Another milestone

Today marks 20 months since I was thrown out of work. One year, eight months. I plan to celebrate by doing the same things I do nearly every other day: have breakfast, ride my bike, scour the Web for jobs, write semi-copiously at some coffee shop and try to convince myself that life really is worth living, even though much of the universe tells me I’m not worth shit.

It’s been a milestone already. I slept nearly six hours straight through this morning. It’s the longest uninterrupted stretch of sleep I’ve had in two months. Most mornings, regardless of when I get to bed, or how much or little caffeine I’ve ingested, I get four hours, maybe five if I’m lucky. Then I have to force myself to try to get back to sleep, with mixed results. Rest is really important for my body and mind, both of which have gone through more stress than they should.

I have a longer post that’s been piling up for a while now, but not yet ready to drop, about life on the cliff. For the past few days, I’ve been able to steer clear of the cliff, but that comes and goes. I have some resumes out there, and a couple of friends have really had my back all along in this regard, sending me job listings and/or talking me up to potential employers (thanks, Colleen, Joe and Silvia).

Also — and this won’t be a separate post, unless I make it to the show and win — I tried out for “Jeopardy!” again last Friday in San Francisco. It was the third time I tried out for the show, the first as my better half.

I won’t know how I did unless I make the show, and none of us really have an inkling what they’re looking for, but I think I did very well. I made conscious decisions ahead of time not to mention unemployment (I’d say a third of our tryout group was out of work) and not to mention the gender thang. (I think the contestant crew figured it out early on, but as the good HR people they are, they didn’t mention it, either.) Keep it positive, you know?

On the whole, though, I was pretty, witty, confident, comfortable both in my skin and with the game itself, and I had game. I’d like to think that they’re ready for me this time, that the third time will indeed be the charm, and I’ll go on and win a few games and open up some new and wonderful doors for myself.

But the struggle continues. The pickins on the cyber job front have been slim this week, and with the holidays coming, bound to get slimmer.

Also, I inquired over the summer about my old job back home, since my successor left. I did killer work there for 11 1/2 years before moving out here to be laid off. They knew I’ve been out of work a while, and they knew the quality of work I did, and were cool with my transition, to boot. But I found out 2 1/2 weeks ago through a friend that they slid someone over from a sister paper a couple weeks before to take the job.

That, unto itself, didn’t bother me; they’ve had a hiring freeze for a while. What upset me was that no one bothered to even say, “Look, we’re sorry, Frannie, we know you wanted to come home, but you see, we’ve had this hiring freeze …” Just something. No one owes me shit, but a little drop of decency from people I’ve known for years, at a time when I need decency, truly would have been nice.

That was career rock bottom. After that, I’m too embarrassed to show my face around my old home stomping grounds again — knowing I’m not good enough anymore and not even worth a crumb of common decency.

But in the midst of that, I’ve continued the exercise in futility the resume process. I even put out a resume that afternoon. That’s something I wouldn’t have done a year ago. This time last year, I would’ve been fetal for a week or two. That’s the hormone therapy at work.

And this week, I’ve taken more of a calmer, “whatever happens, happens” approach, which has been a refreshing change from the sea of raging anxiety. I don’t know whether that means I know deep down that something good’s about to happen, or I’m just starting to make my peace with myself before I disappear. I can’t tell at this point.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while and thinking I’m just this happy-go-lucky boy flouncing around in a dress and being frivolous, you couldn’t be more wrong. Contrary to appearances, I don’t post every single thing about my life here. I’ve kept the sea of storms at bay in the spirit of trying to be upbeat. But it’s there. And it’s constant. And most times it’s raging. And the ship has been buffeted by waves for 20 months now, and supplies and morale are dwindling pretty quickly.

And to boot, my compass has gone haywire and I can’t see the stars to use a sextant. Am I closer to port or to the rocks at this point? The only way to find out is to sail on, right?

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2 Responses to “Another milestone”

  1. Jay Says:

    Keep up the good fight Fran. It’s rough out there, to put it mildly…but don’t give up. I’m trying not to either. Some days I feel like I have a lot of good things to look forward to in the future…and other days I feel like I have nothing left to look forward to….but I keep hoping and clinging to the former. Hopefully you will to.

  2. Jackie Says:

    I know its hard Fran…I know exactly how you feel. I feel fortunate enough though to have learned very quickly (thanks to the help of some post-layoff counseling early on) That the Newspapers failure was not mine. Just because they were not business savy enough to make the correct decisions early on so that NONE of us got laid off; is NO WAY a reflection of me, my success or of the person that I am. I hope you realize that. The last newpaper and the newspaper you used to work for back home should take up NO space in your head. Its really really too bad that you feel that just because THEY are too rude, ignorant, oblivious to not get back to you that somehow your not worthy. FUCK THEM!

    Besides…one thing I keep thinking of that keeps me going (despite my two children I have to worry about providing for)….is WHY NOT me? I mean thousands of people are in the same situation as me…I am one of the lucky few who don’t have to worry about having my home foreclosed on…or a car payment to worry about…or credit card bills. This is happening to ALOT of people..

    hang in there Frannie and stop lettin the man get you down..Your an awsome person, of whom I have deep admiration.

    Good luck w Jeopardy!
    I hope you know I ❤ ya

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