Four years ago today, I was laid off from a job I’d held for eleven years, give or take a few weeks. Long before Zoom meetings became popular and working from home became a curse/blessing to countless families, I worked from home. Back then, few of us had the luxury of logging onto our computers while wearing pajamas and starting our day’s tasks.

Anyway, those were the good old days, the ones in which I could keep up with my laundry and start a dinner every night while at “work.”

Then, the dream job came to an end and I scrambled to find another job. I settled on becoming a police dispatcher and after a five month process, secured the job. It was very exciting to go to work out of my house after working from home most of my adult life. Three months later, it was less exciting to be told that while they all liked me, they thought I would be better suited to working in Police Records. (Yes, it hurt my feelings and it was humiliating.)

Listen. Working in Police Records sounds less fancy and true, it pays a lot less, but as it turns out, I really liked the job. I dare say I excelled in working in Police Records, as a matter of fact. I found it terribly interesting (reading crime reports, for instance) and occasionally boring (processing traffic citations). Working with actual other human beings in an office environment was a nice change, too.

And since I never became a trained dispatcher, I never had to work overnights, so there’s that.

But I only worked at the police department for a little more than two years because life has a way of shaking up even the most carefully planned life.

I thought of a snow globe when I pictured what happened to our lives but really, a snow globe is the wrong illustration because in the snow globe, the people stay cemented in place while the snow swirls around them. We did stay in place while the storm swirled around us but eventually, the cement failed us and we shook loose and floated and generally looked at each other in surprise while we waited to land.

Four years. In those four years, I lost a job, started a new job (I’d hope it would be a career), then my husband lost a job and started a new job, so he moved to Minnesota almost a year before I did (along with two of our kids–that’s right, we also emptied half our nest) . . . my dog died, my mom moved out of our home to a new place in Oregon, so I helped her pack and move and unpack, we sold a house, bought a house, moved (I personally packed every box and unpacked every box) . . . and then, when I finally got here, I dropped a ten pound weight on my foot. We waited twenty-six days for the moving truck to get here and then, I got a new job and started working the week after our stuff got here. I am currently working 65 hours a week during the holiday season.

[Oh, also, there was a world-wide pandemic that affected everyone everywhere, but did not cause me to miss a single day of work because I was an “essential” employee. So, no lounging around at home while collecting sweet, sweet unemployment checks with added federal benefits.]

I’m just saying, a lot can happen in four years.

Looking back causes me to shake my head in disbelief. If you told 2017 Mel that her life would be shaken (not stirred) in such a vicious manner, she would have 1) denied the possibility; 2) worried and; 3) cried. Maybe she would have run. Who knows?

But I had no idea at the time, so I just took it one day after the next.

I’m grateful that I can’t see four years into the future because all I want now is for things to just simmer down and stay the same for awhile. (Forever? Let’s not tempt fate.)

Happy Four Year Job Loss Anniversary to me!

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