Right now

scaleMy day job, a freelance marketing writing business, has come to a standstill. Longstanding clients have pulled their writing projects in-house, or cancelled them all together. (I’m still getting some work but the projects are tiny and pay far less than the hourly rate I’m used to). 

Pretty much every day, after working on the new novel or a story (I’m cranking on one at the moment), I apply for projects and jobs on Craig’s List. I rarely hear back on these job posts. I can only assume employers are overwhelmed by the volume of applicants. Or that the expanding talent pool is making it tough to stand out in the crowd. Or as a colleague explained to me, some posted jobs are cut before hiring even begins.

So, yeah, we’ve been feeling the economic situation. But my husband has a steady job, thank God. Consequently, the sense that things are “bad out there” is still somewhat suggestive. A feeling in the air. A refrain one hears, daily, maybe hourly.  In line at the grocery store. In Peet’s Coffee where dozens of customers peer at lapstop screens–polishing resumes, surfing the job sites, calling old contacts. Hoping to make something–anything–happen. 

On Sunday our neighbor across the street told me he was on “work furlough,” a euphemism for work without pay. He works for a clean technology company looking over the financial precipice. He’s hitting the pavement, worrying about his COBRA health benefits running out for his family of four. 

One of my dearest friends, an IT and operations executive with decades of experience, has applied for 90 jobs. Out of this effort, he’s had two promising interviews for jobs that have fallen through. 

The country, maybe the world, is waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Fear (perhaps rational) stops us from consuming, borrowing, investing. This may be a good thing in the long run–a chance to reflect on how we’ve been living and the choices we make. An opportunity to redefine “need.”  

There’s a sense the banking and real estate debacles haven’t fully rippled out. That more jobs will be lost, more homes foreclosed on. The economists and pundits say we we ain’t see nothing yet. 

This is what I try to remember: At the moment my family and I are okay. Better than okay. This isn’t smugness or denial on my part–at least I hope not.

What I know with certainty is tonight we’re making dinner with close friends visiting from Bend. The kids are a building a fort of pillows and blankets under the dining room table. The chicken on the grill on the patio smells heavenly. And outside my window, right now, I can see the California Poppies on the hillside, vibrant as freshly lit flames.

Right now, everything’s all right.

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