Carla Hall Puts Me on the Back Burner & Other Happenings

Perhaps victory, much like revenge, is a dish best served cold. After "winning" a Girls Night Out with Chew co-host Carla Hall back in May, I was possibly going to collect my spoils in the form of a late lunch (?) last Tuesday, but the former Top Chef finalist canceled on me just hours before our long-awaited get-together.

As I've mentioned (OK, whined about), this meeting has lost a bit of its original luster as it seems harder to put together than Mario Batali's Lasagne Bolgnese. I've grown weary of fielding questions and complaints from friends and family who are outraged on my behalf (not that I don't appreciate it!) that getting to actually dine with Carla has taken two-thirds of a year. At this rate, I'll be supping with the once-perky chef at her assisted living facility 20 years hence. But -- as I noted in my last entry, this should be all my troubles, right? On that note...

I'll be honest, I wasn't devastated or even surprised when a producer got in touch at 10:50 a.m. to say they'd be "rescheduling," the 2 p.m. meeting. A dozen of my colleagues had been laid off the afternoon before and it seemed fairly frivolous of me to take a half day to dine with a woman who clearly has been dodging yours truly (indulge me in the cheesiness of that phrase, would you?) since last spring.

I wasn't in much of a celebratory mood as this is the third lay-off since I arrived in late-July and I'd be lying if I didn't say I'm having some serious deja vu. Much like at my former company, each dismissal is followed by a chorus of "We don't anticipate any more (insert corporate buzzword "impacts," "reductions," "realignments," here) in the future. You're all safe." For today, declared in a booming James Earl Jones-like voice should follow that reality show catchphrase.

At least I wasn't laid off twice in 2014 as I feared might happen. And, more good news, I'm just one day away from my six-month anniversary, which means that should I be let go now, I would at least be eligible for unemployment. Wow, a gal can dream. This definitely makes me think I should've put away the Peter Gabriel albums and Salinger stories during my teen years and paid more attention when my father suggested I give serious thought to pursuing a career that makes one impervious to downsizing. (I think in today's economy that leaves us with plumber, exterminator, and Uber driver.)

When I applied to win the night out with Carla last March, sending in countless recipes and family photos, it seemed like a quirky, fun thing for me to try during what I'd assumed would be my oh-so-brief semi-retirement while job hunting. But similar to the elusive holy grail --  job security -- actually cashing in is proving far more difficult that I'd originally imagined.

As my husband is still looking for full-time work, I can't help but feel like we're in our own version of The Truman Show and I for one am definitely looking for the exit sign.


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