Don't Mince Words



What I did on my summer… fall… winter… spring… summer vacation 1

Posted on August 14, 2010 by Marna

I wish I could say it’s hard to believe I’ve been out of work exactly a year today, but it’s true.  I mentally assumed, based on the economy, my age, and my salary expectations, that my job search would be long.  That’s why I immediately dubbed myself the “Layoff Lady of Leisure.”  My new “job” title was formulated to keep me in a positive mindset.  But let me tell you, I’ve worked my ass off in the last year.  My life would of been easier if I had been on the job.

I took a week off, like they tell you to do, before I hit the streets again.  Of course, my first week of freedom was overcast, so I didn’t get a tan, but I did manage to get drunk.  But drinking brought inspiration through my past experience in New York where, after the dot com crash, I went to a lot of pink slip happy hours.  This time around, I had an army of unemployed friends so we spent a lot of time finding “hardship” hours with reduced drinks and food.  So, in the last year, I’ve participated in an unknown number of happy hours where job interview stories were exchanged in between cocktails.  This got me out of the house more often and away from Tex, my dog and CSO (chief snack officer).

But a Layoff Lady of Leisure’s life isn’t all about boozing.  On average, I spent about six hours a day looking for jobs, calling about jobs, going to networking events, and other self-pimping activities.  I applied for approximately 727 jobs nationwide and had 44 interviews.  The interviews, like dating in Los Angeles, became a source of good material.  For instance, I actually got the “What do you see yourself doing in five years” question.  Yeah, novice interviewers are fun.  I refrained from saying “I see myself going through menopause.”  I had better interview questions when I auditioned for “The Apprentice.”

Most people, when they are laid off, secretly say “Now I finally have the time to do ____.”  My fill-in-the-blank was pretty predictable: “finally lose those last 20 pounds.”  In addition to continuing my gym routine, I started a running program.  That lasted about two weeks when my knees gave up in protest.  I then moved to P90X and had a remote workout buddy in New York.  That routine is a great way to work on all your body parts and it isn’t intimidating like lifting weights around the hottest gay guys on earth.  In addition to this, I was going to yoga twice a week and hiking.  After my birthday, I decided to try to be a vegan as a personal challenge.  Well, the kind of vegan that doesn’t throw her leather shoes out.  I thought for sure that change would shake more pounds loose.  I added daily hiking and still wasn’t losing weight.  Armed with months of caloric data, I went to my doctor and found out if I didn’t have a thyroid problem, I would of been at my goal weight months and months ago.  Yippee.  Without the time to do all this physical and food experimentation, I probably would not of known I had a problem.  Without the Obama COBRA subsidy, I would of been uninsured and never bothered with the doctor.  It’s funny how things work out.

The rest of my “free” time has been spent productively as well.  I moved my site to WordPress.  I painted my kitchen and living room.  I organized my Twitter lists.  I networked my way to more than 500 LinkedIn contacts.  When Tex got really tired of me, I fostered another dog for him.  I read, I wrote, and I caught up on NetFlix.  I also did some less desirable things:  I sold gold for cash and withdrew part of my 401k to keep the bill collectors away… and, because we know a girl’s gotta drink.

I don’t know many people who can be out of work a year and still maintain a good attitude like me.  I’ve been through this so many times, I know the routine.  With good friends and good drinks, I can weather just about any storm.  Let’s hope the tide is changing soon.  Your Layoff Lady of Leisure is ready for a new job title.

My workplace sabbatical – Week 1 0

Posted on August 23, 2009 by Marna

It is fun to watch the expression on people’s faces when I tell them that every career move I have made, with the exception of a move to Richmond, Va. for grad school and my California move, has been a result of a layoff or to avoid one. Confusion and concern are dominant reactions. Like a wife married to a beater, layoffs are something I’ve come to expect as a marcom professional. I look forward to them like a vacation because I can get caught up on my reading, writing, crafts, and other randomness.

This layoff is different because I’m not alone. I have lots of friends that beat me to the curb, which means I have playmates. My first week was designated as approved slackness. I was going to get tan and drunk all week long. Unfortunately, the marine layer didn’t cooperate, so I finished a book, and had two lunch dates with my various unemployed friends who are not really looking because there is nothing out there.

My layoff required me to layoff my dog walker. Now I’m home all day with the dog and I’m beginning to understand why my mom friends hate summers with the kids. I can hear his “I’m bored” moans under his breath with those “hey, you are home let’s play” looks. I’m mentally prepared to stay out of work a long time, because that what “they” are saying, but I can tell you that going back to work is going to be hard on this old dog. He likes having a playmate too.

When I moved to LA, the joke was to get anywhere you need to go between 10 and 2. That’s no longer the case because traffic is all the time. Stores are full and everyone is on the roads… probably because they don’t have jobs. My local Starbucks is mixed with the usual skateboard slackers and normal people like me. Same is true during my mid-day Target and Ralph’s runs.

Ditch the economic models and take a walk around. That will give you a real state of the union.

This is going to be a long vacation. Better get some more SPF 30.

  • About Marna

    Marna’s writing career started as a Pentagon intern. Early exposure to $500 toilet seat press releases made her appreciate creative nonfiction. Now she has more than 25 years of senior-level marketing and communications success working with Fortune 100 companies, government, nonprofits, small businesses, startups, and agencies.

    Stats: 369 Posts, 128 Comments

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