On My Newfound Unemployment

It's been about a week since I turned in my resignation to Human Resources.

After 11 years with Fremont Unified School District, I made the tough decision to walk away. I spent a lot of time agonizing over the pros and cons of leaving, but ultimately decided the good far outweighed the bad. Quitting your job is a pretty seismic change for anyone, but leaving FUSD has been particularly unsettling to me. It isn't unsettling insofar that I regret my decision —I don't — but rather because of the impact the job has had on my life.

To put that sentiment into context, consider I've only ever three jobs in my entire life:

  1. My first job was a summer position at the DMV when I was 16, obtained through a county youth employment program.
  2. My senior year of high school, I worked at a (since closed) $2 movie theater.
  3. After quitting the theater gig, I started with FUSD.

I started with Fremont Unified, as a substitute, when I was 19. I attained permanent employee status when I was 20. That happened in 2001. When I started, Apple had just announced the iPod. There was no iPhone or iPad. Facebook and Twitter didn't exist either. Now it's 2013, and I'm writing this piece on my iPad inside my neighborhood Starbucks with my iPhone siting next to me on the table. More to the point, I'll be 32 come September. And I'm unemployed. All this is to say that my job with FUSD had been the only job I've ever known as an adult. I had seniority. I was a union member. I'm well-liked and respected by co-workers. I had a career.

I don't know if the emotions I feel could be construed as grieving or denial, but it does feel like someone I'm close to has died. I know everything comes to an end eventually, but leaving my job has left me feeling weird. It's going to take time to process and "heal", but right now it's troubling me. Even if I know, in my heart of hearts, that now is the right time to move on, I still feel lost. I mean, just a few months ago Glenn and Marco published an article I wrote on this very job that I now do not have anymore. What a difference a few months makes, huh?

I told my friend Karen in an email the other day that I was scared about everything. I've just resigned, and I don't know what the future holds for me. Long-term I'm sure I'll be fine, but I'm in uncharted territory right now. This was a very ballsy decision on my part, and I just wonder what'll happen to me. But I know I have a great support system, and I know I have options. I'd like to finish my AA degree and focus more on my writing. If I ever return to early childhood, I'd prefer it not be on the floor with children. I don't know — I have so many things going through my mind at the moment that contemplating what's next is overwhelming. I don't know how to start writing the next chapter.

But I will, eventually. After I file for unemployment.