Happy layoff anniversary!

I saw a friend in the grocery store earlier and it was bittersweet. I know she felt the same. Once upon a time, we used to see each other every day — she actually owed her job to the fact that I was pregnant with my first child — and now we see each other far too infrequently.

A year ago today, we were both laid off. I heard the news about my friend from a co-worker in the Framingham office. I was working in the Milford office and the calls came in sporadically, almost like a police scanner — reports of boxes packed in advertising, a possible hit in photography. And then one last report: the boss was heard to say that he was heading for Milford.

Oddly enough, the knowledge that my editor, a guy I’d known for 15 years, was headed my way, most likely to break the news that I no longer had a job… did not make me stop working. I was in the middle of editing a rather annoying special section, something which I’d come in early to finish and, darn it, was was going to get that stupid section done. I marvel at that, in retrospect. I could have just tossed out the layout sheets, told the ad department I didn’t care about their last minute changes, not tracked down those missing photos, not edited the stories.

Instead, I sped things up. By the time my editor appeared, I had the last page done. I always met my deadlines. I wasn’t about to miss my last one.

It’s been an interesting year, probably one of the more productive of my adult life, in retrospect. I remember my husband encouraged me to at least take a few days before diving into the job search but, within 24 hours, I’d sent out a slew of resumes, created my LinkedIn page, connected with a whole bunch of former sources and co-workers and had a number of solid leads.

It was more healthy that way. Instead of spending the weekend feeling sorry for myself, I had an inbox full of disbelief from people whose opinions I trusted. That nagging “maybe I deserved it” feeling went away as past colleagues sent job leads and gave me tips on how to brush up my resume and network. My absolute favorite comment came from a former co-worker who I never realized was reading not only my former “Working… With Kids” blog but also Greater Grafton: “What does it say about the state of the industry today when there’s no room for someone who is so committed to community journalism, she does it in her spare time?”

And it goes without saying, but should be said again, that the response from people who knew me only through this blog was overwhelming. Thank you. I don’t know how I would have gotten through it if I didn’t have Greater Grafton to keep me busy.

I mentioned in passing during a break in a meeting this week that I was marking the anniversary of my layoff. “You need to forget that,” I was admonished by a friend… who then recited the exact date, in 2007, that he lost his own job.

Paper’s the traditional first anniversary gift but let’s face it: if paper wasn’t so unfashionable now, would I be celebrating this day in the first place?

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