Wednesday, November 11, 2009

When It Rains...

Just to prove the old adage “when it rains, it pours”: I lost my job yesterday.

Can you believe it? Exactly five days after my cat drops dead in my apartment, I LOSE MY JOB.

Those talking heads on television may think the recession is over, but apparently no one has yet informed my employer -- or all the advertisers that funnel money to my employer, and have lately tightened their funnel mercilessly. I got a call about 10 a.m. yesterday telling me that my department is being phased out, and my boss and I both will be working only through the end of the year.

In some ways, this is not a bad thing. I got into journalism because I loved writing. But when I took this job in 2000, I knew I’d be sacrificing the writing in order to move to New York and work primarily as an editor. At the time, the sacrifice seemed worth it.

Now, I’ve lived in Manhattan nearly a decade, and my job has mutated to such an extent that I don’t even do much hands-on editing. I’m primarily an administrator, a planner, an architect of editorial theory. To quote the Talking Heads: "You may ask yourself, 'How did I get here?'"

Losing this job will hopefully give me a chance to move to something more hands-on, more directly fulfilling and interesting.

Also, as I said, I’ll be working through the end of the year, so the loss is not immediate. That’s a plus. And I have a severance package, which extends my income into next year and will give me a cushion while I find something new to do.

The downside? Insecurity. The loss of that regular, steady, reliable paycheck. And also a separation from a company that I love, and coworkers I’ve enjoyed and grown to know since 1988, when I graduated from college and first began working for this particular newspaper firm.

But, oh well. It’s a brave new world. Security is illusory. I now have some time to plan my next steps, consider the various alternatives, and pursue possibilities.

An old coworker of mine used to say, “You got to laugh to keep from cryin’,” and that’s exactly how I feel. I mean, what an insane week!

(Photo: My sentiments exactly.)


  1. Yow! I'll send lots of good thoughts your way.

    It's indeed a challenging time to be a journalist ...

  2. It made me feel afraid just to read what happened to you. Sometimes we need a catalyst to make a change in our lives; I guess losing your job will force the issue of finding something you like better! I hope you are able to ride the wave of the improving economy and do just that. Meanwhile, my thoughts are with you as you ponder your losses. Aren't you glad you have Dave in your life?

    It's indeed a sad day for the newspaper industry when they have to let such good people go.

  3. Oooh, I'm sorry to hear this. Even with the cushion of time & a severance package, this is never good news to near. Good luck figuring out what your next step is.

  4. Steve -- First of all, I am so very sorry to hear about the sudden loss of your kitty. My empathetic thoughts are with you, (having experienced something similar earlier this year).

    I also am sad to learn that you are losing your job, but bravo to you for the positive attitude with which you are handling that big change! I think that you are right -- this will open up your life to new and better things. Onwards and upwards, as Reya would say.

    Please let me know if there's anything I can do for you as you adjust to these big changes in your life.

    P.S. Sorry to have missed you when you were in DC a few weeks ago.

  5. Whoa! What a shock.

    I do believe that when it's time for a shift, life changes - whether you like it or not.

    But it is like having the rug pulled out from underneath you. Twice.

    Honey I am thinking of you with so much love, sending good strong energy in your direction.

    I believe in my heart of hearts this is all unfolding to a much better way for you, but sheesh, must the gods be so dramatic??

  6. Steve, I'm so sorry to hear that! Your positive and pragmatic attitude is inspiring, however. May all be well with you.

  7. What a wild week for you...

    I was going to leave a comment about the gorgeous cabbage and got waylaid only to return later to this...

    I'm sending wonderful thoughts your way and hope that the upcoming transition is smooth and positive for you.

    Let me know if there is anything I can do, too.

  8. I'm serious about Mellow Mushroom Pizza...just say the word!

  9. yikes...I'm so sorry. makes my heart constrict just thinking of this news being delivered to you

    no shit about when it rains....

    thankfully there is a severance package (of sorts) and you have a most excellent attitude - two things that will help.

    sending positive vibes your way. there is never a good time to learn that one's job is gone, but it does seem this time of year the news is even harsher and harder to take...

  10. its a great photo steve - says it all