The UnEmployed highway is just like any other major roadway in this country. It is useful to get you from point A to point B, but it can be tedious, tiring, and at times, severely overcrowded.
I began my journey a little over 2 years ago, when the school I worked for decided that my position as Head Librarian was not necessary for the well-being of the school. My first thought was “will my employees lose their jobs?” closely followed by my second, which was “what will the students do without a librarian?”
In both cases, I might not have bothered to worry, since the only real change was that I was gone. My position was cut, but everything else was to remain the same.
So I hopped on the UE highway and began to drive.
It wasn’t so bad at first. As a matter of fact, the thought of all the potential places I could visit was exhilarating. I looked forward to the new people I’d meet and determined to enjoy the ride. I was receiving unemployment checks that would tide me over until just the right opportunity showed itself, until the-exit-to-my-perfect-job revealed itself. I was good to go.
After nearly a year on the UE my enthusiasm began to wane. Short distance trips were one thing, but this was getting a little ridiculous. Surely that perfect job was just over the horizon, just down the road. I was well educated, a hard worker, and I had managed 3 libraries with a staff of 10. I had a lot to offer, my exit should be coming up soon.
And then I saw it! My exit! I swerved over, and zipped down the off ramp. Finally, finally, I resume my normal life. I would once again be a contributing member of the working world.
Only…well…it was the wrong exit. I should have paid attention to signs, since the sign for this exit had been scratched and bent and had made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. But I had chosen to ignore it, since I could see in the distance a bustling, thriving town and I wanted to exit the UE.
Not smart. Not smart of me at all, because as as I got closer I discovered that what looked pristine and healthy in the distance was instead a disgusting rathole filled with thieves and crooks. And since I am neither a rat nor a crook I could not stay. I didn’t belong.
So back on that old UE highway I went. Only this time, there were no checks. My exodus from the job had been voluntary so I was on my own.
Now the ride was very different. Storm clouds began to gather and my gas tank crept nearer and nearer to empty. I had no choice but to to stop at every rest stop (aka low paying contract job) along the way I could find.
I am still looking for my exit. Even though those storm clouds have continued to amass and are now thick and roiling with unleashed lightning bolts I continue to have hope. And even though my fuel gage is no longer approaching E but is firmly set there, I still have hope. My exit, the one that will be perfect for me, must be just out of sight, just over the horizon. It must be there, it must, it must.