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Month One

It's been just over a month since I got the phone call.

Ugh. I hated that call.

I don't blame Chip or JB - business is down. It is what it is.

I cried about it at first though. I mean it wasn't just about suddenly finding myself unemployed.

It was about losing probably the best job I ever had.

It was about saying goodbye to co-workers that were truly like family.

And it was a little bit about oh fuck. What am I going to do now.

For years I have hopped from one job to the next, never really finding a career. I spent over 10 years in retail, the last 5 I actually mostly enjoyed (aside from the office politics). I kind of thought Facilities Management was going to be my new career.

But then I lost that job due to new owners thinking I was paid too much. So I transitioned into Ad Specialties sales. I was miserable. I am not a very good sales person and as one of the few employees that was not related to the owners, I was very often verbally abused at work. Especially after 9/11 happened because there was about a month that we couldn't get any kind of product due to shipping restrictions and delays.

One day I was home sick with strep throat, I had no voice, and my assistant came to see me at lunch. She was in tears because management had been grilling her about how I spend my days. Dean happened to be home to witness this and he looked at me and said just quit.

So I went in the office, grabbed my personal belongings, and left. I might have left a note, I honestly don't remember. It was such a toxic environment, I was over pleasantries.

The problem was, I didn't anticipate the backlash from 9/11 preventing me from finding anything else. I think I ended up being out of work for a year and a half - which had the benefit of me staying home with the boys before they started kindergarten.

Then I went back to retail - specifically Target. I worked the registers, customer service, my least favorite the cafe (especially after I saw the rat), and my favorite cash office (come in early on the weekends, get locked in a room by myself to count all the money and I'm done by 10? Yes please). I was working the register one day when one of my customer's from my Pizza Hut HQ days recognized me. He asked how I was and I said I'm looking for a job. Lucky for me, his department was looking for an Administrative Assistant.

So even though I had no experience as an Admin, I got hired. And I was good at that but let's be honest, Admins don't get paid enough. Eventually my boss left and started her own company and asked me if I would like to join her. So I did.

That company ended up not doing very well and I think I was there 9 months before I was asked to leave over a literal $40 mistake. That was the official reason but the truth is they couldn't afford me anymore. Though as the only employee without a C in front of their title, I often wondered who checked the mail and answered the phones after I left.

I got lucky that time and was only briefly unemployed - I think maybe a month. I'm not even sure I collected unemployment. Kim introduced me to Daniel - yes, that one - and he helped me get my foot in the mortgage door.

I finally found a field that had high earning potential that didn't care that I never finished my degree. Unfortunately this was 2005 and by 2007 I was once again unemployed - along with most of the mortgage industry. (For context, watch The Big Short - I was working for one of the companies named in it).

Daniel agreed I should take the summer off since the boys would be spending it with us in Austin and I was lucky to find a receptionist job in the fall.

I hated that job.

The pay was mediocre at best though I did get frequent pay evaluations. But the worst part was being stuck in this glass box all day - I had to ask for permission to go to the bathroom.

No working adult should ever have to ask for permission to go to the bathroom.

Eventually I found my way back to mortgage and I've been there ever since - except for the brief year and a half I took to try and make event planning a full time gig.

I have legitimately wondered if we should just chuck it all and move to the tropics. #tooearlytoretire

But if you have read this far, then you know that I sort of fell into mortgage and I definitely stayed for the money. Until the last job. Which was actually a significant paycut from the one before but still one million times better and worth it.

And here I am. Once again trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. The mortgage industry has taken a hit again so the market is flooded with processors and underwriters looking for work. And maybe I don't want to do that anymore?

I mean if Chip or JB were to call me I would say yes for sure. And I am still applying for mortgage jobs when I am lucky enough to find them. But I kind of want to do something else.

I just don't know what.

And I need it to pay really well - but how do you start a new career making the kind of money I need to make?

And how do you know what kind of jobs to even look for? Like I don't even know what keywords to search.

I registered for unemployment yesterday. I had really hoped I would have a new job before it came to that. And it really depressed me. I mean I have been down in the dumps and cranky about it ever since. And I know it isn't my fault. And Rob has been incredibly supportive because it's Rob and he's amazing.

But I really kind of just want to curl up and cry.

Today I combed through 75 jobs and applied for 9 of them. None of which I am actually fully qualified for but as Meri said - apply like a man. Some of them actually sounded interesting but mostly I thought I could do the job.

Side bar: in case you are wondering, nurses still seem to be in high demand. And retail/fast food workers. That's the bulk of the listings I am seeing on

I had to take a break though - you can only read so many job descriptions a day. Especially when on the antiquated website. Holy cow. Not only is it not overly user friendly, but when you back out of a job description it takes you back to page 1. Every time.

But I'll take another crack at it tomorrow and who knows, maybe I'll get lucky.

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