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Archive | March, 2009

Day 11 — Escapism

Friday, March 20, 2009

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Day 11 — Escapism

The media column in The Washington Post says it will watch so I don’t have to, but I want to watch. American Idol, that is. Since being unemployed, my viewing habits have slipped into escapism and reality shows because there is always a loser bigger than you. Americans are on my side, according to a recent poll by Nielsen.

Day 10 — Dream Jobs Part I

Thursday, March 19, 2009

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Day 10 — Dream Jobs Part I

The one good thing about being unemployed is that I can eat chocolate-chip cookies with a glass of red wine at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, which is about the time I’ve hit the wall searching for my next “big opportunity,” which is how recruiters like to phrase it. Frankly, my next big opportunity will be a job that I’ll develop a love-hate relationship with. I still dream of winning the lottery.

Day 9 — Spring Broke

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

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Day 9 — Spring Broke

“Hey,” called my ex from the kitchen. “Can I come in [your apartment]?” Reminder: I’m living with my ex because we’re both out of work and can’t afford our own places. Lucky for the kids but not so much for hoochie coochie. That’s how you say it, right? My love life is in a deep recession, too.

Day 8 — Ramen Noodles

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

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Day 8 — Ramen Noodles

What is it with Ramen noodles? Friends whom I share my plight with recall how they went back to eating Ramen noodles, ID’d as cheap college food, when they lost their job. If you are unfamiliar with the Maruchan brand of Raman noodles, they are hard, long and tightly woven ringlets of white pasta with Asian-

Day 7 — Job Hunt

Monday, March 16, 2009

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Day 7 — Job Hunt

Monday always marks a psychological barrier for me. The beginning of a new week heralds, I hope, a new birth of jobs. But that’s not always the case. New jobs get posted every day, not just at the beginning of the week. But I don’t want to let go of the thought that new jobs will be waiting when I log onto my computer Monday morning. It’s the start of a new work week for everyone else, even the unemployed.

Day 6 — 9 Commandments

Sunday, March 15, 2009

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Day 6 — 9 Commandments

Getting fired made me as so angry. You want to stomp your feet and swear your heart out because management done you wrong. But I’ve got to agree with more traditional career-advice columnists: You don’t want to do that, especially not online or on Facebook. The digital breadcrumbs you leave behind your bitching live for what seems to be forever on the Internet.

Day 5 — Don’t Take the Severance and Run

Sunday, March 15, 2009

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Day 5 — Don’t Take the Severance and Run

My severance agreement reminded me of an article about landlord-tenant leases I had written when I worked for my college newspaper. Like the leases I wrote about, the severance agreement was one-sided and onerous. It took away all of my rights to file a lawsuit and didn’t provide an inkling of protection from the company bad-mouthing me. Its language was enveloped in prose that insisted it was offering me a “generous” severance.

Day 4 — Your Stuff, Getting It

Sunday, March 15, 2009

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Day 4 — Your Stuff, Getting It

Three days later, I returned to my former place of employment to retrieve my belongings—a bike, posters, kid pictures and a few books. Nothing much, and things I could live without, except for my son’s artwork. I did want that back. I wasn’t so sure I’d be riding my bike again, given my bad back and now no good insurance to repair it. But it was worth retrieving, because maybe I could always sell it.

Day 3 — Collecting Unemployment

Saturday, March 14, 2009

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Day 3 — Collecting Unemployment

Shocked and shaken the day after being turned loose, I sat at home and came to terms with being out of a job like millions of other Americans. We’re all hurting and stressed out about holding our families together. I have an odd situation. I’m living with my ex-husband, not in a big rambling mansion where we don’t bump into each other, but in a modest-sized house that conveniently has a basement apartment that we used to rent out.

Day 2 — Out Now

Friday, March 13, 2009

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Day 2 — Out Now

The HR director was waiting in my office to escort me to the door, and a secretary was waiting by the curb, to hail a cab to send me home. My arms cradled an overflow of personal belongings, and I couldn’t believe this was happening to me. What surprised me the most was being treated like a criminal when I didn’t deserve it. The HR director had acted as if the building was on fire and given me barely a minute to gather my belongings. She promised that I could come back for the rest.

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