Three Rivers Stadium — Section 662, Row R, Seats 11 & 12

Many of you reading this can insert your own favorite seat assignment into the title of this post and write about your memories at a particular sport, concert, or other large venue.  The title refers to my late father’s season ticket assignment for the Pittsburgh Steelers at old Three Rivers Stadium (TRS) between 1970 and 1990.

TRS was built in 1970 as a multi-function stadium, which permitted American football and baseball to be played in the facility.  Almost the entire bottom section of seating was on rollers so they could be moved to allow fans better viewing of the games, depending on what was being played.  Many cities around that time were going to this one stadium concept, and many towns including Pittsburgh learned in hindsight these stadiums created poor viewing for baseball games and limited the options of each team to increase revenue (They had to share almost everything!).  TRS was demolished in 2001 and replaced by two separate stadiums, Heinz Field (For the Steelers) and PNC Park (For the baseball Pirates, and THIS stadium is a marvel: A modern sports wonder of the world).

During the 1970’s my Dad watched the Steelers rise from the usual bottom-dwellers of the National Football League (NFL) to the best team in the NFL.  Between 1974 and 1979 the Steelers won their first four championships after winning zero in their first 41 years of football.  On December 23, 1972, my Dad was there when star player Franco Harris made the “Immaculate Reception” touchdown catch, which is arguably the greatest touchdown ever scored in the 96 year history of the NFL.  He sat in seat 11 that day, which would become my seat when I started going to games.

My first game in these seats was in 1980 when I was five years old.  I don’t remember much from that season, but I do remember my first game being against the Cincinnati Bengals.  It was the year before the Bengals switched to their tiger-striped helmets, which they still wear to this day.  I remember thinking how boring their helmets were when I sat there: They were plain orange and “BENGALS” was written across each side of the helmet.  Look them up!  They were bad.  I might have only went to one or two games that first year, because my Dad wasn’t sure if I would like going to TRS with 55,000 other people at such a young age.

In 1981 I went to the majority of the games with my Dad.  The 600-level seats were the highest seats in TRS, and row R was five or six rows from the top of the stadium.  You could see the field well except for the one corner of the east end zone.  A brand new facility, and they still couldn’t alleviate spectator blind spots in viewing baseball OR football.  We used to pack food and hot beverages into a huge handle bag and take it into TRS, which kept us from having to buy all of the overpriced concessions at the games.  This practice of bringing in outside food and drinks to sporting events in the U.S. has since been policed to the brink of extinction, starting in the mid-1990’s.

Each year, there was one home exhibition game along with eight regular season games.  When the Steelers played on a Sunday or Monday night, my Dad always sold the tickets since I had to get up for school the next day and my Dad had to head out to work early.  He never had trouble finding a buyer, even though the bulk of the 1980’s was a decade to forget in the annals of Steelers history.  Out of the 70 to 75 Sunday afternoon games they played during the 1980’s, I was there for about 65 of them.  My Mom or one of my brothers would occasionally go with my Dad, but I was the person in the house who followed the team closely, even more than my Dad.  It was a great experience sharing that time with my late father, even if some of the game outcomes were terrible for the home team.

Our last game in those seats wasn’t sentimental, because at the time we didn’t know it would be our last game in that space we occupied for so many years.  After reviewing the 1990 season, I can’t even be sure I attended the last three home games.  I remember being there for the 20-9 victory against Atlanta, which took place in the middle of the season.  With player salaries on the rise the Steelers also started to raise ticket prices.  During the 1990 season, my Dad sold a few Sunday afternoon games to our neighbors to offset the cost of the ticket increase.  He wanted to continue to do this into 1991, but the Steelers looked to be a poor team (They were) and the demand for tickets was very low.  The economic recession put a tighter financial strain on my parents (My mother was a stay-at-home parent at the time), so my Dad could not afford the risk of having to pay $700 to go to TRS.  In 1991, $700 was probably equal to about $2,000 in 2016.  So in unspectacular fashion, my Dad decided to let go of the tickets.

