Watch This Space

I know I promised a major announcement for Monday.  That’s still the case; but because of some of the logistics involved with my new job, I can’t announce this information until 10 am Central.  Please check back then for all the details.



And Finally…

I had wanted to do a blog for a long time. CNN has some tough rules on outside activities, so I passed on doing one while I was working there. Although the official word from the Communications bosses at FedEx is to embrace online methods of communicating with the world, I had a feeling that anything I said might rub some of the brass the wrong way. Since I was doing enough of that already, I took another pass.

So, once I was jobless, I figured I had both time and topic. I think I’ve had the opportunity to talk about a number of things that come up in the lives of people without work. I’ve been lucky enough that I haven’t had to deal with many of the more serious problems. While the number of jobless claims is down slightly, there is still a record number of people without work in the U.S. And even if the president believes we’re turning the corner, that’s like watching an ocean liner make a 3-point turn – it’s gonna take some time.

People are losing their homes. Going without medical care. Finding themselves unable to provide for themselves or their children. It’s a frightening situation, one that should make us worry about the very fabric of what America is.

I say that to say that I’m reaching the end of this particular string. I lost my job on April 3. I’ve been offered a new job, one that will begin next Monday, making this a pretty short stretch of not having a job, as far as that goes. I’m not going to go into where or what yet; more on that in a moment. Suffice to say, I’m staying in the business (TV), and don’t have to leave Memphis.

A lot of people, I mean a whole lot, have reached out to help me during this nearly two month stretch “on the beach.” I’m not going to name them all here, but you know who you are, and I want you all to know that I appreciate everything – from forwarded job postings, to advice, as well as the sympathy and understanding.

Another benefit of all this is that I have had the good fortune to reconnect with people in my life that had dropped away over the years.  I’ve lived in 9 different places since the mid-80s (10 if you count the two times I’ve lived in Memphis). Picking up and leaving can mean leaving people behind. No one means to lose touch, it’s an unfortunate part of moving on. I think I’ve made up for some of that.

So, do I give up this? It seems arrogant to opine on joblessness when you have a job. I do enjoy writing as much as anything else I do, and more than most of the things I do. Several people at my old office at FedEx reminded me that they check in the blog regularly (mostly Tuesdays, especially Morgan), to keep in touch.

Taking that into account, I’ll find something new to write about. I will have the opportunity to look at re-entering the workforce, so that’s a topic. I live in Memphis and there’s always something going on around here to write about. My social life is a lot like the Zippin’ Pippin (old and rickety, with a lot of ups and downs), so something will come up there.

So, join me Monday to find out about my new job with some old friends and how I’m adjusting. After all, we’ve gotten so used to meeting like this.

News & Notes

Graduation Day!

Buster (photo by Dale Pearce)

Buster (photo by Dale Pearce)

This is my friend, Buster. She works at FedEx and is an Austin Peay alum (Let’s Go Peay!). When I asked her to be sure and read Monday’s blog, she asked whether it was going to be about her, which would give her more reason to read it. That seems fair, but why wait until Monday?

She’s talking some time off Friday to attend her husband’s graduation. Jordan Richardson (J-Rich to some), has been working to become a physical therapist.

So, if you’re near the FedEx Forum around 1:30pm, duck in for the commencement exercises of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center for the Colleges of Allied Health Sciences, Dentistry, Graduate Health Sciences, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy.  If you see either Buster (and yes, you should call her that) or Jordan, please say “hey.” Here’s a shot borrowed from her Facebook page so you can recognize the happy couple.

Jessica & Jordan

Jessica & Jordan

Congratulations you crazy kids, and good luck on whatever comes next!

Getting to say Goodbye

This jumps into the area of the bizarre. My layoff was like a lot of others. The type where the manager and the HR representative call you into an office and give you the bad news. Once informed, you’re escorted out. Happens like that everywhere.

The thing is, if you work in a cubicle farm, that can mean that most everybody else in the office is hunkered down, trying to keep out of sight, hoping they’re not on the list. When that’s the situation, it can be difficult to say goodbye to anyone on the way out.

In my case, I exchanged a lot of e-mails and Facebook messages with my former coworkers. A few have even stopped by the house to commiserate. Like a lot of people, I imagine making the triumphant return to the office after winning the lottery and buying the company. Unfortunately, my old company is way too big for that. Also, Powerball just toys with me, keeping her jackpot just out of reach.

Turns out that I can make a semi-triumphant return. Another of my former coworkers is leaving. In her case, her contract is up, so she’s leaving on her own – she’s even getting a going-away party. My old manager says it’s okay if I stop by, and says that the department’s HR rep says that kind of appearance doesn’t break any rules. So, for those of you at the office who read this early, I’ll see you in a while. If you read it late, it was nice to see you.

News & Notes

Stand by for news!

I may be getting close to a major announcement on the job front. Nothing’s officially official yet, so no hints except to say that it looks as though I won’t have to go through the incredible hassle of trying to sell the house. Of course, I haven’t checked Wednesday’s Powerball tickets yet. If I win, that changes everything… if I win that $222 million, this will probably be my last blog post.

