5 Things That Have Happened Since I Got Laid off

Getting laid off is turning out to be one of the best things that’s ever happened to me, just below meeting Adam and moving to New York. Don’t believe me? Check out the shiz that’s happened since I lost my job.

  1. I remembered what I actually liked about my job in the first place, or I should say, my vocation: Writing and editing. Now that I’m freelance, that’s all I do and it’s amazingly satisfying, like gardening or chopping wood.
  2. My blood pressure went down 20-30 points. As of my doctor’s appointment this morning, it was a Chris Traeger-like 90/60. My personal nursing student/husband tells me that this is actually on the low side. Anyway, I feel great.
  3. I feel great, period. I’m so happy that my friends are commenting on it. I can’t really even muster up much concern about money, even thought I really should, as I hear they will not give you cheese at the supermarket without it. Ditto beer, although that is sometimes flexible depending on how cute you are.
  4. I have lost six pounds and am contemplating exercising on a regular basis.
  5. I have rediscovered how wonderful my friends are. I’m amazed at how many people reached out to me right after the layoffs to offer connections or freelance assignments or beer. Ooh, that’s another way in which a person can get free beer. I’ll have to remember that. Also, my husband is pretty rad, but I hadn’t forgotten that, so I don’t know if it counts.
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15 thoughts on “5 Things That Have Happened Since I Got Laid off

  1. I am not nearly as interested in my daily email from About .com since you are gone.
    The bosses clearly didn’t understand the value of having their product delivered by a person with a bright point of view. Now it’s just stuff I can far more easily overlook than then you were up top encouraging me to read on. Mistake on their part. However, I encouage you to find a job. You can freelance anyway. I have been unemployed for four years now and the longer you’re on the outside the harder it is to get back in. Even though you feel young enough to lay back for a while, your 30s are your chance to make money and get ahead and it’s just impossible to catch up if you drift too far away. You have to realize there are thousands of people in their 20s who will grab the jobs that could have been yours. Don’t let that happen. Get back on the horse. A friend in Michigan

  2. R Sue, what did you do, if you don’t mind my asking? I have so many friends who have been out of work for multiple years now. It’s horrifying to see how our economy has changed.

    1. Second attempt at reply: Jen, I did the jobs that used to belong to bright, articulate, ambitious young women: Director of Communications, Dir. of Public Relations, Public Affairs, Corporate Giving. When Detroit’s for-profit sector suffered I moved to nonprofit as Director of Communications and Fund Development. Now I can’t compete with the generations after mine and their fresh young energy, their lower salaries and lower expenses. This is not the time for you to sit back. Grab hold and shake the trees to find anthing you can to stay in the workforce. You can always fine-tune your career as you go along but once you’re on the outside there are five waiting to replace you, then 15, then 500 , and your proud accomplishments become old news. Feel the fear and act on it now while you are still a marketable. Other option: go back to school for a job-job: Your talent will survive but the landlord won’t take a sonnet in exchange for October rent. Grab hold! RS

  3. I’ll write a longer post about this, because you are definitely not alone in urging me to get a job-job. But the thing is, I’m not sitting back: I haven’t taken a day off since the lay-off. (There’s your poem.)

    I grabbed hold and shook the tree til a bunch of clients fell out. Financially, it’ll work out about the same, especially since salaries aren’t really growing anymore unless you work for a Fortune 500 company.

    One last thing, and then I’ll wind up this novel: Talent doesn’t survive. It dies a little every time you spend a ten-hour day doing something you hate. Most of the time, we’re stuck with that, and glad to have it. But if I can escape, why not?

    1. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst. John Lennon wasn’t the first to say it but he moved it from Hallmark to hip when he sang “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans.” I don’t want to post my life on the internet so let me just stay general here, Since you are not an heisess you cannot afford to be without a profession. Your freeland income will be a bonus. Your husband’s income and health insurance are a bonus. Now go get a teacher’s certificate or become a phlebotomist or paralegal or dental assistant to pay the rent and gain expeience for the writing that will never stop because you will still be you even when you have to be someone else 40 hours a week. Don’t wait. Bite the bullet. Stay well and consider it all material you’ll use later. I cancelled my about.com daily newsletter, Screw them., Your Michigan friend, RS

      1. I wish you all the best. You’re a talented humorist who creates vivid characters with just a slash of the pen. But keep your options open, never say ‘never’, and be a practical woman who can take care of herself come what may. Becaue May indeed comes before we know it.

      2. Sorry, I just read this, and the part about being a paralegal to pay the rent? It costs you your sanity, speaking as someone who once was one. That’s the kind of job that sucks away your soul and your creativity, until one day you wake up and realize you’ve given the best years of your life to a firm that doesn’t let you take a Saturday off to prepare for your kid’s second birthday.

  4. Some sound advice in the comments here, but I for one am happy to see put your considerable talent and drive to use forging your own path. It takes the right stuff, and you have that in droves. Charge ahead, and to those who confront you with fear and doubt, kindly offer the words of the immortal Dan Daly: “Come on, you sons of bitches! Do you want to live forever?”

    1. We all felt that way once. Then comes life itself and the path to survival involves tactics, strategies, patience and…sacrifice. VISA will not go one-on-one with you in the parking lot for this month’s payment. Blue Cross does not accept I.O.U. The fasting growing careers: re-po men, process servers.
      The world is mercifless, unrelenting, and the breaks are few and far between. Plan accirdingly. Unless, of course, great-grandpa set up your trust fund before you were born. In which case I’d like to drop off a plate of cookies and get to know you better.

      1. R Sue,
        I think you’re barking up the wrong tree now, sweetheart. Generally one doesn’t join the service as I did if they had a trust fund.
        Having been a career counselor myself, I can tell you that although prudence is advisable, believing in magic-bullet careers is no guarantee to keeping yourself out of the gutter. And having been part of the world’s finest armed bureaucracy, I can also tell you that it’s a damned fool idea to believe that the only feasible way for even the best and brightest to succeed is by staying beholden to large, impersonal corporate bodies.
        As to tactics, strategies, patience, and sacrifice, these can take many forms. If you ask me, a prolific freelancer with sufficient drive, networking skills, and a continuous body of work is hardly “without a profession.” If anything, that individual is in a better position to later return to the conventional workforce with a slew of contacts and references, should it become necessary or desirable.
        That having been said, I always love a fan of Jen’s, as well as a healthy dose of cynicism, but let’s not get too zealous about the latter.
        Best of luck to you in the future.

      2. Thank you for your service to our country.
        I did not recommend that Jen join a giant monolithic firm and lose herself in the process.. I suggested careers like paralegal, dental assistant, teaching certificate, things she can be qualified for in short order with possible federal grant assistance which can provide steady employment while still pursuing writing opportunities on the side. This is just a practical approach to long-term economic survival, not even prosperity. Here in Michigan we tend to think bleak. Walk this mile in my shoes: when I took off my wedding and engagement rings and handed them to the pawn broker with the goal of making that month’s mortgage he handed them back with the comment “There’s a glut of small stones on the market.” In other words hundreds of women before me had already traded their precious things in order to live. I was just the next in line.

  5. Jen, I hardly glance at the About.com newsletter now. It’s deadsville, it’s dull, it has lost SPARK. It has become vanilla. I know that whatever you do next, it will be done with your panache and spirit. Best, Pam Stephan

  6. Don’t get a regular old 9-5 job (or in NYC a 9-11pm job.) You have too much talent and sparkle to get stuck at a desk following the bidding of someone else. You are your own best counselor. Look at what you’ve done already! I am so proud of you! and you are a rock star! Love from your own Ma Smash

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