The Unbearable Banishment: On the dole again

Thursday, March 18, 2010

On the dole again

My contract at Massive Retirement Conglomerate, Inc. ended this week and I find myself on the dole and looking for work again. It’s painful and draining, to say the least. I was laid off from J.P. Morgan in December (a blessing in disguise) and found contract work a few weeks later. I knew it wouldn’t last but took it for practical reasons.

This is the first time in my life I’ve been an active participant in a full-blown crisis. Earthquakes, falling pianos and crimes are things that you read about in the paper but don’t happen to you. You tsk-tsk and turn to the sports page.

You lucky folks who are gainfully employed can afford to be blissfully unaware, but it’s still pretty bad out here. Especially in New York. You read the monthly new jobless claim figures and are unaffected, but take it from me, to be a part of a catastrophe is enough to test a man’s resolve. I have a friend who is an attorney. He recently told me his office received over 800 applications for eight openings.

Mrs. Wife and I consider ourselves lucky. We have some cash in reserve and can also live (very frugally) off of income derived from our investments and unemployment. Mrs. Wife has also picked up some side-work project managing the construction of a web site. Obviously, this can’t continue indefinitely, but we aren’t going to go underwater anytime soon. But not having work when you have two little girls looking up to you hurts, hurts, hurts. What the hell kind of provider am I?!

But it's not all grief. There's something sweet about being home. I painted the front door today because it needed it. It looks pretty good, if I do say so myself. I put training wheels on 3-Year Old’s bicycle and inflated the tires on all the bikes. I went to the gym and worked my ass off and then made myself a scrumptious plate of hash and eggs with rye toast for lunch. I had dinner with all three of my girls, which has never failed to satisfy me, and I gave 3-Year Old her bath. That never happens.

Tomorrow I have to visit the tax accountant in the city, but then I’m meeting up with Nurse H. The weather is going to be perfect (finally). We’re buying sandwiches and walking to Sheep Meadow in Central Park for lunch. Afterwards, I’m stopping into the International Center for Photography for an exhibit I’m dying to see—Twilight Visions: Surrealism Photography and Paris.


After that, I’m seeing a revival of Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, that I hear is great. (The museum and theater tickets are complimentary, of course. All discretionary spending has been halted.)

So I will continue to hunt for employment and try to fight off the fits of depression with a whip and a chair. Mrs. Wife is a rock. I see no panic/fear in her eyes. And if you’ve got to be on the dole, you can do a hell of a lot worse than being surrounded by family and a stone’s throw from New York City. Amen, my brothers and sisters.

14 Comments:

Blogger Ponita in Real Life said...

Here's hoping something great turns up quickly, and that you thoroughly enjoy your outings.

March 18, 2010 at 11:42 PM  
Anonymous annie said...

Sorry your inbetween again. There is something to the "counting your blessings" thing but it doesn't take away the feelings that somehow things should be different b/c you've played by the rules, blah, blah. blah.

Very different world from the one we were told to expect when we were young, eh?

March 18, 2010 at 11:59 PM  
Blogger Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Enjoy the theatre and the girls, good to see you're looking on the positive side at a time when so many people can only see the negatives. I think blogging helps to get us to see things in other ways sometimes too.

'Onward through the fog' straight back at ya, UB.

March 19, 2010 at 2:19 AM  
Anonymous sid said...

Shit Unbearable. I've been there - after uni. 8 shitty months. Eventually took up a job as a secretary. Pay sucked ass. Basically earned a 5th of what I am earning now.

Hope you find something permanent soon.

March 19, 2010 at 2:34 AM  
Anonymous nursemyra said...

I bet your little girls LOVE having their daddy around. They would have no concept of your perceived failure to be a mega provider. I wish you were able to stop worrying and enjoy this time more, though I understand how hard that must be xx

March 19, 2010 at 4:17 AM  
Blogger Pueblo girl said...

What Nursemyra said. I know you know this, but it bears repeating: "providing" isn't just about money, it's also about time, care, love.... I bet all your girls see this time as a huge treat.

March 19, 2010 at 6:22 AM  
OpenID daisyfae said...

although i know the uncertainty brings a terrible edge to it, you seem to have a healthier outlook this time. the fact that you've survived two prior rounds of unemployment may be kicking in - it's only for now, and seems you're going to make the most of it while you seek another job.

March 19, 2010 at 7:22 AM  
Blogger savannah said...

got it right, sugar! it is tough out there and even tougher when it's in your own house. i'm sending positive vibes up the coast! as you said to me, best wishes to you guys!
hang in there, honey, this wide net of blogville is keeping us all afloat right now!

wv: liked

March 19, 2010 at 7:26 AM  
Blogger Cat said...

I hope the exhibit and play are stellar. A lovely spring day in the city is just what the doctor ordered.

March 19, 2010 at 9:37 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Ponita: Enjoying the outings and family time is the easy/pleasurable part. It's the something-turning-up-quickly that's the rub.

Annie: Adulthood is a brutal wake-up call from that bill of goods were sold as youths. That's the truth.

Jo: Thanks for feeding me my own advice! It's been easy to doll out those tidbits. Let's see how easy it is to live by them.

Sid: I'll pretty much take anything at this point, just as a holdover. But I hope I don't have to settle.

Nurse: The girls love having me around and the happy accident is that I love being around them. I wasn't suppose to be a dad but I certainly am.

PG: I have to keep reminding myself to broaden my definition of "provide." I'm met a lot of very wealth, very unhappy, people in NYC.

Daisy: Avenue Q!

Savannah: The blog has performed a greater service to me than I ever imagined it would. And it's free, free, free!

Cat: It sounds like a great day, doesn't it? How can I parlay this into some kind of paying gig?

March 19, 2010 at 11:45 AM  
Blogger mapstew said...

Think of the lovely memories you are giving your babies. I love being at home during the week, making sure everybody is fed well and has something cleanish to wear. I gig mostly at weekends, and money is certainly tight when gigs are scarce, but I do get to spend a LOT of time with my family! Today I got to go to the Youngest's award ceremony in her school at midday! I was one of the minority of parents who could attend at that time of day, and I could see she was proud to have me in the audience when she went to recieve her medal for football!

So, enjoy the now, and try not to worry too much friend! :¬)

March 19, 2010 at 11:09 PM  
Anonymous Greg T. said...

I hope you don't own those bank stocks! Hang in there, you always find a way...

March 20, 2010 at 1:27 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Map: You're right. I love being part of their lives. It's great. When I was with JP Morgan, I NEVER saw them, which was depressing. But they money-thing stresses me out like you can't imagine.

Greg: Luckily for me, my "guy" stayed away from the Citibank/Wells Fargo/Merrill Lynch stock sucked into hell vortex.

March 20, 2010 at 3:49 PM  
Blogger Here In Franklin said...

Here's hoping that the job hunt goes well, but also that you have lots of time with your girls. I have a feeling you'll make the most of your time off. How was the play? I LOVE Tennessee Williams.

March 22, 2010 at 7:46 PM  

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