If it Doesn’t Open, it’s Not Your Door

This is a story I’m not supposed to write until it’s happy.

Two weeks ago, I worked my final day at the place I loved–Multnomah Arts Center–to go in search of something where I can use my skills beyond answering the phone and being nice to customers.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved working with customers. I loved the people I worked with. But unlike every job I’ve ever had, there was no room for me to do anything other than answer the phone and be nice to customers. I tried. For four years I tried. I offered and submitted ideas and updated old policy manuals (“DRAFT ONLY”), organizing file drawers for optimum usage, anything other than answering phones and being nice to people, just to demonstrate my expressed eagerness to move up.

But bureaucrats gonna bureaucrat.

So I tendered my resignation, held my head high through the last 14 days of my employment, and on day 13, my husband lost his job.

It was a similar situation, actually. Tim’s got super-linear-do-it-right-the-first-time brain, and his boss . . . um . . . didn’t. So, in a small office, when there are two forces pushing against the same object, the guy who owns the place wins by default. Tim’s native ability to make a rock-solid program that works flawlessly in perpetuity was not a good fit for a business run by someone who does things slapdash. So Tim was out on his ear.

We were both knocking on doors that would not open.

I’ve had lots of time to ponder the decision to leave my job. There have been moments of regret, a flash across my memory of faces I grew to love, a call from my beloved “work husband” whose continued contact means more than he knows. What the hell did I do, walking away from a steady job? Am I insane?

So no, I don’t have a happy ending to this story. I have some freelance leads, and Tim’s being submitted for a number of spots. This is certainly not our first time down the path of the unemployed; years ago, we both lost our jobs within hours of each other. Tim’s an assiduous job-seeker, and is connected to others in his industry across the country. That’s why he spent 18 months working for and in the state of New York.

I did have to turn down a job possibility at a hot springs center deep in the mountains. That one broke my heart. But I can’t be completely out of touch for more than a day or two, and the location had no cell service or internet. No, sorry. Not with a medically fragile family. Ugh.

On some level, I know we’ll be okay. History is on our side. A period of unemployment  and job search is what brought us out to Portland

But I also know things change. What if the people making decisions see us as too old to take on as employees now? What if the universe views my departure from a steady job as a sign of hubris, and decides to punish me?

Right now, the story isn’t happy. People have been so kind and encouraging and concerned, and that’s been lovely. Thank you in advance, if that’s your thought while reading this. I felt very loved at MAC by the customers and my fellow reception warriors, and I take a sip from that whole-heart-full daily. I have *no* idea what’s next for me, or for Tim.

The sunny side of employment stories for us is our daughter’s employment situation. She isn’t keen on me writing about her (because I made a life out of writing about her when she was a kid), but let’s leave it at this; she is a bold, determined, and hard working. Not afraid to ask for what she wants, not afraid to take it when it’s offered. She blows me away.

I just have to draw from her example and be more bold than I have ever been. And while I wait, I have a garden to tend to, a dog to walk, writing to revise and create, and a husband to snuggle. And I do still have a very part-time position at a music center, which I also love. There have been worse unemployed periods than this.

Just gotta keep knocking on doors.

Knock on a door.jpg


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