Saturday, January 02, 2010

A brief look back

So here we are in 2010. Last year was long, frankly, and like most people I'm glad that it's over and we're all moving on to hopefully better things. But my 2009 wasn't all bad.

The year started off in a not very good place; I was laid off in October 2008, and - despite this being my 3rd layoff in less than 10 years - really expected to find a new job quickly. I always think this, and it always takes much longer. Of course, with the holidays, it was easy to rationalize that not finding a job in 2008 was due to seasonal issues, and that I'd certainly find something soon after the new year.

In January, then, after gently encouraging my trivia team to take me out to brunch for my birthday, I finally applied for unemployment. I had been living on severance pay and my liquidated pension up until then, which was incredibly helpful in keeping me afloat. I was pretty sure that I'd find a new job soon and everything would be fine, although it's always difficult to stay positive as I sent more and more resumes into the void. I don't quite think the reality of the recession had sunk in, and of course why should a world-wide economic downturn affect me?

By February, I was getting some responses to my resume, and had several phone interviews. None seemed to work out, however. (It is interesting to note that I got an email from one of these jobs a month or so ago; I think the person they did hire didn't work out, and they were looking again at past candidates.)

All this time, of course, I was pretty much constantly concerned about my living situation. I was able to afford my rent, but that wouldn't last forever. There was always the possibility of moving back in with my parents, and a friend offered me a place to stay ... but of course, both of those meant relocating to another state (as did most of the jobs I was applying for).

March marked five months with no job, and it was clearly getting to me. But at the end of the month, I made a decision that turned out to be very, very smart - I applied for a part-time editing job. My thinking was that, if nothing else, it would look good on my resume. At some point in every interview I'd had, the interviewer had asked me what I'd been doing since the layoff, and "looking for a new job" never seemed to impress. Part-time freelance work, in my field, would be a much better answer.

Naturally, this screwed up my unemployment, which took me weeks to straighten out. I also finally started getting some local interviews, live and in-person, which was encouraging.

Late February/early March was also the point at which I started my diet. 1200 calories a day, more or less, and no restrictions on what those calories could come from. My biggest problem with diets has always been that I get a craving for a particular food, and it's usually one I can't have. So more moderation but nothing banned - it's worked pretty well so far.

Things finally starting looking up in June. In May, I had been switched to a slightly different part-time position with more responsibility with the company I was working for, and had an interview with the sister company of the place that laid me off the year before. When I mentioned it to my part-time boss, she said that she'd hate to lose me to another job, and I told her that I didn't want to quit working for them, just maybe do a little less. She asked if, instead, I could do more and work for them full time - if she could work out the details.

Which is kind of the dream, isn't it - that they like your work so much they offer full-time work.

June and July were crazy - I started working full time, spent a week in LA working and seeing friends, and moved to a new apartment. I was happy to be able to stay in NC; I've thought about it more since then, and I suspect that I'll stay here for at least the next few years.

After that, it's all a bit of a blur. I've been in the job about six months now, and it's mostly good. My boss is very cool, and since I set my own hours it gives me time to cook and watch too much TV and all that. The only real downside is that it is contract work, which means that I don't qualify for unemployment if something happens. And considering the number of times I have been laid off, it's difficult. Plus, there's the whole insurance thing - I'm still covered by COBRA, but that won't last forever.

I have one resolution for 2010, and it's vague enough to cover whatever I want it to. My resolution is to be more open - to people, to experiences, to happiness.

Here's to a great 2010.


  1. Glad to see that 2009 worked out for you in the long run. I am sure that you sent me your blog link quite a while ago but it got lost among my transitions so I never checked it out. Here's to a fabulous 2010!

  2. Here's to an even better 2010. Happy new year.