Wednesday, July 18, 2012
It's Finally Over.
"Hi Barb, this is Donna from MDOT. I am calling to offer you the position you interviewed for."
I was stunned. I was speechless. I said, "Really?"
"Really," she laughed.
"That's great, that's wonderful!" I said, trying to hide the three years of desperation that has aged me and worn me thin.
She told me all the pre-job things I needed to do, explained the drug test and physical. I said, "So this is when we discuss salary, right?"
My friend Julie told me to request a salary in the upper third of the range. So I did. She gave me the maximum. The maximum. I pinched myself. Was I dead? Did I get transported to a parallel universe? As professionally as I could, I said, "Wow."
The second the call ended I began to sob. And sob. And sob. Three years of stress, feeling like an outcast, less than, over the hill, unwanted, broke, it started to lift. I had no idea of the weight I was carrying. Rationally, I knew it was there and I wondered what the absence of stress would feel like if and when I got a job. And there it was. For twenty minutes I wailed. I let it all out. My unemployment was finally over.
I called everyone I knew, starting with my Beloved. I called my family, my friends, my old co-workers. I had a celebratory lunch with a friend. I told my neighbors and the chicken lady at the market, whom I celebrated with over a mango gellato. I sent emails. I wanted to stand on top of a mountain and cry and shout to the world, "It's over!" I never celebrated an ending before. It feels great.
I can live again, I can be part of the world again. I can work for change, protect the waters, talk biology with my colleagues. I can get my drain fixed and my cupola repaired. I can fix the tiles in the bathroom that are falling down. I can pay off my debts and have a savings account. I can get my teeth cleaned. I can get a color printer cartridge. I can breathe.
After spreading my good news, I went to my backyard and gave thanks to Great Spirit for giving me the strength to endure the past three years. I gave thanks for the work that I am about to do, that I am honored to protect the waters. I thought of my Beloved, my family, and my friends, whose money, food, emotional support, and friendship carried me like a boat in a storm through this difficult time. I could not have kept my house without them. I could not have kept my car. I could not have my home and the things that make it so. I might not have been able to hold on emotionally if it wasn't for them.
I thought about all the people I don't really know who sent me prayers and well wishes from my sisters' Facebook pages when I interviewed for the job. I know their good energies helped.
I thought of the phone calls where I sobbed that I couldn't take it any more and my loved ones comforted me. They never judged me. They held my hand and told me it would be OK.
I will never forget the things I have learned or the love that was given to me. I will not forget the other people here in Michigan that don't have a job. I know many of them don't have the support that I do. I can't imagine what life is like for those folks. I know how much stress and desperation I felt and I have good friends and family behind me. I am humbled by the experience. And I hope to never go through it again.
So, dear friends, thank you for seeing me through one of the darkest times of my life. I hope that from reading my stories about what life is like being unemployed for a very long time, you have developed understanding and compassion for others in the same place as me and work for equality and fairness in our world. Everyone wants and needs a home and security.
And now I can proudly say I have mine once again. Blessed be.