A Blogger Looks Back to 2009 and Asks, Why Am I Here?

 

disgusted-oh-god-why-text

I started blogging back in May 2009 shortly after I lost my job as a customer service rep at a bakery where only the baked goods were nut-free.

The gal who preceded me and the one who followed were also let go after three months. We all got the tee-shirt, but one of us didn’t survive. She killed herself several months after losing her job. The word “unstable” comes to mind. But she had help. The owner of the bakery expedited her journey into hopelessness.

I was in a dark place, too, when the owner told me, “We’re letting you go. I really need someone with more inventory management experience.”

He knew I didn’t bring that to the job when he hired me. I told him that. Nothing I said mattered. It was my time. The damage had been done.

I needed to purge dark thoughts from my head and blogged about it.

TODAY FRIDAY

A day without work. At home trying to get organized. A problem. Always. Can’t reign in my thoughts to stabilize the content in my head. The executive function in my brain takes too many coffee breaks, gets in late, and leaves early. The proverbial cluttered mind with a desk by the window. I look outside and see trees but can’t see the forest through them.

Where will the trajectory path of my day go? Probably nowhere, fast until I look outside and see darkness but not the trees. If I squint and look up, I’ll see stars, none of them for me. Although one year, I received a star for Christmas named after me. An ex-employer’s idea of a really nifty gift. The card ended up in the garbage before I knew about shredders.

Today, I hope to deposit a check (checks and balances, you know) and get some food. Food is minimal like my thoughts. Tomorrow, I hope to get up and remember that it is Saturday and not a day that I should be working when I’m not, like today.

Blogging helped me reconnect to the world. Odd indeed since I only interacted with otherworldly types, often hidden behind an avatar.

Back then I wrote about my unstructured days on unemployment, slipping from one room in my house to another trying to find my way back to “normal,” which still eludes me. I’m convinced it doesn’t exist anymore.

For three years, I looked for a permanent job. Along the way, I was hired by a debt collection agency, a credit card company as well as a plumber. All three jobs lasted three months. All three jobs had one thing in common. The positions were a revolving door. Just as my foot stepped onto the mat indoors, another stepped onto the one outdoors. It was the nature of a disposable job market in which people were considered as valuable as yesterday’s trash.

Each time I lost a job, I lost a chunk of self-confidence. I had to scratch my way to the top of the jobless heap during every subsequent search for employment. Yet, I continued to find work, sometimes temporary, sometimes freelance, but never permanent. The job I still hold today (that I started in 2011) is only permanent part-time.

The sting of being rejected by three employers has long abated thanks to blogging as well as writing.

After I climbed out of the hole into sunlight, I wrote a satirical memoir about my experiences during those three years of on-again, off-again jobs.

Now my purpose for blogging hangs like a parachutist’s line snagged on a craggy cliff. I suck back the fear of hanging in midair, waiting for a solution to reveal itself.

I ask one of the blogging voices in my head, Why am I here?

She says, “Why not?”

Why do you still blog?

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33 Comments A Blogger Looks Back to 2009 and Asks, Why Am I Here?

  1. ReformingGeek

    I’m glad you’re still here.

    Why not is a good answer but when I think about it, my blog was also a steady place after losing full-time employment. It allowed me to find balance and be creative. I find it still meets those needs and I enjoy connecting with the people that visit.

    Reply
    1. Lauren

      Thanks Reffie. I enjoy connecting with people, too. It’s been an amazing experience connecting with people all over the world.

      Lately, I’m having a tough time churning out blog posts. I think my two worlds – writing and blogging – have collided. I have to figure out a balance. I don’t know if finding a balance is even possible.

      Reply
  2. Ron

    Love the way you expressed your thoughts and feelings in this post, Lauren. And reading it reminded me of my thoughts and feelings when I first moved back east and went through a very similar experience. In fact, it got so bad that I had to file bankruptcy because I just couldn’t catch up with what I owed. I worked two part-time jobs and still couldn’t do it. It was perhaps the darkest time in my life. However, things did turn around and I am so grateful for that.

