Sued51's Blog

Some of my cribbage friends had a saying about me…”Every silver lining has a cloud…”  I was always afraid to believe in my good fortune, even playing cribbage.

Since I have been unemployed, it has been hard to SEE my good fortune, other than to appreciate the people and pets in my life.  But after finishing my brochure the other day I felt a strange positive feeling—could it be hope?  A sense of accomplishment?

I felt proud of being able to make my brochure and have people say, “It’s eye-catching and well done.”  I thought, if I hadn’t lost my job, I wouldn’t have learned to use Microsoft Publisher, AND I wouldn’t be learning how to make a web site, AND I wouldn’t have this blog…

None of it may not be bringing in money (yet!) but I’m proud of what I am learning and proud of the growing I am doing.  I think I’ve turned a corner—the cloud may not have a silver lining, but I’m beginning to see a glint of something shining.

{February 10, 2010}   If Only I Could Time Travel…

Today as I cleaned the house I found myself thinking about pioneer women and wondering, how did they know when they had a good and productive day?  Did their endless chores make them feel good about themselves?  For the most part, they didn’t make money outside the home (and sometimes their husbands didn’t either, until after the harvest).  They had an endless number of tasks to do, but I’m sure they didn’t have time to make lists and cross things off in order to get a sense of accomplishment.

My whole adult life my sense of accomplishment has been based on working to make money.  I’ve always had a lot of hobbies, but I’ve never felt I needed them for other than personal satisfaction and fun.  As an unemployed person in 2010, I am struggling with the days that go by without my making money.  I try to keep my eye on the future and the long-term, but it isn’t easy.  I actually feel better if I go out and find a penny on the ground or pick up returnable cans because it makes me feel like my condition has changed, even a little bit, from yesterday.

I feel like if I could time travel, I could go back and relearn my life’s purpose and how to value each day.  I need to learn the lesson now, but today’s way of life is not an effective teacher for me.  If only this lesson were a fact I could memorize or a book I could read.

I really think time travel might work, but I don’t have that option.  So I guess I have to make gratefulness lists and, to quote John Legend, “wait for the world to change.”

When I had a job, I loved the computer. It brought me emails from friends; news from the world outside my cubicle; and sometimes at lunch I would play a game. It seemed like I never had enough time to spend with it.

Then I became unemployed. I had to use it to cull through online job ads, try to find job opportunities, and to network and try make things happen. I no longer feel like the first thing I want to do when I get out of bed is turn it on. It no longer brings the wonderful emails from my friends; nobody wants to have to ask how the job search is going. It has become the watched pot that never boils–a reminder of all the projects I need to do. All it brings are job opportunities selling insurance.

My husband feels like I spend too much time with it, but it sits there and wants more. It whispers, “You need to do more.” I try to go to the other room to get away, but I get drawn back to keep checking my emails. Sometimes I just have to turn it off in order to break its hold.

I know it should simply be a tool, an electronic assistant, but somehow I have allowed it to become the object of my hopes and the deliverer of my nightmares. Wait, is that an animated face l see, laughing gleefully?

I guess it is time to leave the house.

I am sure my life is headed to a place very different than it has been to in the past. Sometimes I wonder if it is fear or despair fogging my vision when I look ahead, but my steadfast intuition knows it is not. This is just a transition from the old way of life to a new one not yet visible. Could it be that I am reading too many articles about the changing nature of work? No, the articles only confirm what I already “know” inside. I try to shush the self-pitying part of myself: “I never thought this could happen to me; I’m smart, hard-working, and resourceful. What’s wrong with the world?” It distresses me that “hard-working” has become an obsolete and unusable adjective.

Part of me is happy to not have a “regular” full-time job; part of me is excited to tackle some things I have never done before, but the other voice I hear is the practical version of me harping about making money and exhaling fear, chilling my hopes. Discussion groups assure me I am not alone on this river; within the fog are countless contemporaries in the same little boats trying to see where we are going. Like Annie, we have to believe “the sun will come out tomorrow”, but I believe that sun will reveal a world very different than what we are used to seeing.

During this time of transition, listening to your inner voice and intuition and having faith are extremely important. Believing you are a survivor and can weather anything is the most important characteristic you can have right now. To everyone else navigating this river, we’ll make it. This journey is a process but in the end, we’ll be happier and be left with the best parts of ourselves. I can’t say I know how long this river of transition will be, but oars are useless; let yourself move with the river and believe in the place ahead.

{January 14, 2010}   The New Renaissance “Man”

In today’s economy you have to be creative in how you reach people and how you advertise your skills.  I have had to experiment with Microsoft Publisher to create a brochure, start this blog, and take computer tests for temping.  As I network through LinkedIn, I see people with strings of identifiers and job descriptions after their names: copyeditor, writer, photographer, web designer, etc., all of which were formerly jobs unto themselves.  This scrapping for work is leading to the poor pay for writers and photographers I read about on the discussion boards.

My thought is that all these skills will become expected and taken for granted in the future.  The young people at present may not know their history, but they know how to use technology.  Renaissance men of the past like Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were highly educated, creative, and inventive.  Renaissance “men” of today need to know how to use as many software programs as possible.  The education part of it has to some extent fallen by the wayside.

As a baby boomer, I try not to get discouraged by this trend.  I am young enough to still have to have the skills to work in today’s world, but old enough to see a lot of my skills become obsolete and undervalued.  Although I am educated, in the skills that seem to matter at present, I am self-taught, and I will continue to learn as much as I can.

Maybe it still goes back to society’s undervaluing of a liberal arts education.  Maybe it is my own fault for not choosing a “real” profession like a nurse or an engineer.  All I know is that I see them out there, the new Renaissance men and women, trying to make their way in today’s society and learn the skills that will command the respect they so richly deserve.

et cetera
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