A New Place to Hang Your Hat  

It's been a while since I posted. I'm trying to figure out how to go back to school (in classes now) and to then pay for school. Reality certainly bites.

Then today came and I got an email from Working America with the latest main street blog post, and my issues seem so far removed now.

I "lost" my job way back in 1995 and 1996. My daughter was 2 and then 3 at the time. I can't say that I lost the first one as a matter of anything more than being replaced by a free worker. The State of Ohio at the time had what were called State Operated Service workers. They had worked at the local mental health facilities in the state, but as the state screwed up the entire mental health system and all of its workers, the state then offered to pay the salaries of the SOS workers for a given time. I was replaced by one of these workers.

He was a nice guy. I worked along side him for a while. And as painful a situation as it was, it wouldn't hold a candle to the hell I would then suffer in county government.

It's funny how life works.

Looking back now, I feel grateful to both agencies for firing me. I hated both jobs and felt like I couldn't do anything right, ever. But, at the time, with a small child and a husband that had just realized his undying love for another woman, well, let's just say, I didn't find joy or gratitude in my situation. I'm not sure how I was even able to hold either job at the time. I was terribly unhappy, had a cheating husband, a small little one to worry about and when he left me after the 2nd job loss, I really didn't think I'd ever find peace again.

That's when I went to work on a congressional campaign.

I found not only my footing again, but my candidate won. And then, he gave me a glowing recommendation. Based on his letter and the degree I'd gotten a few years earlier, I landed a job in the federal government.

I haven't had a lot of good bosses in federal service. But the ones who have been good, have so stood out for their ability to treat workers like we're human beings, that they almost make up for what I've been through up to this point.

After nearly 13 years in federal service, I feel as if I may have finally found the right spot for me and my skills. Both me and my skills are even appreciated, often cited as a resource and then last week, I was named one of 100+ women in Government and Technology.

So, I feel for the writer and everyone else out there who's been devastated with job loss:

On these matters, I can only speak for myself. What struck me most immediately was that, without my job, I had no place to go to. Not just the routine of going to work, but having a sense of ‘place’ and belonging in and to a place, was suddenly taken from me. The psychologist James Hillman has written extensively on the subject of the soul being nourished by its sense of place, and that our workplaces are, or should be, vital places that help instill a sense of shared purpose, of mutual encouragement, so that they themselves have a sense of soul.

I completely agree, work gave me a sense of being, of having meaning greater than being a mom or a wife. Being unemployed, made me realize, that I really was nothing without a job. I was not able to provide. I was not able to function. I had no where to go. But from this abyss, I found meaning by volunteering on a campaign. Running a campaign office, scheduling events, training canvassers, designing walk lists, calling voters and walking door to door with my 3 year old, it all gave me new life and new meaning. And when he stood on that stage and thanked all of us, I was so proud of what I'd accomplished and how I felt about everything that I had done. It took a while before I was working again, 2 and a half months to be precise, but since then, I have found that we can do some amazing things when we get screwed over. Even stuff, you never thought you had in you.

So, to all of my sisters and brothers out there, I'm in your corner, hoping that through this rough, terrible, sickening time, you are able to find hope, peace and ultimately a new place to hang your hat.

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  • Steven  
    3:39 PM

    Great post. I am about to start a Master's degree program. I'm feeling a bit blue from not being able to find a job in my new home...but it's only been a couple of weeks. What are you studying?

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