Of course, the Steelers got better in 1992, but the waiting list for season tickets was probably around fifteen years at that time.  In many other markets my father could have simply renewed the season tickets in a different seat assignment, but we were in the wrong town to have this as a solution.  I went to three more games with my Dad in his life: A 1991 game against Washington (Tickets courtesy of his work, he paid for three and we took a friend of mine), a 1992 game against Detroit (Again from his work, we took one of my brothers that day) and a 2001 game against the New York Jets at Heinz Field.  That time one of my brothers got the tickets through his work.  Heinz Field was fine, but the atmosphere was not the same as old Three Rivers.  It had more of a corporate feel to the crowd, since ticket prices were so high that none of the real supporters could afford to go to the games.  To this day, that Jets game is my last Steelers game in attendance.

In a surreal moment that I get chills about to this day, my late father actually had a chance to say goodbye to our seats.  From 1993 until his retirement in 2005, my Dad worked in pest control after he lost his job in the insurance industry.  The company he worked for handled many large accounts, including TRS and the Civic Arena, where the hockey Penguins played.  In late 2000, after the final home game for the Steelers, my Dad was sent in, alone, to set up bait traps to catch the big river rats before the Three Rivers implosion in January 2001 (The Steelers were afraid the rats would survive and then run into the new stadium next door).  He started at the bottom of the stadium and had noticed that the construction workers ripping up the field were away for some unknown reason.  He was alone in the seats and starting taking pictures with the camera that he brought since this might be the last time he would be in there.  Actually, my Dad might have been the last non-employee, non-demolition crew visitor to Three Rivers.

Since nobody was around, he made his way up the ramps to section 662.  He snapped a photo of the steps reminding me of the climb we made up to our seats in row R, which seemed endless when I was a young boy.  He snapped a photo of the seats, two badly stained orange beauties with the seat numbers on the top right corner.  He sat down in seat 12, and snapped a photo of the view we shared for ten years, and the view he had for twenty years.  He then had a smoke and sat there for minutes in absolute silence except for the hum of highway traffic outside.  He then descended the steps, went to work on the opposite side of the stadium, and left to come home.  He went back before the blast to gather the traps on the bottom levels, but the top levels were blocked because they were being prepped for the charge of explosives that would take down TRS in a few weeks.

Many season ticket holders tried to unbolt their seats before the final home game, but the Steelers wouldn’t allow that to happen for various reasons, including the potential for a riot, which I would have bet on if the odds were 5-1.  Aside from the torn up football field below, my father’s final view of Three Rivers from section 662, row R, seats 11 and 12 was serene and unblemished, a fitting farewell to our Sunday sanctuary of sport.

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The Leather Pants Incident Of 1997

I always loved music from the beginning of my childhood, but I never invested much time into making music a passion of mine.  My parents exposed me to many aspects of American culture, but it never really included going to concert halls, buying cassette tapes of modern music and learning to play an instrument.  My Mom didn’t have any hobbies, and my Dad had season tickets to the Pittsburgh Steelers for many years, so a lot of our disposable income and time revolved around sports if we went to a large venue.  Which I was fine with since I loved sports.

We always hear about and see examples in media where regular schmos with money get to meet or get close to famous people when the true followers of these famous people never get the chance to be close to their idols.  And sometimes the regular schmo (In this case me) doesn’t have money but instead inherits a situation that permits this to happen.

In 1997, I was still dating my girlfriend from high school.  I’ll refer to her as “Peach” from now on.  Peach was going to college north of Pittsburgh and was living off campus with a few roommates.  One roommate was a girl who grew up in England who we’ll call “Spice”, since the English group The Spice Girls were at their peak of popularity then.  They also had a mutual friend from college who used to hang out over their place all the time, and I’ll call her “#3” to keep the story moving along.

Spice had a boyfriend who was a big Aerosmith fan.  Aerosmith came to Pittsburgh’s old Civic Arena in 1997 and he somehow got a hold of seven tickets.  These tickets were good seats, far back but off the floor, just enough that you could see everything.  The seven that went were me, Peach, #3, Spice, Spice’s boyfriend and another couple.  Spice had the idea for her, Peach and #3 to go to the concert wearing skin tight black leather pants.  I have to admit, they looked good and I looked like a dope next to Peach.  So we settle into our seats, the opening act of Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band starts their set, and Spice wants to run outside and catch a smoke before Aerosmith goes on.  Peach and #3 accompanied her down the aisle and off they went while the rest of us hung out in our seats.

