Work, work, work. I love working. Free time is good, too, because I have a lot of projects to labor on at home, but I find industrious leisure even more satisfying when it’s married to steady, paid employment. And if a job is less than dreamy? Well. At least it’s fodder for my fiction.
Or, it was, anyway.
I was laid off from my old job two months and two days ago. As soon as the shock wore off – and it was indeed shocking to have survived the Great Recession with my job intact only to have that meager security yoinked from our grasp the minute it looked like we might emerge from economic meltdown relatively unscathed – I dusted off my resume and started applying to new job listings.
A week and a half later, I was called to interview for the second position to which I had applied. Once there, the second person who interviewed me said they were “appalled” I had applied for the job. I managed not to burst into tears, even though I was being paid the job-hunter’s most terrifying compliment: They thought I was overqualified.
Still, the three people who interviewed me were otherwise very kind and seemed genuinely impressed with my skills. I left with the impression that if they didn’t pick me for the job I’d applied for, maybe I had a shot the next time they posted a job listing in my area of expertise: Paper-pushing (for science).
While I waited for their decision, I applied to many… many more jobs. In desperation, I signed on with a few staffing firms. During my last job search, headhunters had done the opposite of helping – one even insulted me, the jerk – but what the hell. I needed work ASAP. Without a dayjob, I was scrubbing and organizing our apartment to the brink of obsession, and counterproductively disrupting the remains of my family’s routines in the process.
Two weeks later, I got the bad news: Rejection… With an asterisk. They asked me to come back in another two weeks to interview for a different job. A better one.
(!@#%?! That never happens!!)
I managed not to burst into cheers.
And I kept applying to new job listings. Because I am exactly as hopeful as experience and realism allow; those who know me understand that I grew up without an allowance. So to speak. Even at my optimistic best, I wouldn’t say I was confident they’d hire me. But at least I had another interview to look forward to. In a pinch, patience is a worthy substitute for hope.
The interview came and went, and tension earned a merit badge for tying my major muscle groups in knots. I started climbing the walls. Literally: I took up indoor rock climbing as a hobby. It was either that, or parkour, and I’m about as much an ‘urban ninja’ as I am an optimist.
Meanwhile, our favorite ‘extracurricular’ activity was slowly dying. Crossed Genres Publications. Our family business – and all the exquisite science and magic that comes with publishing fine fiction – was doomed. Even before I was laid off, we’d talked about holding another Kickstarter fund-drive to keep our poor beast alive. Just one more year. Then maybe it’d survive on its own and finally stop draining our resources. And then I lost my job and we had no resources left to drain.
I may not be hopeful by nature, but I am stubborn. And in good company. Our ship was sinking, but were we rats or were we pirates? When the time came, we didn’t shout, “ARR!” Instead, we raised our colors and cried, “Are you with us?!”
With CG-Peoples’ overwhelming support, our Kickstarter passed $4,000 in less than 24 hours. Then $1,500 more to raise our beloved magazine from the grave! And still the economic display of affection goes on. Who knows what literary shenanigans we’ll get up to if people continue to put their money where our business is? Hell, if the Kickstarter brings in enough money, we might even be able to pay our writers and artists pro-rates. (I won’t get my hopes up, but we do have a plan for that, just in case.)
But wait, there’s more.
I got hired.
It’s a better job than the one I lost. The pay and benefits are a little better. The office-culture is far-and-away-better. The work itself if more interesting, too. Yes, it’s paper-pushing, but it’s for science.
Between my new job and Crossed Genres’ new lease on life… Well, to stretch the metaphor: We may be treading water, but at least our boat’s still rocking. That’s better than we could say before I was laid off.
In all seriousness, thank you, friends. You kept our spirits high and dry the past couple of foul-weather months, and you boosted our signal farther and wider than we dared hope. We wouldn’t be afloat without you, and we know it.