Texas has an unemployment rate of 8.2 percent, and in September alone, 44,700 people lost jobs. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, for every 5 unemployment claims in the D/FW area there is one job opening.
If you're unemployed in Dallas or Fort Worth, or even Texas, you better just get used to it. The average length of unemployment is 6 months, which I attribute to the crazy amount of competition for the very, very few job openings.
I was laid off from The Dallas Morning News on April 7, 2009. Yesterday, Oct. 29, I finally got a job.
Not only that, but I found my dream job.
No matter how much I may gloss over my time at The Dallas Morning News, I knew that there was a ceiling on my professional growth (and salary growth, too, considering that about two years into working at The News there were two layoffs and a salary freeze). I started in the Editorial Department at age 22, fresh from graduation, and promptly went to work with a staff that was mostly twice my age. I only had one peer in the office, and she eventually buckled under the strenuous demands of daily deadline work.
And yet, I loved working there. I loved the sense of tradition and respect that working for a Texas legacy carried with it. My parents were ridiculously proud, too. Anytime anyone that knew of me would come into the Drivers License office to get a new photo or renewal, my mom would tell them that her youngest daughter ("You remember her, right? The storyteller?") was working for The Dallas Morning News. She expected them to be VERY IMPRESSED. If they weren't, then they were just ignorant.
When I lost my job, I lost a little bit of that pride and confidence. It took a big chunk from the armor of my ego. In truth, though, it was a good for me. It really helped me figure out what I wanted from my next job.
I thought that I might have found it a couple times in between April 7 and yesterday. I interviewed once with a local university's publications office, and when he told me that over 100 people had applied for the job within the first few days of its posting, I was more than a little disheartened. That is way too much competition. I made it to the first interview round, which was roughly 10 percent of the applicants, but I wasn't chosen. That's OK, though, because the commute to Arlington is a BITCH.
I also learned that I have a whole system of support in my family and friends and former colleagues. I really wouldn't have held up so well without them. The Editorial Department of The News is full of great people with big hearts, bright minds and great ideas. I feel so privilged that I got the chance to work with them. My mom and dad were there to help and just to talk, and of course to tell me that I needed to visit more. My in-laws helped to lift us up when we were down, too. My brother and sisters and their spouses always lended an ear. There are too many people to thank, really, but they all know that I love and appreciate them.
This has a happy ending, though. For that I am so thankful. I start my new job Monday. I get a chance to start over, too.