(Hey, look… my first sequel post. Here’s the first part.)
So, I was forced back out into the cold, cold world of job-searching. Confused, shocked, depressed, filled with dread… and I was still in the parking lot of my now ex-place-of-employment.
After a few deep breaths, I said, “Well, no use sitting on my ass.” (Yes, I said this to an otherwise-empty car.)
I started to drive back home… stopping off at the Temp Agency that got me placed at that company in the first place. I went right in, told them what just happened, and asked to re-open my file, which they did. I was now back in the Temp Loop… which is better then being in no loop, for sure.
Now, they told me how jobs were slim, but it would *hopefully* pick up fairly soon. It certainly wasn’t going to be the only method I used, but it was a start, at least.
Over the coming days, I would start to reflect on the reasons I was laid off. And I know it wasn’t “anything personal” (to the company, although definitely personal to me) or any performance-based reason why I was laid off (that I was told of). I did my job, and I think I did it well.
No, this was an accounting issue (for lack of a better term… I don’t mean it was the Accountant’s fault). So, in that context… I still tried to find some reasonable explanation. And since I have a tendency to over-think things… and think in odd ways… the standard answers don’t seem to work for me.
The first standard answer is “profits are down”. What exactly does that mean? Does that mean they are LOSING money? Meaning… no profit at all. The operating costs exceed the income. Then yeah… I can understand that. Or does it mean what it actually is saying… “profits are down”… they’re just not making AS MUCH a profit as they’d like to? They’re still making a profit… just not as big as they want. (Aw, poor baby) So, after all operating costs, and subtract that from the income you make, you still have money left over.
This is actually the situation that I think most companies are in. Profits are simply a little less. So… why the need to fire people? If you expect your employees to be loyal, and they continue to bring in a positive profit in an ailing economy, why do the same rules not apply to the company? In my fantasy world, if I own a company and I can afford to pay everyone, including myself, pay for everything I need, and at the end of the year, NOT owe money to anyone… then it’s a good year. If after that, the profit is only 1 dollar… its still a profit. Sure, you won’t be able to give any raises, or be able to “expand” like you wanted… but that’s the fault of the ailing economy! Sure, we got this ailing economy because of some greedy Mother-F-ers grabbing for every penny… but doing the same thing isn’t going to get us OUT of it. If you stay even, and weather out the storm, and you’re not *losing* money… when it does turn around, you’ll be in a better position to cash in. Not to mention what it does for the esteem and loyalty of your employees… you’ll actually be Walking what other companies are Talking with that subject. You’ll really have your “(Insert company name) Family”.
“Oh, but the Shareholders are demanding large profits.”
Shareholders, huh? Granted, I oversimplify a lot of things. Business acumen is not my forte. But it appears to me that things like “dividends” and whatnot, in regards to Stocks don’t mean a whole lot, monetarily. No, the primary flow of cash comes from the buying and selling of said stocks.
So you have someone that buys a large number of shares… partially owning the company… wants heavy profits so the stock value goes up… so he can sell off his shares, and NOT be an owner of the company?
Why should the rest of the company be so concerned with someone who really wants nothing to do with it?
I admit, I don’t normally meet owners of companies that honestly have no long-term interest in how their company does. Nor do I meet ones that are willing to do NOTHING to help it thrive. But that’s what shareholders do… they become part owners, then sit back and do nothing waiting for the value to go up.
If you honestly have a vested interest… and want the company to, oh I don’t know, get more clients… get off your ass and help find more clients for YOUR company. That’s not how being a shareholder works? That’s fine… but you shouldn’t have the right to complain, then. Stocks are like gambling… you can gain money, and you can lose money. But you can’t go to the dealer and say, “Hey, I put down a large bet, so give me a straight flush. I demand it.” You take your cards and you live with them.
And realize that after you buy a stock… you don’t actually gain or lose money until you SELL it. So what if it drops to less then you paid for it? Don’t sell! Give it time, and it will go the other way, and you’ll make a profit. Oh, you want money *now*? Well, McDonalds is hiring. Yes, there’s a chance the company could tank and fold… you were gambling in the first place. See last sentence of previous paragraph.
Alright, anyone that has a personal knowledge of stocks and business is probably thinking I’m a huge idiot right now, and that’s fine. This is just one layman’s take on it. And I’m not talking bad about capitalism… that’s our system, no problem. I get that, and am fine with it. But it does breed some greedy mother-f-ers, and you may think it does nothing BUT breed greedy mother-f-ers. I don’t think so. I think there is room for compassion and loyalty in the system… but it does seem to be hard to find. Hence why I became one of many “victims of the economy”.
