Welcome To My Unplanned Sabbatical

Well, it’s time to ‘fess up. I’ve been gainfully unemployed now for six months. I got unceremoniously dumped right before Xmas last year. I didn’t expect it. I didn’t see it coming. And I sure as hell didn’t anticipate still being sans job 180+ days later.

When it happened, I did what any newly canned person would do. I punted … and subsequently treated myself to a two-week tropical vacation over New Years. I was determined to recharge, reboot and reinvent the wheel. Mexico seemed like the perfect place to do that. I siesta’d my ass off and didn’t have a care in the world.

It was bliss … until it wasn’t.

Upon re-entry, the universe quickly turned on me. I went from surf, sun and sand to a sorry state of worry and neurosis. I started obsessing about not being a productive member of society. My headspace soured and — for the first time in my adult life — I started having trouble sleeping. I’d been unemployed less than a month and it was messing with my good-natured psyche. Things quickly went from bad to worse – including having a panic attack so severe it caused me to end up in the emergency room.

Throughout all of this – I told virtually no one that I had lost my job. If misery loved company, I was suddenly my new best friend. For most of January and February, I circled the drain. When I wasn’t looking for a job, I was worrying about not having a job. I applied for dozens upon dozens of different gigs. I’d send my resumé out in to the ether — never to be heard from again. So, I got a headhunter. I got another headhunter. I dished with countless recruiters. I met with dozens of stalwart contacts. Hell — I had so many coffee dates with folks that I actually started to resent coffee.

Yes, you read right … unemployment made me resent coffee. I love coffee. God, was I indignant.

By March I hadn’t had so much as one interview … nada, zip, zilch. But I decided that – for whatever reason – the universe had a plan. Since this where I was supposed to be, I decided to try and make the most of it. And I started opening up to my friends. My buddy Eric told me exactly what I needed to hear – on my birthday, no less. “Mackie, everything in your world is going according to plan — save for your job. It’ll happen. And it will be awesome. But, in the meantime, you’re obsessing over it … and it’s turning you into a miserable cow.”

That was a solid wake-up call. “Miserable cow” … now that’s harsh. Accurate, but harsh. Thus, I stopped being such a morose, sad-sack and half-heartedly embraced my new normal.

I spent weeks up in my hometown of Des Moines entertaining my 104-year old father. He was thrilled – so I was thrilled. I gave myself permission to travel and started planning inexpensive getaways. I did yoga fourteen times a day. I meditated and prayed. I had energy work done. And I kept applying for jobs – without much avail, but at least I was no longer being a bitter bovine every minute of the day.

Like I mentioned, we’re now going on six months of no job. There has been the occasional nibble – but nothing of substance. But instead of letting it suck the energy out of me every day … I’m now embracing the potential opportunities that are out there. I’m way more receptive to what life has in store. Sometimes the universe demands you to hit the pause button and reevaluate things. Sometimes God wants you to look at the big picture. Whatever the case, I’m officially done with having a persistent pit in my stomach about the situation.

And then … as if on cue …

At the beginning of June, I got some contract work that will keep me busy the next few weeks. It’s like manna from Heaven for this workaholic. Keep your fingers crossed for me, world. And keep an ear to the ground, please. The right job – no, the PERFECT job — is out there and it has my name written all over it. And it won’t require me to sit at a desk 40-hours a week. I just need to put myself out there and be patient.

And Lord knows … if patience is a virtue – I deserve a freakin’ medal at this point. Now stop reading this blog and please go visit my LinkedIn page, will ya’? I’m not getting any younger.

One thought on “Welcome To My Unplanned Sabbatical

  1. Keep the faith Michael. If you recall, John was out of work 7 months before he got the job in California. Stayed there 2 years before returning to Dallas, after which his new boss, whom he loved, got fired, leaving him in a bad spot. Changed jobs once again. Has had a number of bosses at his present job but is doing very well now.

    With your many networking contacts, you shouldn’t have been a turtle and tried to continue to hide the fact you were still out of work. Someone out there has an opening with your name written on it. In fact, last week when we visited John I asked him if you were still out of work. John said he didn’t know. You realize moms know. You never said you were out of work but I read between the lines at the time. I will continue to keep you in my prayers and send you positive mojo. You have much to offer and there’s a perfect job with your name on it. Take care and many blessings.

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