Sunday, January 4, 2009

The times, they are a-hurtin'.

It's probably starting to become an annoying, obnoxious, and somewhat redundant sentiment to share, but I'm afraid I can't quite help myself.

Things are tough all over.

I was dining out last week, something that I have been doing a lot less of as of late. Being both a writer and a voyeur, I found myself falling into the nasty habit of eavesdropping on nearby tables. Dinnertime conversations in public places are often far more intimate and personal than they should be. Curiosity always forces my hand, and in the conversational gaps at my own table, I take in the voices filtering over from those near me.

The older group of diners to my left including a man who had just been laid off that weekend. He was two years short of retirement, and the company he worked for had cut him loose as part of a desperate attempt to keep from going bankrupt.

I know how he feels. Literally.

Last month, my full-time employer did the same thing to me. I was a senior employee with nearly fifteen years of service under my belt, great performance reviews all around. But the recession that has spent the last year building up speed hit the corporate and financial worlds hard. So hard that budgets were slashed on everything, including advertising and basic services.

The film and television industry usually survives minor ticks in the economy, as entertainment is cheap, and advertising is always connected to it. But the money disappeared from the top as well as the bottom this time, and bank accounts are lighter at both ends of the spectrum. Lets put it this way: when Soap Operas are forced to cut their budgets, you know things aren't looking too good.

But like the older gentleman at the table next to me, I'm not scared of this downturn of events. It is always easy to feel sorry for yourself, but it is even easier to turn on the news for an hour or two and realize that there are people out there in far worse shape than you. This is true now more than ever. Things are truly tough all over.

My High School science teacher used to say that all species must either Adapt, Migrate, or Perish. She ended up retiring early due to a brain hemorrhage, inadvertently proving her point and demonstrating the concept of Irony at the same time. But she had a point.

So, I'll be tapping into the Unemployment Insurance I have been paying into over the past eighteen years, and using the opportunity to go back to school full-time. I'll also be using the extra time to concentrate on my writing, promoting Monster Rally, and shopping my screenplays around.

I've got my health, my talent, and my brand new Vespa. Who could ask for anything more?

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