I live my life $686.00 at a time.
That is the amount of the unemployment check that I receive every two weeks.
And yes, I'm painfully aware that it's "better than nothing." I'm on my third layoff and my third round of unemployment so I'm very tuned in to the realities of joblessness.
You can also add defensive, scared, frustrated, tired, borderline depressed and despondent to that list.
Waking up scared and deftly hiding that emotion is now second nature to me.
When you're unemployed your fear has to be well hidden as potential employers can smell it's stench from miles away. Nothing says "hire me" like the eager to please desperation of someone who has to have a job.
So you tell interested friends and acquaintances about the strategies you've developed to turn your plight around.
You look fantastic, confident and polished when you're seen in public. You can still work a room like nobodies' business but you have to hide within yourself to make it through most days.
Because if the fear takes over, you may not be able to function.
And you must function. You must pull yourself up despite the fact that you feel like your life is circling the drain. Tomorrow---whenever it may come---could be the day that all of your hard work pays off. It could be the day you connect with that one hiring manager and a job offer is finally extended.
Fear gets temporarily pushed aside.
Fear takes a back seat.
You barter and bargain. Wheel and deal for what you can to keep the basics going and the rest has to fall to the wayside.
Everyone's unemployment experience is different, but for me it has broken down into four distinct stages: Fear, anger, hope and depression.
I just talked about fear. Anger is up next.