I lost my job when I was three months pregnant with Pubescent One. It seemed like a disaster at the time, but turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Before the layoff, I had begun to have an inkling that I wouldn't be able to leave him, but it wasn't until it came time to head back out into the job market that I realized what an enormous relief it had been.
I tearfully and fearfully told my husband that I couldn't go back to work. He was worried. The wellbeing of three people would be resting squarely on his shoulders, and that's a heavy burden to bear. But he said that if that's what I wanted, we would make it work. And we did.
I've been a stay at home Mom ever since.
Only once in fourteen years have I sought to escape my comfortable little domestic bubble. Here is the story of what happened that day.
I guess things couldn't go much worse that that, which is something.
Wish me luck.
Yesterday, I did something that I haven't done in fourteen years.
I consider myself a pretty confident person. A strong person. I like to think of myself as a "tough nut", yannow? Fearless.
And still, it had me a lot more freaked out than I would have liked.
The thing? I went to apply for a job.
I spent the night beforehand writing a cover letter, gathering up relevant documents and making copies, and filling out the application that I downloaded from their website.
When I got to the part about previous employment, I was confronted by the fact that for the past 13 years, I have no defineable work history.
Have I worked? Shitchyea.
I have worked harder than at any job I have ever held.
I have been chauffer, social secretary, chef and menu planner, household manager, manual laborer and general handyman, laundress, medical care coordinator, risk management specialist and disaster recovery professional.
But none of that matters.
So I went online to get the address and phone number of my former employer (What? It's been THIRTEEN years.), only to find that the Branch agency of the National Financial Services company I worked for had closed. Ten years ago.
Prior to that I worked at a rather high profile law firm. My employment there only lasted six months and culminated in a little incident wherein I told the head partner that he was an insufferable ass and that he could take his docket and shove it right up his brief.
Then I walked out and never came back. I was so pissed off that I even left my insulated lunch bag and my favorite coffee mug behind.
Say, that reminds me of a little piece of wisdom I could pass along here. If you're ever tempted to apply for unemployment benefits from a law firm that specializes in employment and labor law...that would be a monumental waste of time.
Apparently, they don't consider asstastic bosses adquate reason for granting benefits, although, kindly, the attorney they sent to represent the firm at the mediation did tell me he's wanted to say that very thing to the head partner for 20 years.
So anyway, I hesitated to use them as a reference.
I tracked down a few of the agents I had worked with at the agency. They function as independant contractors, but are listed as affiliates in company related directories and any public relations material.
I selected a few I had been somewhat chummy with and hoped they would remember me.
I ran to Target for pantyhose. I haven't worn pantyhose in YEARS, literally, and I had no idea what size I needed. I took an educated guess based on the ubiquitous but entirely fallacious size chart on the back of the package.
I dragged a skirt out the depths of my closet, dusted off some high heeled boots I bought on clearance last season and then wore once because they hurt my feet, and laundered my best twinset.
Yes, I own a twinset. You wanna make something of it?
The following morning I had an ominous premonition of what my future could be like when I tried to get both boys and myself ready to head out the door.
At one point, I was standing in the kitchen in my very mom like underwear, with concealer ringing my eyes and and a barrel brush tangled in my hair, screeching at both of them to turn off the television and go brush their teeth.
They looked at one another, and Pre-Pubescent One cocked one brow at Diminutive One. WTF? Diminutive One shrugged almost impreceptibly in response. Beats me bro. Pre-Pubescent One inclined his head sideways. We should probably do it before her head explodes or something. Diminutive One gave a single nod. I'm with you Dude.
"Okay Mom, chill, we're going. Just ummm, go get dressed. Everything is cool."
Shortly after that I discovered that the pantyhose I bought were in fact, one size too small. No matter how vigorously I did the pantyhose dance, they were not going to clear my upper thigh bulges. I was left with about an inch of nylon suspended tautly between my legs. These babies would be no defense against chub rub, but they would have to do.
