Friday, November 12, 2010

Am I jobless?

Ironically over Labor Day weekend of this year my business closed, the doors locked, and the security of a regular income faded. I became “jobless.”

In the past couple of months, as many do in my situation, I have cursed, reflected, researched, regrouped, cursed some more, and re-embarked on my next path to not only seek financial stability, but I have started to answer the question: “What the hell am I gonna do now?” I have a few ideas. The plans are in the works.

Aside from that, one of the struggles I have found, has not been of a financial nature. Yes, I miss being able to take a casual lap through the mall and pick up a new toy here or there for myself or my kids. Nowadays I must forensically evaluate where every dime is going. Honestly I find even though this lesson in life is tough, it is a valuable one. I know I will obtain work, I know eventually I will refill the bucket, and I know stuff will be okay. This lesson in frugality will serve me well and I pray to God I do not forget it.

I do find though that attaching an idea of “worthlessness” can accompany one who does not have a “nine-to-five ritual” to participate in. Although fleeting, I do battle with flushing out of my mind the perception of not having “value” or “worth” due to my current unemployed status.

My self-worth has nothing to do with my net-worth!

Okay, I do not currently have a boss, a weekly paycheck, a set schedule, a cubicle, or a commute. However I do have a “job.” (Note–The word “job” used for the purpose of this writing. Read on.)

I awaken early every day pre-dawn (earlier than I ever did while employed). I use this time for quiet reflection, activating gratitude, and to sip on coffee uninterrupted. I feel these things are best done in the private quiet hours. Trying to obtain these treasures are difficult at best as the troops rally in the morning, and also at that point I realize my focus should be on them.

I pack lunches, make breakfast, check homework if needed, offer encouraging dialogue, attend to the family pet, tidy up, and then accompany my son to school on our bikes because he likes the company. I return home to assess the daily duties, maybe cleaning, always groceries, cooking, personal growth obligations, meal preparation for my wife (who works outside the home) and my kids.

My wife passes on some of her to-do list as I now have the time. She works hard, and I enjoy helping lighten her load.

After school, I now have more energy to play ball with my kids. We have developed a game called “One Bounce” (I will spare you the “continually evolving” rules). We wrestle a lot. We laugh a lot. This new routine is healthy. It takes no more time. It only takes desire and focus.

I have the house tidied, dinner made, stuff done so when my wife gets home at night, she can relax. She likes having a “house husband.” I guess it is nice to be able to have an avenue at redemption for times I may not have been as fun to have around. I like that she notices. I have realized that women value this sort of thing more than I thought. Tip: Men–do even “slightly” more than is expected of you and you will get 200% return on your investment!

I have found that I do have a “job.” My job description involves caring for a family. I lovingly monitor the needs of the inhabitants and the ongoing household maintenance. I provide security and in some cases executive protection. I offer transportation services, entertainment, and life coaching. I am a personal chef. I am a housekeeper, therapist, handy man, fashion consultant, and personal assistant.

I just don’t have business cards. Yet.

I find the key to maintaining a feeling of usefulness is two-fold:

One is always doing my duties with compassion and love and in service of those I care most about, both in house and in the world. I never look at these things as a job, but something I “get” to do. (Yes at times I will still bitch and whine, but that I don’t want my family to get too comfortable with this situation.) If I do not stay busy, I will find the idle time for the negative feelings to infiltrate my space and distract me from the happiness I bestow on others, therefore getting a hearty dose in return.

And second; I realize that sometimes it is the things I will never receive a W-2 from that are the most rewarding accomplishments I can ever achieve. Although I do hope this scenario of employment is temporary, I have had the ability to serve my family in newer and more valuable ways. I have gotten a chance to get to know them in new ways. I also realize a lot of these things I can do around a career. Many of the simple gestures are only a result of me taking the time to focus on needs of people other than myself. (Wow! - *tear*)

So class; today’s lesson will require you to remember only two things: (Please repeat)

“My self-worth has nothing to do with my net-worth.”

“I am never ‘jobless’.”

Related Posts: Wonderfully Chaotic~ Encouragement in Unemployment


Bruce Coltin said...

Still...I think you should feel free to do a little bitching and moaning, at least here. I think it is good therapy.

Tony Anders said...

Thanks Bruce! ;) Indeed it is!

Anonymous said...

You are awesome :)

Shay said...

Great post! And thanks for linking to me. I'm sorry about your job loss but it's great that you're able to be there for your family and help them out so much. I love reading men's perspectives on things like this because we (women) sometimes think about things in a completely different way. My hubby has definitely come to some of these realizations over the past few months.
And I also can attest that my hubby cleaning the house (or doing anything around it really!) will be a great investment for him! :-)