Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Yankees Win - And All Is Right With The World

All is right with the world - from a baseball standpoint, anyway.

As explained in previous blog entries, I am a die-hard fan of the New York Yankees. So as many of you might expect, I was very happy last Wednesday when the Yankees clinched the 2009 World Series championship after beating the Philadelphia Phillies 7-3. Millions of Yankees fans from all over the country and the world took time to smile, laugh and be happy about this accomplishment, the first Bronx Bombers’ title since 2000. Yes, I know nine years between championships isn’t a long time (relatively speaking, anyway). But I still enjoyed the chance to take it all in, to call my friends and tell them about how happy I was and to enjoy the grins that come with my favorite team of all time winning another championship, the fifth that I’ve been old enough to appreciate.

Throughout this work hiatus that I did not ask for, I had a lot more time to watch Yankees games. I didn’t neglect my other responsibilities, but I made sure to catch as many games as I could. My only regret was not getting to the New Yankee Stadium during the past season. Then again, when every penny counts, you have to be careful about how you spend. That meant watching games on TV or even enjoying games on the radio. And as cheesy as Yankees Radio Network play-by-play guy John Sterling can come across, it would be weird not hearing his voice. Still cannot believe he’s been the voice of Yankees radio for 21 years. Time does fly. And it was largely enjoyable.

For all the skepticism many folks have about sports, you really have to take a little time to enjoy the games for what they are and the players for what they’re able to do. Most of us cannot run as fast as Brett Gardner. Most of us can’t hit 30 home runs in less than a full season like Alex Rodriguez. And most of us will never be as consistent a hitter as Derek Jeter. I appreciate what these guys do, just as well as what their opponents can do.

Sports are supposed to be that great getaway for many of us. Like movies, Broadway shows or good books, sports are supposed to be a chance for us to leave our real world worries behind for a few hours. And for the two or so hours I’m watching a Yankees game, I’m trying not to think about any issues coming my way. A Yankees win isn’t going to pay my bills, find me work or make sure I’m in the best health I can be. But it can lift my spirits just a little and put a hop in my step. That’s not a bad thing so long as you don’t rely on your team’s victories to be your only reason for happiness. I try to get out. I read. I write. I chat. I go for walks. All of that can make you feel good as well. But seeing your team win a championship, even if you’ve seen them take a title before, still feels good and makes you feel like a little kid.

So when the Yankees finished off the National League Champion Phillies on Wednesday – and made Philadelphia shortstop Jimmy Rollins look a little foolish in the process (Remember his comments about the Phils taking the Series in five games?) – I enjoyed the happy moments. I know I no longer have to dwell on the Yankees losing a 3-0 series lead to the Boston Red Sox in the 2004 American League Championship Series and all the accompanying “hope your boys don’t choke this time!” comments. I no longer have to think about the first round exits that happened in the three years after 2004. I get to smile whenever a Yankee-hating friend of mine wants to have a bitter comment or two. (Some still come through with them, but I expected nothing less.) And this year, with the Yankees’ championship parade happening on my birthday, I spoiled myself that day and bought a championship hat and T-shirt. I figured it was the least I could do for myself. Besides, I had the hats from the last four Yankees championships. Why not keep the collection going?

As I write this, the Yankees’ title reign is six days old. Some of the immediate joy is wearing off, as expected. Baseball season is over and the real world, obviously, is calling. More things have to be done. But the memory of Robinson Cano fielding Shane Victorino’s grounder and tossing it to Mark Teixeira to end the 2009 World Series and the ensuing pile-up of happy Yankees players in the middle of diamond will always make me feel like a little kid. And that all is right with the world – the baseball world, anyway.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

No, You Were Not "Born" A Fan

As many of my friends know, I love sports. I love watching them, reading about them, wearing clothing associated with them and can talk about sports for hours. Whether it’s a big home run hit by Alex Rodriguez, a solid tackle made by Ray Lewis or the passion a guy like Kobe Bryant brings each time he has the basketball, I can talk about it all. No one’s a thorough expert on games, but a lot of us can speak on sports for hours. (I’m sure my brother and sister might disagree since they’re more casual about it than anything.)

I’m also pretty passionate about the teams I follow. I have been a New York Yankees fan for 30 years, a New York Jets fan for 23 years and have followed the New York Knicks and Rangers for 25 years each. I’ll probably root for these teams until my time on this planet is over.

