Thursday, June 24, 2010

The wasted year

Well, this has been a massive waste of time.

It was a year ago this morning that I strolled into the O-R newsroom and took a seat at my desk to begin my last real workday. I spent an hour working the phones trying to get some info on a local bull riding arena that would be opening in the coming weeks. Then I received an instant message that fellow reporter Amanda Gillooly had been let go. About a half-hour later, the "editor" asked to see me.

"What the (bleep)!?" I shouted in my head.

I explained the rest of the story on this blog a year ago, but I still chuckle when thinking about the "editor" and owner asking me if I wanted to finish my workday. Hell no! Instead, I asked for a box to pack my stuff. Then I greeted several of my coworkers in the newsroom and said my goodbyes. I found it ironic that a couple of them were crying and I was not. They had a job, and I did not.

I thought it would be easy to find a new job. I have the education, experience and work ethic that a new employer would cherish. Damn, if I wasn't mistaken. From blogging to freelancing to campaigning to enumerating, it's been the most bizarre 365 days of my life.

And now we begin Year 2 in the unemployment line with little hope of finding sustainable work. Some might say things will turn around. We shall see. But there's really nothing else to do except keep blogging and plugging away.

So I present to you Vol. 2 of The Bread Line Blog


  1. You're a damn good writer and reporter. If there's any justice in the world (and that's debatable), you'll find a great job.

  2. Happy anniversary (he said ironically). I passed my year mark at the end of April. Here's to closing in on our next real jobs!

  3. Joe, I said the same thing to myself when I woke up this morning. Good luck to you finding that next big gig, and thanks for writing for the blog. You're welcome to do so any time.

    Brant, here's hoping I find a job that isn't in journalism. I'm done with that dying profession.

  4. Mike, your future might not lie with newspapers, but there will always be a demand for someone with your ability to gather facts and put them together in such a way that people become informed and enjoy reading in the process.

  5. I agree there will always be a demand for that work, but judging from the want ads on Craig's List, the going rate is about $5 per story.

  6. I was laid off the day after you and Amanda. I'm still looking. I know what you are going through. Unfortunately, I recently had to start working at retail job because I lost my unemployment. (Apparently, you aren't allowed to freelance while on unemployment. So be careful if you're still on unemployment and freelancing.)

    I hope something will break for all of us in the near future. And I hope all those stupid people who are devaluing our craft by only paying $5/article will realize the crap they're getting and start paying better.

  7. Beth, you should fight the assertion that you are not allowed to freelance. Both Amanda and I have been questioned by the Pennsylvania DLI about our freelancing jobs and apparently been cleared because they are obviously not full-time.

    And let me wish you an (un)happy anniversary for your unfortunate June 25 layoff. It's very sad to think that a year has passed with no legitimate job prospects. But if you want to write about your story/journey on this blog, I would be more than happy to publish it. Don't hesitate to contact me.

  8. And wouldn't you know it, I was laid off the same day that Farrah Faucett and Michael Jackson died. So I will never forget the date. The media won't let me. Isn't that fun?

    PA DLI determined that I was an independent contractor. It had nothing to do with part-time or full-time. I was averaging $150 a month freelancing. It was obvious that I wasn't doing it full-time. I argued with them about it, but independent contractors are not allowed to get unemployment.

    It's very silly because I could've worked the retail job I have now, made more money and still get unemployment.

    I'm only freelancing to keep my resume current. I was doing the stay-at-home mom thing after being laid off, so I couldn't do more than part time. Now I really don't have a lot of time to freelance between my retail job and my daughter. I can't help but to feel screwed. Thanks a lot PA DLI.

  9. You should not be considered an independent contractor by freelancing. Call your state rep ASAP. They do very little (especially with another budget impasse on the horizon) so make sure he/she gets them to fix this injustice. Don't be afraid to fight DLI in their convoluted reasoning.

    By freelancing, you are sharpening your skills and earning a part-time wage. This is an injustice that will be publicized, either in the local media or on this blog.