My lack of foresight in the matter of ill fitting panytyhose would come to bear later in the day. But for now, it seemed the only real problem was my somewhat shortened stride. Between the heels and the nylon holding my thighs in a stranglehold, I was forced to mince. I told myself it was ladylike and thought no more about it.
Miraculously, I got Pre-Pubescent One to school and Diminutive One to the doctor on time. After I dropped Diminutive One off at school, I headed to the library to turn in my applications. I was going to two different branches, each one having a different position available.
The woman at the front desk was very friendly. She took my application and explained that the manager wasn't in at presesnt, but she would make sure she got the application.
"Okay, thank you. Could you just tell her that there is documentation attached that should serve as proof of employment at my last job?? It's been thirteen years, you see and the branch has closed and I realized I had nobody to verify employment and so I attached those certificates to prove that I worked there. And then I realized that they're in my maiden name? So I also attached a copy of my marriage certificate. I couldn't find my social security card, so I attached a copy of my driver's license as well. Do you think that will be adequate?"
She looked at me kindly.
"Hon, I know how you feel. I was so terrified when I went back to work after staying home with my kids. But I'm sure everything is in order. And I'll tell her how nice you look."
It was then that the sausage casing holding my belly flab in stasis flipped over with an audible snap and rolled down to mid thigh with terrifying swiftness. I stood there with a smile frozen on my face, wondering if I could get to the bathroom before they rolled clear down to my boot tops.
"Er, yes, thank you." I said tersely.
I pranced to the bathroom as inconspicuously as I could, clenching my thighs together in a desperate attempt to trap the nylon between them and prevent it from descending further, and with it, my dignity.
Alas, lady luck had decided to abandon me. As I approached, I saw that a bright yellow ribbon which said "Closed for maintenance" had been hung accross the doorframe.
I said a very bad word and seriously considered going into the men's room. There weren't a great many men in the library that I had noticed, and it would only take a moment for me to tear the wretched garment off my person. But, I reasoned, it wouldn't do for a potential employee to be found in the men's room disrobing.
So I hobbled to my car, where I then faced the dilemma of how to bend over and remove my boots without baring my behind, which was now covered only by my skirt and my threadbare cotton underpants, to the patrons of the neighboring YMCA who cycled and strode vigorously in front of an enormous window, providing a panoramic view of yours truly in all her humiliation.
I decided it would be best dealt with in the privacy of my own home, so I simply slid into the van and closed the door with a sigh of relief.
Turns out that decision was not well thought out either.
As I drove, the pantyhose crept ever lower, until they were just below my knees. They would have rolled all the way to my ankles if I hadn't been wearing boots. It's very difficult to drive when one's lower legs are bound together by industrial stength nylon.
In a herky jerky fashion, I sallied forth, hoping like hell I wouldn't get stopped and asked to get out of the car for a sobriety test. "Please Officer, could I remove my pantyhose first?"
I could just imagine the guffaws as the officer recounted the story for his squadmates later on.
"Whadjou tell her Carl? Why Certainly ma'am, but I have to advise you that removing your pantyhose is not likely to lower your blood alcholol level."?
"No, no...he said, Ma'am, it's against policy for an officer of the law to accept sexual favors."
"HA! Carl should be so lucky. He ain't likely to get an offer like that before he retires!!"
YUK YUK YUK!
Luckily, I made it home without further incident.
When I at last made it into the house, I sat down on the floor just inside the front door like a kindergartener in the coat room, and pulled off my boots. Then I extricated myself from the diabolical pantyhose prison in which I had unwittingly placed myself. I plucked the hateful things off the floor and stuffed them savagely into the garbage can.
I was done in.
Anyway..it turns out that both positions had already been filled. But that's okay. I took the hardest step of putting myself out there again. It was nervewracking, but it also felt good.
I can still do it. And I will find something.