Exactly four weeks ago today, at approximately 11:45 a.m., I was called into my publisher’s office while right in the middle of editing a story for the Web site. I didn’t recognize the woman who joined us but would soon learn that she was from human resources. I don’t envy her. Football teams have an expression, “The Turk,” which describes the coach or staff member who tells players they’ve been cut. It’s not an easy job. This HR person was definitely The Turk, as by 1 p.m., I was on the PATH train back to Hoboken, feeling like I got sucker-punched in the jaw.
You always hear about people getting laid off and never think it can happen to you. Guess what? It can.
So, what have the past four weeks brought?
They’ve brought three interviews, all of which I thought went well, but with varying results, so far.
One was with a start-up Web site, and I never heard back, despite two follow-up e-mails, so I have to assume that they went in another direction or never got the funding to launch.
And the last one was with a city agency, and I won’t know anything until next week. I really think this one went well, but I also thought the one with the major media company went well, so who knows what to think anymore?
The past four weeks have also brought plenty of time to read, although I’d prefer the type of reading I get paid for.
And they’ve given me plenty of quality time with my cats, who, after being happy about the company the first couple of days, have resorted to the annoyed, “Oh, it’s YOU” look and gone back to sleep, with 8-Ball snoring like a truck.
They’ve given me a little perspective. I’ve learned a lot about which issues are really serious and which issues that seem serious at the time are really trivial.
I’ve also learned that aside from the obvious reasons for wanting to find a new job quickly, the most important one is that the pool of unemployed people is about to become deep enough to hide Atlantis.
Even when I try to avoid news on the Web, which is next to impossible, just hearing things from friends is disheartening. One friend who landed a temp assignment with a major beverage company lost her chance to have her status change to permanent when the person who hired her got laid off. Another who works for a trade association reported that one-third of the staff was wiped out. And the media industry, where I’m trying to land, is in total chaos.
Things are starting to get a little scary.