Saturday, July 4, 2009

"Independence is a precious thing indeed."

The quote above, which was tweeted this morning by the fabulous, witty and brilliant Amber Naslund (you Twitter types will know her as @AmberCadabra) of Altitude Branding and Radian6, who I've had the good fortune of meeting and getting to know in the last couple of months, seemed simple enough at first read. But then it inspired me to sit down and hammer out a few thoughts today, Independence Day 2009.

Interestingly, Independence Day comes just a few days after I began my third month of unemployment.

In many meaningful ways, this summer has been the most independent period of my life. For the first time in a long time, I don't answer to an alarm clock; a dress code; bosses; a monstrous, color-coded to-do list; or anything else. I answer to myself, and to the people with whom I choose to associate at this point in time.

Despite the lack of people and things to which to answer, a strange thing is happening: I'm getting up earlier than I ever did when I had to set an alarm, I'm being productive, I'm learning skills that will make me more attractive to prospective employers and I'm getting things done without needing a to-do list.

And even though I'm living on far less money than I'm accustomed to, I feel like I have such a rich life right now. I've had more time to spend with friends and family, so many of whom have reached out generously to be sure I'm taken care of and enjoying myself; I've gotten to travel out of state three times in the last two months (on the cheap every time, thanks to banking-points freebies, an eye for bargains and a skill set that provides me with fodder for bartering) for a combination of business and pleasure each time; I've attended three -- yes, three -- professional conferences (as compared to the one I attended in nearly seven years in my previous job); and I've learned the joys and benefits of sale ads, coupons, stock-up sales, the "scanner law" and even polite haggling.

Yes, that's right. What could have been the most oppressive, distressing, financially dismal, personally and professionally unproductive, and downright crummy time of my life has instead turned out to perhaps be the best thing that's ever happened to me. So, while today is officially Independence Day for our nation, I suppose I've been celebrating "Independence Days" of my own since May 1.

What independence are you celebrating?


  1. Lindsay,

    That was very inspiring to all of us out there who are unemployed. You're right, ever since I've graduated I've had time to do things for me. To make me a better person, not only for myself but for the people I surround myself with.

    Sure, there are many days you want it all to end and have a steady job again. This is what it is right now for a lot of people.

    Thank-you for putting it all into prospective. Being unemployed doesn't mean the end of the means a beginning to something great, if you make it that way. And you have made it that way!

    -Sara Bloomberg

  2. This is a beautiful piece of prose from a true pro. You're an inspiration, Lindsay. And a go-getter, too. I'm proud to know you.
    -- Angie Fenton

  3. Well said, Lindsay. I couldn't agree more. You know I'm in the same situation but I too have found myself more motivated and productive than I have been in years. I'm oddly, doing exactly what I want to do now instead. It's a great feeling.

  4. It's always interesting to come across someone with a different thought process than you are used to.

    I have been unemployed since October of 08, and I have definitely had periods of productivity in different things - most of it is personal, but not all of it. I have been able to do some extra fixing up of my house, but that's a good side benefit.

  5. Sara, Angie and Lauren: Thanks, ladies! Your support is beyond awesome. :)

    Mark: Much of my productivity has been personal as well. When I was working, I often put in long hours in the office (and sometimes even worked when I came home), so "home" and relationships often were, unfortunately, neglected. I'm definitely working on both now.

    Also, my situation is different from that of many of my fellow unemployed folks, as I am unmarried and not a parent. I recognize that this makes it far easier for me to find a freedom in unemployment rather than having to worry about scraping together enough money every week to sustain an entire household.

    Thanks for commenting, all!

  6. Lindsay: I came across this post by way of Amber's tweet (go figure, right). What an interesting ... and amazingly positive outlook on this stage/step in your career. I call it a stage as it is one that will help you get your next gig - one that I'm certain you will love.

    Please let me know if I can help in any way. I noticed you live in MI. I'm a U of M alum.

    DJ Waldow

  7. I'm just grinning like an idiot over here, don't mind me. ;-)

    I think when I'm having an off day I'm going to hop over to this post to remind myself of all the great things unemployment has done for me. Granted, I do okay, but still...

    What's amazing to me is that you're just three months in and instead of wallowing you just hopped right to the happiness part. You are on your way to great things with just this outlook alone, so put that with all your talent and, well, the world better watch out.

    Awesome, awesome post, Lindsay. Keep celebrating that independence of yours. :)

  8. We should all step back and review what really make us in life. We have more than we really think or know we do. Thanks for this message. Its very enlighting and eye opening. You have just help us all. Gpd Bless you Sister!

  9. Lindsay,

    Realized I never managed to stop by and comment. Loved this post and the attitude you're taking. Positive outlook counts for a lot.

    I've taken a few calculated risks in my career (and a few uncalculated ones) and the independence I found, even if it was a little scary at times, was worth every minute.

    You'll make it work, I know you will. And when you do, you'll have that much more perspective and levity to bring to the table.

    Good on you. Keep it up.

  10. All I can say is YOU GO GIRL! :)
    - Lauren Weber