Thursday, January 8, 2009

Stages

Why is it that everything in life seems to follow certain patterns or trends?

Nothing is ever left completely unchartered, unknown or variable. In every instance, in every stage of life, certain rules apply and previous cases can evidence such.

Albeit many of them are cliché phrases we throw about haphazardly on a day to day basis, they are clichés for a reason. Because they hold true.

For instance, “When it rains it pours” could not be proven more true in my life. Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse, they do.

Now conversely, another cliché holds “There’s a rainbow at the end of every storm” (or something like that) and in essence, that is true as well. I mean, think about it. It has to be true. After hell has unleashed all its fury on you, you’ve lost your job, your favorite pet has died, you’ve become evicted, divorced, and broke in one fell-swoop what else could possibly go wrong. Things have to get better, no?

My point is that life is predictable. In all its craziness and unpredictability it lends itself to be that which it is not (or not assumed to be) and that is predictable. Follow me?

People always say life is crazy, chaotic and a mystery none of us will ever comprehend. True, to some extent. But isn’t it also true that the very fact that we can say it is “crazy, chaotic, and a mystery none of us will ever comprehend” means that we have understood it somewhat?

Life in itself is a paradox and we’re all just struggling to figure out the riddle of the Sphinx.

In every stage of life, success, defeat, celebration, rejection, life, death, triumph and tribulation there are patterns that the natural laws of the universe compel it to follow. However, many times we get so caught up in the chaos of it all that we can’t focus on the pattern and learn how to fix it.

They say in losing someone there are stages of grief. Anger, denial, depression, acceptance (not necessarily in that order but you get the point) and for the most part, those stages hold true for most of us.

But just as grief has its own stages so do many other areas of our lives, yet we rarely notice, or even care to. Romantic relationships progress according to a pattern: immense lust, followed by like, love, and typically traded for safety, security and the dreaded, monotony. (Not saying every relationship follows this code or all are doomed to depreciation but bear with me.)

Needless to say, it should have come as no surprise to me when yesterday, a conversation with my Pops allowed me to discover this very epiphany. In asking how my job search was going and in an attempt to give me yet another infamous pep talk of “Don’t give up. The right job’s out there. Just gotta keep looking”, my dad made me realize something I hadn’t noticed before. That there were stages to the stage I’m in right now. Unemployment.

Have I lost you yet?

You see, when I first lost my job back in October I was pissed. Pissed at my boss for bouncing me checks and then laying me off. Pissed at the CEO for feeding me bullshit about “job security” and “wage reparations”. Pissed at the Department of Labor and the Attorney General for not caring that I and several other co-workers were being denied three weeks pay. Pissed at the unemployment office for making me wait almost a month before sending my first check I so desperately needed to pay off some of the collectors that were harassing me. And (do I even need to say it?) pissed at the collectors and creditors who refused to listen to my side of the story, labeled me as a government mooching degenerate and continued to harass me.

Then I was determined. Determined to get even and get my money back (Which never happened. The judicial process is a long, tedious and costly process. Avoid it at all costs.) Determined that I would get another job immediately and start making even more money than I was before. Determined to not let this get me down but to take it as a blessing. I had wanted out of that job anyway. Now I didn’t have to say I quit. I was laid-off. People would feel sorry for me, be blown away by my education and credentials and surely give me a job. And when 18,375,902 resumes were submitted, an equal number of applications filled out, multiple phone and in-person interviews rocked, personality and skill tests aced, every familial and friendly networking contact exhausted, every restaurant spoken with and selling my eggs given a quick and decisive “NO” by the Boo, I found myself in stage three.

I was sad. Sad and self-loathing was my middle name for weeks following the layoff. Depressed that this was happening. Sad that I had no money. Wallowing because I didn’t know what else to do. Feeling constantly sorry for myself and woeful over the current circumstances I found myself in. (And those circumstances definitely involved an ugly cry or two or ten on my part.) I wept and wept until there were no more tears.

And now I find myself amused. I’m no longer surprised when a mediocre restaurant requires one phone interview, two in-person interviews, one personality test, one skills assessment test, one food and wine knowledge test, and a live demo of table interactions and waitressing 101 with the manager. And yet, somehow despite charming them all, acing everything and having well over 5 years experience in the field, I still can’t get a call back. It no longer surprises me when the leasing consultant position I was “a shoe-in for” is suddenly given to a long lost cousin of the director looking for a job and I’m no longer shocked when I find that the school department that I submitted my application packet to back in MAY has “still not reached a conclusion in processing my paperwork.” And it certainly no longer surprises me when I hear the temp agency up the road doesn’t see me as a “viable candidate” because I don’t speak fluent Spanish. Despite the fact that Florida does happen to be in America. Where we speak English. Which is precisely what I have my BA in. ENGLISH. But whatever.

Gotta love the irony.

2 comments:

Akirah said...

I guess they say "when it rains, it pours." But it seems like you're learning a lot through this. Trials like these have a way of helping us grow chest hair and becoming stronger.

That damn expat said...

That's really awful, I'm sorry. But at least you got a good post out of it, right?


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