How Laid-Off Journalist Dodged Insanity

Here's the thing about losing your journalism job and starting your own internet/freelance business: Suddenly you work, eat, sleep, drink and even exercise in one tiny space. Laura Rich almost went crazy.

Rich was laid off as assistant managing editor of Portfolio.com in January; by March she was, the New York Times reports, going stir-crazy "living on top of myself" in a 12-by-17-foot West Village studio, where she practices yoga, runs the recession blog she started and, we're guessing, plans few outside excursions to restaurants and bars and so forth, since that costs money.

The Times hooked Rich up — lucky her! — with a designer who figured out how to make her studio significantly less miserable for $326, in part by moving her desk closer to the window from a "gloomy and depressing spot" in back, and by pairing the desk with a chair that was the right height.

Which sounds kind of "duh," but judging from the before-and-after pics, the feng shui makeover did make the place significantly more pleasant. Now Rich has "a new apartment" to be poor in, and a few more months of sanity. Which these days is a real victory even for those who have a job.