We interrupt this unemployment again — hopefully for good this time …

Monday was one of the most rollercoaster days I’ve had in a long while. Actually, it was more like seven-and-a-half hours.

I hadn’t posted anything about this anywhere until now, but my mom has been in the hospital since last Wednesday night with pneumonia — and, as you might possibly know firsthand, it’s painful to see one of your parents laid up and suffering, especially if they’re elderly. My family and I have been visiting her daily. On Saturday, the color was back in her face, and she was animated, and we had a great heart-to-heart.

But Monday afternoon, as I was getting ready to leave the house for a checkup, my father and youngest brother came home from the hospital, and they told me she had taken a turn for the worse. And they’re not alarmists by any stretch. Naturally, visions of mortality come at you like bats at twilight when you hear something like that. I did my damndest to keep calm while suddenly confronted with the thought that maybe, just maybe, I’m about to lose my mother.

Well, imagine my surprise when I walked down the hospital hall two and a half hours later, and I heard her voice coming from inside the room, talking with a doctor. I was expecting tubes and a respirator and maybe a coma. Nope — she’s pretty tough.

Came home a little after 8 and was cooking a small bowl of pasta when the phone rang. It was a job recruiter calling from the suburbs of Seattle.


Three weeks ago, a fellow recruiter from Aquent, a company that hires contract workers for jobs with several large clients, including Microsoft, called me out of nowhere. A friend of one of my best friends had passed along my resume to her company, and she was wondering if I’d be interested in a copy-editing job at MSN, based out of New York.

Uhhhhh … I think that would be a yes.

So, three weeks later, after an editing test and a phone interview — and a year to the night that I worked my final shift on the copy desk at The Fresno Bee — I learned I was going back to work.

Yesterday, they sent me all my paperwork via emailed PDFs; last evening, I had my orientation over the phone. Tomorrow, I head into Manhattan to hand in my paperwork and start learning the system and, I’m supposing, be issued a laptop. And on Monday morning, I start work.

My prolonged, 12,000-inch industrial-dance-mix nightmare — four-plus years without a steady job, interrupted by a 10-month on-call stint at the Bee — is just about over.

I think. At least for now. Hopefully, somehow, for good.

It’s not perfect — it’s a part-time gig, 20 hours a week, 8 a.m.-noon weekdays, though full-time opportunities open up there quite a bit. And while I’ll have to slog back and forth to the City for a week or two for training, after that I’ll be telecommuting — working from home or wherever. It allows me to be here if/when my parents need me, and I can still look for other jobs in the interim. And, with pretty decent pay, stay solvent and pay off bills. And make connections.

And finally write my damned book. It’s not a perfect, clear-cut ending to my saga of going through two huge and wild and unplanned and soul-wrenching life changes at once (gender transition and unemployment), but it is a happy ending. And, at 20 hours a week, I’m eligible for benefits, which I really need right now, though it’s gonna cost a chunk of my check each week.

And I’ll be back in the game.

At last. Money and a sense of usefulness and possibilities and opening doors.

And now, with the documents and the orientation, it really, truly seems real.

But I’m keeping my enthusiasm to a muted roar. This past week has had me kinda drained.

Well, for one, Mom’s illness has weighed on me more than I’ve cared to let on — more than I had ever expected. I’ve been mentally preparing myself for the best and worst at the same time these past few days.

For another, I’ve had more than my share of letdowns and false alarms and have come so close to some jobs these past four years, so until I can settle in some and prove myself and get some hours and money and experience and (hopefully) a good reputation under my belt, I can’t feel overly confident for a while.

And who knows? Maybe a full-time position doesn’t open up. I’m still keeping my eye out for full time. Ideally, that’s what I want. If this does become 40 hours a week at some point, I would be making what I made before the first layoffs in Fresno in 2009. And, living at home, I could very quickly pay off the credit card and the bills and give my folks some money toward the house bills and put a huge chunk in the bank, with the probability of needing another car in a year or two. And my healthcare premiums cost less the more hours I work. And I’d still be here at the house if my folks need me.

But hey — as I said, it’s a start. And if I head back to the work world with a little worry — because when you’ve had your lifelong career pulled out from beneath you, you never stop wondering if/when the shoe will drop again — at least I’ll go back with a sigh of relief, a shy smile and a quiet sense of gratitude.

As I say at the stroke of midnight every New Year: Onward.


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11 Responses to “We interrupt this unemployment again — hopefully for good this time …”

  1. Paola Says:

    YES! Celebrations will be forthcoming…

  2. Ruth Says:


  3. Colleen Says:

    Yes! Yes! Yes!

  4. Kelli Elam Says:

    Well Fran, all of the prayers, positive thoughts, and so on, for good news for you has, it seems, paid off–YAY!! Much deserved sweetie, and hopefully it will soon turn into “full time” (there’s a phrase I think about a lot :D), or with something even better eventually. And, cool, you can work at, or near your home, and family–fabulous! Congratulations!! (Hugs)

    ~Kelli from Cali

  5. Jody Says:

    Rorschach tears off mask. His eyes burn into you with baleful madness. His chapped lips tremble. He speaks. “HOLEEEE SHIT!”

  6. Z-man Says:

    Yay!!!! I’m so happy for you! ‘Bout time…

  7. Craig Says:

    Awesome Fran!!! I am very excited for you. Congrats

  8. jomaire Says:

    Congrats! Seattle is pretty and I heard that living and working there is pretty. Keep it up. I also hope your mom stays strong and gets better.

  9. jmucci Says:

    Best of luck with the new gig Fran… and I wish your mother the best.

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