Unemployment & the Starbucks Bathroom

What does unemployment look like exactly? As I write this, I’m sitting at a Starbucks drinking an iced Americano (yes, it’s Winter and I still like my coffee cold, do not judge me.) I’m doing my best Carrie Bradshaw impersonation. I made sure to put on a decent outfit, do my makeup, grabbed my cute bag and rolled into “work.” Confession, I went to the closest Starbucks to my house because I feared that going any further would give me enough time to chicken out and head back home. What is up with that anyway? Oh. Right. That’s anxiety.

I got to Starbucks and scoped out the place for the perfect spot to sit. The sheer volume of thoughts and scenarios that raced through my head about where to park my behind is shameful. It wasn’t until I started typing away that I noticed I’m right next to the gosh dang bathroom. Gross. I’m having flashbacks of first grade when my teacher sat me by the bathroom and I vividly remember gagging each and every time a disgusting classmate would stroll out of there. My seat at Starbucks just isn’t going to work. This Starbucks isn’t going to work. I’m unemployed?! A freelancer?!?! Shit! Is this what life is now?!?!?!

::sigh:: Must keep it together. I’m in public after all. Ok. Focus. On what though?! Well, I suppose it’s time I file for unemployment. Is that even ok to talk about? I’m embarrassed because well, the world led me to believe I should be, but I also know I’ve made the right decisions that led me to this spot. Ok, what do I do? Where do I start? Google “unemployment.” ::face palm:: Another person just walked out of the bathroom and I pretty sure I can see the germs flying towards my face.

Google pulled up the site I needed in .02 seconds flat. All that hard work means I need to reward myself with a quick trip to Facebook. ::20 minutes later:: I shit you not, I just saw a man with a baby strapped to him walk out of the men’s bathroom. I give him credit. How the hell do you pee with a kid?! (Clearly I’m not a parent.) I guess he does have the advantage of being able to go while standing up.

Ok…focus Ellen…ugh. (But I wonder if he washed his hands.)

Well. That was easy enough. After filling out the unemployment stuff the weight of the world has been lifted off of my shoulders. Now I have facts that I can base my future decisions on, particularly in the finance department. Whoa. My anxiety made it out to be WAY worse than reality. I probably…no…I would have saved myself a lot of bullshit had I done this 5 days ago instead of procrastinting. Think I’ll learn? Probably not. But hopefully there won’t be a next time.

Here we go again. This time a lady walks out of the bathroom. Pretty sure she recognized me. ::Deletes just in case she did and reads this.::

So what’s next? I don’t know. And I’m ok not knowing. Never in my life did I think I’d say that. I’ve lived by things I “should” be doing and while it brought me moments of happiness, I can’t say I was happy. I feel like a kid graduating high school. The world is my oyster (what an awful analogy though, seriously) and every route laid out in front of me will be an adventure. Now it’s just a matter of picking which adventure I want to go on. (An ode to my childhood love of the Goosebumps novels.)

Note to self: the amount of people using the Starbucks bathroom decreases dramatically after 10am. Thoughts and prayers to the employee that gets stuck having to clean up.


  1. You’re doing great. Just remember that. I miss hearing you on the radio, though I do perk up when I hear you still on the commercials.
    PS: Looks like you are at the Starbucks near me.

  2. I always envied the people at my local Starbucks that were on their laptops doing their own thing while I rush in and out on my way to a job that I really don’t like but am grateful for.
    I wonder if I could get up, get dressed go there or would I just stay home in my pj’s and grab a cup of coffee. I hope I would do the same as you but not sure.
    I’m proud of you, keep it up and keep being positive. It really looks good on you.

    1. I wish I could say I’ll become the person who turns this into a daily routine but it’s going to be hard. The easy route is to stay at home and pretend like you’ll actually be productive. This is day 1. I hope I’m this brave tomorrow…and the next day…and the day after that.

  3. I am impressed, seriously. I have spent a lifetime working, supporting my now “was-band” (ex-husband is so final and when you have children together, even when they are adults, it is never final), then a divorced mom of two who went on to college….then doing whatever to survive the recession. Then hanging on to jobs out of FEAR – fear of the next crash, next blow. I’m 58 and suddenly, I do not want to be doing what I am doing – its not a bad job, the people are great, and I get a decent wage, but it in no way feeds my soul. I am planning my next step and hopefully make the leap this next spring! I say DON’T WAIT!!!

  4. Welcome to the dark side…*cough* I mean unemployment. Your absence on the air waves is sorrowful only because you found yourself unhappy there.

    As for the real clothes vs. pajamas debate, I stand by the “What do I want to accomplish today?” Method. Housework and computer stuff, pajamas for sure! Seeing People, groceries, anything else that involves other humans, real clothes but do it in the morning as a normal routine workday. The hope is that you feel less like you don’t have a job and more like your job is leaving the house to accomplish goals.

    Anxiety sucks and it can be easy to isolate, when all of your peers and friends have jobs, so be sure to keep social time on your calendar, for added stimulation. I live by the Dr. Suess quote: “Be yourself because those who mind, don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

    Thanks for sharing your new and uncharted chapter with us.