My Dirty Little Secret

Did you hear that sigh of relief? It sounds a lot like that which you hear after sitting on the couch and unbuttoning your jeans following Thanksgiving dinner. Ahhhhhh.

That’s how I feel now that I have a week’s worth of employment under my belt, again.

Since college, I had been blessed with gainful employment. And I have to confess, while elements of every position since then could and would annoy me on a situational basis, I’m the kind of person who actually looks forward to going to work in the morning. I don’t look forward to waking up in the morning, mind you – that takes me multiple cups of coffee and a shower that goes on twice as long as necessary. But the act of working comforts me.

Then I found myself out of work for nearly eight months. And the feeling was foreign to me. Meeting new people became frightening. One of the first questions you get, after what is your name and what kind of product do you use in your hair, is the “What do you do for a living?” question. It pained me to have to admit to every new person I came across, that I was looking for work. I fully realized many people are in the same boat, and the circumstances were due to relocation and not a measure of my job performance. But still, I felt embarrassed admitting that I couldn’t find work.

Obviously, during that time dating drops in the list of priorities.

Hi. I’m 31. I don’t have a job. Want to go grab dinner and a movie? No, literally – I can’t afford to take you out, so I’ll distract the video store clerk and you grab the DVD and run as fast as you can once you hear the alarm. I’ll choke on the steak at dinner, so we can get them to comp us, there. Can you pick me up? My gas tank’s low and I don’t wanna fill it up quite yet. All that aside, I think tonight’s going to be fun!

That kind of dysfunction may work on Lindsay Lohan, but it about ends there.

Being out of work became my dirty little secret. Everywhere I went, I worried someone would find out. During the day, if I frequented the same locations, they’d know I was out of work. Going out for drinks and turning down a round of drinks because I couldn’t pick up an eventual round; again, they’d know. Being out with friends I knew, but being introduced to one of their friends and the question was bound to come up. And then they’d know.

I tried my best not to let on that it was bothering me, that I wasn’t going to let it break-a-my-stride. But secretly, my swagger was gone. Eight months on the job snide will do that to even the strongest-willed personalities.

But I kept fighting. Every day. Kept applying for jobs. Kept writing. Kept laughing, both with and at myself. And it finally paid off. It feels like I just stood on a mountain top and shouted my dirty little secret to the world and got it off my chest.

World, I got 99 problems, but a job ain’t one!

The swagger’s returning. Life’s priorities are shifting and slowly returning to pre-out-of-work levels. The thought of getting together with old friends no longer frightens me now that I won’t have to answer their “How’s the job search going?” with the “Like shit, pass the salt?” response. I can begin chatting girls up in public again, without having my cell phone ready to answer a fake call the second they go the “Where do you work?” route.

And I can begin blogging about things that have nothing to do with work, again! Aren’t you excited? I know I am! The truth shall set you free.


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