Here's my last round of layoff horror stories: my own! So, let me just say, as I eeeease out of the office: About a month ago, worried for some reason I couldn't place...
I made two turkey sandwiches to bring in to work, to cut down on my personal lunch overhead. Then I got to the office and heard... rumors. Were these rumors true, I asked my new boss? As it turned out, they were!
Still, I accidentally cried when he informed me of the termination of our mutually mercenary arrangement in the see-through glass box of a conference room. I was surprised by how much I cared. I mention this scene not because it is mine, but because it is wholly unremarkable, and it is being played out in workplaces across the country right now. (Two million jobs lost in 2008, says the Wall Street Journal.)
I hung out with one of my best high school friends over Christmas. Ron and I spent a good amount of time living in a van during the years we had a band together. Despite years of fighting "the shop"—that is, going to work on the line at General Motors—he's been there for a while now, making good money while going to school. He's just been laid off, at least temporarily. His coworker, an older woman, told him, "If something bad happens to me while I'm at work, drag me outside. Just drag me outside. I don't want the last thing I see to be the ceiling of this factory."
"OK," he told her. "If you're really serious, I'll do it. Just let me know that you're serious, because a bunch of people will be pissed at me if you go down and I drag you outside. But I will do it."
Tier 1 autoworkers make about $25 an hour, not the $70 that is often reported. Their deal with the devil is being worried about the factory ceiling being the last thing to see if you happen to die on the job—or keeling over the the vegetable patch after cashing that first pension check. I guess that's why they call it "work, and other sins."
I was lucky to spend a year being a smart-ass for a living, although it would be irrationally hubristic to view Internet news-aggregating and the snark-blogging fishbowl as anything more than a Dadaist experiment. Still, it's been more fun than most jobs should ever be—and thanks for the shot.
I enjoyed making Hills videos, harassing Keith Gessen, pissing off Julia Allison, and comparing the defacing of Sienna Miller's house to Passover. I covered the best election ever. I missed work because I was in jail, resorted to benzos to maintain my sanity after the Bellevue incident, stormed out of work in a huff, and finally took off my pants.
Where was I?
Oh right. I do have one thing to thank Nick Denton for. When he assigned me a piece, titled "We Have Seen the Future of Internet Microfame, and It Looks Anonymous," I called the subject of said item—who I didn't know and had never met—a blog 1.0 washout and wondered aloud if he had "been eaten by the Internet." Denton suggested I use the descriptor "supertan," so I added that too. God, I was such a bitch!
Then I met the guy in my writing class, sort-of apologized, and, anyway, now he is totally my boyfriend. Aww! The lesson here: mindlessly throwing e-bricks at people you don't know can occasionally pay off. So Nick: thanks or whatever. (Don't feel bad; I know it was a total accident.)
Anyway, here is a list of some people I like, in no particular order: Ian Spiegelman, Choire, Hamilton, Pareene, Ryan Tate, Richard/Lolcait, Blakeley, Super Squats, Doree, Josh Stein, Neal Boulton, David Carr even though he won't add me as a friend on Facebook, and my shrink. And obviously, of course, the commenters!
(I also made a list of the people I didn't like. But it was too long!)
Well, it's time to go. I got a friend who's gonna teach me how to mix drinks, so don't worry about me.
See you at the Holiday, everyone.
I remain yours, respectfully,
[photo: Michael Menard]