Add One to the Unemployment Numbers

Published on February 25, 2009 by in Job Loss

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Today I filed for unemployment.

That sounds absolutely ghastly. Never in my career have I had to do such a thing but at the strong urging of  both my husband and brother (“You earned it. You deserve it!”) I made my way to the Tennessee Department of Labor website and filled out the required forms.  Why is it that pull-down menus never accurately reflect exactly what it is you do or who it is that you really are? I found the choice that most closely approximated my position as a former interactive agency marketing director and clicked.

Thankfully the whole event is blissfully anonymous. No standing in a line with a bunch of other folks in the same predicament  No shuffling  feet and sideways glances.  Just a few fill in the blanks, a few clicks of the mouse and the state gov. now has me in their system-another number to add to the Volunteer State’s growing unemployment statistics.

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Pain Point

Published on February 23, 2009 by in Entrepreneur, Job Loss

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pain point

n. a level of difficulty sufficient to motivate someone to seek a solution or an alternative; a problem or difficulty. Subjects: , , ,

Those two words were bantered around in my last job as often as “SEO” or “analytics.”  It was  important for marketers to know the point at which a customer would need the solutions that our interactive agency could provide. I had no idea that I would experience a pain point of my own exactly three days after being laid off.

It all started with the trunk of my car. You see, when your boss tells you that your services are no longer needed the first thing you do is start packing. So Thursday afternoon I managed to shove the entire contents of my office into the back of my Kia Sorrento. Then I promptly pulled the cover across the lamp, books, photos, notepads and clock from MBA school graduation. “I will deal with that later,” I thought.

But Thursday evening passed as did Friday and Saturday and I chose to completely avoid the back of my car. Finally Sunday rolled around and I had to look for a file. Was it in there? I was forced to come face to face with the very thing I had been dodging. You see when my “stuff” moved from the trunk to the house I would officially be gone from work. The now former work. The place I drove to each day for one year at 8:00 sharp so as to arrive 15 minutes early before the official start time of 8:30. Now the “stuff” and all that it symbolized was gone. Gone were the morning “hello” exchanges with the salesmen as they walked past my office. Gone was the  fun banter across the cubicle walls with my fellow marketers. Gone were the Monday pizza lunches with the girls and the Friday marketing team meetings.

That’s when the tears started to flow, and then the sobs, a bit uncontrollable at first.  I didn’t want my son to see me crying in the back hall but my husband showed up and gave me a hug. He, more than anyone, understood.  He was laid off from his job just one month earlier. (Thankfully he now has a new job.)  “Those were your friends,” he said, patting my shoulder.  “Those were the people you saw every day.”

“Yes, I guess that is it,” I said puzzled at why the sudden wave of sadness over a green and gold lamp.

The solution to my pain point is starting my own business. That has been my lifelong dream. And tomorrow is a new day when I will do just that.

But tonight I write through a veil of tears.

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Pink Slip Ripple

Published on February 20, 2009 by in Job Loss

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Yesterday I was laid off from my job.

Always before when I left a job it was on my own terms. This time it was on their terms. The cuts were deep and the exodus was large. One third of the workforce vanished within the last two weeks.

A co-worker walked past me, head hung low, carrying the things one takes away from a cubicle; photo of a loved one, a child’s drawing. Another was carefully folding his work life into a small cardboard box.
I first noticed the pink slip ripple when my husband lost his job in January. (Thankfully, he started in a new position Monday.) He was always a starched-white-shirt kind of guy. Suddenly, we found ourselves with almost no need for a dry cleaner. “Where is the  blond woman who used to greet me?” I wondered silently during one of my rare recent visits  to the cleaners.

And then came my own job-gone yesterday. Today I laid off our nanny and the couple who clean our house.  The nanny, a self proclaimed Starbucks addict will probably make fewer trips to that “third place.” The cleaning couple will no doubt make cuts of their own.

And the pink slip ripple continues.

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