Well, I kinda fell off the face of the earth lately.
Many of you probably already know…and I posted here a while ago…the news that I was being laid off from my job as an assistant prosecutor.
Most probably don’t know that I’ve landed a job as Champaign County, Ohio’s child support enforcement attorney.
I’m just past my first week at the new job, and I’m very much enjoying it. I’ve got a lot of friends at the new office, and am also enjoying the challenge of learning something new.
I didn’t post a lot about the layoff. Yes, I’ve got a lot of thoughts about how all of that happened. No, I’m not going to share much of that.
You see, there’s quite of few people out there who have stated, quite bluntly, that if anyone deserved to have an opinion on all of the state and local budget issues and what’s behind it all, that I deserved to have such an opinion. I don’t disagree with them. I deserve to have an opinion. And I have the right to share it, if I wish. I just don’t think it’s a good idea to do so.
Many of my close friends and family members have heard my thoughts about what happened, and I’ve been very careful about what I’ve said. Why?
Well, no matter what I thought, or felt, I was still looking for a new job. Showing my snarky side on the internet just isn’t a good idea when one is looking for a new position.
Second of all, my boss at the old job didn’t want to lay me off. He did everything he could to prevent it from hurting me, going so far as to tell me privately, explaining all of the budget numbers to me, as well as to the whole office, making it clear to the entire community that it had nothing to do with my job performance, and giving me a glowing recommendation during my job search. I can’t thank him enough for all of his support. My point? He doesn’t deserve to have me go off like a cracked out jackass on the internet about the issues. Those issues weren’t anything that he could change (and I think he actually tried everything he could). Obviously, no one was happy with the decision, but it’s hard to argue with the numbers…there was an Addie-shaped hole in his office budget…when you added up my salary and benefits (which don’t add up to much, but in a small office taking a big budget hit, it is a lot) and compared them to the budget cuts the office was facing. I also know the rationale behind me being the one cut. I can’t disagree, when looking at it dispassionately. That’s hard to do, but it is the truth.
I’ve had my ups, and my downs, and my stressed out moments in the last month or so in dealing with this. I’ve done very little writing as I tried to wind down the old job, gear up for the new job, pack up the office at the old place, and get the house ready for the already-planned office cookout at my place.
Oh…and my brother moved out of my house, I put in the garden I’d been planning for two years, and finally unpacked many of the boxes that I still hadn’t unpacked from moving two years ago.
In other words…my plate was a bit full. I made a comment to a friend a couple of weeks ago that I don’t ever remember being that stressed out. In fact, I said that hadn’t been that stressed when I took the bar exam…and that’s saying something because I was a walking stress-ball when I went through that.
I know that some people began worrying about me, because I became a little bit of a hermit. I also joked that I had gone from frugal to flat-out cheap. I wasn’t going anywhere on my free days because I was refusing to spend money on gas for my car. I downgraded the cat to cheaper food (not easy to do with her food allergies, but I think I found something that’s working). I negotiated changes on my cell phone bill, my cable bill, and slashed everything I felt that I could. I stopped going out to lunch, or eating out, well, ever. I also cut other things out of my budget wherever I could. I probably could have gotten out more, but I had to deal with what was going on, and I needed to be in control of the thing I was worried the most about…the ability to pay the bills and not lose my mind.
The good news is that I have landed a job with a similar salary and benefits. I’m going to be fine.
I had even dropped out of going to writer’s group meetings for a while, in the interest of saving money. Both groups I belong to involve driving out of the town I live in, and one of them meets over dinner at different restaurants every week. Yesterday I went back to a writer’s meeting, and got a lot of encouragement and support from the other writers in the group. It felt good, being back.
So, here I am. I’m getting back into the swing of things. I’m keeping my trap shut here about my feelings with regard to current policies setting budgets on a federal, state, or local level.
So why do I bring it up at all? As an example of both having the right to remain silent, and being blessed with the capacity to do so. There are quite a few people out there who lack that capacity, even in the face of discretion being the right way to go.
I’m under no delusions that this blog has a huge reach. It’s getting bigger all the time, but I have no pretensions to that effect. That being said, I do believe that a lot of people forget sometimes to be careful of themselves online. While I’m a big believer in the idea of freedom of speech, I’m also a believer in wisdom of silence. There are times that keeping one’s trap shut is a bad idea. There are times when discretion really is the right way to go. This is a time that falls in the latter category.
On another note, I have been spending some time doing research on some new writing projects. I’ve got some cool new ideas under my hat. Now that I’m firmly into the new job and a lot of the stress is draining away, I’ll be back on the internet and back into the writing routine more often than I have been lately.