If you had told me two years ago that I would be sitting in a window office waiting on what can best be described as “Panda Watch,” I probably would have laughed. Yet this is where I find myself exactly two years from the day I was laid off from the Galveston County Daily News.
A lot has changed in my life since Dec. 27, 2010. However, I can honestly say my life is 100 times better since then. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
I was stunned when my former boss called me two days after Christmas and told me I had been laid off. I tried to tell myself that I wasn’t bitter and it was just the current state of the newspaper busy, but honestly, I was heartbroken and pissed off.
I had spent a decade building my career in sports journalism. A few weeks after getting laid off, my sports section was named Top 10 in the country for the Sunday edition, which should have been my proudest moment. Instead, it made me that much more bitter.
It didn’t really help the situation when I was replaced by a kid just a few months removed from college. I tried to help him (honestly), but I grew more and more frustrated as I watched my hard work from the previous five years crumble. I had to deal with people coming up to me or sending me tweets expressing their frustration and asking me to come back.
I was fortunate enough to have made great friends in the business, which helped me survive while I was unemployed. I did radio with Charles McCullough and wrote for several newspapers, including the Houston Chronicle and The Post in Texas City.
I knew I didn’t want to be in the newspaper business full time anymore, so I applied for jobs in the communications and public relations field. Even though I was qualified for every job I applied for, I seemed to be passed over due to my journalism career being in sports. For someone with extreme confidence in his skills, that was tough to swallow.
There were a few times when I thought I had a job secured. But each time it fell through and it made me more frustrated.
Thankfully I had a good support system, or I may have lost all hope. Yeh-Peu-Dah, my parents and my friends were always there to keep me positive and keep from giving up. Yeh-Peu-Dah was especially amazing considering she took a chance on a relationship with someone who was unemployed because she had so much faith in me.
I eventually had to settle on another newspaper job, one year to the day after getting laid off from the Daily News. I wasn’t thrilled at first, but I knew I had to take it.
It turns out that job was pretty fun. I did a lot of work on the digital side, and had a lot of support and freedom from my bosses to get the job done. Plus, I got to work mostly from home.
I also moved to the west side of Houston to be closer to Boogie and Yeh-Peu-Dah. I had trouble finding an apartment because most places don’t accept unemployment as a reliable source of income, but it turns out the place that did was perfect for me.
I still was keeping my eyes open for PR or Communications jobs, and was surprised by a phone call from Moody Gardens in early April. I had interviewed there in the fall of 2011 and they were ready to offer me a job now. However, living so far away from Galveston, I had to decline.
Shortly thereafter, HCN was about to sell to new owners that had no desire in the digital side of journalism. I wanted no part of that.
I was kicking myself for passing on the Moody Gardens job, and sent an email to the Marketing Director to let me know if another opening came open. Two weeks later I was informed there was an opening, and I accepted a job that day. Screw the long commute, I had to take this opportunity while I had a chance.
I went from writing about action on football fields and basketball courts to spending time with penguins, snakes and other exotic animals. I feel extremely blessed to have two unique and exciting careers.
Who knows what is in store for me the next two years. However, I’m confident my life is on the right track. It took a little heartbreak and a lot of patience, but I can say 100 percent that I love where this journey has taken me.
• I made out like a bandit for Christmas this year. Among the loot, I got some awesome Alabama stuff (including several nice shirts, a visor and a Bear Bryant fedora), a signed Refrigerator Perry photo, fancy whiskey, Texans playoff tickets, a new backpack and some great canvas photos of Boogie and I.
Of course, the best part of Christmas was watching Boogie’s excitement about Santa. When she came running into my room at 6:45 to tell me Santa had brought presents, it was an awesome moment.
Spending Christmas morning with Boogie and Yeh-Peu-Dah made it perhaps my favorite of all time.
• So let me get this straight: For the Bears to have a shot at the playoffs, I have to root for the Packers to beat the Vikings. Ugh…
• Notre Dame sure seems to be talking a lot of shit about the national title game. I hope Saban runs up the score on those bastards.
• Finally, here is your HARO gem of the day. It is unedited. I don’t think I even need to comment on this one.
Summary: Hotels and B&Bs Haunted by Pets
Media Outlet: Major Lifestyle Site for People with Pets Query: For a major lifestyle site that focuses on people and their pets, doing a story on hotels that are reporedly haunted by former pet residents. Please – only hotels that have reported hauntings by pets for this piece. Please send me the name of the hotel, location, story of the haunting(s), links to stories. If I use your hotel, I will also later need a high res photo. DO NOT send photos at this time.
Bear Down and Keep the Faith!