Saturday, December 26, 2009

I'll admit it, that this year I didn't feel the Christmas spirit, at all. It had nothing to do with me being laid off from my job, oddly enough. It just sneaked up on me too fast and I wasn't into it. I thankfully decided not to fly anywhere, which due to my lay off, turned out to be a good decision. It was money saved. Also, the weather wasn't cooperating with air travel, and I can't say that I'm sorry I missed that debacle. I didn't take out my Christmas decorations, nor play Christmas music. I did bake cookies for an office Holiday party, my first and last with the company, which were a big hit. I do make great cookies. I just have a knack with baking. Cooking however, I can't stand. I made chocolate chip meringue cookies, which I knew would be pretty unique. Every time I make them, people say they've never tried them before. And, I make good ones. Just enough chewy and crunchy, plenty of chocolate chips and barely bronzed. However, unlike my cookies, the office party was pretty dull. Lots of people whom I didn't know too well because everyone works from home a lot there. It was actually a little weird, walking in and having people wonder who you are, and doing the same to them.

I got great gifts this year, thank you family and friends! And, took the downtime that only this time of year presents and worked on some home projects. And, on my writing projects. The downtime I mean is the knowledge that everyone else is taking a break too, so there's no pressure in my case to worry about following up on job leads or being asked to complete any work. I'm still technically employed until the 31st.

I saw Avatar with a friend last week, and was surprised to see someone that I knew as the Head of Visual Effects on the movie, among other things. I'd been introduced to him through the Italian mother network. My stepmother Marie's mother knew his mother, and they conspired to get me a meeting with him over ten years ago. I was working at CareerPath, (now Careerbuilder) and we were doing profiles of people who had careers in the entertainment industry to parallel the release of the first Star Wars prequel. At that time, he had won an Oscar for Titanic for Visual Effects, and it was very interesting to interview him at his office at Digital Domain. A few years later, I met him at Sony, just after he'd completed the first Harry Potter, to talk to him about career opportunities, and he was gracious both times. I lost the interview that I did with him, but it was mostly question an answer format. He's now on his own, as the corporate side of the effects industry has become a who can bid the lowest game, and is still going gangbusters. Good for him. His name is Rob Legato. Google him. After seeing his name on the Avatar credits I sent him a congrats email. That movie was just stunning. I can't imagine the sleep he's having to make up now.

I hope all of you had wonderful holidays. Just because I wasn't into them this year doesn't mean that I don't hope everyone did have a magical moment. When you get them, it's awesome. Treasure them, as they are the best gifts. Sometimes they're fleeting, like smells of firewood or cinnamon mixed with pine, or the way the light reflects off the snow or windows. The quiet of Christmas Eve when even big cities experience a hushed moment. The unwrapping of gifts, lighting of candles, the thrill of finding the perfect gift for someone on your list. Nights so crisp and clear that the stars brightly twinkle as if winking at you from their celestial home, to name just a few. And, baking the perfect chocolate chip meringue cookies.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ho, Ho.... Ho shit!

Ho, Ho.... Ho shit!


This masterpiece was created by my childhood friend Tony Donaldson, who tracked me down through Facebook, via another common friend. He's now a successful professional photographer, (take a look at his work... it's awesome) who lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter. I'll tell that incredible "small world" story another time, but just had to post this picture that he took of the Christmas decoration on his house. Is there any surprise that I was childhood friends with someone who would create this hilarious work of sheer diabolical brilliance?

No word yet on if anyone has stopped to help.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

It looks like I have an update to my "Thankful" post.

"Thankful...

For having a great job, having had a great job, and still having my health, my family and most recently...my most awesome car."

And so on... the rest stays the same.

I had just been telling a neighbor that no one is guaranteed a job, and that I live my life with the knowledge that I could get the call the next day that says, sorry, we're laying you off.

I got that call the very next day. In fact, 120 people in my company got that call. And I'm one of the lucky ones. They're keeping me until December 31st. I'm one of about ten that they kept until then, the rest were laid off immediately. My boss was also laid off, and like me is one of the ten who are staying until New Year's Eve.

I'm okay about it, and not freaked out at all. I'm optimistic, seeing it as an opportunity for something new. And, know that for six months I had a great job and did great work there that will certainly pad my portfolio. I guess I'm so mellow about it because I've been through this so many times that I'm almost a professional at being downsized. When companies cut, creative is usually the first to go. I've been laid off, companies have crumbled under my feet, been bought, contract jobs that I've had have ended suddenly due to cost cuts or a regime change, etc. It's par for the course. This was a full-time job and I'll get severance pay, unused vacation and all the bells and whistles they give you to help your "transition."

And, what I told my neighbor was the absolute truth. I lived every day as if I would get that call, and was thankful that I had a job like that which not only was an incredible experience and awesome opportunity, it got me through six months of a bad economy. I took nothing for granted, and I won't in my next job either. Anyone who thinks they're indispensable, is well, kidding themselves. And, I've seen plenty of "indispensable" people, some who were very famous even, be forced out, laid off or fired. Others have dropped dead of heart attacks at young ages. And I mean that literally.

And that's also where perspective comes in. I've got it in spades. Jobs come and go. Your passion, integrity, sense of self and talent are yours to keep, no matter what. And, it's the people in your life, your health and freedom that are what's important.

Even when you have to put the acquisition of the designer purse on hold.