I called up my account online, and it was in there.
I grabbed the stack of bills from the folder in my dresser, and, old school guy that I am, wrote out checks one by one to send out in the mail.
No transfers were made from savings.
That felt good.
The first two-week paycheck from my new part-time job had been direct-deposited as promised. I’m working 25 hours a week for a big retailer, thinking on my feet helping customers to the best of my ability and doing whatever my bosses ask of me. It’s different from my almost 30 years at the big daily as an editor and reporter, sure enough, but at the core it’s still me with people, community on one side of the equation and colleagues on the other. Plus I’m also holding on dearly to the freelance work I’ve built up since the layoff of January 2013.
I would have applied for 40 hours a week at this job if it had been advertised. Nevertheless, I was happy when my dear wife Karen pointed out that this well-known company had an ad online, and I clicked and filled out the boxes, answered questions and attached my resume. I was called in for a follow-up interview and then got the call and the job offer.
I’ve tried hard to find a full-time job here in Syracuse, N.Y., for nearly three years now. After the shock of it all wore off that sad January day almost three years ago, I’d have to say that I was somewhat optimistic about what my resume held and how this community viewed me. And indeed, I have been a finalist or called in for face-to-face interviews for a handful of jobs in the communications field. A regional dairy association. Twice at a state university. A construction company. A furniture company. Another newspaper. A school district. I held a temp service job for two months with hopes of continuing on, but that didn’t happen.
I made sure I wasn’t one of those workers who fell through the cracks in the system and stopped trying. And all the while I worked hard at my freelance jobs, writing for media sites and magazines. I kept this blog going daily.
Some of the 100 people who were laid off that day have gotten full-time jobs, men and women, younger than me, older than me, the same age as me, from the newsroom and advertising department and print shop and IT and across every office across the building. Some moved away from Syracuse. Some changed fields. Some retired. Some haven’t, piecing together work, like me.
Every time I’ve gotten the “thanks, but” message, I’ve wondered why. Was it my answers? My personality? My age? I’ve had my down times and my self-doubt. I took two civil service tests for communications jobs for the county I live in, and passed them both, with an 85 and an 80. Then I chided myself that I didn’t score higher.
But I feel at good home an hour after the third full week of this new job on a Friday night. I put in 7 1/2 hours today around a lunch hour. My workdays and hours are staggered.
So far, my earliest shift has started at 7 a.m. The building is 15 miles from the Little Bitty in the Syracuse city neighborhood of Eastwood, so to make sure I arrive plenty early enough to punch in, I rise at 5:30 a.m. That’s earlier than Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle.
I like saying the words “my shift.”
When the HR rep told me my starting hourly wage, I was impressed. I will not dwell on how much less it is than what I was making when I was laid off at the big daily.
I will work hard for that check, and be proud of it.
My co-workers tell me they like this company. They’re treating me right. I know there’s room to grow.
I like my co-workers. One guy asked me how old I was, and when I told him I turn 58 next month, he told me I look closer to 28. Great work banter!
I’m a good kind of tired tonight.
Have you ever taken a job in a different line of work and if so, what was the change? If you worked a job with no set work schedule, did you like it? When was the last time you interviewed for a job, and did you get it or not?