Friday, September 22, 2017

An interesting time of semi-employment and volunteer work

I've been unemployed for a long time now. Over a year. I never thought something like this would happen. When the old CEO retired, a number of us discussed the possibility of our being let go by a new CEO. Sure enough, the new one let every member of executive management go. She used a budget excuse, but that clearly was a lie. She just wanted to bring in her own people.

When we had those discussions, we agreed that with our experience, we shouldn't be out too long. Well, the joke was on us. I think age has something to do with it. People don't want to pay for experience, and they'd rather have someone in their 30s than their 50s. So I've now been out for over a year, passed over for jobs for which I was very well qualified. If some employers had done that, well, that's how it goes, but to have so many jobs where I can't even get a face-to-face interview, there's only one explanation I can see.

So I've helped some organizations for free, and I've been doing a bit of legal work. That pays pretty well per hour, but that's a couple of hours here and a couple there.

Thankfully, Marc is working, and we haven't piled tons of debt on ourselves. Still, this is beyond unsettling.

I'll keep doing things. I'm also working on some political efforts I believe in. So I'm staying busy and productive, but I look forward to a more normal work life one of these days!

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Blog Tribe and a time of loss

On June 30, 2004, before I'd ever heard of something called Facebook, I finally caved to pressure from my dear friend PatCH and started this blog. From the blog, I shared much of my life--and my life with Marc and our dogs--and I made some amazing friends. More true friends than I ever could have imagined.

It shouldn't have surprised me that I could make such good friends online, since my initial introduction to my best friend--my husband Marc--came on an old online technology called IRC, but still there's some surprise in the volume of dear friends who came into my life through blogging.

I often lament my lack of attention to this blog. Blogging is a far better medium than any of the newer social media, but it also requires a bit more time and thought than a Facebook post. Still, I should give it more attention.

When I think about the friends I've made on here, I'm sometimes reminded of the ones we lost. This week, we mark the passing of Scott Barnes of the blog "Sardonic Bomb", gone suddenly at the age of 50 last weekend. Earlier this year, we also lost Alex. He was only 43. He had a couple of blogs/sites, the main one I followed called "Epicureal Thoughts." Both of them were artists. Scott was a photographer. Alex painted. Both brightened their parts of the world.

The funny thing is, there are members of this blogger tribe I feel close to, even though we never met. These two are good examples. We never got to meet, but Alex's death crushed me. I agonized as he fought for his life, being in intensive care for weeks, only to lose a battle when the damage was more than the doctors could fix. Then we got the news of Scott's sudden death--at least, as Jay explained, he had just finished having fun on a rollercoaster when he died an instantaneous death. Nothing makes death okay, especially at only 50, but at least he didn't suffer.

Although we never met, Scott and I had spoken on the phone. Interestingly, one call I remember was when he'd suffered a loss. I had been through a lot by that point in my life, having lost loved ones and found ways to cope. So we talked about it. Even in tough times like that, I enjoyed our talks, as I've enjoyed the many talks I've had with his partner, Jay.

It's a human failing that we think there always will be time to meet people. That's how I thought of Scott. I missed a visit he made to New York not so long ago, but I figured I'd catch him next time. Now, after our schedules not clicking multiple times, he's gone and "next time" will never come.

I've been blessed to make so many friends on here. I hesitate to start mentioning them, because I'll miss someone. But to give you an idea of how many people this medium brought into my world: Byrne and Andy and Pony and Rob and Jay and Scott and Alex and Patrick and Jason and Matt and Patrick and Michael and Aaron and Deidre and Pua and Richard and Toddy and Jeff and Glenn and Atticus and Joel and Steven and Albert and Karen. And there are more. I feel quite sure I've missed any number of friends.

Most of these people became friends IRL (in real life). Some of them are among our dearest friends now. But even those we never got to meet became close. Over time, you can develop quite a connection through blogging, then private messages and then phone calls. Three of the people I just mentioned are gone. They were too young, but we don't get to decide that. They're gone, and while I never got to hug those three and see them face-to-face, their loss is very real.

Rest in peace, my friends. And the rest of us? Let's not allow too much time to slip by between meetings. Okay?