Disclaimer: This piece was posted roughly six hours before 2021 came completely off the rails, compliments of President Trump. At this point, where the new year is concerned, all bets are off. Watch your step!
I’d really like to welcome the new year with open arms, but at the moment I’m still busy scraping the last of the dog turd that was 2020 from the bottom of my shoe. Mostly, that entails another seemingly futile job search on the interwebs in an effort to reintegrate myself into the workforce. But all things considered, I regard myself lucky I only lost my job last year.
It’s been a little more than six months since I was involuntarily sent packing, unceremoniously given the boot by my employer as the first wave of the coronavirus crisis swept the globe. Not whining, because a lot of other folks got the same treatment – just giving some background. Besides, I wasn’t terribly enamored with my job – as a medical courier, I didn’t necessarily feel I was living my best life. Yes, it was a paycheck (albeit a small one), but I can’t in all honesty say that I leapt out of bed every morning reaching for the rubber gloves while exclaiming “Let’s collect more urine samples!”
I’ve chronicled some of my long and winding career path in previous posts. Everything from restaurant work to accounting, marketing shlub to radio and TV journalist (or, as I now refer to it on my resumé, ‘enemy of the people’). An interesting ride. And I’m not ready to throw in the towel just yet – I would still like to find something to keep me busy and supplement the government dole.
Network television makes it look so effortless. There was a show a few years ago, Parenthood, where the characters seemed to float from job to job without consequence or travail. After interning at the family business, one goes on to be a writer, then a photographer, then the super at an apartment complex. Others ran a footwear company, but then decided to start a school, and even a recording studio. In Hollywood, changing careers is as easy as falling off a log.
Here in the trenches, things aren’t quite so glamorous. In fact, the last few years have been little more than a patchwork of entry-level jobs as I scrambled to maintain gainful employment. There was the overnight grocery store shelf stocker job, the construction gopher, those three weeks spent as the worst barista to ever don a Starbucks apron, and finally that medical courier position. None felt particularly rewarding, or held the promise of long-term opportunities. And were most assuredly not the stuff of compelling television.
So now it is that I find myself in my early sixties, with about 25 million others treading water here in the unemployment pool alongside me. Simply put, the odds of finding another gig any time soon are decidedly meager.
Yet I am unwilling to go quietly into that retirement good night. Instead, for inspiration, I look to Gandalf, the lawn goat who stands guard at our front walkway. Being on the top-heavy side, Gandalf’s balance is somewhat tenuous, as anything above a stiff breeze is enough to upend him. Along with everything else, this past year has been exceptionally windy here on the Front Range and saw him toppled more than his share. And each time, I took a bit of pride in putting him back on his feet, readying him for the next rogue gust, like Rocky getting up off the mat when everyone is telling him to stay down. While that song by Chumbawumba kept playing in my head.
I’ve never been the type to make New Year’s resolutions – I try not to let the calendar dictate when it’s time to initiate life-altering decisions. Nor am I one to give others advice. But if ever there was a moment to shake off the old and start anew, this seems like it. So here’s to a better year for everyone. And no matter what happens, be like Gandalf and get back up again.
I, for one, want to believe better days are ahead, and that all the dog turds are behind us.