'Are You Exposing Yourself in Stairwells?' (& Other Things I Expect People to Ask My Husband)

                                           Jorge Salvador/unsplash

Hi & Happy New Year. (According to Larry David, I can say that until today.)

Over the weekend, I called a friend to wish him a happy new year. We've texted a bit over the last few months (mainly about which TV shows we're watching or books we're reading) but we hadn't spoken in a while. 

After a bit, talk turned to jobs. The company where he's worked for years just laid off five percent of its workforce in a rather cruel fashion--calling people down to HR, releasing them, and then asking "non-impacted" employees to box up their desks

While stories like these strike fear in my heart and dredge up terrible memories, my friend remained pretty calm and said if he's handed a pink slip he wouldn't mind retiring. 

I almost blurted, "Retiring? What's that?" 

Then he asked how my husband's job was going. 

"Where did we leave off?" I asked him wearily.

Reader, where did we leave off? 

OK, I just checked and the answer is February. Whoops. Sorry about that. This year has been a bit of a blur. So about my husband's job...

In the fall of 2022, he left a startup for what sounded like a great opportunity. (Don't they all?) More money, more growth potential... Until he got there and suddenly they were letting people go daily. 

Frequently, I'd catch the end of a conference call and hear the person leading the meeting ask, "Can everyone stay on for a minute?" Awkward silence followed before the person announced, "Next Thursday is my last day..." 

Each time this happened I'd feel my blood pressure skyrocket. Was this a bad omen? I'll cut to the chase. Yes. Yes, it was. My husband wasn't laid off but the person who was supposed to train him in his new role was. Rich thought, "That's okay, I've still got this peer who can show me the ropes."

Not so fast! That guy was let go too. On and on it went like that for eight grueling weeks and suddenly Rich's new exciting role felt like winning a cabin on the Titanic as it races toward Newfoundland.

He left on his own and within a few weeks he had two offers on the table. 

"Well that was easy!" we rejoiced. 

Rich made his decision based on the manager he sensed he could learn the most from. That role was slightly more appealing than the other, so it felt like the right choice.  

And he was happy ... for four months... 

Unfortunately, his manager had a health issue that, initially, seemed like something that would only require a few weeks off. Then he resigned. 

The recruiter who'd placed Rich in that role called him that evening and said, "Don't worry. The project will continue to move forward. We're already looking for a replacement for (man who just resigned)..." That was at 7 p.m. on a Thursday. 

By 9 a.m. Friday, the same person who assured Rich he could rest easy told him to pack up his laptop and return it to HQ. The project was cancelled. 

"No!" I cried, sinking to the kitchen floor. "How?" 

Of course, Rich's manager's health concerns certainly put things in perspective, but still, being told not to worry and then instructed to return your supplies ASAP was whiplash-inducing and did nothing to bolster our already-shaky faith in Corporate America. 

But as this wasn't our first (or even second or third) layoff rodeo, so we absorbed it with less shock than on previous occasions.

That said, my first thought was, "OMG, how can we tell anyone about this?" then I said to my husband, only half-kidding, "People are going to start asking if you're exposing yourself in stairwells."

You see, Rich was at the same company for close to twenty years. Since 2013, he's held more roles than we can count. 

In an attempt to take back a bit of control, he/we have started a college essay tutoring business and are hoping to start marketing it in the spring. If you know of any students who need some guidance, we'd love to help them. 

In other writing news, this fall I worked on edits for Sad Sacked, which will come out in print and ebook June 11. I had a chance to add in things like lists and multiple choice quizzes (mocking Corporate America's hiring and downsizing practices, which, sadly, are still relevant--see above!) that were originally cut as they don't work as well for audio.

I also accepted an offer on my next domestic suspense novel, The House on Cold Creek Lane, which will be released in August. 

I've also been freelancing and wondering if maybe it's time to really look for a full-time job again. Then something like this happens...

Last week, I had a call with a recruiter who had reached out about a part-time opportunity. When we spoke she told me that after doing a little more research on the role she had me in mind for, she learned the company (Verizon) was not looking for “senior” people. She admitted that was "ageist" but said there was nothing she could do about it. 

I wanted to tell her, "Look, I can totally act younger. I'll pop in my AirPods, scroll TikTok, and use words like 'lit,' 'fire,' 'mid,' and 'rizz.' I even know how to Zoom from my phone..."

But I saved my breath. Chances are if I got the gig it wouldn't last long anyway.


As always, thank you for reading and I hope your career is going better than mine!


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