Monday, August 09, 2010

Miss Layoff 2010

This layoff has been a long time coming. Four months in fact. Four very long, very awkward months.

Remember the feeling you got when you were 17 and graduating from high school and your mom’s co-worker and your sister’s friend and your father’s business partner all kept asking you, “So what are you planning on doing next?” Remember how it was the most awkward and redundant conversation? Remember how it got to the point that you would have preferred discussing your mother’s sexual preferences if it meant not having to listen to yourself recite the same bullshit about weighing your options?

Well, being laid off four months in advance is exactly like that. It’s awkward. Really awkward.

Not only are do you have to explain to people why you were laid-off (and you do have to explain—people always assume that “laid off” is code for “I got caught looking at porn at work” or “they finally realized I have no idea how to use the graphing functions on Microsoft Excel and as a consequence, that I clearly have no career ambitions”), and why it was four months in advance (no, I was not covering a maternity contract) and then listen to their story about so and so's boyfriend who was working for a charity and almost got laid off—you also have to answer the dreaded question:

So, what are you doing next?

When I graduated from high school, all the members of my graduating class wrote short speeches that would appear next to their portraits in the yearbook. I wrote that I was going to become a gynecologist. (The school administration later changed this to genealogist. Apparently, although they were able to recognize a sense of humour, they lacked one themselves.) I knew that whatever I wrote would never come to pass. And I knew that by telling people, and by enscribing it in a text as sacred as the yearbook, that it would go on to live as the very thing that I didn’t do.

(For the record, here’s what I did do: I worked at the Pita Pit. I traveled through Europe. I went to night school somewhere in between. I went to university and dropped out. I went to another university and graduated. I started to work in a field totally different from my expensive undergraduate degree. And then, two and a half years later, I got laid-off. It doesn’t exactly make for compelling grad speech fodder.)

And now, eight years later, I’m in that exact same position. Except this time, the inevitable minimum wage job rolling pitas has been replaced by the comfort and security of EI.

I don’t want to talk to anyone about what I’m up to, because anything could happen. Why limit myself? Why set myself up for failure?

Then again, why not just directly set myself up for failure?

So here's what I'm going to do next: I’m going to apply to Miss Universe Canada.

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