Wednesday, January 9, 2008

PLS: Post layoff syndrome

It doesn't seem fair to get laid off at the height of one's PMS. I woke up today in a more than slight panic, a general panic about where and when another paycheck was going to arrive in my bank account. I've decided to call this form of panic PLS: Post Layoff Syndrome.

But despite this, I rallied and kept to a schedule and so, for what it is worth, here is my promised posting for today, day #2 of my PLS + PMS...

1. Woke up at 6:00 am sandwiched between the twins and at least one animal. I spent the next hour checking the mattress to see if there is a crease that causes their little bodies to roll into mine, essentially turning my king sized bed into a toothpick.
2. Undetermined amount of coffee. The combination of PMS and PLS means there is not enough coffee in the world today.
3. Made lunch and expressed silent gratitude to the packaging gods for yogurt in tubes, juice boxes and other edibles that didn't have me trying to figure out which container to put things in
4. 6:10am - oldest DH wakes up with wonderfully tussled curly hair and flushed cheeks. Scrumptious. She immediately slumps down at the kitchen table and tears apart two newspapers in search of the comics.
5. 6:20am - first attempt at waking the twins, who have magically found all that room that they robbed from my precious PLS sleep.
6. Accompany oldest to get dressed and check email.
7. 6:30am - next attempt at waking the twins. This goes on until blankets are pulled off and screaming ensues, around 7 am. They spend the next 30 minutes arguing over a striped turtleneck sweater and who will be the first to wet their hair. It is going to be one of those days.
8. Somehow a shower happens (for me) and we get out the door by 8:07 am with plenty of time for my 1 millionth lecture on making it too hard to get out the door. They feign interest, but I know they are laughing at me. Can't wait until adolescence.
9. 9am - coffee with a friend in Boulder. A key to surviving PLS is meeting friends from other jobs you have left and realizing that it was the right thing to do.
10. 9:05am - friend is late, so I jot down something I told DH we should do every single day - make a list of three things I will do for my career, my creativity and my well-being. It isn't real until it is written down, so here is my list for today:
a. Call hotels and caterers to set up meetings for DH's photography business. Since I've spent most of my professional career as a marketing and pr genius, albeit underpaid, I have to do something with the ridiculous amount of energy I have until something else is figured out.
b. Apply for position saw posted at former graduate school.
c. Create a PLS budget - put this off until tomorrow - too depressed to look at numbers right now.
d. Start attending a class that could change my life.
I recently came across an article about an organization dedicated to women supporting women launch businesses, ideas, projects, etc. I knew the faciliator, Ricki Booker as the creator of an amazing collection of books for children on helping them with change, as well as a Boulder JCC preshool mom. Our kids had played together at summer camp last year. I called her and we talked about the class and I thought that it would be an excellent group to join to help jump start my goal of creating a live performance of "Boobies and Other Bodily Functions" in honor of an imporant landmark birthday, aka turning 50.
11. 11am - pick up the twins and take them to music. We all get an education with this process, including a mini-lecture on the importance of my children expressing gratitude not only to the teacher, but to the parent. I like this idea. Another mini-lecture on not putting on one of the twins shoes, which results in lots of tears on the way to the car. I think this teacher thinks I am just the softest parent who exists. If she only knew the truth. Meanest mama on the planet.
12. Home for the first stretch of time to eat and check email. No job offers, but some of my PLS feelers are coming back at me with messages of concern and a few job leads.
13. Answer emails and then realize I really just want to be with the twins, helping them with their homework and reading to them. They are starting to recognize two and three letter words on their own and the whole thing is thrilling. We cuddle on the couch and read book after book and DH understands to not interrupt and slides out the front door to pick up our oldest.
14. Oldest arrives home and we do music. She plays the violin, has since before she turned 4. I'm awed by her playing and feeling of Bach's Minuet III and when I tell her how lucky she is to play such a beautiful piece of music. She nods her head and says, "It's really hard work."
15. Dinner is an inspiration of roasted chicken with onions, garlic and just the right amount of dill, homemade gravy and real sweet potatoes. Oldest sets the table like the artist she is and we all sit down to a relatively relaxed dinner with only one rejection of the inspired dinner in exchange for cold turkey slices.
16. 6:30 pm - I kiss the girls and DH and head off to class.

The class is an eye opener for what it informs me on day 2 of my PLS. I realize that I want to run my own ship and I want the ship to be one that runs for a really long time. I articulated to 11 women I have never seen before my desire to reach beyond the scope of freelancer to expert media relations/marketing consultant and trainer for companies, people and organizations dedicated to a better world. I sat in that room with 11 women I would be proud to work for and with and I think I have the beginnings of my PLS plan:

1. Creativity begets creativity. I don't like working in isolation. I love to write and then come out and collaborate, brainstorm and percolate with other creatives.
2. I want to work with women doing creative things that have purpose, passion and that give something back.
3. I need to create better business practices. At least two women in the group can help me do this. This is essential to my bridging the gap between freelancer (aka free-faller) and consultant.
4. I want to create a business that supports my family and my having a family.
5. I want DH and I to make enough money for both of us retire at 70 and still be healthy enough to write, travel and grow old enough to enjoy being a bubbe and zayde, also known as grandparents.

For now, I'm pretty tired and a 7:30am violin lessons will come too soon. Off to bed for this PMS/PLS mama.


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