The last few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster. Soaring highs, incredible lows. Happiness, excitement, sadness, optimism, defeat.
On May 16, Brian applied for a new job halfway across the country. He hadn't been happy at his job for a long time, and I've been craving change. "This is the time of our lives to do this," we thought. As hard as it would be to leave family, we knew that if we didn't get out and try something new now, we may never get around to it. So he submitted the application.
He got word back pretty quickly that they were very interested, and had a great phone interview a few days later. So good that the managing editor called him back for a phone interview a few days later. So good that I took the plunge and applied for a few jobs at the local hospital. You see, I miss the medical field immensely, and see this potential move as a chance to start over in a career I love. Every time I see someone in scrubs, I am envious. I see an ambulance going by, lights blazing, and I want to be inside, helping.
His interview went incredibly well, and he got a call shortly after Memorial Day weekend saying that they wanted to fly him out for an in-person interview. "Holy shit" we thought, we may be moving halfway across the country! They told him they just had to sort a few things out, and that they would call him back with the flight confirmation number.
Then, on Thursday, the SunTimes (the paper Brian worked for) made perhaps the most idiotic decision in newspaper history and laid off its entire photo staff. All images in the paper would now be shot by reporters on their iPhones. Just like that, almost 30 photographers were jobless, Brian among them.
But we weren't too worried, after all, it was just a matter of time before the new paper called with his flight information. All was well.
On Friday morning, things got even better. I got a call from the hospital I had applied at, saying that they were interested and wanted to schedule a phone interview. After jotting down the interview date and time, I called Brian ecstatic. He was just as thrilled; our little dream seemed to becoming quite the reality.
And then, a few hours later, I got another call from Brian. "It's not good," he said. Apparently the paper had misread his resume. In December 2010, he left his undergraduate program to take a full time job back home. While he always meant to go back to school, life got in the way. But they thought he had his degree, and quoted a company policy that all applicants must have a bachelors degree. Even though he was their top candidate with phenomenal work and glowing references, he was eliminated from the running, just like that.
This is where I have immense issues with how education versus work experience influences our chances at jobs, but I'll leave that rant for another day...
Just like that, everything crashed down. I think we felt the layoff for the first time after that call - the reality sinking in. We would not simply be transitioning into a new life. I had to call the hospital this morning, explaining that we were no longer making the move and I would have to cancel the interview. We are living in the unknown.
Yet I still remain optimistic. It could be worse. I have a steady job (even though I can't wait to get out). And Brian has a lot of freelance work lined up. So we will be OK. I am focusing on the opportunities that lie before us. There are so many other newspapers out there - who knows which one will value his work more than a piece of paper? Not to mention I can't wait for the day that this paper realizes how big of a mistake they made (hey, I never said I was perfect...). Plus, this might be the nudge we needed to move to Kentucky so he can finish his degree. After I recovered from the news last Friday, I sent Brian a simple text message: "We are gonna do amazing things, you an I :)" I believe it wholeheartedly.
Photographer John White, a Pulitzer Prize winner who spent 44 years at the SunTimes before Thursday's layoffs, is perhaps one of the most peaceful and even people I have ever had the chance to meet. In an article published after the announcement, he quoted Psalm 20:4: May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.