But I was not “born” a fan of these teams. And frankly, you were not born a fan of the teams you follow. I know it’s a silly expression that’s usually used to espouse your deep devotion to a team. But it’s kind of annoying to me.

Yet I’ve heard it mentioned by friends, colleagues and other associates for years.
“Yeah, I was born a Redskins fan!” (Heard from a young lady I used to see.)
“Oh, no doubt, I was born a Dodgers fan!” (Heard from an old college friend.)
“ You know it! Lakers since the day I was born!” (Heard from a guy I knew in Virginia.)

Stop it. No, you weren’t.

No matter how many autographs you have, how many different jerseys of your favorite team you own, no matter how many games of that team you’ve watched, you didn’t pop out of your mother’s womb chanting “Let’s Go Giants!”

Pardon me for being a smart-ass, but here’s how you really became a fan of your team.
- You grew up living in or near the city/state the team represents. (Most people are this way and I’m happy about that.)
- Your dad, mom, uncle, cousin or other relative was a big fan of a particular team and you followed suit.
- Your uncle rooted for a particular team, so to piss him off, you became a fan of the rival team. (I’ve heard this from two different people. No lie.)
- You liked the colors of a particular team’s uniforms or the look of their logo. (I’ve heard this from at least five people.)
- You liked a particular player for his or her ability or what they stood for. (My mother, God rest her soul, was a Dodgers fan because of Jackie Robinson and his being the first black player in Major League Baseball. I have no qualms about this. Nor should you.)
- A hometown hero played on a certain team, so you and everyone else in town became fans of that team. (Now you know why there are so many Yankees fans in Commerce, Oklahoma. Their most famous native son is Mickey Mantle.)
- You saw a certain team on television a lot because they’d won a lot and they became familiar faces to you. (Another reason why there are so many Yankees fans. And why there are more Boston Red Sox fans now. The latter is a lot more detestable. Trust me.)
- You became attached because they play a style that appeals to you. (Whether it’s a strong, physical defense or an exciting, pass-happy offense.)

There are other reasons, too. Maybe you dated a girl (or a guy) and they liked a particular team, so that team became your favorite. Maybe you hate that previous love interest and root for the team he or she hates the most. Yeah, that’ll show ‘em!

Regardless, you did not come to be a fan of the teams you like because it was preordained. That’s especially true for people who live in cities or states with more than one team in a given professional sport. Like New York, for example. As a Brooklyn native, I could have gone any number of ways in my allegiances in the four major sports. To many outsiders, I should have been a Mets fan since the Mets are “supposed to be” the team that folks in Brooklyn and Queens root for. But most of the kids I grew up with were Yankees fans. And this was in the 1980s, when the Yankees were mostly mediocre and the Mets were the “cool” team with Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Gary Carter and Keith Hernandez. No one would have blamed us for being fans of the Amazin’s had we said so. I became a Yankees fan at 4 years old for only two reasons and neither had to do with a history of championships. One was because they were a New York team and I was a New Yorker. (Hell, I still am! No matter where I am.) The second? I thought Rick Cerone and Graig Nettles looked awesome in those pinstriped uniforms…in a McDonald’s television commercial. (If I recall correctly, if you bought certain food from Mickey D’s, you could get a Yankees hat for 79 cents. Hey, I was four! Don’t you judge me!) Don Mattingly and Dave Winfield pretty much solidified my Yankee fandom. There’s no turning back now.

I became a Knicks fan for that same loyalty to New York and because Bernard King, a Brooklyn native, was on the team. I had made that choice when I was 10 years old, seeing Knicks game on WOR-TV, Channel 9. (Remember when Knicks games came on free TV?) The love for my city also factored into my being a Rangers fan, but a snotty kid I met at a learning center further fueled it. This kid, named Jacob, loved the New York Islanders, the Rangers’ primary rivals. Whenever hockey was mentioned, he would always say negative stuff about the Rangers. He had a right to gloat, I guess, seeing as how his dad was a big Isles fan and the Al Arbour-coached team had won four straight Stanley Cup championships. Still, I didn’t like hearing someone talk bad about a team from New York. I got into hockey, checked out the Rangers for myself on TV and thought, “I like these guys! I’m gonna cheer for them.”

