Friday, March 01, 2013

Lemonade Recipe

It's been a month now since I received the lemons, the news that I am going to lose my job. I posted a picture of lemons at that time and said I was off to find the lemonade recipe -- you know, "when life gives you lemons . . . make lemonade."

I don't know that I've found the perfect recipe yet. But I certainly have been able to identify some of the ingredients:

  • Support from those who care. I continue to find little notes, little gifties (a flower or two, a package of Girl Scout cookies) left on my desk. Reminders that I matter.
  • Self care. I'm carving out time to do more of the things I enjoy (other than buying fabric -- but I've done a bit of that, too!). Cooking more. Staying home more.  I have been meeting with a Stephen Minister who helps me process this whole thing.
  • Looking at re-employment. I've been working on a resume. I have two letters of reference and a meeting to request a third. I've looked at What's Out There in the way of job possibilities. I've unabashedly picked the brains of coworkers who are more familiar than I with the nonprofit sector.
  • Considering options. Do I want to find another full-time job? At my age and technology skill level, is that even an option? Would I really rather find a part-time job? What about working for a temp agency where I can decide when to take time off rather than adhere to a school calendar? Is it possible that I am ready to be a Retired Person?
  • Counting my blessings. Of which my dear husband is at the top of the list. I cannot begin to tell you how caring he has been. How open. How thoughtful. And how angry! (I must list that because I have not been angry about this loss. I have been sad, terribly sad, and confused, but not angry. And it seems as though somebody should be angry and he's doing it so well!) 
  • Additional blessings -- friends who will listen, people who have "been there" and have survived and shared their lemonade. Adult children who express their concern sweetly and without trying to give too much advice. Emails of support. A genuine letter that came in the mail yesterday from a former colleague.
  • Fantasy. Thinking about having the time available to go to be with the Virginia people when it works for them. Imagining some nice vacations. Thinking about returning to hospital chaplaincy and/or another volunteer activity. Having unlimited sewing time!
  • Looking outside of me. I think this has been the most important ingredient -- I have been so content when I have been doing things for others. I joined a Pay It Forward before I received the lemons, and have absolutely loved making small gifts for people, for no occasion, no reason, just to do it. I got such satisfaction from putting the Malaria Quilt together and am eager for it to come home from the machinist so I can bind it. I made a baby quilt for a colleague who received the same lemon gift a week or so before the baby was born. I made another baby quilt for a neighbor. I'm about to finish up yet another baby quilt -- this one for a Circle Sister whose granddaughter has been in hospital since her birth five months ago. 
So, those are the ingredients I've identified thus far. My job will end in June, just in time for the lemonade season. Perhaps the full recipe will be revealed by then.

It's a strange thing that independent schools do. In most places job loss means something like "You're finished. Pack up your things. Hand over your keys. It's been lovely." But in the private school world, due to the timing of contracts, people learn in January that they don't have a job after June, but continue to work at the job for five more months, ducks on crutches receiving pitying looks and attempted hugs from well-meaning coworkers who have been spared. One hopes to be able to do it with grace and dignity.



16 comments:

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

You paint an interesting picture: "ducks on crutches", I haven't heard of that one before. Sending you warm hugs and a sealed bag of righteous anger to open when you're ready to do so. Your recipe's already a winner.

Janet O. said...

I love the list of ingredients you have identified thus far, Nancy. Thanks to Joe for providing the anger--because he cares so for you and is angry to see you treated this way. Mrs. G.'s gift of anger may come in handy one day. Don't you think that you are experiencing something akin to mourning? Anger does usually come at some point. You have lost something you didn't expect to lose and we mourn for more than lost loved ones.
I hope the recipe comes together for you soon. I know it will in God's timing.

Arlene said...

I can relate to your situation. In January of 2010 we were told that our company was going to close our office due to "downsizing". We got a stay of execution until September of 2010. It was a very strange 8 months. After working for the company for 40 years, it hurt on a personal level. I turned 63 that year, so a new job didn't seem likely. I eventually gave up the search, and settled into being retired. Best thing that ever happened. My DH has health issues, so that has meant my being available for doctor visits and hospital stays. We also have time to just enjoy being with each other. I have never been bored. Some days, I wonder how I ever found time to work. It isn't an easy thing to say goodbye to a job that has been a big part of your life. But, it isn't your life. A plan will unfold, and you will be even happier and more fulfilled. Hang in there kiddo!

Patrica said...

The limbo you are in is disconcerting at best.Remember the concept of limbo we grew up with?? Whew. Anyway, my darling son who is an 8th grade teacher here in Calif. has received a pink slip every March for the last 6 years because of the way schools are funded in Calif. he has to limp along for the rest of the school year with no job prospect and is expected to give his all never knowing if/when he will be returning. It's a bad way to live and I feel for you, truly. I know you will find your way with the grace you have shown so far. Blessing.

Margaret said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Margaret said...

You are so doing this with grace and dignity.

Pat said...

Your friends will be here too if you get to the point where you need to open up Mrs. Goodneedle's bag. Your road is not an easy one to travel right now, especially on "crutches", but you are doing it far better than many of us would.

Quiltdivajulie said...

I hope that you will continue to share your gifts and talents with the world - whether you decide to do so as a volunteer or IF you decide to do so with a paycheck attached. Either way, being true to who YOU are is of the utmost importance. DH and I learned long ago (twice in fact) that downsizings and restructuring decisions do NOT define who we are (even though they certainly affect us on every level).

Thank you for sharing this journey with us . . . we're with you in spirit all they way!

cityquilter grace said...

have no doubt you will carry on with dignity....a vulnerable spot to be in for sure....

Gretchen said...

Just sending you cyber hugs. Your list is wonderful and you seem to be clear-headed and thinking good things. I've been thinking that this future (the present) is not what we thought it would be several years ago before the Great Recession and we are all just muddling through this new world the best we can. Does that make sense? That's what I'm doing now and just hoping every day that it works out. All my best and more to you.

Brenda said...

another lovely, thoughtful post. another example of lemonade -- you're helping others in lemon situations, because not everyone is articulate as you. hang in there!

OT Quilter said...

Your thoughtful approach to your situation (dilemma? not sure what word to use) is a model for all of us who have been confronted with life changes we didn't expect. Sometimes I find that after allowing things to "percolate" a bit, an answer or direction reveals itself. Perhaps that will happen to you, too. Patience, friend.

Bobbi said...

You are truly an inspiration and a role model to anyone, on how to work through unwelcome news and events. Positive future ahead for you!

Barbara Anne said...

You've gained wisdom as you've found ingredients for your lemonade and I appreciate your sharing what you've learned. This post is like the proverbial pebble tossed into the lake. You'll never know how far and wide the helpful ripples will go or what shores they'll reach.

Cheers for Joe's righteous anger on your behalf, too. That needs to be vented because this situation is hurtful and anger is okay.

"Ducks on crutches" is a good metaphor and I wish your grace and peace in hobbling while you heal.

Blessings and hugs!

Yuki said...

I'm sending you positive thoughts!

Love, love, love your blog!

ttfn :) Yuki

Quayquilter said...

uAs you are one of a large group you have folk to commiserate with and support and the hopefully the time gap will give you the space to consider your options. It may turn out to be a blessing. It's very hard after working diligently and conscientiously for so long. I have been very distressed about various job reverses but they all turned out to for the best looking back. Another door opens etc....