Today is an interesting anniversary for me.  It was one year ago today that I was laid off from my corporate job as a Sales Manager for a television commercial sales firm.  Even though I was planning to leave and had been saving for over a year for this leap of faith, I was still surprised.  I sat there with a grin on my face during the meeting because I couldn’t believe my plans were coming together.  I’m sure they thought I’d gone over the edge and had security on alert just in case.  It was a surreal experience.  Not because I wanted it to happen, but because it was happening at all.  Being a manager one of my responsibilities was to forecast the month and quarter ahead.  I’d been watching the numbers get smaller and smaller as the recession tightened it’s grip around the economy.  I thought the powers-that-be would merge us with another division and keep the strongest people.  Kind of like what happened when the NFL merged with the AFL.  Instead they chose to amputate us.  I don’t blame them.  Our amputation brought them back almost to breaking even.

The funny thing is, even though I wanted it to happen exactly the way it did, I still went through a depression afterwards.  It’s not easy being told you aren’t wanted anymore and that you as an employee aren’t valued.  It took me a while to break through that and move forward to my new life.  One of the best things I did was take a long driving trip through the south.  It was a physical and timing break, a perfect transition from one life to the next.

So here we are 1 year later and I can’t believe it’s been a year already.  I am living the life I envisioned for myself, a free lance creative life full of auditions and go-sees and bookings and voiceovers.  At this point I really can’t imagine going back to corporate.  Hitting this one year mark in important because if I were to go back to my former corporation within a year, I would go right back in as if I’d never left.  Back into the health plan, the 401K and the earned vacation.  I needed to hit this mark so there’s nothing for me to go back to.  Here’s to moving forward!

On Being Nice

Nice.  For a word that has as it’s 5th definition “pleasing, agreeable, appropriate, fitting” (frankly I’m surprised that’s the 5th definition!  The first one is “wanton, dissolute” who knew?) it’s almost become a not so good thing to say about someone.  But I do believe that niceness wins out.  The other night I was running an errand when the news came on with a story about a very talented NFL player who was – surprise, surprise – unhappy where he was playing and was dropping hints he’d like to make a team switch.  This player is on his 4th team so far and he was looking to add a 5th if anyone would take a flyer on him.  The thing is, even though this player is immensely talented, the response from possible teams was underwhelming, at least in the press I was hearing.  The player has a reputation for being difficult, selfish and polarizing.  In short, not very nice.  His schtick is wearing thin.  He is now a veteran of over a dozen years, his age is starting to catch up with him and teams are no longer interested in paying his non-monetary price for skills that aren’t as sharp as they once were.  He isn’t nice to be around and they no longer need to tolerate him as new players had risen to the top.  Now I’m making some really huge assumptions here based on press reports and reported behavior.  I don’t know this person nor do I know anyone in the NFL.  Although I do have “aging veteran” John Carney‘s college jersey from Notre Dame as I once had a crush on him.  It kills me when they call him that-I’m older than he is.

Anywho, back to the point at hand.  I don’t know if this player will end up at another team or make peace where he is.  But the facts of the story illustrate that people will tolerate genius without courtesy for only so long.  The almost-as-good person that is great to have in the locker room, part of the sales team or on a set will have a much longer and more lucrative career than flash in the pan man who’s only out for himself.  I try to keep that in mind whenever I go in for an audition or a meeting.  I may not be as skinny, talented or pretty as some of the other ladies, but I know I can be one of the nicest and most professional.  That way I can hopefully have a 22 + year career just like John.  Only I hope I keep all my hair.  Sorry John.

Headwinds and Tailwinds

Holy mackaroly!  Fall came blasting in last night with bang.  Yesterday was absolutely beautiful, temps were in the high 70’s, low 80’s.  Sunny skies with with puffy clouds lazily rolling by.  Everyone in Chicago was out taking advantage of the unbelievable blessing Mother Nature gave us.  That is one cool thing about the people in Chicago, when we get good weather, everyone is outside enjoying every last bit of it.  The bars and restaurants were hopping with various and sundry NFL games on their big screens.  I was able to keep up with quite a few games on my run as they all had their windows and doors open to the day.  It was fantastic.

For once, the weather forecasters got it right in their assertion that things were going to change pretty dramatically that night.  Sure enough, as I was enjoying the Colts on Sunday Night Football, the wind picked up and the sideways rain started.  Sideways rain always fascinates me, but I usually only appreciate it when I’m indoors and dry.  The rain didn’t last for very long but the winds kept up all night long, bringing much cooler temperatures.  By the time I woke up the next morning for my run, it was in the low 50’s and the winds were still howling at about 35 MPH, gusting to 50 MPH.  Reason enough to blow off my run right?  Unfortunately the grown up in me did the right thing and ran anyway.  I hate being a grown up sometimes.  Anywho, according to the Worry Channel, the winds were coming from WSW so as I was getting ready to run, I figured I’d have the headwinds at my face for the beginning of the run, when I was at my freshest.  And even better, when I was tired, I’d have a tailwind to scootch me along.  A good idea in theory.  What I didn’t count on was when winds are sustained at 35 MPH, it really doesn’t matter which direction it’s coming from, I’m going to be buffeted either way.  And forget it when a gust hits.  It was all I could do to maintain my direction.  Like the good little soldier I am, I completed my 5.5 mile trek but the last mile was done with my head down and my upper body pointing into the wind, a pose usually observed during blizzard season.

I hope to high heavens this isn’t a portend of things to come.  I’m just not ready for that.