“It’s time you get a job,” my husband said while we were sitting on the back porch, each drinking a and watching the kids play in the sprinkler. Even though I knew this conversation was a long time coming, the fact that he would pick the day that my father had heart surgery seemed like he was kicking me when I was down. I felt betrayed like he’d said he’d had an affair. I felt sick.
My brain threw a temper tantrum. I have to get out of this, it thought: an illness, a new pregnancy, I can fake cancer, put myself in a mental institution, anything to not have to put my kids into daycare. I think I feel a lump. Oh God, my throat is closing. I can’t breeeeathe.
I’m pretty sure that if you do anything as stupid as fake a terminal illness, you get cancer for real, a more adult voice stepped in just as my ranting child-self was trying to hurtle my body off a tiny bridge, hoping to force someone to make me dinner, pay my bills and hold me. Remember, the voice continued, Karma has the same sense of humor as you.
I don’t blame my husband for kicking me when I am down. I think it's a human instinct, an aspect of pack mentality. You see a weakness and you make your move to dominate. The first time I noticed it was when I was consoling a friend after she got dumped. As she was blubbering, I had this irresistible urge to enlighten her about a grievance I had against her from 10 years ago. She was hurt, and I had a desire to kick her.
But now I was the one getting kicked. A kick of reality. Applying for jobs transported me back to the insecurity of being single. Instead of facing it, I wanted to listen to Gotye on YouTube, pretend I’m still 20 and dating a green-eyed cheater. Job applications seem like long-form marriage proposals. I put all my qualifications on an expensive piece of paper, now don’t you want me?
Rejection. Worse than rejection: the silent treatment. Over and over again. (OK, twice.) And somehow I am supposed to keep applying? In my mind, applying for two jobs is a large enough sample size to know nobody wants me.
I’ve been out of work for five years, at home raising two boys. I already have my dream job. This was as far as I ever got when I was planning my career: stay-at-home mom. But now I am back looking for work, trying to maneuver in a recession, with children and an old dusty resume.
If you think applying for jobs sucks, click “like” on my Facebook page.