Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Reflections of an Unemployed Runner -- There's a little Carrie Bradshaw in all of us

Opening Scene: Carrie Bradshaw is in her NYC apartment, walking around in an outfit I could never pull off and would never think to put together, looking fabulous. She's deep in thought with the newest curve ball life threw her way. Then, in a moment of clarity, she sits down to her trusty Mac and begins to write something like:

"... I began to wonder, what does one wear to the unemployment office? Do clothes really define us? ..."

Silly, but oddly profound.

I totally had this moment. (Could you just picture that line being typed out across the screen?)

My severance pay ended during the second month off and I learned the ins and outs of receiving unemployment pay. Humbling? Yes.

Before you can officially qualify to receive unemployment pay, you have to go into a Michigan Works office to prove that your resume is in their job bank and that you are actively searching for a job. The morning I went in, I was triple checking to make sure I had checked all the "to-do" boxes when a startling thought crossed my mind: What do I wear? I've figured out business dress, casual chic, shabby chic, black tie, afternoon tea... but at no time have I been taught what is appropriate to collect unemployment pay. Hmmmm....

After deciding on jeans, a black short-sleeved sweater and conservative heels (probably a bit much, but my jeans were tailored for heels), I headed in to complete my paperwork.

It was an interesting experience. There was a mix of people -- different education levels, different lines of work and, yes, different styles of dress (everything from suits, to jeans, to sweat pants). I couldn't help but think to myself what Carrie Bradshaw would say. I'm sure it would be something to the effect of, "Excuse me. I don't belong here. I wear Milano's."

But, the fact is, we were all there for the same reason. I began to wonder if everyone there had the same great support system I have, if they have something positive to put their energy towards and if they had enough of a cushion to survive. I pray they do.

When I got home, I promptly changed into my running clothes and headed out. This run was a different kind of reflection. It wasn't a chance to fine tune my game plan, it was a time for thanksgiving. I have so much to be thankful for and make it a point to tell those in my life a little bit more.

Reaffirmed life lesson: Clothes don't define us, in other words, it's not about the material items. The important things are the people in our lives that love us unconditionally. The friends that are there during the rough times, as well as the fun times.

And, in true SATC fashion, by the closing scene Carrie would have figured it out, as she's surrounded by her true friends. Although, they're probably all wearing the latest Milano's.


B.o.B. said...

GREAT post. Gave me chills. No, really it did. I know so many who have been effected by this crazy economy. I myself worry daily. It's nice to see you working through it - and with style. ;)

Crystal said...

Your post also reminded me of a chapter from Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster. She talks about what to wear at the employment office. So funny!

Glad to hear you are keeping upbeat about things and still getting out there for runs. Stay positive!

chris mcpeake said...

Hang in there its bound to get better eventually