Monday, September 04, 2006

Laborious Thoughts (General)

Happy Labor Day all. I hit this Labor Day with a mixture of sadness and hope. The sadness comes from the end of a summer that was in so many ways, short and less-than-sweet. Back in the spring, the promise of the summer of 2006 had the makings of being tremendous. My wife (whom I thinking about creating a pseudonym for) and I had bought and moved into a house in April, and we were looking forward to buying a pool, hosting countless parties, making some improvements to the house, and hopefully sneaking away for a few “date nights” and a few vacations.

Then came May 25th. A company-wide meeting was supposed to happen at my job to review our business performance. Then I, and approximately 15 of my fellow coworkers, received an ominous email from our company president. It said, roughly, that there would be a special pre-meeting meeting that we were to attend. The email was addressed to the president from the president. If you know anything about doing blind emails, that was it. If you also know anything about reading between the lines, then the email was clear. I was going to learn that I was losing my job at that pre-meeting.

Indeed, that was the case. It was the fourth layoff that I have been a part of. Like the others, it was quick and rather painless. Like the others, I handled it as well as I could. I was dignified, and I made sure to burn no bridges and leave quietly. There would be plenty of time for the other emotions to happen. Eventually, away from management and coworkers, I was angry, depressed, bitter, sarcastic, and more. I was also hopeful that the pain would be short-lived.

Each previous layoff had its quirks. When I was laid off from Kraft Foods in 1996, I was still very young. I joined the former General Foods in 1988 at the age of 19. I moved from the mailroom to an accounts payable job within nine months. My father had died about a week before I was told that I had gotten the A/P job, so there seemed to be something cosmic about it. Truthfully I had no business in that job. I was working on a Communications/Media degree (which took me a looooong time to get), and in a lot of ways, veering off into accounting was a detriment, at least in the eyes of some. I always thought it proved, quite frankly, how talented I was. I can learn almost anything and adapt to whatever.

I stayed at General Foods through three name changes. General begat Kraft General begat Kraft. This was inevitable, as was the elimination of my job, which would move to the Chicago area, home of…surprise!…Kraft’s corporate office. Such is life. I lasted nearly a decade with them, and needed to move on so that I could begin to grow as a professional. It was a great place to work, but it was probably just as well.

Around the same time that I left Kraft, I found out that WREF, the radio station that I was hoping to grab a full-time job with, was changing ownership and moving to Danbury, CT, where it would continue, basically without a staff. I would be the last live on-air voice in their Ridgefield studios in March of 1997.

I’ll spare you the rest of my resume, except to say that I was next laid off, in 2001, from the former Micro Warehouse. At 10:30 in the morning on that fateful June day, my wife told me that she was pregnant. AT 4:30 that same day, I was packing my desk.

I’ve been aggressive during my time off, looking into any and all opportunities. I’ve also contacted a number of agencies to assist in the process. So far, the job hunt has not been fruitful. I’ve picked up a few things at WGCH over the summer, but that would not be possible without the thoughtfulness of both Ricky Fritsch and Tony Savino. They each took some time off, and gave me their open work. It’s a little something that I appreciate.

One of the biggest things I’ve heard during the summer is “don’t get depressed.” Well it’s easier said than done, especially when you’re checking your phone and email to see if they work. So the key thing is to be very careful how you analyze the situation. Ignoring it won’t help, because I need to keep strategizing. At this point, I would consider a career change from marketing, if it will help me find some gainful employment. That brings me back to what I said earlier – that I fit into a lot of situations.

I didn’t want the summer off. If you read “Exit 55” consistently, you will discover many things about me. One of those things will be that I often deal with a lot of guilt. That has been issue number one during this time. The pressure on my wife has been immeasurable to stay gainfully employed. My guilt has been with dealing with that, and the feeling that I let her, and our son, down by getting into this situation. Compounding that has been the inability to get something…anything! Now we’re talking about part-time jobs for both of us.

This was not meant to sound whiny, and I hope it doesn’t come off that way. If anything, it was meant to be information. I know there are far more dire situations than ours. I’m very hopeful that September is the key month. As Labor Day passes, the market tends to open up. We have many exciting things that we look forward to as a family, and we want to make them happen. As the man of the house, it is paramount to me that I can contribute to my home, financially, emotionally and spiritually. A new job situation will also improve my confidence. I look forward to it happening very soon.

In job-related news, I’m really looking forward to getting back on the air this Saturday, as WGCH begins its 2006 high school football coverage. The Greenwich High School Cardinals travel across town to Cosby Field, right on the New-York/Connecticut border, to take on the Brunswick School Bruins. The Bruins are the defending New England prep school champions, while the Cards are a perennial powerhouse. Greenwich is coming off a down year in which they were 8-2. That’s right – an eight-win season is considered a “down year” in Greenwich. Put it this way: I’ve been around Cardinals football since 1999, and last year was the first time that I didn’t have a post-season game to broadcast for the team known as “Big Red.” Ricky Fritsch, Nick Angotto, and Zach Fisher will join me at Cosby Field for the call of the game. Sean Kilkelly, who writes the wonderful “Rangers Lead The Way” blog, handles our studio programming. Want to hear, in my humble opinion, the best in high school coverage? Tune into 1490 AM, or on the internet at, beginning at 10:50 Saturday morning.

The rest of our schedule is can be found at Check us out and let me know what you think.

1 comment:

Sean G. Kilkelly said...

Your doing a great job with the blog. Keep it up and keep writing!