A Holiday Miracle (& Some Thoughts on Test Assignments)

  Photo by  Zuza Gałczyńska  on  Unsplash In what can only be described as a holiday miracle, my husband got a job. He started last Monday, and while it's significantly cut into his napping schedule, so far, so good.  During his seven-month search, we once again benefited from thoughtful friends who regularly checked in and offered to put him in touch with connections who were hiring, which is ultimately how he landed this role.  I joked with one of my freelance colleagues, who also sent generously took the time to send links to openings he spotted while skimming Facebook, "Let's hope he can ride this out until retirement!" (Cue the maniacal laughter: Who am I kidding? After all of our layoffs, we will be working until we draw our last breaths.)  While I'm thrilled he found something, getting to this point was no easy feat. He had multiple phone and video interviews, which included the always-odd, "What's your personal theme song?"  When he told me,

Baby's First Ghosting

  Photo by  Tandem X Visuals  on  Unsplash In the spirit of Halloween, I'd like to share the story of a man who vanished. He disappeared Labor Day weekend and still hasn’t been found.  It’s really my son’s tale to tell, so I asked his permission to share it here, and he said, “Sure, go ahead. I don’t think anybody reads your blog, right?” (Thanks, honey!) Anyway, here’s how it began:  My son, 18, was supposed to start college this fall but opted to take a gap year, recognizing that the on-campus experience would be vastly different from the one he'd imagined.  Like many of us during the pandemic, he’d fallen into bad patterns—indulging in excessive screen time, cooking frozen pizzas at midnight (occasionally neglecting to turn off the oven), and sleeping ’til noon. I let things slide for a bit—allowing him to enjoy some post-graduation downtime. But after weeks of me standing in his doorway at 11 a.m. bellowing, “Get out of bed!!” so he could do a mere 90 minutes


“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” ―  Anne Lamott,  Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life It's often said that at a certain age—49, if you believe this article —women become invisible. Having hit that number in April, I'm realizing there's definitely some truth to it.  But invisibility is not always a bad thing. For example, when I trip over a sidewalk and no one points and laughs, I call it a win. I can devour the chips and guacamole my son thinks he's effectively hidden in the back of the fridge, and I'm so unnoticeable, I won't even make the shortlist of suspects. So, there are definitely positives to going through life unseen. Recently, however, I discovered that, in addition to becoming invisible, I'm also completely forgettable. Here's how I found out... As I mentioned in my last post , I took myself out of t

Knowing When to Drop Out of the Interview Process

In March, we lost singer/songwriter Kenny Rogers. When the country crooner cashed in his chips amid the height of the pandemic, it prompted a few people to note that "The Gambler" really did know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. I recently found myself confronted with a situation that made me ponder the fine art of knowing when to bow out. It began when I was contacted via LinkedIn by a guy from a startup looking to fill a writer/editor/public relations role.  Initially, it sounded appealing.  (Subtext: When the monthly cost of healthcare coverage for a family of five is more than the average U.S. mortgage payment, you can convince yourself that almost anything sounds good.) And, with many of my other  gigs drying up , I agreed to an informal chat.  This casual conversation felt more like a grilling as the interviewer asked dozens of questions about my background (the answers to most of these were evident from my LinkedIn profile, but "whate

Here We Go Again!

Photo by  Zdeněk Macháček  on  Unsplash First things first: Hi! It's been a while. If you've made your way here, chances are you may be at a career crossroads (or you're related to me). Either way, welcome, thank you, and I truly hope you're doing okay in spite of everything 2020 has thrown our way.  For a while back in March, which seems like a whole other millennium, I thought my husband and I might make it through this relatively unscathed work-wise. But if history has taught us anything it's that if you suspect you may lose your job , you probably will.  Still, I mused, what were the odds that my husband could be laid off three times in less than seven years? Turns out, they were pretty damn good.  In the weeks leading up to his most-recent dismissal, my husband had been busier than ever.  I viewed this as a good sign—even as I noticed him bracing for the worst. After meals, I spotted him making lists of monthly expenses while frowning the wa

Still Not Over It...

I write a lot about unemployment. (Did you just grumble, "No kidding!?" I heard that.) Not just here, but for The Muse and other sites as well.  I draw on my personal experience but I also interview career coaches or other experts who offer their insight on a variety of work and unemployment-related topics. Frequently, my pieces are a combination of both. Often, when I share content on Twitter or LinkedIn, I imagine readers groaning and thinking, "Jeez, would this woman get over it already?"  And, yes, I hear you. It's been five years since my first layoff and about 18 months since my second . And, yes, I've moved on, and thankfully, we're in a much better place. I've picked up some new freelance clients, and my husband has a full-time job with health benefits — the holy grail. So, needless to say, we feel extremely fortunate. But that said, after you've been "downsized," "right-sized," "impacted,"


Arrivederci!  After much deliberation, consternation, and clearing up a few misunderstandings, I decided to attend the  writing conference  in Italy that I wrote about back in April. (It turned out there were rooms still available at the hotel where the workshop is being held, and there will be group transportation from Rome to Recanati, so I can stop worrying about pitching a tent on a hillside or ending up in Sicily.)  I've taken on a lot of additional freelance work to avoid having to start a GoFundMe campaign (but thank you, Rose, for supporting that idea!), which is why it's taken me a while to write this post. Plus, maybe it's that notorious old spoilsport known as "mom guilt," but it feels wildly self-indulgent to leave the country during the summer and jet off in an attempt to recapture the kind of creativity that goes beyond trying a new taco recipe.  When I tell people I'm going, I hear that imaginary record scratch, like, "Wait, r