    I still blog for many reasons. The main reason being is that it fulfills a passion in me. It’s a place where I can express all my interests – writing, photography, reviews, humor, reflection. It has also been one the most amazes ways in which I’ve met (and even in person) some of the nicest people who I’ve learned so much from. I started my blog back in 2007 and it’s changed so many times throughout these years. It’s changed and evolved as I have evolved.

    You’re a wonderful writer, Lauren. And very unique in the way you do it.

    So blog on!
    X

    Reply
    1. Lauren

      Thank you so much, Ron.

      I’m glad you were able to get back on your feet again after such a devastating experience. You’re blog reflects your passion. How has your blog evolved over time? It’s amazing you’ve been blogging since 2007 and still are passionate about it. I’m feeling conflicted about writing vs. blogging. I want to get more stories published. I feel schizophrenic at times. I’m going to try and post once a week. Thanks again!

      Reply
  3. Jean

    Hey Lauren,

    Ugh, I know that feeling. I was unemployed early last year for a bit and when I realized I wasn’t sure what weekday it was anymore it really took a toll on my motivation and self-confidence. Then I did consulting work, which when it ended left an empty feeling. So, if you don’t like the permanent part-time… scour the job boards for something. Even things you think are out of the norm for you, because skill sets are fluid and sometimes a good office culture can make up for a less-than-ideal position. Maybe Indeed.com can help, as it’s the catch all for job boards.

    Ok, enough soap box. You asked why I blog? Similar to you — I needed to feel like I was exercising my writing muscle and connect with people, some similar to me that make me feel not alone, and some not similar to me to make me believe the world was still shiny and adventurous for me to want to have motivation to move forward again. And because I thought I had something to say, and blogging was the medium to use for essay-formatted pieces.

    Also, and now I see very important, it forced me to get better at social media and online marketing. I went to college for English and Journalism, but I ended up working in Marketing. Sometimes I feel insecure about that–not having a business background, so I used my blog as a way to force myself to learn e-commerce and social media. I do webinars, I research, I take continuing education classes… but trying to make money while blogging forces me to take theory and make it practice.

    I still blog. Sometimes it feels hard to do with live, but I guess it’s my me-time. Good luck, Lauren. I hope you are well and would love to read some of that memoir.

    Reply
    1. Lauren

      Unemployment changed the way I look at the world. It was a tough slog.

      That’s fascinating stuff, Jean. The way you used blogging to learn about social media and online marketing. I need to take a break from social media every now and then. I’m so overwhelmed with my writing at the moment. I’m having trouble just keeping that together.

      Would love you to read some of the memoir.

      I wish I could write faster. Even when I blog, it takes me a long time to finish a piece. Though I wrote this blog post quickly. Didn’t labor over as much as I usually do.

      Reply
  4. Nicky

    There seems to be quite a bit of this going around. Why blog? I’ve been asking myself the same question. I haven’t really found a definitive answer but I will say this – when I seriously start to think about shutting our blog down, I get a very strong protective, almost maternal feeling. It’s been a creative outlet, a place to vent, to opine, to meet new people, to exchange… it’s hard to let that go.

    Reply
    1. injaynesworld

      I agree, Nicky. It’s a creative outlet where I get to try out new stuff, get feedback, and sometimes even touch someone’s life in a way they find significant. That’s the best of all. Lauren, your blog is your playground. Enjoy it as such. Put all kinds of your writing on here. I do and the response has been both gratifying and instructive. Plus, and this is a big plus, you meet the nicest people. Like you. And Nicky. And so many others. Keep on keepin’ on, my friend.

      Reply
      1. Lauren

        I know. The people are amazing. It’s been wonderful getting to know you and the other bloggers over the years. We are a family up here in the stratosphere.

        And you’ve helped add perspective with “your blog is your playground.” Thanks for that. I can write whatever I damn well want to write.

        Thank you, Jayne.

        Reply
    2. Lauren

      After you’ve been blogging for years, you plateau. That’s where I am. I created this as humor blog, but I’m moody and can’t always find the funny in stuff. Don’t know which direction to take.

      That’s so true about having a maternal feeling for your blog. Honestly, I can’t imagine not having this platform for spewing my shit. I want to get back to my blogging roots and write more spontaneously without so many edits.

