have when you're vulnerable. When I announced my unemployment I had at least one offer of a guest room whenever we needed it. Countless invitations to "whatever we can do." I have friends in the industry searching their contacts.
I have support, and because I have support, I don't feel like I've failed. I don't believe it's hopeless. I know that, one way or another, my family and I are going to be okay.