Notice that this is one of only a few times that my subject isn’t prefaced with “to do”? Because I don’t really know what to do today … or any time in the near future. The last few days have been very strange. It’s disorienting to have no place to be and nothing in particular to do for an unforeseeable amount of time. I still have to clean the house, take care of the kids, pay the bills, and on and on, but I have all the time in the world to do it. Not a good thing for a journalist. And the thought of all four of us in the house all day every day makes me anxious.

If you don’t know yet what I’m talking about, I was one of 11 Pioneer Press employees to be laid off yesterday, with seven being from my department. Our union to was asked about a month ago to begin negotiations with the company regarding pay cuts and benefit eliminations, with the intent of saving enough money to not lose any jobs. We were supposed to vote Tuesday on whether we wanted to pursue those negotiations. Last week the company pulled that offer off the table and nobody really knows why. (Here’s a little more on that if you’re interested.) So at that point, we all expected something bad yesterday, the last day of our fiscal year.

The editor of the paper called my cell phone, leaving a message for me to call him back, while I was at the funeral. I knew a call from him personally could only mean one thing. At least he didn’t beat around the bush. I went in today to get my severance pay and a bunch of paperwork. Now I have to apply for unemployment and see how much it pays before I even consider looking for a new job. I don’t want to take a job that will pay less than what I can make sitting around scrapbooking and blogging!

When I do start looking, I am considering something with a nonprofit or going into book publshing or doing something Web related, though I have no Web design or html experience. I’m ready to go back to a day job. As much as I loved my job, the hours were very hard on me. Luckily, I have many friends in the communications fields, not all in newspapers, who have offered help in job hunting.

One of the first question everyone has asked is whether Mark has had any job prospects. He was nearly offered a job at the Minnesota International School, teaching 7th grade. It’s a K-12 charter school in Minneapolis that serves East African immigrants. BUT the woman they were replacing hadn’t filled out the proper paperwork, and when HR asked her about it she said she decided she wasn’t going to retire after all. So they are trying to create a full-time substitute position for him and then would hire him full time for the first open position in the coming years.

But in the mean time, he is looking for other stuff, of course. Right now, there is an opening for 7th grade and head high school football coach at our town’s middle/high school campus, which is about 6 blocks from our house. It was just posted this week so he has applied and we’ll see what happens. He also applied for three more jobs today.

As many have pointed out, we are now able to search a little further away for jobs for Mark because we don’t need to be near downtown St. Paul anymore. But I don’t want to move too far out of the metro, and Mark has already been applying for jobs all across and even outside the metro.

I think this post covers everything I’ve been asked repeatedly. So now it’s all in one place and I can just point people here without saying it all again and again and again.