Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Entrepreneurial journali$m

It's expensive.
I bought a new printer today that scans, copies and faxes in full color because the straight-up fax machine was cheaper, but the ink cartridge is, by far, almost more than the fax machine once you buy three inkjets.
So, now, I have two printers, one that does all the above, and another one that scans, copies and prints photographs.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Didn't see it coming

"Mija, no llores enfrente de ellos."
That means, "My daughter, do not cry in front of them."
It was as if my mom came down from heaven and was standing over my shoulder when my former executive editor told me the news.
I have to remind myself of the last day I worked as a newspaper reporter, just so that I can gauge someday where I have been for when I arrive exactly where I want to be.
It wasn't expected, for sure, that I would be alerted that I was being laid off and my last day would be in a week.
In a way, that was really a godsend -- I was too busy writing stories to think anymore about whether or not my time was up.
I was a victim of the McClatchy policy -- last in, first out. My departure was their sixth layoff at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. There were no rumors this time, and only 15 of us walked out the doors.
I am thankful that I was busy -- too busy to really wonder whether or not we would have cuts again, so I am glad that I was so engaged in my job, which I loved.
Just coming off a two-story Sunday package on domestic violence, I immediately started researching another story that I had hoped to write and get in the paper within two to three weeks. (A luxury these days to have that much time, but that's a different blog post). So when I was called in Thursday afternoon, Aug. 5, I was shocked.
So, there were no tears, really, just a lot of anger. Whether it was my mom, or my dad, that's good, because six weeks of severance won't pay for a pity party. There's bills and a mortgage to be paid.
The outpouring so far from friends and former colleagues has been really amazing, astonishing, every possible adjective out there to describe greatness, really.
The best thing that has happened to me so far is to find out that there are lots, I mean LOTS of journalism jobs out there.
That's the best news out of all of this, that there's still journalism jobs out there for those of us who just can't and choose not to walk away.
That gives me hope for the free world.

Friday, August 27, 2010

"Punch me in the face if you want, but I promise, things will work out."

Wise words from my pal, Monique Miller.
All this extra time between looking for jobs made me reflect and realize a few things.
The last day I was employed as a professional journalist, Aug. 13, 2010, came 25 years and one day after I walked across the stage at Texas Woman's University in Denton to receive my bachelor's degree.
How ironic was that?
Needless to say, the coincidence took my mind back to certain points throughout my career and life since 1985. I quickly thought about the words of advice I have heard from friends and colleagues since Aug. 13:
--"Your career does not define you."
--"This was not because of something you did."
--"It wasn't personal, but financial. A business decision."
--"Everything happens for a reason."
--"Punch me in the face if you want, but I promise, things will work out." (thanks, precious).
--"I'm here for you." (My God, I'm in awe of you all).
And all of you were right! Thank you for helping me keep my spirits up. You have no idea how much you have helped me.
In two weeks, I have found two contract/freelance opportunities that mean paychecks until November. Both in journalism.
My glass is, as always, half full.
To recap: Jobs applied for so far: Six. Three in print journalism; one in broadcast; two wire services.
So, happy Friday. I'm taking the rest of the day off to work on my tan.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

This just in...

Ah, pings and clicks, how I love thee.
"Ping" is the sound when the e-mail goes off on the iPhone, alerting new mail.
"Click" is the sound the screen button should make when one checks mail or applies online for jobs. Both have led to two job opportunities, today!
I will begin a fill-in editing job on The Dallas Morning News Metro Desk on Sept. 13, lasting at the very least four weeks, at the most maybe three months. So grateful.
Plus, friends at ESPN.com have hooked me up for some freelancing possibilities.
These are very nice detours on the journey to the next job.
Networking all these years is paying off with job tips and well wishes filled with love and care from friends.
So far, five jobs applied for in print, radio broadcast and wire services.
There's really a lot more out there in journalism than I thought.
Friday will be two weeks since the layoff; I remain optimistic, especially with at least three months of guaranteed work secured.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

iPhone woes and other stuff

If you have an iPhone 3G, think very carefully before you do, and make sure you have ALL DAY to do it.
I updated my little 8GB and it did take a little more than an hour -- it took five hours, in fact, tying up both iPhone and laptop, taking precious time in the job search.
My jury is still out on whether or not I'll like iPhone 4.0, but I will say that the e-mail application grouping multiple emails from people is kinda cool. Online reviews say they'll work great for a few days, then the iPhone will crash. Oh goodie. Can't wait for that, I guess AT&T will get their way when they force me to buy a new phone because the update won't take on mine.
DFW Metro runners, swimmers and cyclists?
Went to have dinner with the running team recently, and the girls I hung out with are now training for triathlons. The pressure was on. I don't have a road bike, plus I freak out in open water, so there's two reasons I can't start training for a tri. I'll stick to the pavement.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Unemployment, Day Two

The pets are confused.
Niki the dog is happy, of course, because her person is home and she doesn't have to worry about when she'll be home, but Stevie the cat is suspicious.

On today's agenda: Apply for jobs, return emails to concerned colleagues and friends, and sift through tons of job leads from those same wonderful people.
Even my niece sent me a job lead at USAA in San Antonio. 
I applied for unemployment benefits for the first time ever yesterday, that was a trip.
As I ponder unemployment and how long I might be this way, things are starting to fall apart in the house. The living room ceiling fan is broken, there are cracked tiles in the entry way, and the tree out front needs to be chopped down because is slopes closer to the house each summer. Cha-ching, dammit. Man!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Unemployment, Day One

Circle 30s journey changes again.
In an interesting and abrupt move, the Star-Telegram laid me off last week. I say interesting and abrupt because I didn't see it coming, and neither did my colleagues. Something about being lulled into a false sense of security.
I was just too busy writing stories to really be afraid about it anymore.
Well, I think a few things: 1). I need to find a job fast, so I don't really have time to curl up in a fetal position and cry about it. I really don't, and thank God, I can't. And 2). There's no point in expending that energy on whys, so find a job.
There's an amount of anger that happens when you get called into the boss' office. While you are waiting for something completely different than what ends up being said, in that split second, your mind gives you two choices: get mad, or cry.
I got mad. Thank you Jesus.
So with these latest developments, while I look for a job, I'm going to train for a half marathon. It will keep me away from the computer, clicking on the "check mail" button.
Today is my first day unemployed. I continue applying for unemployment online (this takes some time, I see), and I have already applied for three jobs. By the end of the day, I'll have four miles logged.
Today, on Unemployment, Day One, I hurry up and wait, ponder finding jobs, while I walk, run and write about it.
So if you are an old reader of Circle30, the journey has changed again. If you are a new reader, welcome. Tell me about yours.