I got laryngitis the day after I got fired. It was a first for both experiences. My eyes felt reptilian. The combination of hysterical tears, laughter and glugging had done me in. Honeybun prodded me out of bed, “Come on. You need to go to the Unemployment Office, let’s get this over with”.
We stopped at his sister’s market store on the way to get some coffee. She welcomed us with her ever-present smile and exclaimed “I can’t believe it, you have a day off…together for once!”
“Looks like there will be many of them” I croaked, “I got cast out, crushed, canned.”“She also lost her voice” Honeybun added.
Sister Robin rummaged through her bag and pulled out a well-worn book held together with a rubber band. “This book explains all the reasons for ailments and injuries. Let’s see… ‘Laryngitis: too angry to speak, resentful of authority, frustration at not being listened too’” she read. That just about nailed how I felt.
“It’s important that you tell yourself positive affirmations to help get through this.” she advised.
“Like how fricken lucky I am not to have so many unpaid days off?” I asked sourly. “Not exactly” she replied cautiously.
The Unemployment Office was packed. I wondered how many others had the inability to speak clearly. I tried to remember all of the things I was instructed to bring up according to the Human Resources Department. Severance pay, insurance, personal days? I felt a blurry membrane cover my eyes and brain.
When called I entered the cubicle filled with figurines, postcards and souvenirs. The woman behind the desk was quite the collector and she looked remarkably like my ex mother-in-law. Unfortunately no posters of positive affirmations on the walls.
“How much did you make in a day?” She asked without looking up. (The woman behind the desk was the splitting image of my ex- mother-in-law.)
“Uh, I’m not sure.” I answered dimly.
“A week?” She sighed.
“I’m on salary…uh…was.”
“We need the weekly figure before taxes” she sighed again.
“Is a salary based on 52 weeks exactly? Some of the time I took off wasn’t paid so it may be more like 50 weeks. Do you have a calculator?” I asked meekly.
She pulled a solar powered calculator out of her pocketbook. Good God, even I had an electric one on my desk in my old office.
“You’ll receive around $200 per week but not until your vacation time is up which is in 5 day intervals unless you want to appear in front of the board. In that case you fill out paperwork for 3 to 4 weeks, go on job searches, which you don’t legally have to do. Even then you will get denied” she said officiously.
I had no idea what she was talking about.
“In other words I should come back in a few weeks? “I’m sorry, I’ve never done this before” I said weakly. If my eyes glazed over any more I wouldn’t be able to shut them. Some hotshot I was. After decades in the ski industry, eventually overseeing 200 employees and a million dollar budget, I couldn’t understand how to go on the dole.
Tears and a wavering voice did the trick. The iceberg of a woman started to melt. “Okay honey, I’ll hold your paperwork and you come back here April 27” she soothed.
April 27, when the hell is that? I hope it isn’t during our trip to Florida.
Then again that vacation may have to be put on hold. I thanked her as I slunk out of her cubicle.
I woke up the next morning with much clearer eyes and voice. During the night I decided to turn the part time kid’s creative dance classes I taught into a full time job. Figuring out the intricacies of the unemployment system was not in the plan. I practiced positive affirmations.
“I shed the skin of my old life.”
“I’m calm.”“I’m my best boss.”
“I create my own happiness.”
Sometimes events that appear to ruin our lives do just the opposite. Twenty years ago, through Hullabaloo Danceshop, I found my voice. Yoga has helped me keep it.
Namaste- Affirmations and Transformation are here to stay.
July 6, 2018