As of last Friday I am unemployed. I didn’t get made redundant. Nor did I jump before being pushed. I quit a perfectly good job, which paid well and offered the promise of a career path, reasonable hours and nice people to work with. I quit with no job to go to and no intention of getting one anytime soon.
My job finished the day after new Household Labour Force Survey data came out showing that unemployment is on a greater than expected rise in New Zealand.
Just one more sign pointing to an economy that is not well.
An economy not conducive to presenting other opportunities for a recently jobless muppet such as myself.
An economy that has been feasting on expensive but thoroughly empty calories every morning for breakfast for the last twenty years when it should have been eating sensible porridge made out of affordable and slow-energy-release oats from your friendly neighbourhood bulk wholefood retailer. Empty calories that it was paying for by borrowing money from disreputable salacious money-men of the night and by robbing its own unborn grandchildren through an intergenerational wealth transfer the size of which boggles my mind and stills my heart.
All of which is a long-winded way of saying WHAT A STUPID TIME TO QUIT A PERFECTLY GOOD JOB.
Thus, begging the question back in Brooksville, of what the sweet beheckus am I playing at?
I don’t really have a socially acceptable answer. So I made one up. Invented an excuse. This means everytime I tell someone I-quit-my-job-no-I-don’t-have-another, a conversation like this happens:
Interested well-wisher: So what are you going to do?
Me: Um…I am going to go travelling in…uh, April. On my OE to um… <think of place where it is cheap and also they have monkeys> Central America. Yeah. That’s right. I’ve got a socially acceptable plan y’all.
Interested well-wisher: Travel! Central America! On your own! Monkeys! I would love to do that/you’re brave/good luck with that plan, weirdo/ But what about a job! OMGZ The economy!
Me: <general modest agreement and normal type conversation that doesn’t involve tenuous breakfast food/economy metaphors>
Secretly? All I really want is to stop and be for a bit. Travel is a socially acceptable excuse to do this. So I guess I’m going to Central America! Which will be awesome. But really, as far as I’m concerned, it could be anywhere (that there is non-human primate wildlife).
What I really want is that for awhile, I’m not on anyone else’s clock. For awhile, I want to be the boss of me. And the boss of me will say things like ‘Brooks, today you stay in your slinky nightwear and take only mango sorbet for sustenance.’
This sounds either romantically delicious or incredibly lazy. It’s probably both. And I am scared. So scared. What if I have just thrown away six years of workplace capital on a beanbag and sorbet dream while Rome burns. (Rome is the economy and me within it, btw. We’re changing metaphors like pants around here. Keep up. Except I won’t be changing my pants because I won’t be wearing any. Because I won’t have a job.)
Meanwhile, I am fighting an irresistible urge not to plan out ways to make me safe and secure to compensate for the fact that I am FULL of the fear. So full of the fear I can taste it in my throat.
I also feel alive for about the first time in as long as I can remember.
So here I am. Planning not to plan and seeing what happens.
Join me. There’ll be pictures of monkeys.