Kathryn, my youngest, had a big bash this year for her third birthday. Family came from several states, many friends of the children and the family came, and even the former Mrs. Warshaw was in attendance, making spectacular princess cakes (we are still on the #sameteambro).
We all gathered on my folks’ property with plans for swimming, reckless running around, possibly some kickball, and barbeque.
It was a great success. Everyone had a good time. The kids had a blast. Then Seamus asked if he could have a party like that too.
My good time was ruined.
I planned Kathryn’s party months in advance. I talked to people online, in person and on the phone to get the best date for everyone to come down. I planned menus, games, decorations, and so on and so forth. People were RSVPing, things were looking good.
Then I lost my job.
I have left jobs voluntarily and involuntarily more than once over the years, and usually it hasn’t been a problem for me to find another job right away. The vast majority of the time, even after firings, the move has been a positive one.
This time was different. I couldn’t get another job. In fact, I couldn’t even get an interview. I have five years of positive results in my profession, and seven years of positive results in a similar field. Most of my previous bosses would hire me again. I’d been promoted at literally every company I’d worked for previously. Now? Not even a sniff.
By the time Kathryn’s birthday party rolled around I was basically broke. My menu plans and decoration plans and “buy all this game equipment” plans were totally shot. I had enough to get some food for the party, except I really didn’t because I owed that money elsewhere. I wanted to cancel it, but that didn’t seem like the right call with so many people committing to come from so far away.
There seemed to be a light at the end of the tunnel. In the weeks around the party I made it several levels into the hiring process of a company that seemed to be a perfect fit for my skillset, but it was a long hiring process and not certain.
Naturally, that fell through too.
At the time of Seamus’ question I didn’t know that, but I did know that I was getting my butt kicked by the economy. Everyone has been talking about it for a long time now, but I was mostly unaffected because I had good jobs, and no trouble finding other good jobs.
For the first time I was feeling the repeated sting, not of rejection, but of being ignored completely. Without an interview there is no job, and without a response to my applications there were no interviews.
Because of this, I had to look at Seamus and tell him, honestly, no. He cannot have a party like Kathryn. Maybe next year. I had to tell him that because I was failing him in a very basic sense – I was failing to provide.
I have never had my confidence shaken so badly as I did during my job search.
I have a job again now. Things are getting better. I still have some debt to climb out from under, but slaying that dragon seems possible again. Seamus’ birthday was June 19. He got the short end of the stick because of my bad luck in the job market.
Well, at least I have time to make it up to him. Maybe next year.