I wrote this poem a year ago when I lost my last serious job, and thankfully I’m doing better. I hope you enjoy this first piece for the blog.
I’ve had five jobs in two years.
One of them was supposed to be my dream job.
One of them was a stopgap,
One of them was something just to get a paycheck
One of them was supposed to have potential,
And one of them I thought was the door to something amazing.
All of them ended the same,
I just couldn’t hack it, or I moved on to something whose promise of something better never panned out.
I just got let go after three weeks at my last job, and I thought I could make it work.
The Saturday before I got let go, I cried in the back row of my synagogue, with my face covered in my prayer shawl so no one could see; but everyone could head the sound of a desperate man trying to stifle his cries because of the shame of being vulnerable in public.
My wife has told me this has happened every time I have a job.
There’s the honeymoon, the start-to-get-into-it, the stress, and then the explosion.
It’s not even the emotional ups and downs that really get to me,
It’s calling my father agains to tell him that I lost my job.
That pause of just a few seconds feels like of a lifetime of disappointment, of worry, and wondering if his only son will ever get it right.
It’s looking at my wife and telling her for the umpteenth time that she’s going to have to carry us, carry me, while I try to find the next thing I’m bound to screw up.
At a certain point you realize that it’s not the jobs that are too complicated and stressful, it’s not the bosses that are overbearing, distant, cruel, full of lip service, or indifferent that are the cause.
Something about me or what I’m doing is what’s causing an endless cycle of self-disappointment.
I looked in the mirror yesterday and just wondered if this is a guy who’s going to be another statistic of someone with bipolar disorder that can’t hold down a job.
I sat on my couch yesterday and realized that if I was to disappear in that moment, the biggest worries that I would think about were whether or not my student loans would go to my wife.
To be honest, I thought in that moment that if it wasn’t for her, I would have shot myself by job loss #3.
I’ve told the few people I’m close with that this last one didn’t work out, but I’ve lied and deflected to a lot more people than I’d like to admit.
I wrote this at 2 am in the morning, because I know that I have absolutely nowhere else to be when i get up.
I don’t know what I’m going to do.
I don’t know if I’ll find something that works.
I don’t know whether or not I’ll ever be a productive member of society,
A person to be proud of,
A person that makes a difference.
The only reason I get out of bed in the morning,
The only reason I even want to wake up,
The only reason that I haven’t just ended it is because there is a small tiny sliver in me that has hope that I’ll be ok.
Those moments of calm between the tempests of depression so heavy I can feel my sheets swallowing me,
And bouts of anxiety that make it hard to hold a glass without shaking, that make it hard to read and focus on the words, that make me spend entire nights just thinking about how much I will fail;
Those little islands of calm are where I see that I can do something.
Where the voice in my head finally gets through and tells me that I’m going to be all right.
I have good friends, a loving wife, I have support.
I can’t guarantee that I’ll land a job soon,
I can’t promise that I won’t go home and cry myself to sleep again.
I can’t say that I will not think about driving my car into a tree on the way home,
But I can say that the next time that little door of hope passes in front me,
I’m going to grab it with everything I’ve got,
Force my way through,
And know that there will be something good on the other side.
I know that job number 6 is there.
It has to work,
I have to have hope,