My allegiance to the Jets is probably the most humorous – or painful, depending on how you view things. In 1986, I didn’t like football that much. Baseball was my true sports thing. Eventually, I started taking to football, but I liked both the Jets and the Giants, still proud of my city as I could ever be. But in New York, that’s a no-no. The unwritten rules are you pick one team and follow them. (Although there's not nearly the angst between Jets fans and Giants fans as there is with Yankees fans and Mets fans, the rule still applies.) The Jets went to the playoffs that year, but lost to the Browns in a divisional playoff game. A game any Jets fan worth his salt will tell you - when he’s calm, of course - that the Jets had won for damn sure. The Giants? Well, they went on to win Super Bowl XXI over the Denver Broncos. If I was going to pick one, this was easy, right?


I didn't want to feel like I was taking the easy way into football, just bandwagoning my way on to a winning team. So at 12 years old and expecting a promising football future, I became a fan of Gang Green. I didn’t know then that the choice would lead to disgust, anguish and tons of teasing from my college buddies more than two decades later. Thanks for nothing, Ken O’Brien!

So why did I decide to craft this wonderful piece of writing? No real reason. Except to tell you and anyone that calls himself or herself a sports fan that you learned to become a fan of the teams you follow. Looks, mannerisms, that laugh your mom has that you share? Those are hereditary.

The teams you came to love? Not so much.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

An Ode (OK, more than that) To September

For those of us in the Northeast, the summer, such as it was, is apparently in our rear view mirror. We didn’t have many days above 90 degrees in these parts in 2009 and we likely won’t see them again until the middle of next June or July. I was reminded on Monday morning that the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer had passed us as I felt cool breezes making their way through my living room and bedroom windows. Though the sun was shining, the temperature outside could not have been higher than 55 degrees. A solid indication that autumn is approaching. Quickly.

Not to wax poetic or anything, but I’m sure here in Connecticut that we’ll soon hear more about frost advisories and see the leaves on our trees lose their deep green color in favor of shades of red, yellow, orange and brown. School buses are again loaded with children returning to classes and fewer folks will be seen wearing short sleeves unless they are headed for the gym.

September has arrived. One of my best friends in this great world couldn’t be happier, knowing he can walk the streets and enjoy the crisp air of the fall instead of the muggy, humid climate of summer. I’m also pretty happy about it. After all, it’s my second favorite sports month of the year.

For those of us that crave football (American style), the arrival of fall means we’ll get to see big warriors in helmets and shoulder pads taking the fields of high school, college and National Football League gridirons across the country. Sure, we had some NFL preseason games to tide us over, but any true football fan is not satisfied to see games when the outcome doesn’t mean much beyond determining who gets the last four spots on a professional team roster. We want the games to matter. We want to see packed stadiums, fans yelling, “defense!” as the home team tries to make a stop on a third and 12, and we want to see the guys we know and trust banging heads all the way through the playoffs.

This weekend begins that bonanza. We can thank the folks at ESPN, who will have two college football games on their air on Thursday. (South Carolina vs. North Carolina State at 7 p.m. ET, Oregon vs. Boise State at 10:15 p.m. ET.) The Worldwide Leader in Sports and other networks will have many other college games throughout the Labor Day weekend. Being an alum of Syracuse University, I will likely pay the most attention to the first 2009 game for my beloved Orange, who will host Minnesota at noon Saturday. (Also on ESPN.) Most college football fans without much interest in SU football will be focused on how former Duke University point guard Greg Paulus will perform in his return to organized football after being named Syracuse’s starting quarterback. Of course I will. But I’ll also want to see if the Orange can become a respectable football team again. Those of us who call ourselves fans of the Orange endured really bad football over the last four years under former head coach Greg Robinson. How bad? Ten wins in 47 games bad. Losing to Akron at home 42-28 bad. The Orange have become everyone’s homecoming opponent (read: a sure win to make the host school’s alumni feel good about themselves for a weekend). But under the direction of new Head Coach Doug Marrone (a 1991 Syracuse alumnus), we’re all hoping things change for the better.