      Reply
  5. Phil

    Even though I have a full time job, and blogging takes a lot of time, I do it. Don’t know why myself other than I like to have fun with it and communicate with people. It’s a creative outlet and a way to have our voices heard.

    Reply
    1. Lauren

      Phil, I’m in awe of your blogging stamina. It’s amazing how often you blog while holding down a full-time job. I don’t know how you do it. And it’s quality stuff, too. Seriously, how do you do it?

      Reply
  6. Rum Punch Drunk

    Unemployment can have devastating effects on certain people. It’s as if you’re in the world but not part of it. Years ago, I use to stare out the window looking at everyone going to and from work whilst I was busy wishing the hours away for another day. And it really does knock your self confidence.

    As for blogging, I love it. It’s a way of escape and freedom, so to speak. You can write and express your thoughts any way you feel. You get to meet so many people from all over the world and it’s nice to hear their experiences of life in general. Blogging is hard work though. Right now I’m trying to catch up with reading all the blogs I follow and it feels like I’m running late in thick treacle.

    You’ve got a wonderful blog which always gives me a laugh and I admire your stamina since 2009.

    Reply
    1. Lauren

      Thank you! My stamina is being tested. I’ve got to return to 2009 and rediscover my blogging roots.

      Yes, unemployment is devastating. It’s a total body makeover without the benefits of a spa afterglow.

      I always love your ruminations and questions you ask.

      I’m playing catch up, too. Every now and then, I escape from the Internet because of information overload. My mind is a jumble of thoughts. Only a brain surgeon with a flashlight would be able to find anything there.

      Reply
  7. June O'Hara

    Now my purpose for blogging hangs like a parachutist’s line snagged on a craggy cliff. I suck back the fear of hanging in midair, waiting for a solution to reveal itself…Brilliant.

    I have so many thoughts about this post, I don’t even know where to start. I have a strange employment history too, and have little financial security where I am now. Clients cancel, don’t show up, etc. It’s stressful.

    As for blogging, I stopped because I have to focus on finishing my book. Blogging was interfering with that — the constant switching of gears. I do have one situation that’s tickling my funny bone right now, and I may just have to blog it.

    Welcome back, my clever friend! It’s good to read you.

    Reply
    1. Lauren

      Thanks June. You and I have spoken many times of the blogging/writing balance, not. It’s hard to switch gears, especially when writing a book. The project is with you 24/7. Writing and blogging have two different rhythms. There’s nothing like having the immediate gratification of someone reading your work. It’s like a drug.

      I miss your absence from the blogosphere. No harm in posting something when it hits you.

      Reply
  8. Polliwog

    I don’t know what it’s like to be unemployed but I can understand it must be very difficult. But, there are times when I wish I wasn’t working. I don’t want to look back at life and see that I have wasted all my time away… working. Work is overrated. I would love to spend all my time doing only the things I love – and this does not include work. I have been reading your blog since 2009 and your posts have always been different, in a good way. I love reading your thoughts, as I find them refreshing. Earlier, I was anonymously blogging as Kasabiangirl but then I grew extremely tired of blogging and I stopped. I found myself asking the same questions as you do now – why blog? This year, I have started again as Polliwog. Blogging does get in the way of work at times, but once you learn to ignore your blog when you have to, it’s alright. I missed blogging and the bloggers I admired, including you..so, i came back. I hope you never stop blogging. I can’t stop reading your blog. Have a nice day!

    Reply
    1. Lauren

      Hi Kasa,

      I really appreciate what you said. Thank you so much for sticking with me all these years. I’m not consistent in my writing style and thought that was a bad thing. Maybe I’m not aware of the stylistic thread that holds the posts together. It’s hard to be objective.

      I’m thrilled you’re back. I didn’t realize you have a new site. I’ll definitely swing by.

      Again, I so appreciate everything you said.

      Reply
  9. Cheryl

    Oy and vey. Jayne’s comment about a blog being a playground really struck a nerve with me. All I ever wanted to do was have a bit of fun and have a place to do a morning brain-dump. Things that are funny to me aren’t always funny to the people involved so I’ve been self-censoring on my blog the same way I’ve always self-censored in my life. That’s stressful and sometimes I want to scream at people to just get the hell over themselves. By my 2nd full year of blogging, I realized my biggest mistake was writing under my own name. If I had one do-over it would be to write under a pseudonym.

