I haven’t been sewing, because Real Life has been eating into my free time something fierce. I realized at the end of July that I needed to find a new job. Not because I’d lost the old one, but because it was not working in so many different ways all at once that the rest of my life was becoming unworkable. Have you ever had a job like that, Dear Readers? Where one day you realize that, yes, they are paying you–but it’s not the job you signed up for, you’re not doing the work you agreed to do, and not only have things not been getting better, but there are no plans on the horizon that will result in things getting better, nor any realization that they should?
I had such an epiphany at the end of July, which is why after the completion of the dragon shirts, I pretty well disappeared. I did everything I could think of–reached out to former clients, applied for jobs, signed up for volunteering gigs, showed up for community and networking events, and did a pile of research on self-employment.
Two of the very first things I did–the second job I applied to and the first former client I spoke with–panned out in a really spectacular fashion just when I needed them most. But let me backtrack a little on that job application, because it’s funny:
City job, close to home, fewer hours than I am currently working, unionized so better benefits, pay cut but not an unmanageable one, working in air quality and climate change, which as you likely know are both near and dear to my heart. Applied end of July and heard nothing for months. Gave it up for dead, as one does. At the beginning of October, they called me in for an interview.
The week before the interview, Frances got sick. Then she kindly shared her cold with me, bless her heart. So picture me, the morning of the interview, wearing my suit with the citron silk-cotton blouse, filled with enough Tylenol cold medication to fell an elephant, and awake only in a technical sense, at a government interview. Have you ever been to a government interview? It is not a conversation. It is a test. (They’ll try to reassure you that it’s a conversation, but don’t be fooled.) There are questions on sheets of paper with checklists which you can see the interviewer checking off, or not, as you answer them; so the temptation is to just dump your entire brain on the table in a big gelatinous heap, in the hopes that the next thing you think to say will get another item or two ticked off. Everything is scored and the candidate with the best score gets the job offer. I was barely conscious and full of drugs and yet I managed to fill 90 minutes answering seven questions. At the end, with all my nerve endings dead from the neck up, I staggered down to my car and laughed and laughed. Well, I thought, I’ll call back in a few weeks and when they tell me I didn’t get it I’ll ask them for tips for next time, and apply for the next job that comes up. Oh my god. Was I even speaking english? What did I even say?
Then I went home and slept for three hours.
Precisely eight days later, I was laid off.
There are a number of things which I could say about this in a more private setting. I can’t say it was a complete surprise, given that I’d had very little to do for a very long time, and in a consulting environment the lack of billable hours is a killer, but the timing was surprising–I had no warning at all.
The day before I was laid off, the former client emailed me about some freelance work.
The day after I was laid off, my references told me that the City was calling them; and then the day after that they offered me the job. “You interviewed so well! We were so impressed! We’d be really lucky to have you!”
I laughed, Dear Readers. I honestly have no recollection anymore of what exactly I said, except for my very distinct impression that what I was saying was completely wrong. But hey, who am I to contradict them? They offered me a job I really wanted and the timing could not have been better. Yes, if it had come through sooner, I would not have been laid off; but I also would not have received severance pay. It should be enough to finish paying off the furnace and get me completely out of debt (except for, you know, the mortgage), and I should be able to freelance for that former client at the same time. So.
Since finding out about the contract offer and the job offer, I’ve finished a muslin shirt for Frances (that will double as part of her Hallowe’en costume), a bamboo knit drapey t-shirt, a new Linden for me, an embellished Renfrew, a new button-up blouse for me, planned as part of my First Day of the New Job Outfit (I can’t be the only person who does this), and a first go of the StyleArc Polly top. I’m going to have a solid month off before the new job–paid–in which I plan to cram as many of Frances’s appointments and tests as possible. And I’m going to see friends. And sleep. And read. And sew. I’m going to make a new pair of pants to go with the new shirt, as well as some knit shirts for myself and my girl, and I may try tackling pants for Frances again. And then I’m going to start a new job while the old one is technically still paying me.
I find I’m ok with this.