Monday, February 20, 2012

2/20: Dreams, Quarters, Feet, and Firings

English: The face of a black windup alarm clock
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This morning I hit the snooze button on my alarm clock and promptly went back to sleep. Then, not only did I dream that I actually woke up and got out of bed (dragged a comb across my head...), I also dreamed that it was actually Saturday and I didn't need to get up anyway, then ran around feeling all good about getting up early on the weekend before actually waking up and realizing I was forty-five minutes behind schedule.

I seriously think my subconscious has it in for me.


Last week, I appeared on  Joyce Estey's monthly radio program Educationally Speaking (accompanied by professor and poet BJ Ward, author Jessica Cooper, and poets Nick Heacock and Angela Chiu), during which I read a slightly truncated version of my creative nonfiction short story A Quarter at a Time, which can currently be read in its entirety at Eric's Hysterics. It was a fun experience, and it reminded me that I need to get myself back on Father Scardo's show as soon as possible. Perhaps a post-Oscar movie chat with Scardo and guests in between speed metal and classic punk tracks?



Also sent in the signed contracts for another published short story. The Other Foot, which I just recently read along with a gathering of other authors at Warren County Community College this past year, has been selected to appear in the latest anthology from Portable PressUncle John’s Flush Fiction. Should be out in bookstores in April, but I would much prefer it if you bought in on Amazon via the link above. That way, I get a taste - and I do love to taste.



I was laid off twice from the same job.

I know I'm not alone in this, but it still embarrasses me to utter this phrase. Maybe it's because the hidden context is that I was naive enough to think that somebody I worked with for over a decade would actually show consideration... and that I was so naive twice.

Both times I was laid off for circumstances beyond my control. Much of the reasons given for my first pink slip stemmed from my employer's habit of my workforce being almost exclusively comprised of the teenage sons of friends of his and college interns, and that at the time of my dismissal I was running a warehouse full of lighting equipment and a fleet of six vehicles with a workforce comprised of one employee who couldn't drive stick.

I bowed out gracefully, kept a positive relationship with the company, occasionally did the odd freelance job, and roughly a year later I received a call from my old boss apologizing for letting me go, admitting that I was understaffed and unsupported, and asked me to come back. I probably should have said no, but the money was good, and the familiarity factor was there as well. Might as well get paid for a job I already know forward and back.

Roughly three years later the economy blew up, and I got the second layoff literally two months after being told that I was the company's most valuable employee that would be the last to go if things ever got bad. It turned out that I was the second to go: his quick solution to budget problems was to fire the top paid senior employees and keeping the low-wage underlings, including an obnoxious NYU film student who no one wanted to work on set with, and a punk who was obsessed with knives and thought he was a Ninja.

I'm sure it all worked out for the best. I politely burned that bridge last year in case I was ever tempted to go for a third round, and every now and then I hear from old contacts that the condition of the packages and equipment going out now is noticeably substandard to what it was like under me. I'd be lying if I said that didn't make me somewhat happy. I guess you get what you pay for.

Not that I'm bitter. Unemployment actually gave me a chance to go back to school, and I traded the completely shitty job I took after it for the amazingly awesome job I have now. But it's always good to ponder past decisions and their consequences.

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