On Monday, I was escorted into the board room of my place of employment and handed a half a dozen sheets of paper, effectively saying that my services are no longer needed.   It was quick, brutal, yet oddly compassionate in a way; I somewhat expected it at some point, but not on Monday, and certainly not in the way it was done.

From noon on Monday, I’ve joined the ranks of the unemployed here in Alberta, a province (like my previous employer) heavily reliant on oil.  Oil prices have declined sharply over the past six months, and I am by no means the only Albertan in this position.  That doesn’t make it any easier to handle.  For two or three days, I was an emotional wreck, crying at everything, not really allowing myself to grieve the loss of my job.  Poor Jenny picked up on my through-the-roof stress levels, and it was pretty ugly.  It was like a pop bottle effect – you are stressed, dog picks up on it, misbehaves, you get more stressed, dog misbehaves more, and around and around we go.

I hate job hunting.  I hate it with a passion rivaled by few other activities.  I hate looking through job ads for jobs that don’t require a driver’s license or who aren’t way out in the boonies with unreliable transportation.  I hate feeling qualified for a job just to be told at an interview that an employer thinks I can’t type 80 words per minute, talk to people nicely, or keep papers or electronic files organized because I can’t see.  I hate being over-qualified for some jobs and under-qualified for others.  But persevere I must, because my own dignity is on the line; without working, I feel incredibly inadequate as a person… there, I’ve said it!

Thankfully, there are some very serious positives to this whole situation.  I did not leave on bad terms, nor was I let go for incompetence; through no fault of my own, I am without work.  I can choose to take this opportunity to make jewelry (thanks for the encouragement, guys!), take supplementary training courses to make myself more employable, and the job market is good enough that I can get my foot in the door for plenty of interviews.  Ben recently got hired to work up north, so I will take this time to spend with him when he IS home, and with friends when he’s gone.  I told one of my former coworkers yesterday when I picked up my things that one day, I will think this is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.  But I am not quite there yet, and for now, that’s OK.  The fact that I can say this at all is all I need to know that I will come out the other side stronger and wiser for this experience.

For those – especially those who are blind or visually impaired – who are job hunting, keep going.  Send out that resume.  If you don’t have experience, take the opportunity to get some training if you can.  If you get figuratively kicked in the teeth during an interview because of perceptions of your skills and abilities, push back and make them account for their perceptions.  Above all, pick yourself up and don’t give up!  This has served me well before, and it will serve me well again.  I will be brave and strong and informed, and fight another day.