Archive for February, 2009

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Layoff on Career Day – The irony of it all

February 26, 2009

“How ironic,” Nick said as he hugged me tight while my tears pelted on his shoulders and my body shook from frustration, “you got laid off on Career Day.”  It had only been a few hours since I had stood in front of three different groups of middle school kids, his peers, talking about advertising copywriting, my profession. I talked about my work and my life, undeniably interchangeable, particularly for a creative person who works their God-given talent. I talked about loving what I do. I talked about how even the marketing jobs I hated provided great learning and how it all comes together in the end. I told them how because of mergers, acquisitions, impatient or greedy investors, bad management, I had been laid off several times, witnessed great agencies close and some very talented people scatter to find new meaning to their lives. I also told them the layoffs were the reason we were now living in Southern California. “Not too shabby, is it?” I posed. They didn’t respond. Actually, they didn’t respond too much at all. With very few exceptions, it seemed that I was staring into blank walls. Blank stares staring back. I had never experienced such a thing. These kids showed no emotion whatsoever. My son had warned me, though, so I didn’t take it personally. On occasion, someone would blink and then I’d turn to them with my story. “They’re alive!” I thought. There were a few squinty eyes in the room. Since most of the kids were Asian, I wasn’t sure if they needed glasses or if this was due to the size and shape of their eyes. Every now and then someone would raise a timid hand and a squeaky voice would ask if, like, you know, I worked with a group, or like by myself, or you know. The teacher, my hostess, and the blessed creature who sat through my back-to-back presentations and now knew more than she cared to about all things advertising, would translate and I would respond.

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