Posts Tagged ‘Victory’

Job Loss & Recovery

October 27, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s anecdotal, but I have no less than six friends who have lost their media jobs over the past month or so as the carnage in the broadcast industry continues. It’s like an entire craft is being sacrificed on the altar of scaled-back recessionary budgets and tumultuous change.

I swear these companies have it down to a science now. Find the biggest salaries generally belonging to the oldest workers, sprinkle in an under-40 here and there so you can deny “pattern and practice” in case anybody wants to sue for age discrimination and- there you go….another budget-target hit. Until the next round.

Having been through this process several times myself, I can tell you it’s not a lot of fun, though it’s not completely a horror show either. If I lose my current media job, the only secure employment prospects seem to be in job counseling. So consider this practice.

There are stages of grief just like recovering from the death of a family member or friend. There’s nothing quite like that 1st week of joblessness when you wake up in the morning, remember what the deal is, and shake your head in disbelief. But there are things you can do that bring some sanity into the picture.

The two biggest things are dealing with the psychology and the finances. In lay-off parlance, “separation” is exactly that. You’ve been separated from a world full of friends and colleagues and there are natural feelings of isolation. If you’re the main bread-winner, you get the additional layers of feelings of guilt and inadequacy. I now give myself about one and a half to two weeks of self-pity. But that’s it. Then it’s time to move on.

As for the finances, my very, very first action is always to do a budget reality check. You measure up your spending habits against all of your assets, retirement money included. Since most layoffs involve older workers, you’re likely to be better off than you might have thought if push comes to shove. It’s always a nice relief to know you’re not going to be living out of a cardboard box.

There is a strange dual psychology that develops in which both the world of great possibilities and the reality that they haven’t come to fruition yet reside simultaneously inside you. But make no mistake about it- there is a wonderful feeling of exhilaration when you go about the process of analyzing how to reinvent yourself. There’s something exciting about the concept of doing work you would absolutely love to do.

Reinvention and rejuvenation. People do it all the time.

To my friends going through this rough patch- remember you are not your jobs. The value you bring to life, family and friends is in your character, not your title. Be strong, stay positive, think creatively, hustle and conquer. You can do this.

March Madness Office Pool Win!

It’s been a long time coming but the stars, a great borrowed formula, and faith in one of the great college coaches of all time have combined to produce a victory in the ol’ 30-person office pool.

First of all, I’m inordinately happy that I have an office to go to in the first place. I suppose one could crash the occasional office pool but it seems rude and just a little weird.

It was one of the best NCAA title games ever played. Butler is for real. Duke is an efficient team, equal parts brute force and smooth jumpers but the Bull Dogs hung in there with them every second of the game nearly nailing a desperation mid-court shot that truly would have been the greatest finish in the history of the sport.

Lessons learned:

♦  Take emotion out of the picks- everybody has their favorites, but sentimentality gets you nowhere. Because I work and live in DC, there are plenty of discarded bracket sheets that had lots of Georgetown’s and Maryland’s going far into the tourney.

♦  The early rounds do matter. You won’t win without taking some big games in the Elite-8 and Final Four rounds- but you have to have an edge in some of those early games. The formula I used pointed to six 1st round upsets and four of them came through. It also got me another upset in the 2nd round. In the end, that was precisely the margin that separated me from the runner-up.

♦  Find a winning formula! There were many out there to choose from in cyber-world; great sites created by true basketball and statistics geeks who know their stuff. I went with a system that was heavy on strength-of-schedule. There are so many match-ups in the tournament that would never happen in the regular season, that it seems factoring in the caliber of a team’s opponents is a pretty necessary ingredient.

♦ There are going to be upsets, but ultimately, it’s an established team in an established conference that’s going to go far or all the way. Most people thought Kansas was that team. I happened to think Duke was. I had the good fortune of watching them play in the ACC tournament and they had a real clutch quality about them.

♦  There’s still room for mysticism. One of the intriguing stats that I fell in love with was Duke’s national titles as a #1 seed. They won under such circumstances in 1992 and 2001. Now it’s nine years later again- and they did it. Note: watch out for Duke in 2019!

If you’ll forgive me, the pool’s commissioner is strangely silent this morning. Unless she has fled to Mexico, we have some business to conduct.

Hello, Mr. Lobster.  Hello, Mr. Porterhouse….


March Madness is upon us, people! It’s off to the races and the biggest annual time-suck since you last filled out your own tax forms. I don’t know how much productivity is lost in the American workplace and really, I don’t care. This is important stuff.

Every year, I come up with some new fangled, bizzaro formula for predicting the winners. I am, actually, a total spreadsheet nerd and I can spend hours on this stuff analyzing and sorting. I have had mixed success. I’m usually in the top 5 in my office pools.

I almost perished from a bitter, awful, horrendous and deeply sad disappointment in 2008. I had picked Memphis to win it all. Nobody ever thought friggin’ Memphis would win the National Championship. And there they were- beating Kansas by 9 points with 2 minutes to play. I had this. I could taste the $400 pot. Regrettably, the Memphis boys had a significant weakness. Free throws. Coming down the stretch, they couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn. I had not factored in their horrific FT%. Aaaauuurgh. I know the Memphis players and the larger Memphis community were crushed. But so was I. Big-time.

Last year, I correctly picked North Carolina to win the title, but my other Final 4 were off so, again, close, but no cigar.

This year, I have discovered that there are many, many people out there on the World Wide Web, smarter and nerdier than I. They have applied their mathematics degrees to the greater societal good and have used logarithms, Pythagorean theorems and good old common sense to come up with their sets of predictions. And so I have researched them thoroughly and selected the analysis I thought was the most complete and I’m going with their rankings which were made before the tournament field was set.

I will not tell you what system I am using, ok? Find your own! I will tell you this:
The system is cool and I believe, accurate enough, that it honed in on a number of 1st round upsets that include five teams seeded 9th-12th. I do have three top-seeds getting to the Final 4…but also a #4-seed. It all has the ring of truth to it. If there are alternate realities out there, I KNOW this is one of them. I am just hoping the cosmic dice select this particular reality, because, I’m telling you people, I’m feeling it this year.

Here are the 1st round upsets:

#9 Northern Iowa over UNLV
#9 FSU over Gonzaga
#10 St.Mary’s over Richmond
#11 Old Dominion over Notre Dame
#12 Utah State over Texas A&M

My Final 4: Kansas, Duke, Syracuse & Wisconsin

National Champion: Duke. Very few teams entering the tournament as the #1 seed actually win it all. But if Duke pulls it off in 2010 it will be their 3rd time. They do it approximately every ten years. Check it out.