Tag Archives: work


There are a couple of things that I’ve been meaning to mention.

First, Dawn let me know a while back that a book called Mothering and Blogging: The Radical Act of the Mommyblog quoted this blog in its introduction. (Dawn contributed a chapter to the book.) They used a couple of lines from the end of this post, which I wrote as I was beginning to discover the wealth of blogging moms online. Being a small part of the activist and academic discourse about this kind of writing is no small validation for me. Like so many other mom bloggers I read, I’ve thought about shutting this place down in recent months and creating something else… maybe something more anonymous where I can let it all hang out, or something more commercial. For now, I feel there are still possibilities here, as long as I keep myself from getting mired in feelings of obligation.

Second, speaking of other ventures, I have been putting some new energy into my Auction Chronicles experiment. I originally opened it because I wanted to experiment with manipulating templates and managing content in WordPress. And because many, many moons ago, in my early career as an alternative weekly staff member, I was one of the writers of a weekly crime blotter of the weird called The Naked City and I wanted to take a stab at writing potentially funny armchair anthropological stuff again. Not to mention a little pop culture stuff, because I have a kabillion clips of that order, but I’ve been in the education and fine arts corner for a while.

Third, I need work. My husband needs work. None of our projects are quite where they should be time-wise, a couple of my spring gigs have yet to actually pay me (which has me thinking that they might not, in fact, pay me), and things are, frankly, kind of scary. I am bursting with some ideas and while I’ve had more than a few middle of the night panics, I am hopeful. I know how to do lots of stuff online. Even, like, editing photos and cross-testing them for different gamma settings because I am more of a geek than you will ever know.


P.S. I am approaching my 500 post milestone. Any ideas about how to observe it?

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I’ve been blogging less and working a lot more lately, which is turning into quite a juggling act.

Happily, somebody noticed. A few weeks back, I found out that my colleagues at KnowledgeWorks and I won a national award for our storytelling project about urban high school reform. Yay us!

Incidentally, our editor’s very first children’s book is out today! Find it at your local independent bookstore. Yay Linda!

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How to be decent when people you know are laid off

I’ve been watching with sadness this week as our local daily newspaper announced the layoff of 45 editorial staff members, including two people that I’ve known (and did a fair amount work for) for years, along with many others that I’ve been less formally acquainted with.

I’ve gone through the experience of a layoff twice in my career. Once when the alternative weekly I wrote for folded, and again when the national corporation that owned the online city guide I edited decided to roll up most of its local offices. Both experiences were hard for different reasons, and good things did come out of them. They also made me keenly aware that a lot of people are clueless when it comes to talking to someone who has just lost their job.

Since the job loss news just keeps coming, here’s my unsolicited advice about how to be decent to people you know (or worked with) that have been laid off:

1. Don’t treat them like they are contagious or too fragile to touch. If you think you don’t know what to say but that person has meant something to you professionally or personally along the way, making the effort to call or write or somehow say even “I don’t know what to say” is better than not hearing from you at all. Losing a job (even if the job was awful) deserves some kind of ritual observance because an era of that person’s life has been extinguished. I know that the people who took the time to say “you were really great at X, and I’m sorry this happened” to me, or who offered any kind of assistance when I was on the unemployment curb, no matter how small, gave me memories that are more vibrant to me now than any of the bad stuff that’s happened in my career.

2. If you offer yourself up as a listening post, make sure you’re prepared to actively listen and expect that the person may have some intense feelings. It’s disconcerting when someone offers up a shoulder to cry on who really just wants an excuse to hear him- or herself crack-wise and to drink a lot. (That said, some people cope best through humor, in which case the cracking-wise/drinking plan may be in order.)

3. Point out silver linings if you see real ones, but avoid the pat “everything happens for a reason” line. Sometimes that reason is the shortsightedness or mismanagement of people who still have a job. And even if it isn’t, it may be years after you’ve received that pink slip before you are able to see it.

4. Call them again in a few weeks. If you’re laid off en masse, you sometimes have people to commiserate with immediately, but that support system may fade. Once you’ve made it past crisis mode, that’s when things are sometimes the hardest.

5. Buy them lunch. Pay back that $5 you borrowed now. Write a letter of recommendation (or maybe a quick reference on LinkedIn) while you’re thinking of it. And don’t offer to do any of these things in a moment of sympathy if you aren’t really going to follow up.

Anyone else have some advice to share?

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