Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Laid off

So I go into work on Jan. 5 and work for roughly an hour. Then I get called into the finance gal's office, wherein I discover her, my boss, and the head of research (this was a commerical real estate firm). Pretty much knew what was coming before anyone said anything.

I sat down. Was told my position was being eliminated and that blah blah blah blah. Tuned out pretty much all of it. I thanked them for having me on board, reminded the head of research that he had to defend our scavenger hunt title later in the year, then picked up a few things at my desk. Said goodbye to my co-worker then headed out.

I made it all the way to the car before melting down. I was the sole source of income and insurance for the family since My Fair Lady was laid off while she was several months pregnant. Since no one was ever going to hire a pregnant woman, I was it. The subsequent meltdown in the car was not a pretty one, but it was mercifully brief. I decided not to call My Fair Lady and instead figured I'd drop the news on her in person.

Having a meltdown at 75mph while on the highway is not recommended.

I managed to regain my composure enough that when I walked in, I was calm. My Fair Lady knew instantly what had happened, and I confirmed it a second later.

"I was laid off."

Four words I never, ever intend to have to say again.

We talked about it for a bit while trying to keep it together. But there we were both unemployed with a six week old. So we both had a mutual meltdown while trying our hardest not to involve the little one. But then a funny thing happened.

Ten minutes later I was fine. Not angry. Not sad. Fine. Good to go. Amazingly enough, I was unfazed. I think that must be a new record. A personal best. Regardless, I was ready to apply for work elsewhere and find what else was out there.

Then we had a conversation that started innocently enough: "What do you want to do?"

In truth, I've always known - be a freelance, well paid writer. The "well paid" aspect tends to be mutually exclusive unless you're one half of a successful writing duo in Hollywood. Short of that, most freelancers only sometimes make enough to get by and I wanted more than that. I want to be able to support myself and my family by my writing skills alone. But I lacked the discipline necessary to force me to work day after day on this. At least I did prior to Max's arrival. Once he made it into the house, I vowed to do what I could to make him happy. Once the initial insanity of having a newborn in the house wore off.

My Fair Lady agreed with me.

We decided that if I could make enough as a freelancer then I should do that. I contacted my dad and told him I'd been laid off. He told me how sorry he was then had to go to a meeting. He called me back a few hours later with two addresses. I was to gather my resume and clips and mail them off post haste to those addresses - clients of his who had openly complained about the lack of quality writing in their print materials.

Two days after I was laid off, My Fair Lady gets a call from her legal support services firm. They have a gig for her with the Watchmen. It's a contract job that turns into a permanent one, providing she survives the freshman hazing from the Comedian. We were ecstatic. Literally jumping up and down for joy. This gig pays a heck of a lot for only 20+ hours to start and a lot of it can be done from home.

A week later, I got a call from one of the two guys I sent my stuff to. He wanted to meet. Dad forwarded me two of this guy's PR pieces and yeah, they were fairly weak sauce. So I rebuilt them in Publisher, rewrote the copy, and sent those along with my resume. Apparently, he approved enough to schedule an interview.

The man was a fast talker to say the least. I wasn't there more than 15 minutes but he told me he wanted to do business and that I would be the guy. Oh, and there were several other clients he would recommend me to for this very thing.

Thus far, 2009 is shaping up pretty well for Yours Truly and My Fair Lady. She starts her job week after next and I have another meeting next week with my client to discuss what all I can do for them.

"Ka!" And might I also add... "Ching!"

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