It’s weird when life hands you lemons. And you’re like, “Sour yellow fruit.” And everyone says you’re supposed to make lemonade and there’s this big metaphor and it makes you feel better, or, usually, doesn’t.
It’s weirder when life hands you lemons and you look around and think, “Well, shit. Turns out that’s the only ingredient I was missing.”
I was recently laid off from my job. They gave me three weeks of warning, which is a fair amount of time and gave me the security of rent for another month, if not car and student loan payments. I made the preemptive call to my parents. Not quite an SOS. Just making sure the channel is open. Because we see an iceberg coming and we don’t know if we can avoid it. With years of experience in the job market, they have the context to know what to expect.
There was the rush of calculation. How much money do I need to survive? How many years of experience? Am I even good at anything? I had the same job for 6 years and now it’s gone. There’s no paycheck. There’s no clocking in. If I have to move back to Texas…I won’t move back to Texas. I will become homeless before that happens.
In three days, I applied for a California driver’s license and became a Lyft driver, thinking, “It’s something.”
I applied for jobs. Hundreds of jobs. Tons and tons of jobs. Maybe one in a hundred got me an interview.
I didn’t really realize anything was wrong until I met with a rep at a temp agency. I gave him my salary requirements, more than I made at my last job, and he laughed. He literally laughed out loud and said to me, “You’re being robbed.”
It was a sobering moment. I didn’t particularly like or dislike my previous job. It was something I did. It was something I did well. It was something I was paid to do, but I didn’t know I was being robbed.
Then, I got a paycheck from Lyft.
I was being robbed. Driving my car for 10 hours over the course of two days netted me over $200. I can make $20 an hour if I drive smart. Plus, fuel rewards were saving me on every fill-up, I was meeting and talking to interesting people, I was getting to know Los Angeles better than I’ve ever known. Lyft is the best job I’ve ever had.
A 9 to 5 job interview came up and I actually had to weigh the options of accepting a “real job” position over just driving my car whenever I felt like it because the material rewards were balanced.
I mean, when was the last time I had to sit down and think, “What am I doing with my life?” That kind of thing is left to college students who have the luxury of wasting time.
A slow realization has dawned.
Getting laid off may have been the best thing that happened to me.
It’s an interesting feeling to be handed lemons and open the cupboard to find sugar, a juicer, filtered water, and a frosty pitcher staring at me like, “Where you been?”
Or, maybe the ingredients for some sort of lemon salad. I could really go for a lemon ice right now…