Well, now that I've officially been out of work for nearly five days, I've had some time to ponder this monumental shift in my existence. You don't realize how integral to your identity your job can be, and having to reset my plans and expectations accordingly has been a challenge. Everywhere I look there are reminders of how things were before. From the frozen dinners stocked up in my freezer for work lunches to the clothes I had planned to wear to work later in the week, there were so many little things to remind me of what had happened. On Thursday I stopped into my old building to grab lunch with my usual Friday lunch buddies (two guys I worked game nights with when I worked in sports--one works in the same building and the other a couple blocks away). It hit me as I walked back from lunch and looked at the building that it's no longer "my" building. I can no longer look at it with pride and talk about the great views. In fact, losing those views was a sad realization for me, particularly as we finally had some spectacular sunsets this week after an otherwise blah winter sunset season. I even had to scramble a little when I realized that my annual MLK Day lunch with some former sports co-workers was in jeopardy once I was out of work. With Jacob off school and unable to eat at the restaurant we always go to, I almost wasn't able to go. But I had promised to try to get him into daycare that day since he missed out on part of his time there over Christmas, and even though Carter won't be there (more on that in a minute) on Monday and I'm clearly available, he'll be at daycare. That may be all he gets for a while, so I guess it's the least I can do.
It's just been a weird mental thing in general, realizing that all of the skills that I took such great pride in, all of the work I put my heart and soul into, all of the little victories I had right up until my last day...all mean nothing now. As I mentioned, no one else knows how to do most of my work, so many of the projects and processes I worked countless hours on are now worthless. It's sad, really. Not that it impacts me anymore, but it sort of makes you wonder why you bothered all that time. It definitely makes me realize how much more important family is than work. Sometimes they seem like they have to be equal...you know, like when you have a major deadline and a sick kid and feel like it's OK for your kid to hang out with someone else but your project really needs you. But at the end of the day your family is always going to be there waiting for you, whereas your job...well, maybe it won't be. It's hard to have that perspective in the middle of it, but that is quite clear to me right now.
Speaking of family, we've decided that we're going to pull Carter out of daycare three days per week. I figure that keeping him in for two days still saves us a lot of money but still keeps him in that groove to some degree. We'll get some bonus time together, but I will still have set days where I can get things done, be it interviews or other appointments. I'm leaving Jacob in the afterschool program for now, mostly because he's already paid through the month and it's a pain to set up bus service or pick him up at a specific time. We could stop it for next month, but what if I get a job that starts in February? Then we're stuck. So I think he'll be sticking around. It's not that expensive in the grand scheme of things, so it's worth the security for the next couple months of unknowns.
As for the job hunt, I'm still working on my resume. Initially I was having some computer formatting issues with my old resume and then I realized that I'm simply not sure what belongs in a "modern" resume. It's been nearly 10 years since I had to update mine, and I know trends change. I could update what's there and add my most recent job, but I'm really not sure if certain things still need to be there (college awards, internships), how much detail I need for jobs, and whether the current setup is sufficient. I had to fill out a massive evaluation for the transitional job coach that I have the services of for a month (courtesy of my former employer), and it was pretty awful to have to regurgitate two jobs' worth of tasks, skills, and accomplishments in the immediate wake of this loss. On Thursday I will spend the entire day meeting with the job coach, ironically in the building next door to my old one (at least I can use my parking pass!), hopefully to finalize the resume, work on talking points, and get a game plan. I have a couple good leads through friends of mine and a couple other plans in mind (including the headhunter I used to get my last job), so I don't feel too worried yet. If a couple of those don't plan out I might get a bit more panicky, but for now I'm keeping calm and taking things one step at a time.
In the meantime, I'm making plans to rock my stay-at-home mom stint. I've always dreamed of working part time and having at least a couple days at home each week, so I'm trying to look at this as my trial run. Not that I could ever make it work financially, but I'm intrigued to see how it would go. Of course, there's always the fear that I will totally suck at it. I've already spent far too much time on the couch when I should be playing with the kids, but to be fair I think I'm getting a bit of a cold, judging by the runny nose and scratchy throat I'm dealing with right now. But I am trying to be more engaged and intentional, and I'm making an effort to clean things that have been waiting and planning to work through my long-term to do list. I have curtains to hang and a baby book to update, and if I don't get to those things now, I might never. I don't want to get back to work and kick myself for not getting those things out of the way while I had this unprecedented amount of time off. I need to get in a couple workouts each week and I need to finally get in to see a new doctor. I have piles of magazines to read and 2T clothes to start integrating into Carter's wardrobe. I went to the library and checked out a book so I have something constructive to do when I've had too much crappy TV. I need to look up story hour times and find activities to get Carter and me out of the house once in a while. I need to be more intentional about teaching him things I think he'd be learning at daycare.
It's still a lot to process, and I can't do it all in one day, but I'm trying to stay positive and take advantage of this opportunity while I have it. It's not every day that you get the chance to improve your place in life and enjoy some time off work in the process. We'll just have to see how it goes...