Mick & Keith come through!

A few months ago, a person I know put together a tribute video for her mother’s birthday. I helped a little – I scanned some of the photos she used. We kinda fell out over something trivial, so I only heard second-hand that the video played well at the party.

I was wandering around Facebook earlier tonight and saw that the video was posted on that person’s page, so I went ahead and played it. It began with a song by the Rolling Stones in the background. My first thought was ‘who pays tribute to their mother with a Stones song?’ Then I actually listened to hear which song it was. “She’s a Rainbow,” from 1967.

When you have some of Mick Jagger’s better lyrics, like

“Have you seen her all in gold?
Like a queen in days of old
She shoots colors all around
Like a sunset going down
Have you seen a lady fairer?”

it becomes an excellent choice. Nice work.

(And did you know that John Paul Jones, the bassist from Led Zeppelin did the string arrangement for that song?)

Never Give Up

I’d been having some real problems decided what to post about today. So many, that I just skipped putting something up Tuesday night. I sat around this morning trying to come up with something when I flipped past CNN.

First, Heidi Collins was anchoring. I never worked with her a lot, but she’s a nice person and we have both worked with the delightful Paula Haddock at different local stations. Heidi’s also got nice enough legs to be Fox News, where they seem to make a much bigger deal of showcasing the physical attributes of their female anchors. Don’t get me wrong, I like watching attractive women read the news as well as the next guy, but it seems kinda pervy to so obviously objectify your anchors. Well, Rupert Murdoch is doing a lot better than I am, so he must know something I don’t.

Anyway, Heidi was reading the story about O.J. Simpson. He’s appealing his conviction on robbery and kidnapping. He’s claiming there wasn’t enough racial diversity on the jury. His lawyers also say the judge didn’t do enough to keep Simpson’s notoriety from tainting the jury pool. You gotta love the brass that O.J. still has after all these years.

If you want a diverse jury, commit your crimes in a diverse community. And didn’t his lawyers approve of every single member of the jury during voir dire? Don’t want people to hold your past against you? Don’t kill any innocent people. How about that?

Still, the legal flailings of the obviously guilty have some bearing on those of us in the ranks of the unemployed. No matter how bleak things seem, it’s always important to keep looking for opportunities. You never know when something’s going to pop up, so keep searching, keep applying, keep networking!

I’m going to skip watching Tony Harris (also a nice person, but a bit loud for me), but I’ll probably come back for Kyra Phillips‘ newscast on CNN. She’s my favorite news redhead anyway.

Moving Forward

Holidays work a lot better when you’re working. Otherwise, what are you getting a day off from? That’s the situation I’m going through right now. I spent the last part of last week splitting the driving with someone going out of town. Got back Saturday, just before the Sunset Symphony, which I somehow remembered as happening on Sunday. So I was more than a little confused when Monday rolled around, since it felt like it was the day before.

And then there’s the blog. I’ve probably become too invested in it, making sure I had posts for Thursday and Friday of last week… forgetting that a lot of folks would be checking out for the 3-day (or 4 for some) weekend. Very few hits Thursday, Friday or Monday, since nearly everyone was out enjoying the holiday, instead of reading my blog at work (it’s okay, I won’t tell).

However, Tuesday means back to work. And even though I’m not officially employed, that includes me. I got another rejection e-mail the other day, which means I should be picking up the pace of looking for my next career step. Or my next it’s-not-great-but-it’ll-help-me-pay-the-bills-job.

Of course, one thing that seems to be a constant in my job search is that there still aren’t a lot of openings in what I do near where I live. I know it’s only going on two months, so I really didn’t expect the economic to have turned around by now… but still, I’d have hoped that there would be some movement, an uptick, something…

News & Notes

As I mentioned earlier, I was out of town last week. I spent a couple of days in Chicago, which added to my time confusion. I was splitting the driving with someone going up for a job interview. Nothing for me to do but get in a little sightseeing. Forgot to take along my good camera, do I had to make do with camera on my cell phone.

I only had the chance to wander around downtown, so I only have a couple of shots on and around Michigan Avenue.

Water TowerOf course, I stopped by the Water Tower. I was also in Water Tower Place, which is a multi-story shopping mall down the street. This was more interesting.

Wrigley BldgThere was also the Wrigley Building. I should have gotten a shot of the Realtors Building immediately to the north of this building. If you’ve ever seen an episode of the Bob Newhart show (the one where he was the psychologist, not the inn keeper), you’d recognize it as where he had his office. I was in front of it several years ago when I actually heard a guy tell the woman he was with “hey, it’s the “Bob Newhart Building…”

LifeguardsI walked under Lakeshore Drive and hung out by Lake Michigan. A couple of lifeguards were hanging out by the edge of the water. Who knew they had lifeguards by a Great Lake?

Anyway, I was wiped when I got home Saturday, so I did not attend the symphony along the Mississippi River, but I was able to get an okay view of the fireworks from my living room window, which was nice, although I really miss WREG broadcasting the event. It would have looked great in HD.