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Monday, October 31, 2011

RIFed

Six years ago this month, I found myself without a full-time job. Last Wednesday, the same thing happened again. Only this time, I sensed the position termination coming, per acquisition by another company over the summer, and I thought about my options with moving forward.

Now I'm considering what to do next -- and if ever there was a time to try something outside of the field I've been in, well, it's time.

I could reflect on this like Charlie Brown foolishly believing Lucy was going to hold the football long enough for a kick. I could lie on the ground asking myself why I believed this time would work. But that's not what I've been thinking. For many reasons, the story met a natural conclusion -- and I have the desire to write another story.

The advice I like to give to anyone considering entry into a field where it's hard to find any work: get experience, even if it's not exactly what you imagined yourself doing. Know your limits, but be unafraid to find strengths you didn't know you had. No one will truly begrudge you if you change your mind about the field you're in after you've worked and gained working experience. And what you dreamed to be one day might not be what you wanted after all. But there is absolutely no fault in finding that out yourself.

When I graduated in December 2001, I never imagined being a traffic reporter. My wish was to be a music director at an alternative rock station and have my own Sunday night specialty show. It was strictly in the hopes to playing music that I loved to people who would listen. That's what I did in college radio and I hoped to return the favor to those inspired me in college.

As I would quickly find out, achieving my wish would be almost impossible to grant. Sticking to what I loved and hoping to give props and respect back to those who inspired me, I found other routes. Taking a job as a traffic reporter/producer helped me immensely with skills I never thought I'd have as a somewhat shy person. And with the work hours, I was able to do plenty on the side.

Deciding to write and publish a book is still one of the best decisions I've ever made. Even though I had never written a book before and never had any of my material published anywhere, I committed myself to doing something I strongly believed in. That led to this blog, writing for the Observer, and writing another book -- all matters I have enjoyed doing.

Was this path the plan? No, but I'm reminded almost every day that this was the right way for me to go.

I don't regret being a traffic reporter. Not at all. I had the pleasure to work with plenty of great people -- people who reached out to me immediately following my layoff. Knowing a lot of other people in my office were also let go, I reached out to them as well. With the responses I got, I knew that eight years of hard work and sacrifice were not wasted.

With the time I've been given now, I am able to explore many options. While I know the time to be a little picky/choosy can be brief, I have plenty of reasons to do this. And I reserve the right to change my mind if it gets to that point.

I'm very thankful I have a lot of mental support from my family, my friends, and especially my housemate Matt. I'm also thankful I still have my freelance work going with the Observer and a voiceover gig I do from time to time. And there's also that second book I (almost) have in the can.

I see no point in selling everything I own and finding the nearest cave to live in. There's nothing I'm trying to run away from. It's more about what's there to run towards. Once again, I'm reminded of something I realized that went beyond reporting traffic every ten minutes: On the road of life, it's good to have some alternate routes.

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