Sunday, February 15, 2009

Jobless but hardly hopeless

Well, it's been one month since I officially became part of a statistic reflecting the nation's dire economic status, and the only thing that worries me is that I'm not especially worried.

Oh, and I feel a little guilty about not feeling even the least bit depressed.

I can't say unemployment is similar to or different than what I expected, because I didn't really know what to expect after cash-strapped GateHouse Media laid me off from my column-writing gig on Jan. 15. I mean, I had been a working stiff since I was 15, so I had no experience with the situation.

One indisputable fact: There is significantly less money coming into the family coffers - yes, even with the trillion dollars or so of unemployment benefits I'm receiving.

(That's right, folks: What your president and other elected officials didn't tell you was that the entire stimulus package would be going to me. Thanks, everybody!)

Though I've had my people (that would be me) talk to a few management-type people about possibilities in journalism, I can't say at this point that I'm very optimistic about staying in the business. Like so many industries, ours is in financial distress. There are few decent jobs available, and those that are available draw precisely 9,144 applicants each.

So why am I not worried or panicked or depressed? Because I'm working hard at keeping things in perspective.

For one thing, my wife Roberta is a registered nurse who will have a good job with good benefits for as long as she wants. While it's difficult to support a family on an R.N.'s salary, it does provide a nice safety net. We have been renters for most of the last two years, meaning we aren't stuck in a home we can't afford and/or can't sell. I feel so bad for those who are trapped in real-estate hell. We will be making the last college payment for our daughter Katie in one month. My son Ben is 21 and mostly independent. And we are not extravagant folks; give Rob and me a couple of tall iced teas and an episode of 24, and we're pretty content.

In other words, financially, I am much better off than many in my shoes, and I am grateful.

Beyond that, I simply know things will work out. I don't even know exactly what that means, but I feel in my gut that it's true. Somewhere out there, my next calling awaits. I just have to figure out what it is and pursue it.

Getting all stressed and crazy won't help, so I refuse to let it happen.

Once again, I thank the many, many, many people - readers, journalism colleagues, family and friends - who have taken the time to write or call with kind thoughts and encouragement.

With so many folks pulling for me, feeling sorry for myself is not an option.


  1. Haha -- now you've hit the big time: goooooood girl has started spamming your blog!

    So many people seem to be in bad positions at this time. I guess this gives us some insight into what life was like during the Great Depression.

    You are more fortunate than many people in having some income and still having your health, so hopefully some doors will open for you in the future.

    Mike, I enjoyed reading your sports columns. It was always good to know that others were suffering with our Chicago teams.

    Best of luck to you and your family.

  2. Mike, Around The Horn should be dying for you. They need to replace that windbag Marioti anyway. You would be a perfect fit and you would know what you are atlking about unlike Marioti.

  3. talking about, sorry about the typo.

  4. 1. you could start writing mystery novels set in the sports world..heh you could be the dick francis of the sports.?

    2. you could start your own line of clothes. you are one rakish guy.

    3. you could go back to school and retrain. i personally know that you have always wanted to try your hand at plumbing.

    4. have you tried pan handling? how about a get rich quick scheme.?

    YOU WILL be fine my man...keep yourself and when you can US amused. you could volunteer in the kids ward at the hospital?

    oh god i broke out in punctuation ...shit

  5. You are right about things working out and being okay. I am on my fifth here comes the reorg and out the door in the last 10 years. Things always work out. You have lots of talent, loads of experience and sports stories just waiitng to come out. Enjoy the ride for what it is.

  6. i have an idea -- work on your short game!

    by the way, you left out a hobby. involves chips. but not potato chips.

    and i, too, love The Graduate.

  7. You now have some time. Write a book