Regardless… I had to re-start the job search. Updated the resume, got about 6 weeks of coaching from that career-transition service that talked to me mere seconds after receiving my pink slip (which wasn’t actually pink, by the way… nor was it a slip)… and was on my computer for 6+ hours each day looking for work and leads. I wasn’t having luck. (Also part of why I wasn’t finding time to blog… I was tired of looking at my computer!)
I even tried a few job fairs… the first one even made it on the news, because it was so insane. They expected 40,000 people… and about 200,000 showed up. Including me. I showed up at 9:00am in the parking lot, and the show was to start at 9:30. I didn’t even make it onto the shuttle bus until after noon. (I felt like I was back in a cattle call audition in L.A… on one hand it was a good thing, because I was used to it) Then, when I got to the site, I had to wait *another* hour in *another* line to get into the building where the fair was. Ugh... just thinking about it makes me shake my head. I had a list of about 30 companies I had planned to talk to, and the longer I waited in line, the more names I had to cross off… distilling it down to my absolute essentials, figuring that’s all I’d have time for (figuring about 8 minutes of waiting at each one, and a few more minutes of talking to the representatives, etc). Turns out I got to talk to *every* company… because each one took about 13 seconds. “Oh yeah, you apply online. All that info is online. All the descriptions are online. You can give your resume online.” I wanted to grab each person I saw and just scream, “Then… WHY ARE YOU BOTHERING TO BE HERE???” It was so pointless and frustrating… and only served to show that actual “job fairs” are pointless and outdated. I was making more progress futilely job-searching in my pajama pants.
And boy, does it seem futile. Frustration just seems to pile up more and more every day. It racks its toll on your psyche, your esteem… pretty much any angle you think of it, it impacts it negatively.
(Not to mention it made the whole dating thing (even more) awkward for me… sure everyone seemed so understanding because of the economy, but I can’t imagine it’s a big plus to hear that your dating prospect is “between jobs”. Usually that’s a euphemism for “Deadbeat Loser”.)
I will say, one good thing that came out of being laid-off… it got me to think. I’ve always been able to exist in an office environment, and even make a positive impact. But it’s not *me*. That’s not what I love doing. Hell, I have 2 degrees in Theatre! Though, knowing that industry is suffering just as much, if not more then before… I sat down and started to think about “what would make me happy?” Because I’d rather not go into another job that I only tolerate… I want something I can look forward to, and actually enjoy the work I do. So what “realistic” job would fit that description?
And then I remembered… I enjoyed teaching.
Back when I taught Theatre at a small college just outside of Los Angeles, I really liked it. Sure, the bureaucracy was frustrating… and it wasn’t perfect. But being there in class, teaching 40+ students… was fun.
Looking back, I got out of it for pretty silly reasons, and I shouldn’t have. But the individual I was dating at the time (who would soon be NOT the person I was dating), mentioned how I hadn’t been making as much progress on getting to be a professional actor/writer as she thought I should, and I had been thinking she was right… the teaching took up quite a bit of time, and I was thinking it was getting in the way. (Yes, I was actually thinking that it interfered too much with my “Starving Artist” lifestyle) Considering how the next year went (after I stopped teaching)… I would definitely have done it differently.
But now I’m thinking I’d like to get back into it. It’s a subject I’m passionate and enthusiastic about… I have fun with it. I enjoyed passing it on to willing ears. And dare I say, I even found it a bit fulfilling. So, I’ve decided to make that my new goal: To get back into it.
Thus far, the progress I’ve made in the past year… I’ve been approved to teach online classes through a local university. I’ve gone through the training… (an online class to learn how to teach online classes… appropriate or redundant?) Now I’m just waiting for word of when the class starts. I’m listed as faculty on their website, so it looks like *eventually* something will come along… I just hope it’s somewhat soon. If for nothing else, I’d like to get back into practice. I’m approved to teach “Intro to Drama” and “Shakespeare”… things I’ve taught before, thankfully. But for now… I wait.
Was the lay-off a blessing in disguise? Eh… hard to say. I’m doing my best to treat it as such. But it still feels like hassles and hard times that were just thrust upon me without good enough logic.
But… I am now currently employed. The temp service found me another company that liked me. I’m back doing Administrative Assistant-work. I’m still there as a “Temp”, which means that it could technically end at any moment… but my boss has stated her intent to hire me on permanent. (Which is a plus) No, it’s not teaching… it’s back to corporate America… but as a day job, it’s a good one. And it will do for now.
And it’s something I can do in conjunction with the online teaching (whenever it starts)… hopefully it will give me back some of that security I lost last year… as well as some of the personal fulfillment I’m searching for. And hopefully, the sooner it starts, the sooner I’d be able to parlay it into a regular face-to-face teaching job somewhere. Maybe something will happen, maybe it won’t… but it is my goal.
And it is nice to have something to shoot for again.