    I’m heading into forced unemployment for the first time in my life and my blog could be a lifeline but I stare at that empty screen and my mind goes blank. I’m a chronic over-thinker and a manic perfectionist. I completely identify with wanting to just write without so many edits like I did when I started my own blog in 2009. Maybe 2009 was a bad year for new bloggers?

    I’ve almost pulled the plug on my blog several times over the past couple of years. In fact, early last year, I pulled about two-thirds of my posts down because they simply weren’t good enough.

    You and I have so much in common including faces that look perfectly normal that are hiding brains that are completely out of control. I hope you find that balance you’re seeking.

    Reply
    1. Lauren

      I know, Cheryl. The edits, the never-ending revisions are a perfectionist’s M.O. It takes the fun out of writing/blogging, especially blogging. At one point, I stopped “seat-of-my-pants” writing and relied upon my editor more. Big mistake! The thrill of writing/blogging is not knowing what’s going to drop from your head onto the page/screen. I’m going to cut back my editor’s hours. Just like my employer cut back my hours.

      My recipe for blogging: Brain dump, sit and stir. Do not whip!

      Reply
  10. Cheryl P.

    The current state of the job market is equal to words like profane or obscene. For seven years I worked at an unemployment office and heard the horror stories concerning promises not kept and dismissals not deserved. People have become a commodity that needs to be tossed about the time insurance benefits would start or some other perceived variable kicks in thus making the employee vulnerable for replacement.

    I have to think that 8 out of 10 dismissals have more to do with the employers bottom line than anything related to the employee’s performance. Same goes with why employers are largely interested in part timers. Saves a ton of money on benefits and workman’s comp rates.

    Reply
    1. Lauren

      It’s true. I lost one job @ $18 p/hr and was replaced by someone @ $12 p/hr. It’s disgusting. Just hang me from a meat hook over a keyboard. Companies would no longer have to spend money on chairs.

      Reply
  11. Meleah Rebeccah

    “Back then I wrote about my unstructured days on unemployment, slipping from one room in my house to another trying to find my way back to “normal,” which still eludes me. I’m convinced it doesn’t exist anymore.”

    I totally GET that.

    “After I climbed out of the hole into sunlight, I wrote a satirical memoir about my experiences during those three years of on-again, off-again jobs. Now my purpose for blogging hangs like a parachutist’s line snagged on a craggy cliff. I suck back the fear of hanging in midair, waiting for a solution to reveal itself. I ask one of the blogging voices in my head, Why am I here?
    She says, “Why not?”

    Yeah – why not! And please don’t go! Over the past 7 years, I’ve seen far too many bloggers leave. And quite frankly, blogging is STILL my favorite form of online communication.

    Reply
    1. Lauren

      I’m not going to quit blogging. I’m not as passionate about it as I used to be. Hopefully, I’ll get it back soon. Now that I’m only working three days a week, it’s harder to structure my time. I get so lost in my head and my head’s not that big.

      Reply
  12. Karen Woodham

    I started blogging for fun, I had no idea it would open so many dorrs for me as the years have gone since starting it in 2008. To be honest I think starting Blazing Minds was one of the best things I ever did, I’ve got to meet some amazing people, worked with some superb bands (big and small) and made some fantastic friends in the entertainment world.

    And who’d have thought that at one point, I was going to give up blogging, hood job I didn’t 😉

    Reply
    1. Lauren

      I think we all reach a point where we want to give up blogging. That’s when it’s time for a blogging break, a time when you need to revisit your roots and remember why you started blogging.

      It’s amazing what you’ve built over the years. You are my role model.

      Reply
  13. Katherine

    VERY interesting. When I didn’t have a computer, it got very “normal” not blogging. I even thought, “should I continue?” But then I remembered people like you and there was no question… I enjoy it. I enjoy you.. the others… it is hard, but makes me happy!

    Reply
    1. Lauren

      Thank you, Katherine.

      This week I wasn’t online much because I had a urinary infection. I went to the emergency room Tuesday night and had graham crackers.

      Reply

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