Wednesday, March 18, 2009
“Oh, What I wouldn't give for a holocaust cloak”
So I signed off kinda abruptly last week and, except for the P-I's obit on Tuesday, I haven't written anything since my “Awwww, Damn!” post. There is a reason for this and, continuing a theme, Let me 'splain.
No, there is too much. Let me sum up.
Last Wednesday around 11 a.m. I lost my job. Not right then at that exact moment, but for all intents and purposes, I was about to become a statistic the government announces each week.
Long story short(er), I work on a government contract. Since October my company's been rebidding the contract and, after all those months of work, we got underbid by a competitor named after a euphemism for alcohol.
Let's just say I've been in better meetings than the one where our business group president, division V.P. and account lead broke the news. I was seriously concerned for one of my co-workers who's six months pregnant, and it truly hurt to see my production manager trying valiantly not to cry – and not totally succeeding in her efforts.
Don't know if anyone reading this has ever lost a job, but it's a pretty shitty experience. Everything after “We lost the contract” was pretty meaningless. I worked as a reporter for a long time and I like to think I'm pretty good at telling when someone is either A) bullshitting me, or B) just plain flat out lying their ass off. The first time I heard “Our main concern right now if for you,” (it was actually said about four times in total) I knew that as a group the people I'd worked with for more than three years were pretty much screwed.
That doesn't leave much time for dilly-dallying.
The contract I work on ends March 28 (actually the 27th since the 28th is a Saturday). Two and a half weeks to find a new job. Sixteen and a half days before the paychecks stop coming. No severance.
Anyone care for a little advice? Unlike most things it's free and, in this case, worth more than you're paying.
One: Keep your resume current. If you haven't updated your resume in the last three months, pull it out, shake the dust off and make sure the lies you told when you wrote it still stand up to the light of day. There are few things higher on the “Sucks Scale" than having to start a job search by rewriting your resume.
Two: Drink less, save more. Even though I had a hard unemployment date rushing at me like a pissed off hippopotamus, I wasn't yet between the rock and the hard place. Part of every paycheck since I moved to D.C. has gone straight into a savings account. It's my “raining cats and fucking dogs and if I don't need it for that a down payment on a house” fund.
I've always heard you should sock away six months salary just in case, but a better measure would be six months of living expenses. What does it cost you to pay your rent, eat, keep the Internet flowing into your house and, here's the biggie, buy health insurance every month? (And remember, you're going to be paying the full price for your insurance.)
You got that number figured? Good, now multiply by six and start saving.
Three: network. I really can't overemphasize this point. Talk to your friends. Talk to their friends. Talk to the people in the next office around the water cooler. Go to alumni events. Call old girl/boyfriends. Leave no stone unturned.
I've always been a quick healer. What are our liabilities?
So, what have I done over the past week? Well, Friday morning just before I was set to spend the day lounging on my giant couch while watching the ACC Tournament, I spent 15 minutes on the phone with the guy who runs another contract in my office.
Then I sent him my up-to-date resume around 11 a.m.
Monday I interview with the government client.
At 3 p.m. Wednesday (today when I wrote this) I signed an offer letter.
For a better job.
It's possible, Pig, I might be bluffing. It's conceivable, you miserable, vomitous mass, that I'm only lying here because I lack the strength to stand. But, then again... perhaps I have the strength after all.
DROP... YOUR... SWORD!
Like a fairy tale, this story too has a happy ending. I end one job next Friday and, after a relaxing weekend, I walk back into the same office and start another.
You know what? I can't wait to see what's on the other side of sunset.
9 a.m. Update
How's this for funny: I just got a call from my current company's corporate recruiter. She'd like to schedule an interview for me tomorrow with one of the other business groups.
Just a bit outside.
A day late and, as good as my company's been to me, probably a couple grand short. My word is my bond and the offer I accepted is really good. No turning back now.