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Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Upside of Unemployment

I'm "laid off." Actually, my entire office of approximately 30 attorneys was laid off. I am not alone.

We all worked for a U.S.-based outsourcing firm, and outsourcing is very dependent on the client's desires. Our client desired to dispense with our services after two and a half years. It was a good, and financially rewarding, period.

I learned a lot. I learned I could manage a team of attorneys, and I gather from their feedback I did all right in their book and in upper management's book as well. I learned to balance work and family, which at first had seemed almost impossible. I learned that if you sit all day in front of a computer and never get to the gym, you get fat. (My personal "duh!" moment.)

It gave us a stepping stone into the Israeli job market, and now the time has come to move on.

The upside of unemployment is that I have more time. Not more time simply to blog, which I came back to with alacrity, but simply MORE time. I've taken the dogs on long walks with my husband; I've looked into retraining and found a program I like; I've applied to Misrad HaKlitah for a scholarship for that program; I've re-upped into my old ulpan. I have time to work on editing my husband's novel, and finally have time to answer some email letters that are long overdue.

It's all good, but the shock of the project closure took a few days to wear off.

First, there is a sense of relief -- I do NOT have to meet my production quota today!!! I could feel my blood pressure and stress level drop.

Then there is panic-busy -- email everyone and ask "Now what?!" Lots of signing up for LinkdIn and NBN and other job-networking sites.

This is followed by rumor-mongering -- why this happened, what will happen, what will become of us, how does one apply for unemployment, when is pitzuim (severance) paid, and all the horror stories that everyone has heard from "someone" who heard the horror story from someone else.

Then there is the constructive period -- one gets a firm grip on the panic and rumor, sets them aside, and maps out a Plan and starts to execute it.

I think this is what all those Life Coaches and therapists and empowerment types call "taking charge of your life."

Not that I'm really "taking charge" of my life--my life, like everyone's, is in G-d's hands, and I just do the best I can to stay organized while living it. Hopefully, He approves.


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