The first week of no-work

So it started – From July 1, I am officially unemployed.

So many stories are to be said, but in a gist I am unemployed. I quit, but at the same time cannot stop thinking that I was let go. I mean, it was meant to happen.

So, I chose to take a break.

I rented a hotel room nearby, and started being there. I was supposed to look for jobs, do some soul searching, etc.

On June 30, I went out to the hotel and checked on the room condition: Thanks to the Covid scare, the room rate is extremely low compared to the price I had to pay earlier.

I wandered the room a little. Turned on the TV. But then, I took out my scheduler and started making plans. So this comes here, that comes there: By the end of the week, I shall have applied a dozen places.

Day 1 – July 1.

A sad news arrived very early in the morning. The firm I was about to work for, as I had predicted, once again rejected me finally because they could not get me the visa. I saw it coming. I knew, but it hurt. Went numb for a while.

I left for the hotel. I just came in, like I would come in for work. But instead of starting my computer, I did something I always wanted to do in the office: sleep.

So I ate a pot noodle, then crawled into the bed. That strenuous feeling of carb feeding my flesh was inexplicable. I just closed my eyes.

But I woke up less than 40 minutes. It was still 0730. Wow, I thought time in the office was going slow. But time on the first day of unemployment was even slower. I turned on the laptop. I wanted to open emails, but then I thought, it is not important anymore. So I logged on to Netflix and watched three episodes of the latest Billions.

But it was still not even noon. The time was slow.

Some of my friends checked up on me. They asked about the hotel room- they said I deserve this extravaganza, but I know they are trying to understand. But anyway, I took photos of the room.

I went to the gym and took a treadmill walk for 60 minutes. I put the speed at 6.5km/h. I thought it would be easy, but hell no, I was sweating all over. I felt like I had to reinvent myself: I was a jogger but two years in the company made me weak. I thought from tomorrow, workout will be my priority.

Went to a nearby Snowfox restaurant and bought some packed lunch and had it in the room. Watched another episode of the Black List. Then I felt like exploring my emails. Nothing special was going on.

I turned on the TV. Saw couple of programs but I was definitely anxious. Tried to concentrate on some YouTube shows, but didn’t work either. What shall I do? Can this hotel room work as my home office-ish place? I doubt it.

Came back home at around 2000. My dog was welcoming me hard. At least something is everlasting. I take the dog for a walk. A friend called me and asked how I was doing: She said I should let myself relax, completely. Thank you, I am trying, I chose this, but it isn’t easy. But we had this great talk for about an hour. Yes, it is nice.

Surprisingly, I slept well. I wasn’t able to for the past five months. But for the first time since then (except for a couple of nights I was totally drunk) I slept like a log.

Day 2- July 2

So here’s this: I don’t have a job. I mean, the last time I didn’t have a job, I had the consent to be in the office by a certain timeline. I was just taking a gap week or two.

But this time, for the first time in 14 years, I was completely clueless of what I will be doing. Will I ever be employed? Of course I could get a very similar job as I used to, but that’s not what I want. The companies that were to hire me gave up at the last minute because of the hiring freeze(due to Covid) or visa restriction (Thanks to Trump, but I cam dubious if any other administrator would choose the other way when domestic unemployment is soaring. At the end of the day, I am just a foreigner). That question lingered on my way to the hotel at 0630. The morning was too young. It is bright but no shops are open except for the convenient stores.

I returned to the room with one thing in mind: During my break I will redeem my sleep. So the minute I arrived at the room I ate a banana and a box of biscuits then went to sleep. Surprise, surprise. I had two hours of good sleep!

I went to the gym again, walked on the treadmill at 6.5km/h speed for about an hour, and concluded with a 5-minute run.

I took a shower, put on a sunscreen and went down to the hotel restaurant where they serve semi-buffet. I ate four dishes. I eat a lot, but not this much. But today, it wasn’t the stress-eating. I was more relaxed. While I tried so hard to keep myself from meat, the pork barbecue was too enticing and I ended up eating four pieces. The food was great and I loved the orange cake, so I couldn’t stop.

