Thursday, December 29, 2005

Another Life Change...

Today, just 15 minutes before quitting time, the main editor came in to my office and shut the door. I knew it was a serious talk. He said that, because of budgeting problems, they were going to have to terminate my position. Effective immediately. He was almost in tears, and I was choking them back, trying to be as stoic as possible. He said my position was the newest position they had added to the budget, so it was the first to be cut when money wasn't coming in. The paper is a free paper financed totally by advertising, and advertising tends to be hard to sell in January and February. He said he has hopes of hiring me back, if I will be available and agreeable to the idea, when finances are better. He projects this could be in March, but of course, no guarantees.

In the meantime, he wants me to continue to write freelance articles for them, and will get paid for that. He had a letter of termination I had to read and sign. In it, it said they would be glad to give me an excellent job reference, that this termination was purely an economic decision and nothing against me. I had to turn over all of my passwords and empty my document file. I had to finish my time sheet and fill it in to be paid for the hours I worked this week. And then, he asked if I had enough bags to clear my desk of all the stuff I had (reference books, drinking glass, mug, and more). These were things that dwindled in over several weeks, but I had to take it all home in one trip.

Then, he said he would need to escort me out of the building in order to get my parking pass out of my car. As we walked out of the office, he was again very close to tears and said this was unfortunate because he was impressed with what I added to the newspaper in terms of quality workmanship and being detail-oriented. He wanted to make it clear that I was not being fired due to poor work, and said he really hoped I would be back on the staff soon. He suggested I e-mail my section editor to work out a schedule of when the freelance work would be turned in.

As soon as I left the parking lot, I started sobbing. I didn't see this coming at all. And this was the one single thing in the past two or three years that meant the MOST to me. It was ME, not me being an extension of Russ (which is nice too, but just not the same thing). I didn't get to say good-bye to anyone, and it would have been awkward if I did. They had just added my name to the masthead and the Web site this week. No one saw it coming.

I will be seeking what God has for me in the next couple of weeks, in serious prayer and reflection and meditation, and I would ask that you pray for me.

Still Living Out Loud!

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