The Unemployment Chronicles: Chapter 1

27 Sep

I’ve often said that what I do for work is the least interesting thing about me. Now, almost two weeks after my company severely downsized, catapulting me into unemployment, I’m left wondering how true that really is. Funny thing about working full-time is you spend so many of your waking hours working towards someone else’s goals that you lose sight of what it is that you want. And then when that job goes POOF, along with the barely enough paycheck, you’re left picking through the rubble, trying to find the you that you were when the whole thing started.

When I first found out I was being liberated from my paycheck, I tried to focus on the possibilities time would give me. I could get back to the person I was before the pandemic started. I liked her, she was fun and productive and adventurous. Being her was somewhat effortless but getting back to her, that’s proven to be a bit more of a challenge. It’s like that corporate train with its steady paycheck and paid vacation is an addiction. It got me thinking about how I could progress in that world even as I saw my favorite parts of myself going dormant. As if money – humanity’s arbitrary and uncontrolled measure of value – is somehow enough to displace our joy. If you really think about it though it makes sense. Our jobs are how we relate to one another and how we make our money provides the means through which others make sense of who we are as people and what roll we play within society as a whole. Our jobs are also how people determine our usefulness to them and their own potential career advancement. Honestly, sometimes it feels as though our entire lives are just very, very long networking events. And, in my personal opinion, there is very little joy to be found in a networking event. Like spending all your free time scrolling through LinkedIn, only in person. Yuck.

I’m not entirely certain what the point of this piece is. Maybe it’s to tell people,


in one fell swoop so I can avoid the awkward conversations I have with people when I tell them in person that I don’t have a job. We have been so conditioned to blame individual actors for every little thing as opposed to looking at institutional failures. The result is that when I inform people I don’t have a job, though it is through no fault of my own, I end up feeling like a deadbeat loser with no future.


Anyway, it’s like a rollercoaster. Sometimes I feel pretty lucky that I have this time to get back to myself and really think about what I want to spend my time doing. In the evening, when I think about what the next day might have in store for me and I get the chance to truly focus inwards, I consider a lot of different paths I could take.

  • I could train for another half (or full!) marathon
  • I could write a book
  • I could go back to school and get my PhD
  • I could try and get a job in radio
  • I could get in my car and just, drive, aimlessly, with no real goals or ambitions (Is this a parallel for my life? Perhaps.)
  • I could throw my phone into the ocean

And then in the morning when I wake up, the hours stretching ahead of me and I’m presented with yet another bureaucratic hoop to jump through to qualify for a whopping $504 a week (pre tax!) from New York Unemployment, it all seems a little daunting. I don’t know. I guess all those times as a little girl when I answered the question

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” (Answer: a marine biologist, duh)

I never truly realized what it meant to grow up. To live, to build community, to earn your way, to find joy. So here I am asking myself that same old question: what do I want to be now that I’m grown?

Answer: Honestly, I want to be a lady who lunches. Imagine living a life that allows you to have long, fancy meals with your friends in the middle of the damn day. And when you’re not having lunch you’re doing other things. Going on a road trip, perhaps. Searching for turtles in a lake. Noodling around in some night market somewhere, looking for a snack. Hey, a girl can dream.

8 Responses to “The Unemployment Chronicles: Chapter 1”

  1. mikelfrankart September 27, 2022 at 6:15 pm #

    Or you can come visit Fishbutt, I mean Rauschenberg, I mean Enya. Ah, forget the dog, just come visit your favorite uncle…hehehe
    Always welcome ya know.
    Sorry you lost that job though. But all work and no play….
    Now you can do something really creative! I like the book idea. I can illustrate it for you. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

    • FranklyRebekah September 27, 2022 at 7:02 pm #

      Aw, thanks Mike!!! I’m really looking forward to spending some time in November. Maybe we can come up with some fun ideas…. Love you!

      • mikelfrankart September 27, 2022 at 7:42 pm #

        I’m sure we can. Don’t let the bastards get you down. Remember what you said about Bama in The Franksons…”she’s fun”
        Be the fun you want to see in the world. Love you Bekah. We have Carrowinds here remember💥

  2. Kendra Cunningham September 27, 2022 at 11:53 pm #

    you are so much more than your job.

    I know this for a fact because I have known you for a longgggg time. You are a spirit- an energy- a force- that has strong points of view- opinions and an all around desire to make the world a better place.

    THIS is a blip. a short path on the marathon of your life.

    the glory and also troublesome truth is you have so many choices! it can be liberating or paralyzing-

    you will persevere

    you always do

    I know

    I have seen it before!

    i love you


        Drybar Comedy Special [11] 
         [13]   [14]   [15]
    • FranklyRebekah September 28, 2022 at 10:30 am #

      Thank you, Kendra!!!! I needed to read this message this morning. Love you!

  3. creatingcarrie September 28, 2022 at 10:27 am #

    I want to be a kid again. That is my “what do I want to be now that I’m grown” answer.

  4. Vanessa Engel October 1, 2022 at 11:02 am #

    I wish I were there so I could putz and noodle around with you! I’m sorry you lost your job, but you’re right, sometimes it feels like we are cogs in the great networking machine. I liked your list of ideas. You could try combining them like driving aimlessly doing a radio show which ends with you throwing your phone into the ocean. Miss you!

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