Warning – if you are one of those people who only reads blogs that are positive, filled with sunny statements and observations, this may not be a post for you. If you prefer not to hear others talk about dark times in their lives, moments when they truly know what it means to “walk through the valley of the shadow of death” then you might just want to leave now.
Last weekend was horrid. I could candy coat it and say that it was “less than ideal” but I want to be completely transparent. It was awful!!! On Friday, I found out that I did not get a job that I had interviewed for. No big deal, right? Lots of people interview and don’t get the job offer. But this was my dream job. Not only was it working with high school students – yes, I actually ENJOY high school students – it was a choral directors job and my Bachelor’s degree was in choral music. On top of that, I would have been working as the assistant director in a program that is led by a friend of mine. He and I work together on the Spring musical at the High School and frankly enjoy working together. Are you beginning to see why this wasn’t just another job loss? Wait. There’s more.
This past school year, I worked three part time jobs, adding in a fourth job when the high school musical began their auditions in March. Yes, the musical is technically a job since I get paid to do it. Granted, I LOVE doing it but I can call it a “job” when there is a paycheck attached! Of the three part time jobs that occupied the majority of my time, I didn’t enjoy two of them. I don’t mean they were rough or had bad days. I did not like going to those jobs. Ever. Not once. Get the idea? It’s nothing against the employers or the jobs themselves. Both of the jobs in question were working with Elementary age kids and I don’t enjoy that age group as much. Junior High on up to college age is my preferred age group so hopefully you can understand why spending focused amounts of time with with large groups of students in grades Kindergarten through sixth is not enjoyable for me. I know that this mindset makes me a villain in the hearts of some. But it’s my “divine design” – I just enjoy the teen age/twenty-something set far more.
As for the third part-time job, it was with college students (bonus) working as an adjunct professor. “Adjunt” is a fancy word for “Part-time”. Loved the age group. Hated the “adjunct” part of the job description. Ever worked at a job where you experienced a serious divide between the full-time staff and the part-time staff? If you have, then you get an idea of what my year was like. The full-timers were cordial. The adjuncts were appropriately invited to all of the departmental parties and such. But for someone like me who thrives on relationships, there wasn’t much of that. Okay, since I’m being honest, there wasn’t ANY of that!! Much of the time, I was getting last minute reminders to complete tasks that I had never been told I needed to complete so I’m scrambling to fit things into my semester . . . you get the idea. For an extra little complication, the college classes I teach are in the field of education or helping students with academic issues in the area of writing. (My Master’s is not in music). Are you beginning to get a picture of my 2010/2011 school year? Three part-time jobs, none of which brought me any significant sense of accomplishment or satisfaction, and one short-term part-time job doing what I love with the age group I enjoy. Do you understand now why the loss of the dream job was so devastating.
And the weekend got worse before it got better. On Friday night, just hours after finding out I wasn’t getting the job, I found out a friend had passed away. She had directed the production of The Wizard of Oz I was in last fall and we became fast friends. Apparently, this past weekend was my weekend to grieve. She was only 49.
I wish I could tell you that hubby was a tremendous source of support and counsel. Nope. Within minutes of finding out I wasn’t getting the job – and thus getting rid of the mental strain of trying to take care of all the details involved in three part-time jobs – he wanted to know what I was going to do now. What job options was I willing to consider? What was my plan of attack for the next school year? In other words, I got the distinct message that I was to get over my sense of loss, and move on. We ended up spending most of the weekend angry with one another because he thought I was wallowing and I thought he was being insensitive. Add more emotional strain to my weekend.
As I sit here and type this, it’s Tuesday. I’ve gotten NUMEROUS platitudes thrown at me, all the standard verses quoted at me, and numerous reminders to “just have faith.” It’s all true. Every single over-used phrase people have said to me is accurate. And I want to punch the next person that begins to quote Jeremiah 29:11 or Romans 8:28. I know those verses. I can quote them myself. And I know they are true. But right now they have a rather negative effect on me. I told someone that it’s like going up to a person who is at a funeral for a beloved family member or friend and saying “It’s time to slap on a smile and be excited about what God is going to do know that he’s taken your loved one away.” No one that I know would EVER be that insensitive. But since I lost a job, people feel quite comfortable telling me to just “get over it.”
I’ve received some very trite, platitude filled counsel. Quite a lot of it, actually. But there have been a few of gems. My sisters have been AMAZING through this. One of them shared with me something God laid on her heart while she was having a time of prayer for me and my situation. Her words didn’t give me answers or any clue of where to go next, but there was a glimmer of new perspective in what she said. My other sister has simply been there and agreed with me that it sucks! My dad has offered a shoulder to cry on or a listening ear should I need it and it’s come with none of the standard, over-used “church-speak” phrases. And, thankfully, hubby and I have FINALLY gotten to a place where we better understand where the other person was coming from and we’re trying to get through this situation together.
What I find fascinating is that no one has tried to talk me out of grieving the loss of my friend. Apparently, it’s okay to grieve when your heart breaks over the loss of a person. But when you are frightened and hurt by a job situation that leaves you emotionally and mentally destroyed at the end of the week, that’s not okay. Not all heartbreak is, apparently, spiritually acceptable to some of my brothers and sisters in the faith. Expressions of discouragement were met, not with compassion or empathy, but Bible verses and pithy sayings.
I wish I could end this post with some great story about how God has already miraculously dealt with my work situation (NOT looking forward to the life-sucking possibility of another year like this one) but that’s not the case. I’m still wondering where to go from here, still hurting, still facing the reality of a memorial service for my friend tomorrow – not much has changed. Like I said earlier, my sister’s words to me provided a glimpse of a new perspective and that’s where I’m concentrating all of my mental and emotional energy for now. Hoping that the fog lifts soon and I get some sense of where to go from here.