UGH! It’s been 10 months since being laid off!

Soon I’ll have to take off my socks to count the months I’ve been unemployed

Today marks 10 months since I was laid off from a newspaper job in Northern California.

Yes, 10 months! Ugh!

If this keeps up much longer, I’ll have to strip off my shoes and socks in order to keep track of how long I’ve been without work.

Frankly, I never thought I would be without a paycheck and benefits for this long, let alone for nearly a year. I grew up in a very blue-collar community surrounded by hardworking, blue-color family and friends with hardworking, blue-collar values.

I like those values. They are good values. And I have worked all my life to live up to those values.

But even those values were not enough to keep me working. I was laid off on March 5, 2009.

I have ranted on this before.

I also have written about the things for which I remain thankful.

But it is demoralizing to think that I could be without work for a year.

I believe I will find a job soon enough. I have 22 years of experiences in newspapers that can be used in other industries. My portfolio isn’t flashy and only provides a few samples of a very broad and extensive body of work, but it could be far more shabby.

Or I could decide to go back to school, although I am not sure what I would study. Frankly, I’m really not sure what I want to be when I grow up.

If I had my choice, I suppose, I’d be writing a book. But I really am not sure what I’d write about.

I did spend quite a bit of time covering crime and I suppose I could dive into pulp fiction. Or not.

If I had a crystal ball, I would be able to read that I will either find a job in newspapers or with a news agency, or I will find a writing job of some kind with a government or nonprofit agency. I suppose my preference would be to work for a nonprofit agency.

Ever since being laid off, I’ve had some time to evaluate and re-evaluate – again and again – what I want to do in my next job. It would be good, I think, to work for an agency that does good. I regularly search the websites Idealist.org, Opportunity Knocks, Change.org and other nonprofit and green job websites.

And even if I do not get a job working for a nonprofit agency, I hope to do volunteer work once I get a job.

I know, I know, I know, I should be filling some of my free time NOW with volunteer work to have an answer for interviewers who ask: “So, what have you been doing since you were laid off?” But from the very beginning when I was first laid off, there were several very clear things in my mind:

1) It was not my fault that I was laid off. It was all about an economy in flux.

2) I was not alone in my unemployment. There are 15 million to 16 million Americans out of work – 15 million to 16 million!

3) I felt that looking for a job was a job. Looking for work is my work. I search about a dozen journalism-based job websites each day; I search Craigslist each day for writing and editing jobs, nonprofit jobs, government jobs, public relations jobs and more for California, Nevada, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, and Rhode Island, and sometimes for Oregon, Washington state, Arizona and New Mexico; I search job websites for universities, public relations associations, federal government jobs and more; I search several nonprofit job websites; I search several green industry job websites; view various email job alerts and job newsletters; I have a LinkedIn profile and have used Facebook to reconnect to former colleagues; and my resume and profile are posted on several job sites. I put in the hours.

And I know a few things.

I know this: Things will be better for me in 2010 than they were in 2009. I’m not sure they could get much worse.

I know this: I am somewhat demoralized and sapped of energy from this protracted job search. I really could use something good happening to me and something good soon happening to me.

I know this: I am stronger today than I was before this happened and I will be stronger tomorrow than I was today. This will not claim me.

OK, enough of all this. I have a job to find, because I have no intension of taking off my socks to count off the number of months I’ve been unemployed.

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