#71: The New Job

man and woman shaking hands

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Though I have been officially employed by my new school and feel infinitely more prepared and ready to take on whatever challenges may come, times have changed. I am a different person than I was six months ago, one year ago, when I worked elsewhere and needed constant reassurance that my life wasn’t falling apart. Times have indeed changed.

The new job has been good. Haven’t been given all of my responsibilities at once, thankfully, and have eased into my role and the school community and environment. I’m glad for this, as I would have a difficult time getting used to things if I was given every responsibility immediately, having to monitor the halls and complete lunch duty on the first day. We take turns holding down the fort for lunch duty, and we rotate between aides and assistants when hall or bus duty in the morning is required. The system works like a well-oiled machine; one cog takes over the other cog’s duties and vice versa, to prevent anyone from having to do the same task over and over. I like the diversity of work options, though I haven’t had much experience with them yet to say I’m a master. Being a master of anything, such as a Pokemon Master, takes time, experience, and lots of hard work. What I lack in experience I make up for in hard work, though my anxious mind sometimes demotivates me from doing things I know I should be doing, out of an unnecessary fear.

Times have changed. I work 8-4 now, and I wake up at 7:15 every day, and I go to bed before midnight every day. I eat dinner with Alex when she gets home, and I take out Angus when I get home, and if I’m feeling extra energetic or if I’m not in my sweatpants already, I take Angus out again before Alex returns. I go to the gym 3-4 times a week for at least 35 minutes a session, and on the weekends I go with Alex, usually for longer than 35 minutes. I call up my friends when they’re available to play games, otherwise I play or read or pat Angus. Though this is still the first week of my work schedule, I feel like I’ve adjusted well already, and my adjustment owes itself a lot to how I’ve eased into things, thanks to my schedule. Thanks everyone who’s been on my side and has helped make this possible, whether by reading my blog or by offering support whenever it’s needed. I seriously couldn’t be doing this without you.

#70: The Rust

broken car vehicle vintage

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Inevitably, time attracts rust. Nothing avoids it, except for ample preparation and productivity. Yet not everyone has access to those traits. Let’s talk about how corrosive unemployment can be, how it eats away at your mind and leaves you with a relic of what you once were, so that when you do inevitably return to work, you are a shade of your former working self. It takes time to rebuild habits and routines, rinsing and repeating. It takes time to make yourself a worker again, to build yourself back up after months of tearing down your self-esteem and happiness. Once a mountain erodes, it takes centuries to reform.

Being unemployed means you are always searching for a way out of being unemployed. At no point during my unemployment did I think, “I would rather stay this way than work again.” I had fun memories with friends that I wouldn’t have been able to have otherwise, but reliving my college summer vacation schedule while no one else is “on break” is not as fun as it seems. Every hour I was scrolling through and resetting my inbox to see if another application got back to me, or to hear back on an interview. There’s patience and madness in expecting an email that never comes. There’s doom and gloom in never receiving the validation you need. Being unemployed takes persistence, and it takes heart, and it takes your mind away, bit by bit. Slowly but surely. Sand castles build in your head, and they disintegrate upon close inspection; when you zoom in on any preexisting mental structure, its foundations appear shakier than they initially seem.

And yet there is always rust. After being away from work for months, actual months, is there any surprise that work can feel alien? Anxious minds gravitate toward worst-possible outcomes, as a natural way of things, and so prior to restarting work, I felt anxious that I wasn’t ready to go back, that I needed more time to prepare myself, without realizing that the longer I wait, the more rust that will build up around me. Rust from not working, from not being a 7-3 guy every day, from experiencing deep sleep and waking up whenever you feel like it, from going to CVS during the day and traveling to White Plains to get my prescription in the afternoon. So many things no longer possible, but thankfully, that phase of my life is behind me. It is time to move on, and the best way to move on is by releasing inhibitions and anxieties and just pushing forward. Pushing and pushing until something breaks.