I think I’ve mentioned at least once or twice how I love my job at the Chamber of Commerce. I’ve learned a lot since I started working there. I’ve learned so much; about myself, the kind of job I want in the future, and about the kinds of work I want to do. (An ode to why I love the Chamber is in the works, just not for today.)
Last week, I approached my boss to ask for the week between X-mas and News Year’s off. And was informed that my services would not be needed after Wednesday. This coming Wednesday. Sadness (and panic), ensues.
I mean my boss was is awesome. He made sure I understood why I’m being laid off. I’mbeing laid off because they can’t afford me, not because I suck as an employee. He even said that I rock as an employee and he wishes he could keep me and he’s being talking me up to folks who may be in a position to hire me.
I can’t believe that I’m being LAID OFF, this is so weird.
Why I’m being laid off (a longer version):
You see, the Chamber of Commerce is a membership organization. Their members are local area businesses. And in a recession, businesses make less money. All the businesses, regardless of whether they are professional services, restaurants, retailers, bars, or financial institutions when they make less money, they cut stuff to preserve the bottom line. And some (I don’t know how many, exactly) of the Chamber’s members are not renewing their dues. I know the real estate and development community has been hit pretty hard.
As the Chamber’s members tighten their belts, the Chamber has to tighten theirs. And the intern budget disappears.
So I’m jobless. And not because I did anything wrong. Which makes it so much easier and happier (you can tell by my use of flowers and smiley faces and exclamation points, how much I mean this)
How the hell did I not see this coming???
But I didn’t see it coming. All this time, I’ve been making fun of the Big 3 and how they failed to innovate or do ANYTHING really.
And I’ve been scratching my head about the financial crisis and have shaken my head in disgust in my policy class when we would learn about the greed of Wall Street investors and am incredulous that they could do the sh*t they’ve done and still be holding their hands out.
I still haven’t figured out what the fu*k is the problem with the banks and why the hell can’t they just LEND money.
I’ve rolled my eyes at folks who made bad mortgages decisions. I mean, when I was looking for a home at age 24 I knew enough not to get into a ARM or a Balloon or a variable rate mortgage, so how are all these other people stupid enough to fall for it?
Well, I’ve heard the Chamber’s Executive Director talk about how next year will be the hardest year for the Chamber, who over the past 10 years has experienced double digit growth, but for the first time ever will be facing a cut.
But I didn’t know that meant that I’d be history.
Basically, I was stupid. I thought that if I did more than my job, took initiative (asked for more work), and stayed visible and engaged, I’d have a job as long as I wanted it.
I was wrong. Sometimes when you do everything right sh*t still happens. And since I’m the low man on the totem pole, I shouldn’t be surprised that I happened to me.
It is fu*king hard out there for a pimp. (and I should know, as I am a pimp)
And the more I’ve thought about it today, even as I made a list of all the organizations in the area that I’ve like to work for the next semester, places I’m going to call right after the holiday break, I realized that probably every one of those organizations is going through a hard time. And as organizations slash millions from their budgets I KNOW that hiring me is going to be a hard sell.
Then I read this offer on Havi’s blog today and it seemed like a dream. So I applied. And while I didn’t get the offer, it has given me another angle with which to approach my next move. And it gave me hope that work does exist. And I mean work from anywhere in the world kind of work, which would be awesome.
I mean, I’ve been toying with the whole freelance copywriting idea since the summer, and even talked to Naomi about it. But I never followed up or through.
So I’m developing my pitch, which will highlight the fact that hiring me as a contract working is WAY cheaper than hiring a full time employee, the fact that I can research and write, and the fact that I know all the local players. And one of my favorite local news sources has even mentioned the fact that I’m hirable. And that gives me hope.
And Kelly gave me a whole list of sites that I can use, in addition to what Naomi gave me, to start seriously start copywriting. And I starting feeling a little better. A little more hopeful.
And I talked to the gf and shared my fears about never getting a job (now or before May) because this is like a replay of 2003 right after Bush bombed Iraq and all the job leads I had dried up (I wanted to be an au pair in France, but after the bombs fell and the whole freedom fries thing, French parents started specifying English, from England au pairs, not American English-speaking girls.) That’s right the Spring of 2003 was the pre-cursor to Hell Year!!
And when I think about that I get nervous and I start to sweat and I get paralyzed and unable to do ANYTHING. Then the gf tells me that she believes in me, enough even, that I don’t have to believe in myself today. And that gives me LOTS of hope, because she’s pretty smart, and she wouldn’t have faith in me if I were a complete loser.
To all my fellow low men on the totem pole, I wish I had something uplifting and spiritual and sh*t to share with you to make you feel that your job is not in danger.
Sorry, I can’t say that.
But I can say that even if the complete bottom falls out. I am NOT too proud to work at Target. I am NOT too proud to bus tables. I am NOT too proud to work at the mall. (and neither should you be)
But I don’t really want to work at any of those places (and neither do you). What I do want to do is convince organizations that they need my skills (even if they don’t necessary have the budget for staff) and that hiring me to work on projects saves them time and money, and helps them to check small-ish projects off their to-do list.
So I’m still tackling the list of organizations that I made earlier today, I’m just refining the way I talk to them. And I’m no longer panicked. I have a plan. A plan that I probably should have BEEN working on, anyway.
How are you recession-proofing your job?