Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

iDwell (thoughts of the newly unemployed)

And we're to the dwelling stage.

I'm good at dwelling. I'm good at worrying at a stress-causing thing, worrying about a tough situation, second-guessing myself about what led to something difficult; I can get Wrapped Up in something very easily.

Now that I'm unemployed -- and having to realize that I actually don't know the technical, functional difference between "being laid off" and "getting fired" -- I'm thinking about how I got to this point. I'm thinking about how I was treated at that office. I'm thinking about how I worked. Because:

A) I need to do my best to figure out how I can be better next time at the next job, and not make the mistakes that contributed to my getting fired.

B) I need to figure out what problems with that job were completely the hell out of my control.

Did I really have a chance to do better? Was I really ever going to be able to get more hours (I was an hourly employee, which has surprised more than one person there) and more work? Were my bosses defining loyalty as "do everything just to help us," while putting me in a situation where I was ineligible for, for instance, company health coverage? Would I really have had a chance to move up in the job? To earn enough to save and to invest in improvements to my life? Was I, in essence, a second-class citizen from the word "go"?

And how much of what I said in that last paragraph is self-serving bullshit?

I dwell on such stuff. And I have the maddening knowledge that several of the people I worked with are not going to dwell on this at all. I'm going to feel wounded, and worried, and scared, by what I feel was an unfair situation...and the people I used to work for will move on. (In other jobs and in other situations, I've dealt with people who genuinely hurt me with what they said or how they acted, and they probably quickly forgot that what they said hurt me. I dwelled, they definitely didn't.) I know enough about myself to know that, sometimes, I have trouble moving on. But I hurt no one but myself by doing that. It certainly doesn't affect my now-former co-workers. And I'm not enough of a jackass to try and somehow inflict the effect on them. (But I can be tempted. Get me angry and frustrated, as I've been lately, and I have to resist the desire to mess with people much the way Andy Kaufman did.) I do have friends and allies in that office, people who will likely feel bad that I'm gone from there, but they have their own lives, their own issues and their own jobs; they'll focus on that. If I focus just on how this is unfair, I'll stay stuck. And that only hurts me.

Dwelling made it hard for me to go to sleep last night. (Not unprecedented. In 2004, when I got fired -- downsized, to be more technical -- from the call center job where I'd been for three years, I had so much trouble sleeping due to stress that I took a prescribed sleep medication for the first and so far only time in my life, I had a checkup and the verdict was "The only thing wrong with you is stress, and you can ease that by getting more rested." I used the medicine concertedly for only about a week, held onto it for a bit, used it maybe twice more a month later, then threw the rest of the pills away and committed to getting more sleep in non-drugged ways. I hadn't liked the effect the drug had on me. This situation is, thank everything, still better than that.) Last night, I kept thinking about what had happened, and I'd get spun up again, unable to relax and rest. I woke up and quickly was thinking about it again. Very handy way to start feeling, once more, stuck.

A friend once admitted to me that back in the Nineties, after he'd gotten out of a terribly draining situation -- a bad relationship, in his case -- he didn't realize how physically and emotionally exhausted he was until he spent a week sleeping 12-hour days. I hope I don't need that much recovery. I do need some, but there's a difference between recovering and just dwelling. I must not fall into that trap.

But for now, honestly, I will try to get some more rest. For now, that sounds like a good idea. It's also time to be gentler with myself.

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