While football will likely take center stage, it won’t be alone as we head into the foliage. Pennant race baseball is on tap as well. The New York Yankees, my favorite team of 30 years, have a 6 ½ game lead over the rival Boston Red Sox in the American League East, meaning the Yankees will have something to play for this year. Manager Joe Girardi’s team will likely make the Major League Baseball playoffs this year after missing the postseason in 2008. Speaking of the Red Sox (and I will without speaking too ill of them this go ‘round), they’re leading the American League Wild Card race over the Tampa Bay Rays and the Texas Rangers. That race should be a lot of fun as we start talking more often about magic numbers and tragic numbers. The other division and wild card races are shaping up as plenty of fun as well. Pennant race baseball has always been fun for me. It’s the time when you’re watching the out-of-town scoreboard the most, almost inning by inning to see how every team involved in a playoff chase is fairing that day or night. I’m guessing that joy is lost on New York Mets fans, whom have endured their team collapsing the last two Septembers, allowing the Philadelphia Phillies to win the National League East championship in each of those seasons while the Mets prepared for a baseball-less October. So perhaps it’s a blessing for Mets fans that their team will not have to worry about another ninth month flameout this year. The injury-riddled Mets are comfortably in fourth place in the NL East and will have to find some comfort in playing spoiler as they look forward to 2010.

The fall also means that National Hockey League training camps will open in preparation for the start of the 2009-10 season. After a flurry of trades, it’s going to be funny seeing so many familiar faces in new places. New York Rangers fans like myself will probably be interested in seeing how former Minnesota Wild winger Marian Gaborik will fare at Madison Square Garden this fall and winter as he was the highest profile offseason addition to the Blueshirts. Most camps will start on Sept. 12 and preseason games will be played all over North America for the rest of the month in anticipation of the start of the season in October. (FYI: The season will officially start in Stockholm, Sweden when the Detroit Red Wings play the St. Louis Blues, while the Chicago Blackhawks will face off with the Florida Panthers in Helsinki, Finland.) The National Basketball Association won’t begin its preseason schedule until next month, but basketball fans will likely be jumping with excitement as we move closer to the start of that season in November.

And as a native New Yorker, I can't forget about the U.S. Open. The best players in the game of tennis going for the last major of the season in the World's Greatest City. I know you still remember the epic matches between Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi and how Jimmy Connors had the crowd going crazy in 1991 as he made one more push for glory. Let's hope we have some of those epic moments this year at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

As I said at the start of this entry, September is my second favorite sports month. My favorite? April. So much variety and so many great things are bound to happen. You’ve got the NCAA basketball championship game, (unless its played on March 30 or 31), the beginning of baseball season, the arrival of the NHL and NBA playoffs, the NFL Draft, and the Masters golf tournament. Still, I happily embrace September and the variety it brings to us sports fans. Plus, it’s nice to wear a pair of jeans and a long-sleeved shirt without feeling like you’re in a sauna.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Gym Is My Salvation

Being without a job means your new job is finding a new job. It takes a long time. It can be tedious. It can be frustrating. But there’s another job I’ve also been focusing on in my full-time work hiatus. That is improving myself physically.

As I write this on a hot Monday afternoon, I’m donning a pair of overpronate running shoes, white shorts with blue and orange trim and a blue Syracuse Orangemen T-shirt. It is my gym apparel and I love putting it on and making the 5-mile drive over to Planet Fitness in Shelton, Conn. to continue working on something I should have a long time ago.

Sure, I’ve had this gym membership since I got here, but like many Americans, I occasionally slacked off and didn’t get over there as much as I should have. I blamed it on the work. As I explained in my previous entry, journalism is pretty heavy work and you pour a lot of hours into it. Doing so usually means you don’t eat as well (how many of us have had a dinner consisting of Smartfood popcorn or a piece of pound cake?) and, you skip out on the importance of maintaining physical fitness unless you’re totally addicted or committed to that task. That happened to me plenty of times while I worked for the Connecticut Post. I’d pull a long day in the office, write a couple of stories, plan for the next day, go to a night meeting to get one more story and go home by 10:30 p.m. By then, you’re exhausted and your bed or a meal is on your mind, not hitting the treadmill or the elliptical machine.

Since I’ve been sans job, however, that’s changed. I spend part of my day looking for new work, sometimes watching CNN, ESPN or whatever’s interesting on TV, read some newspapers online, make a few calls to my friends or to prospective employers. But I’ve made a point of getting that workout in.

At the gym, I am, to borrow from Jay-Z, focused, man! I spend about 30 minutes on the elliptical machine, mix in some weights, mostly focusing on the arms, back and chest, ride the bike for 20 minutes or so and finish it with a good walk/run on the treadmill before heading out to the sounds of M.O.P.’s “Cold As Ice.” (Chosen because before I bought an mp3 player and still used a CD player, that song was always the one playing when I finished my workout.) The gym is a great place to get your energy up and your confidence flowing. It also leads to more positive thoughts and energy, important when you’re in a situation that can be a negative if you let it. Plus, I don’t mind working up a sweat. You’re not there to try and impress people. You’re there to focus on yourself and set it up so that you can live longer.

