an impenetrable wall of lists

OK so hello and good morning from the unemployment line. Yes your boy is once again out of a job. Yes this is the 2nd time in 2-ish years. Hard not to take it personally!!! But [gestures grandly to literally the entire world].

My company was informed on Thursday that we were being shut down, immediately, right that second. The decision was made by a bunch of Swedish people, who were upset about something that had happened in Saudi Arabia. It was definitely the opposite of personal.

A few months ago I posted on an HR Slack group: “Between the economy and the AI stuff our jobs are definitely going away. Anyone have an exit strategy? A Plan B? A reasonable idea for something we can all transition our careers towards?” No one did. I stand by the post. Prescient.

Marie Howe: “One day it happens…the exact thing. No matter what you say or do.”

Anyways it happened. I was very aware, watching myself experience this thing unfolding, that I was not quite feeling my feelings. That I wasn’t even sure what my feelings were. Maybe I was feeling nothing, maybe I was feeling everything at once and unable to pick any of it apart. In any case I did the thing I usually do, which is start making lists.

List of ways to take care of myself (mental/physical/emotional health).

List of projects around the apartment I have always intended to do something about and now suddenly have time for.

List of things to do this week; (from which we pick a shorter) List of things to do today.

List of things it would be nice to get out of the apartment if we had an external storage space (admittedly now purely aspirational).

List of things to add to my resume when I get the energy to look at it.

List of jobs to maybe apply for when I finish my resume.

List of extremely dumb company names.

List of things we don’t need to spend money on.

(A new one) List of places it might be nice to have lunch. Now that money is a more immediate concern I’m suddenly obsessed with eating out. It was an easy thing to put on the “Things we don’t need to spend money on” list because…we never spent money on it. I can count on one hand the number of times I ate lunch out in the last 6 months. But now I can’t and so now this is a hardship, a thing to be endured, and I walk or run past restaurants that never interested me in the past and think: I would totally eat lunch there, if, if, if.

Unbelievably tiresome but I am who I am.

I have this sense that there’s some natural balance to be located between Taking care of myself and Not wasting the day. which means doing things for my family, doing things for others, working on my job search, networking, forcing myself to relax, having projects, watching a good amount of TV but not too much TV.

List of topics I could post about on linkedin even though it kills me but that’s part of my job search, like it or not.

List of people to call/text about this news of my unemployment.

List of people I haven’t seen in a while and maybe should try to reconnect with (except we can’t go out to lunch!!!) now that every day stretches out unbelievably emptily in every direction.

Predictably none of these lists forms a wall that prevents my feelings from eventually arriving.

List of feelings: anger, frustration, self doubt, worry, relief? kind of? but mostly sadness. Confusion about what to say when people ask me how I am. I don’t know! emoji shrug!

Donald Hall: “What else could we do except what we do?”

Anyways that’s the update. No call to action. I am actually fine. I do believe in my ability to hustle my way through this, and do tend to take the view that whatever’s happening at the moment, however good or bad, is just one chapter in a longer story. Mostly today I am just: annoyed/frustrated/bored. Hence writing, hence blog post, hence reaching out. Wooo. Click off the lil’ dopamine hit there.