Hi again, friends!
So it’s been close to three weeks since I quit my job as a flight attendant. As expected I have gone through a wild range of emotions during my “free time” aka unemployment. These three weeks have gone awfully fast. Maybe even faster than when I spent most of my day in a metal tube in the sky jumping between time zones. I’ll catch you up a little bit.
When I first spontaneously quit my job my first instinct was to apply to anything and everything that was hiring. This was due to a couple of reasons: how unemployment looks and how unemployment feels. How would the term, “I’m in-between jobs” actually sound to people that asked me. “What is it that you do?” Do people actually say that or is that just something that Lifetime movies have convinced me of as the protagonist struggles to find their one true calling and in the time span of one hour and forty five minutes seems to find it and a good looking partner just for added measure? So the biggest reason I first wanted to just get a job was because of my own fear of how I would look to others. But then I realized some pretty big things about my own life during these three weeks. They are as followed:
I am privileged. If you follow me on social media than you know I have spoken pretty honestly about my opinion of privilege and recognizing your own. Though this is a whole other type that I didn’t even consider as a “privilege”. When I quit my job I had two voices saying that it was okay and that they could help me if I needed- my mom and Kevin. A support system is the best, most undeserving type of privilege. And I realize how fucking lucky I am to have that support system that told me, yes just quit and we’ll figure it out. Add a point to my privilege meter.
You can figure it out. The open air of possibility- and of time. I do have time to figure it out. And that’s because I have money in the bank that- if need be- I can access. If I wanted I could take a couple months off, dip into my savings, and chill. I definitely don’t want to do that. Add another point.
It’s just us three at home. Kevin, me, and Otto, our three year old Shepherd-Collie pup. No kids to feed, no (God forbid) crazy unexpected bills to pay. Besides making sure Otto is fed and taken care of, I don’t have the responsibility of another mouth to feed or body to dress. One more point into the bank.
And as I’ve spoken online before, I’m a 26 year old college educated woman from a household that had the necessities and a little bit more. Points.
If I didn’t have all of these things, or if I was missing one or another, I would have had a much harder time just quitting my job even though I was ready to. I would be struggling much, much harder than I am now.
And the moment I realized all of this was when I went in for my routine cleaning appointment and sat waiting for my name to be called. Instead, I had the receptionist unemotionally alert me of my now uninsured status and that my cleaning would be about $200 out of pocket. This routine cleaning that I have never once had to go without. That my mom instead has to remind and push me to go to- I suddenly didn’t have that option anymore without it costing me a pretty penny. So I did what any privileged adult would do…and I sat in my car and cried. Oh yeah, I cried like a baby. Because suddenly the fear of what I had done was felt so deep. How could I survive being uninsured? What if something happened to me? How could I quit a job that provided me that safety net (although what should be a basic human right but whatever off topic)?
It wasn’t until I got home and spoke to Kevin that I realized how lucky I had always been. Because unlike me, Kevin hadn’t always been insured. And unlike me, millions of Americans have gone through life with the constant uninsured worry.
You read those quotes online all the time. Something meant to be “inspiring.” But the reality is if you don’t have a support system, resources, a background of privilege, or have big responsibilities it makes quitting your job exponentially harder.
I’m not saying it isn’t possible and it certainly isn’t fair.
So, I’m sitting here typing this on a Tuesday afternoon as I continue job searching, going on interviews, and eagerly awaiting what is going to happen next. I have a good feeling that this past interview I went on will lead to a job that I’ll enjoy. I know speaking about privilege has a rough, wince-worthy misconception about it- especially now that our world is in such a delicate state. But I don’t feel as if it is wrong to recognize what you have been given- just by the grace of being born You. And besides being born You, you have both made and had decisions and situations thrown at you that still allowed you to be the [blank] and [blank] individual that you are. I’ll tie it all together as one final example.
I was born able-bodied with two very hard working parents that made sure we were always fed, dressed, and taken care of in the United States. Their hard work allowed me to travel the world at a young age, attend, and graduate university. Graduating university allowed me to get a job as a flight attendant, which allowed me to be insured, and comfortable. Now because of my support system, resources, no major responsibilities, and that comfortable background previously mentioned, I am able to take the time to find my next career direction.
There isn’t anything wrong with admitting all of that. Because admitting it allows me to understand what others may have differently. Being uninsured is my biggest worry right now, but that may be the smallest worry to someone else. Basic human survival may be their biggest worry, Their kids safety. Hunger. Etc. And not only does it make you understand better, but it also gives you a drive to do more. To vote better. To take care of your neighbors. To watch out for each other.
So this may have taken more of a serious, slightly political route than I intended. But that’s just what happens when I start to write about things that hit at home for me. If you are in-between jobs right now, I have faith it will- yes, all work out. Most importantly, I believe in you and your drive and your strength.
Don’t give up.
I’ll be here if you need me.
Until next time, friend