A Year’s Step from the Darkness

The other day there was a meeting with my work’s lawyers to review various files. They were located in a building in North Vancouver overlooking the harbor. Before the meeting we meet in the building’s atrium to strategize. While I was sitting there it struck me that I’d been there before. And the feeling was less a note of remembrance than a slug to the face. Don’t know if my boss notice this reaction, but I had to turn away so to fight off the smarting jolt.

A year ago, jobless, my employment insurance had run out. I walked into the building to visit the Canada employment office and see if maybe it was a mistake, maybe I still had money coming to me.

I’ve stood in that line three times in my life. When I was eighteen, when I was laid off in 2003, then another layoff in November 2010. Each time how the place, sodden with a strange duality of despair and buoyancy. Mixed with a bit of BO and a sense of chagrin, or humility maybe; nonetheless not the kindest place to visit. Through I imagine I’m simply projecting my own feelings on the place.

There, a year ago, standing in line, a heaviness nagging my shoulders, I asked the questions. Alas, no more monies headed my way. Will not forget that moment as my heart sank and a wide, dank pit pulled we down. Accompanied by that familiar battering gloom that precedes what I’ve come to call my situational depression.

How was I to keep a room over my head and help put food on the table? Visions of my wife and I living in the car swamped me.

Whenever someone negativity comments on a homeless or unemployed person, you’ll not hear me agreeing with them. In that year of unemployment I must have had 100 interviews and sent out a thousand resumes. There were several close calls; and one in particular just before Christmas last year where I thought I had the job! But no. It was heartbreaking. That time between November and January was horrific!

But then, then, I happened upon this ad for an assistant to the Chief of a First Nation. Looking back I realized I hesitated in applying. I’d never worked for a first nation before, and, well, after all the interviewers and applications sent, my confidence was at a profound low. But I sent it off, interviewed and got the job!

Oh the relief! A return from the dead! And, in the time since, in the first position, and now as Lands and Resource Manager, how an unknown part of me has awoken! A fierce political animal has been sprung on the side of the aboriginal experience and I love it!

Back to that moment the other day.

Here a year later how sure and confident I feel in this job. Could not be more dissimilar than a year ago!

Story and picture © 2012 by DC Lessoway

2 Comments

  1. Unemployment is a really hard time. And getting to a place which remembers of the darkness is even a striking moment. The depression makes it even more extremely. But remember: You did it. You got the job. You are no longer on the dark side of the unemployment.

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