Of course, you can also have conversations with people also working toward their fitness goals, be it trying to lose weight for an important social event (how many women – and men – have hurried to drop pounds in time for a wedding?) or just so they feel better in a pair of jeans or a shirt they got on sale. But as I noted before, I’m usually focused on myself and don’t socialize too often. I throw my earphones on, press play and get to work. By the way, my goal is to feel my clothes baggier on me. I won’t put a weight goal on anything because I was told by a nutritionist not to focus so much on the scale, but on how your clothes fit and how your body feels. If I feel my clothing just a loose on me when I go out for an evening in New Haven, Conn. or even back in New York City, I feel damn good about it.

Many of my close friends and the folks at the Schegg Group in Shelton, Conn. helping me in my job search have told me to keep my gym membership for the physical and mental health benefits and I couldn’t agree more. Even though it costs a little bit of money and I can be active by simply going outdoors, I like feeling the burn with the weights or seeing if I can go for more than 45 minutes on the fat burn setting. I make it a point to go to the gym at least five times a week, barring illness or an important financial/employment search matter. And time isn’t the excuse it used to be now that my gym is open 24 hours during the week. (Not on the weekends, though.) If I don’t trek to Shelton, I’ll go for a walk on the Derby, Conn. Greenway Trail, which stretches 1.7 miles from Main Street to Division Street. It’s a nice walk and pleasant when there’s just a slight breeze going. Just thinking about a workout makes me feel better and makes me feel as if I’m accomplishing something. I hope I’ll be just as dogged and determined about keeping up this routine once I’m back in the active workforce.

Not saying I’ll be looking like a Greek god with a chiseled frame in the next few months or so. But as my favorite saying goes, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
So now, I’ll take my Syracuse T-shirt wearing self out to the gym. If you see me on the treadmill, you’re welcome to wave hello, even if I might have GangStarr’s “Moment of Truth” blaring in my ears.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Welcome to the life of the laid off.

Sometimes, it feels surreal.
Occasionally, it feels depressing.
All in all, you’d rather be doing something else.
Like working.

Welcome to the life of an unemployed journalist in 2009.

Some people might not empathize with a guy who says he took the entire summer off. But this respite, if you choose to call it that, did not come of my own choosing. I entered this phase of my life on April 24, 2009 when I was told to come into my editor’s office in Bridgeport, Conn.

Prior to 1:30 p.m. that Friday morning, I worked as a reporter for the Connecticut Post, covering news and events from the Naugatuck Valley Bureau. Sure, it had plenty of challenges, with long hours, deadline pressure and the not-so-simple task of finding stories interesting enough to have your editors excited to petition for its placement in the next day’s paper during the late afternoon editorial meeting. But I liked what I did in the 2 ½ years with the Post. Being a reporter means throwing yourself into your job. You care about the task immensely. Even if you don’t have sympathy – or empathy – for the people you cover or are not enthralled by the subject matter, you care about serving the readers and writing a good story that mostly informs and occasionally entertains. Even if it’s something as miniscule as the annual paczki-eating contest in Ansonia, you want the readers, your sources, your editors saying that you are worth reading. Call it ego, but I always feel like a story with my byline is worth you taking a few minutes of your day to read.

Despite this confidence in my work, my journalism career of 10 years was put on hold that afternoon after I sat down with Post Editor Tom Baden and Human Resources Director Sharon Ferguson. Not because of my skills as a reporter. No, I was a victim of the bottom line. On that day, April, 24, 2009, 44 employees at 10 Hearst-owned newspapers in Connecticut were told that their services were no longer needed as the company attempted to save money. The letter dispatched to all Hearst employees that morning came from Mark Adlam, a senior vice president and group publisher at Hearst. The letter said the company was attempting to lower operating costs by 20 percent. And so, positions had to be eliminated. Mine was one of them.

Even though I was laid off as opposed to being fired, I couldn’t tell the difference. Sure, I’d get a little time off from work and get away from the daily stresses of editors clamoring for copy from the Valley and Hearst gave us free “outplacement” help through the Schegg Group in Shelton, Conn., to seek new work. But there would be no job to return to on Monday morning. In a down economy where you’re cutting back as much as you can and when you were essentially living check to check while on the job, it’s not a good thing. All of a sudden, your job is finding a new job.

