Rebooting my life

“Begin all anew!” – Hester Prynne, The Scarlet Letter, Chapter 17

Trying to think of a fitting way to start off this blog, these words of Nathaniel Hawthorne haunt me in a special way. Like Hester, I have a scarlet letter around me too. I’m not sure if I want to talk about it here, or will even mention it somewhere down the line, but the quotation suggests that if Hester were in my shoes today, she would have just said the same thing. Or, even more clearly, Just. Start. Over. Sometimes there’s no point going back and dwelling on the past, yet the past is a memory haunting us and at the same time informs who we are in the present. Like your mother’s pain-in-the-ass third cousin Maury without whom family reunions just wouldn’t be the same.

I suppose when you get right down to it, I still haven’t gotten over it yet. How my professional and personal pride have really taken a beating since February. I haven’t written a word about it even though I started blogging about it only a short time before it happened. On reflection, I still don’t know why I never did. Maybe because there was just too much to say. Maybe most of the time I felt it was pointless to put it down because things were never going to change. And yet, maybe by starting this now, starting over, rebooting my life and my blog, is a sign I am trying, in my own way, to get beyond this and behind this.

I’ve had lots of time to think about all that’s happened over the past few months. Truth be told, it was hard to leave The Job. I mean, I’m no firefighter or cop or anything, but in many surprisingly similar ways, people in The Job have a bond and a special meaning they carry when they go out to work every day. Like they’re gonna make a difference in someone’s life today. One of the last things I did on The Job was pay off TZ’s arreas when I realised how bad her sit was. I’m not gonna deny it – it felt good to be able to make a positive impact on someone, no matter how small, even when time was running out. And sitting around this couple weeks in June, not being able to do that, really gets to me.

Unemployment sucks. You see these guys going about their business every day, knowing they have somewhere to be, something to do, and you feel you’re just breathing air without giving back. And then the constant applications, the multiple attempts to get back to corp comms, and nadda from any employer. Man that gotta suck. And it does. Your mind plays tricks on you – maybe you just made the biggest shithole mistake in your life – and you start to want to retreat, draw back, hide from life and dig a hole someone deep in your head to crawl into and never come out again. And you know what? Doesn’t happen. The sun still comes out the next day and you’re back living through 24 hours of hell in your head. And I suppose at some point it just felt pointless to hide. Life goes on whether you wanna get on the ride or not. The thing is, you can either get on the ride or be dragged along for the ride. And if the past few weeks have been any indication, being dragged along sucks.

At first I, as usual, wanted to avoid meeting up with Pat. But it was a good thing I changed my mind. Talking to her, sharing experiences, I realised how I may have to do a rethink on all my assumptions. Actually, the feet of clay started becoming apparent when DXO didn’t so much as get back to me about the corp comms position, and slowly I realised that none of them were coming back, not even the educational institutions. I guess that was the first time it really got to me. I don’t have that much industry value for corp comms, even though I like doing it. Let’s face it – the market just isn’t going to waste time on people without specific relevant experience in the areas they’re looking for, and I can either look at this square in the face and deal with it, or hide behind all the swagger again. I’m not saying I’m gonna give up on the corp comms searching, but without a degree in Mass Comms or a good length of time in private sector corp comms, I’m not exactly at the top of the shortlist pile. And it shows. In the not getting any responses from the numerous applications I’ve sent.

So I’ve decided to go back to The Job, in any form that presents itself. Part of me still wrestles with the fear that I’m not really committed to it, that this is just the joblessness fear impulse kicking in, and yet there’s still something out there that says if I can make a difference, why not? Honestly, even despite the darkest of days, I never once questioned or felt otherwise that it was the most meaningful thing I’ve done these 3 years. Sure, you have good days and bad days, but at the end of the day, helping someone really is it’s own reward. Money can’t buy those moments (not many, I’ve to admit, but still), when you become aware of how your words impact your young charges, and how they’re letting them sink in, building their souls piece by piece. Putting together a press kit just doesn’t compare. Sure, there’s the glamour of running around and always being in the spotlight and at the forefront of every ebb and flow of information and spin, but maybe it’s just the kick of the mass media drug that cannot really leave a permanent high. I’m not saying I’m posterboy for The Job, but there are people who I’ve made special connections with that can’t be denied away just because of my pride or pig-headedness.

Okay, so leaving under those circumstances may raise some eyebrows among the prospectives, but like Kam said last night, it’s done and now you have to face it and move on. So I’m gonna cross my fingers and wait for HCI to call and throw in my hat with RJ as well and see what happens. Mr LSC’s floating of the relief idea is also a good thing. I’ve had more than enough time to think about getting back on the saddle. Maybe all I need is a different kind of ranch, some ridin’ time and things will start righting themselves again.

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