I spent half-an-hour stuffing a box with the accumulation of almost two years of a job that I alternately loved and hated. I had been warned, and when I saw the e-mail in my box that morning about a meeting with the boss at the end of the day I knew that it was coming. So I quietly packed up my stuff, indifferent to what was going on around me, and left the office. My one regret was that I didn't raid the supply closet.
By the time I got home I had a plan to substitute teach for a few months and try to coast on unemployment and freelancing jobs until it was time to fill out applications for graduate school.
It was a beautiful plan since teachers are always getting sick and from what I remember substitute teachers pretty much just have to show up and not anger their charges by reminding them they're in school, sometimes you got to show a movie.
I spent most of that first weekend trolling craigslist for work in photography and writing. The problem was that the only photography work was for nude female models who were willing to work for free in some guy's basement, and the writing jobs didn't pay that much more.
Since my killer curves are more like those of the majestic manatee than Kim Kardashian (whom I recently learned was not on Deep Space 9), things weren't looking good in that department. I gave myself a week to slack off, to make up for all those vacations I never took.
I didn't really go anywhere except to take my niece around town, and spent an awful lot of time reading Carl Sagan and playing video games. The only thing different about this past week was calling unemployment quite a few times only to have a tinny, recorded voice tell me that I should call back when there weren't so many people in the same boat. That's when it hit me that I was now just a statistic in a sea of depressing news stories about the credit crunch and the financial crisis.
A few weeks ago I was figuring out how to tell those stories around Wareham, and now I was living it out. Then I went and had some ice cream. I've never really been unemployed for long. Sure during college I never really had a job, but I was kept busy by classes and friends, it was easy to fill down time. Now it's a matter of turning endless hours into something more manageable as all my dreams of being productive seem to get swallowed up in the endless void of stalling out at 23.
Just five months to go according to the latest figures from the Department of Labor, probably more since I'm in an industry that's rapidly circling the drain only to be replaced by LOLcats and celebrity gossip. Good times.