Saturday, February 13, 2010


When I lost my job in November, I thought, "Well, this isn't so bad. Now I'll have lots of time to think!" I imagined myself writing creatively, doing photography, and maybe coming up with a second career.

But without the stimulation of a daily job, I've found it difficult to create anything. Being unemployed is hard. My days are big, empty stretches of time, particularly here in the suburbs, and I've even had trouble coming up with enough interesting content for my blog. (Interesting being a relative term -- ha!)

It's almost like my brain just isn't getting enough exercise. I'm reading books, keeping up with the news, watching movies, cooking, cleaning -- but that's nothing like being faced with the daily social interaction and demands of the workplace.

It's particularly tough now that we're essentially snowed in. We could get into the city, with some effort and expense -- but doing anything outdoors here in Central New Jersey just isn't very appealing, if it's even possible. On Thursday we tried to come up with something to do locally and aside from going to the mall, there just wasn't much. (We even considered going bowling. Lord!)

I enjoyed my first few months off from work. But my mom told me at the time that I'd soon start going crazy, and I can see what she means. It's not craziness I'm feeling, though, so much as shallowness, flabbiness.

I have learned some things. First, I am not a fiction writer. I've explored creative writing and several people urged me to come up with a novel. But I just don't have a novel in me. Having the technical skills to put words on a page is only a tiny step toward creative writing, and I unfortunately lack the drive, the ideas and the behavioral understanding to produce truthful fiction.

Second, I'm not an entrepreneur. (I guess I knew that already.) I half-heartedly toyed with the idea of being a professional organizer, if not for a living then to make some extra money. I never considered it a serious career prospect -- more like a way to kill time -- but I see now that it would never really keep me occupied. Organizing my own house, and enjoying it, is a far cry from organizing for others.

I've backed off the idea of selling my apartment, particularly now that I've had a job interview in the city. I may need that apartment, especially if I find late night or early morning work in Manhattan. I'm going to just sit on it for the time being. I have plenty of money to maintain it for now.

And fortunately, the news organization that interviewed me for a job a week ago is having me back on Monday for a second interview. Maybe my jobless, aimless winter is finally coming to an end. Keep those fingers crossed, blogland!

(Photo: Third Avenue, about a week ago.)


  1. I hope Monday's interview goes well. Can you imagine how much worse your current life would be if you were also without money? I've often wondered just how I would handle impoverishment and/or homelessness. When I see people asking for money, I always wonder why they are not working at MacDonalds, but I'm not sure I could ever do that. I don't think flippin' burgers is in your future either fortunately!

  2. Taking time off is always a good thing. So funny read that you feel "flabby." It's like you've had an extended Zen retreat on non-thinking which is, in my opinion, a really great thing.

    The first few months? Hasn't it only been 2 months since you left your job?

    Keep breathing, keep opening your mind to what you don't already know. Strength to you during this time of non-doing. It's all good. Believe me!!


  3. So funny TO read that you feel "flabby." It's like you've had an extended Zen retreat OF non-thinking

    I hate typos!

  4. I too hope the second interview goes well. You are entitled to enjoy extended time off, so don't worry about feeling "flabby." Things will happen as they are supposed to.

    I hope you and Dave enjoy Valentine's Day!

  5. Rooting for you, Steve!

    I think I'm your only commenter who wasn't so on board with your selling the apartment. But I guess I must have sincerely felt something about that because I just breathed a sigh of relief for you that you're going to sit on it for a while. Of course, you will know what to do and when to do it, it's your life. And as your blogworld friend, I want only the best for you. So I hope the interview on Monday leads to a door you want to open. Whatever door that may be.


  6. Angella -- I was never 100 percent on board with that idea, either. I'm relieved to be keeping it!

  7. congrats. on the return interview - hope it goes well

  8. Fingers crossed for you here too. Ms Soup

  9. Angella (& Steve), you weren't the only commenter not 100% on board with selling the apartment...With so many major life changes happening at once, I think it's wise to not burn a bridge one might want to travel back over. Steve, I believe you'll know if/when the time is right to sell!