The first few weeks after losing my job were not so bad. I signed up for unemployment benefits the day I was let go. I watched some games and movies to get my mind off of my situation. I began going to the gym a lot more. I eventually traveled to see stuff in the state that I had curiosity about. I went with my brother Al to Boston for a weekend because he was dying to visit Beantown. I ventured up to Thomaston, Conn. to see one of my favorite buildings, the Thomaston Opera House, but have yet to see a play there. (I will soon, Sharon. I promise.) I visited friends and went to a concert to enjoy my summer as best I could.

Truth be told, I took to being jobless pretty easy. I spent a lot of my days free and easy, reading online newspapers or books, going to the gym just about every day, exploring and staying up as late as I wanted, knowing there would be no immediate repercussions or bosses to answer to. I’ve kept my writing hand fresh by doing stories for a local start-up news Web site, the Valley Independent Sentinel, which, bias aside, is doing a great job of covering the Naugatuck Valley, possibly better than my former employer and other area newspapers.

Around mid-July, though, things changed. I really began missing work and being in the newsroom to go over the stories of the day. So many big things happened over the summer that I wish I could have been a news environment to discuss with editors and colleagues. (Michael Jackson’s death, Steve McNair’s murder-suicide, the health care debates, the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford’s affair in Argentina, David Ortiz being on a list of Major League Baseball players that allegedly used performance-enhancing drugs six years ago.) Even if I was not covering those stories directly, I loved the idea of knowing that folks in my profession were out there covering this stuff and bringing it to the world.

There was also the more tangible reality that I had bills to pay and a much smaller check with which to cover those expenses. I’ve tried to do things that do not involve a lot of spending. (Which is funny because I was pretty conservative prior to losing my job as well. Not like I went to the club every weekend and made it rain before.) Job searching on some days became mundane as well as costly. Going to FedEx Kinko’s to copy and digitize your past stories can take a nice bite out of your wallet, especially if you’ve got a lot of good stories you want to show to prospective employers. At home, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on job search sites like journalismjobs, journalismnext, indeed.com, careerbuilder, higheredjobs.com and the like. I’ve found a few jobs I’d be interested in, including a few sports writing gigs. I also visited the federal government’s job site to inquire about what’s available. So far, though, no dice. The return calls have been few and far in between, ideal positions are too far away (I’m not moving to Wyoming or New Mexico, thank you.), or the jobs are already filled. I have been contacted twice for possible full-time jobs and been on one interview so far. I’m still waiting to find out what that company wants to do.

When I’ve become bored or frustrated by the search, I’ve drifted to do some other things on the Internet. I check my Facebook account every day, often updating my friends of my job search status. I visit a message board to talk sports, politics and whatever else is interesting whenever I’m in a lull.. I look for a funny or catchy YouTube video to entertain me or inspire me. (Most recent was the Queen video for “Princes of the Universe.” Television buffs will recognize it as the theme song to the television series “Highlander.”) I’ve also had to handle other irons in the fire, such as trying to negotiate a lower month-to-month rent for my apartment and working on making sure my health insurance remains in good standing. (Long story. I’ll let you know more later.)

One of the toughest things about searching for a job is the sense of isolation. I’ve talked to my brother or my best friends from college to get a little fired up whenever they’ve been available. I’ve gone to the gym to get a solid workout in to get the juices flowing or to work off the frustration of a less than ideal job search. (The folks at the Schegg Group recommended this and I think it’s good for maintaining good health.) Still, unless you’re out frequently networking, it can be a lonely experience at times. Your friends that are working have their own duties and stresses (Work, bills, kids, etc.) and those that are looking just like you have got to do what they’ve got to do. It may sound cliché, but you have to soldier on. You have to keep your chin up and your spirits high. You have to feel confident that one day the job listing you find or the contact you make at a mixer, a networking event or even the library will lead you to where you want to be. But it is good to have a few friends along the way and I do thank those of you who have opened your ears and your hearts when I needed it.

Let me just say for the record that I am not scared. I am not panicked that I might end up out on the street or that I’ll be begging for change to put food in my refrigerator or cabinets. But I’ll be happier once I’m able to say that I’m gainfully employed – or that I’ve hit the lottery and someone else can have that job I so desperately wanted.