Time to Move On
Five years ago, at the peak of the current economic meltdown, I asked for a divorce. I knew my marriage was over; I thought about sticking it out a bit longer for monetary reasons but decided I just couldn’t. It was over, it had been over for a long time, and it was time to move on. He moved out two weeks after I made the announcement, as soon as he was able to secure housing.
Only a Financial Loss
His leaving and the loss of his income to the household was a pretty dramatic hit. I was working for a contingency-based recruiting/search firm on commission only. It was clear, right away, that no one was hiring and if they were, no one was leaving – meaning a very small quality candidate pool for the industry in which I was recruiting – software sales. I struggled for months to make ends meet. I even started selling household items in order to stay afloat. I had gone to several jewelers to sell my wedding ring, none offered enough or what I thought it was worth – and maybe I just didn’t feel right about selling it. But I needed money and badly.
What Happened Next?
I do a little acting and directing in local community and independent theater. One of my contacts through theater asked if I might appear in an independent film he was making. He had written the script, was directing, and starring, as well. I was eager to help out as I liked the script and idea. I was even able to secure a location for a small part of the filming – an office setting – and also acted in a very minor role. It was quite fun. Before I met the crew for an afternoon of filming, I stopped at yet another jeweler to have the rings appraised and see if I could sell. No luck, I couldn’t – the price offered was insanely low. Because the offer was just so low, I was unable to go through with it, even though I desperately needed money. I tucked the rings in a little paper envelope secured inside my wallet and zipped it closed.
I hurried to the location shoot and absently threw my purse on the ground in the middle of the film crew, changed my clothing and proceeded to make-up. The filming took less than an hour and we were on our way. I am sure you can guess what I discovered later that evening. The rings had been stolen along with a few other items by a member of the crew. I was surprised and hurt, mostly because I had gone out of my way to help them with the shooting and had offered my talent for no compensation, just my name in the credits.
And though it hurt, my dilemma had suddenly disappeared, I no longer despaired over selling the rings. I never said anything to my friend – the filmmaker, I let it go. I had learned a lesson. I imagined someone giving it to their happy girlfriend or perhaps they were able to hock it for more than the piddly amount I had been offered. Perhaps they needed the money more than I, for meds or to buy a new coat or tie so they could interview for a new job, a real job. I twisted the scenario in my mind in order to deal with my disappointment. That is what we do. That is what I do.
Not everyone has the same value system as you. But that shouldn’t change or alter your own value system. Stick to your guns. Treat people they way you have always treated them. Don’t sell yourself short or oversell what you provide. Give what you can and learn what you need to learn. It’s that whole darn Golden Rule thing, you know? It’s too bad that not everyone or at least a certain film crew didn’t remember a priceless rule.
by Rayanne Thorn