Took some photos and shared them with my friends. They loved it. I invited them over, but I know they are busy working. I brought a book about the UNESCO Heritage, and loved reading them. I went to a foot spa zone and dabbed my foot into the water for a while and sunbathed a little. I was content.

Came back to the room because the carb rush was making me sleepy again. Just as I was about sleep, one of the headhunters called me and said that a tech company wanted an interview. I set it at July 7. Then I fell asleep: Another two hours.

A rather good news came: the government job I had applied for, wanted a video interview. I set it at July 8. So at least I have two probable jobs in my hand. Felt better. Though neither felt better than the previous job that I was supposed to have. I am not a developer so the chances of my getting that job back is practically 0. Gotta live with it, but it is bitter.

I tried to browse the news about the Tuesday interview a bit. The headhunter sent me some dos and don’ts for the interview. Read them over and thought maybe this company isn’t a startup anymore, and is acting like a big corporation: Then what’s the use of my running away from one from the first place?

Came back home. Had some hearty dinner. Took dog for a work. And just drafted my application for another regional governmental job.

At 2200, had a video chat with my friends. Those two were self-isolating because one is pregnant and the other went to the same restaurant as a diagnosed person. We talked a lot. They care about me and wanted to know what I will do about the next job: Seeun suggested that I stop looking out for jobs and just chillax. Sehee said that’s not going to happen with me.

I said I am torn, but will see.

Then went to sleep.

Day 3- July 3

Last night I couldn’t get some sleep. Perhaps I slept too much during the day. Woke up around 0230. Just lingered with my phone. This ain’t good: The last time I decided to quit was because I couldn’t get some sleep during weekdays.

Arrived at my hotel-casa-office, had a pot noodle and went to sleep. Today, I slept for four hours. Didn’t really feel like going to the gym because some kind of overwhelming lethargy just swamped me. So, I stayed in watching TV for no reason. I lingered until 1300 and left the hotel.

Went to Jeongjadong, a village 40-minute-metro ride from Seoul. Never really had the time or guts to come this far, but wanted to try this southern American food. Despite the noodle that I had right before going to bed – and had no time to digest because of the four-hour sleep- I wasn’t really hungry at all, but I ordered Cajun pasta, a beer. Actually the pasta was beyond good! Really loved it. I was stuffed but wanted to try out my next curiosity target- beignet. It was just what I had expected — good but just plain. Glad I came to solve the curiosity but wouldn’t come again for that donut.

The pasta
The beignet

Messaged my friends : I think I am starting to enjoy being unemployed! They laughed. I think you are already ready to get a job, Seeun said. Nah… or maybe.

Went to a comic book cafe nearby. The entire place was empty. Only a hostess and her cat was there. I was offered a little room. I brought in Shima manga series. But then I fell asleep. That cajun food is making my brain melt.

Don’t know how long I slept, but when I woke up, a guy I had met last year through Tinder chatted up. It has been more than a year and I was just so close to having a holiday fling then I backed out. But I enjoyed his company and he said he enjoyed mine. I think he had chatted up with all of his friends during the lockdown and just browsed his phone, then messaged me. Chatted up a little, but with both of us knowing this is going nowhere – I mean could we even meet up this year or the next? I doubt that- it was just a gentle hello.

Went to a used book store to browse when a friend called me up and said she heard the rumor that I left the job. I told her, I want some discretion and that I will tell her by the end of the month when we are supposed to meet up. She said she understands. Those people talking about other people’s businesses… that’s when I really want to just leave this job and start afresh…

Came back home, watched some TV. Then I watched some Mukbang on Youtube and fell asleep once again.

Gosh, moving from insomnia to rush of sleep is happening too quick.

Is this emancipation or just me being anxious and oversleeping? I don’t know. Hope for a better one, though.

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