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Business News/ Photos / Slideshows/  DANCING DIVORCEE: The 10 to 6 saviour

DANCING DIVORCEE: The 10 to 6 saviour

A job is not just a self-reliance teaching platform but also a delicious escape

Some jobs come with their own stress factors, but nobody can deny the joy of getting money at the end of the month. Photo: ThinkStock (ThinkStock)Premium
Some jobs come with their own stress factors, but nobody can deny the joy of getting money at the end of the month. Photo: ThinkStock

To feel sad one needs time, lots of it. I had a job which let me shed my tears only between lunch breaks and after I came back home exhausted. Imagine if I had stayed at home. The tear fest would have had unlimited time at its disposal and I’m sure it would have gleefully indulged in needless excess.

A job, like all good feminists teach us, is not just a confidence-building, self-reliance teaching platform but it is also a delicious escape. It shows me the ‘Exit’ from the ‘Poor Me’ room. It allows me to meet people other than the one who caused me sorrow.

Some jobs come with their own stress factors. Bad bosses, too much work, terrible canteen food, but nobody can deny the joy of getting money at the end of the month. Even if it is not adequate, there is always room for a little splurge on the first three days.

Somebody I knew was getting a divorce and came to meet me to figure out how the road ahead would be. The first thing I told her was to get a job, any job. She would start staying alone in a month and she really needed to step out of her new house.

She confessed she didn’t have the courage to face other people yet. She wanted to stay in a concrete cocoon for a little time till she was ready. With the wisdom of the ‘has been there’, I confidently insisted that’s what her sadness wanted. Deviously, it would insulate her and then, by feeding off her isolation, it would grow stronger and stronger.

I must have been good at convincing, for the next month she had a job. Not the one she dreamt she’d have when she was in high school and the world seemed ready to do her bidding, but one that was kind enough to accommodate her lack of skills.

As for me, I had spent a week without a job after I had moved out into my own house. It was a strange time when I woke up with nowhere to go and nothing to do. Eerily strange. Normally, any break like this and I would have whizzed off on a holiday, but moving into a new house had left me quite broke.

Perhaps this is what retired people and house parents whose kids have left the nest feel. That frightening aloneness of purposelessness. Our cultures train us from childhood to be productive all the time. ‘Not doing something’ is looked down upon. How many of us can feel happy with nothing to do? To take pleasure in non-activity? Happiness from nothingness seems to work only when it is sandwiched between somethingness.

The Monday after that week, I skipped to work and sang at my desk. For a long time, I never had Monday morning blues. It was so great to get up and go to a place where I had to leave all my troubles at the doorstep. If I didn’t, my clients and my boss would give me an earful.

As for my friend who started working, she apparently didn’t get that divorce. She told me later, the job saved her marriage. It helped her find herself and the confidence to sort out her marital problems. Yes, jobs do work.

Dancing Divorcee is a weekly happy, sad, funny, obnoxious blog on the misadventure called divorce. It will appear every Thursday. Arathi Menon is a dancing divorcee who also blogs, writes, tweets and repairs brands.

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Published: 30 May 2013, 03:11 PM IST
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