She minces no words.

Dont 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 5 Comments Off on My workplace sabbatical – Week 5

Posted on September 21, 2009 by Marna

As I continue to network and build my LinkedIn empire, there is an undercurrent of panic. I know I have about 45 days to find a job before everything stalls until 1Q10.

I had four dates with my Outtie friends this week. Three of them aren’t even looking. They are enjoying their sabbatical away from tools, underachievers, fakers, and other corporate frustrations. I understand that, but I guess I’m so used to getting laid off that I tolerate and even embrace my workplace (hello characters for writing material), no matter how awful, because odds are I won’t be there long or the business won’t last.

While checking in with a headhunter, I asked her to give me her brutal opinion of the marketplace. “Honestly, for people like you with an advertising or marcom background, it is no different than the dotcom crash or 9/11. It’s just not that bad. People are talking because what we live with all the time other industries are now experiencing,” she said. I think I have to agree with her. I’m finding jobs, even at my level, and I’m getting calls, and this week I had another phone screen. Hell, I even had an acquaintance re-emerge via LinkedIn requesting ghostwriting services.

IMHO, things are looking up. Who knows, maybe I’ll have a job by Halloween. That didn’t stop me this week from telling the bartender at the Daily Pint I’d work under the table for him. Girl’s gotta have a backup plan, even if it involves IPA.

So, while my friends continue to take it easy, I’m still operating under the assumption that looking for a job is a full-time job. I’m working hard to get out of the apartment so that Tex can resume his regularly scheduled programming: full-time, uninterrupted napping.

My workplace sabbatical – Week 4 1

Posted on September 14, 2009 by Marna

OK, where has the time gone? It has really been a month since I’ve lost my job? Really. If I were to describe this week I’d have to say “socially bananas.”

It was Labor Day week, so there were a few cookouts. In between all that, the boyfriend decided to infuse some music in my life. I can honestly say in one week’s time, I have seen Cheap Trick, Poison, Def Leppard, AC/DC, Fishbone, The Donnas, The Pricks, Shiny Toy Guns, Korn, and Nico Vega. It is the distraction from reality I need to get through the week.

Of course the week ended on 9/11. I went with a fellow Outtie to Pepperdine to see the flags they put out for all the victims. It was a spectacular site up against the Pacific Ocean. It almost felt like the rows and rows of white tombstones you see at Arlington National Cemetery. Afterwards, my friend and I recounted our downtown/Brooklyn memories and the months of aftermath. I got a sweet email request from a girlfriend who now teaches high school. She read my 9/11 account to her class as an example of personal essay. Very flattering and hopefully it puts a first person perspective on an event high school kids barely understand. We finished the day with drinks at Dukes because it seemed like the right thing to do. Early in the evening I had a PTSD-induced scare when the Space Shuttle re-entered the atmosphere and created a sonic boom. Tex barked and I was sure a plane had hit somewhere nearby.

On the professional side, I had a nice interview with a pr agency downtown. On the drive home, I got slightly depressed when I realized I’ve had one interview in a month. One. I was averaging better than that first quarter. What can I do? Nothing but cash my first unemployment check which finally arrived.

  • 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: 377 Posts, 132 Comments

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