Spice’s boyfriend got concerned when the girls weren’t back after the third song of the opening act, and I told him they probably ditched us for some better-looking guys since everyone downstairs with good vision could see them walking around.  It turned out that I was half-right.

About thirty minutes later, the girls come running back to us screaming incoherently and it was clear they were happy.  Spice stated that some of the Aerosmith roadies saw them and gave the girls better seats for the show.  Somehow (And to this day I do not know who bargained this), the girls convinced the roadies to give them two more tickets, one for me and one for Spice’s boyfriend.  Thank God he got a ticket, because he was the reason we were there in the first place.

So we told the other couple that came with us that we would meet them after the show, and they were fine with that.  We start our walk to the front of the floor, and an usher meets us halfway back to verify we are supposed to be there.  He leads us to our seats while a few fans spray the girls with whistles and calls.

Front row.  THEE front row.  It was a great show.  Spice’s boyfriend was so pumped up from being that close to Aerosmith I thought his head was going to explode.  I don’t know if he knew Spice was flirting with their young keyboardist, or the fact that guitarist Tom Hamilton camped out in front of the girls for four or five songs.  I could care less since I knew I was way over my head.  During a Joe Perry guitar solo, the lights dimmed around the other parts of the stage but I was close enough to watch Steven Tyler fall off of it and into the arms of two security guards in the pit.  Before the crowd knew he was missing from the stage, the guards threw him back up there like he was a rag doll.  He landed perfectly on his feet and took off running like it never even happened.   Ten minutes later he’s singing right in front of me and while I’m trying to smack his hand, he moves to his left because he sees the girls!  I couldn’t blame the guy.

I couldn’t hear for three days after the show, probably due to me sitting in front of some rather large sound equipment for two hours (It was LOUD.  If it was The Who I would have lost my hearing for good).  There were about 15,000 people at that show, and out of all of them I was the 14,972nd ranked Aerosmith fan.  The 14,972nd ranked Aerosmith fan with one of the 36 closest seats in the arena, thanks to a few roadies that were hypnotized by the leather pants of Peach, Spice and #3.

A Cat Tale

IMG_20161002_180740_processedEven though I like cats and dogs equally, I’ve been a cat person from the beginning.  Growing up in the city, my family did not have the space for a dog and our yard was not fenced in.  We lived on a busy street, so if we had a dog and it got loose, it was inevitable that it would be struck down by a car or a bus.  We got our first cat when I was 11, and I was always around them until I moved out years later.

I did not have a cat when I lived on my own because I had a small apartment and there were no pets allowed.  Just as well, because I was usually gone for many hours at a time, and that would not have been fair to a cat to endure that much alone time in 700 square feet (If I had 2,000 square feet, I’m sure it wouldn’t have cared).  When I moved in with my girlfriend (Now wife), we couldn’t have any pets in the places we lived, so there was a stretch of 12 years where I did not have a cat in the house.

Now, my wife was always a dog person.  They had a variety of breeds in the house, but I always liked the big dogs.  They had a black Labrador Retriever that I loved to sit around with every time we went to visit her parents.  When the inevitable talk of getting a pet arrived, I thought for sure it would be about finding a dog.  Instead, my wife wanted a cat.

In 2010, one of my brothers and his wife took in two stray cats that were both having litters.  My wife wanted to take two of the kittens, but our property managers only approved one.  No big deal, so after three months of the kittens living at my brother’s house, we dropped by one night to pick up our little man.  He is all gray and he really looks a lot like a Russian Blue, except for the tuft of white hair just below his neck.  His Mama gave him that because she was mostly white, and it looks like he is wearing a collar like a Catholic priest.  Ah, the irony.

From the beginning, he was a mess.  Compared to the other cats I’ve been around, he would commit many acts that would cause harm to us physically, emotionally and monetarily (If this is a word : ).  Sure, cats and other pets get into situations that drive their owners crazy.  Our little guy was finding ways to get under our skin on a daily basis.

Since we got him 5 1/2 years ago I don’t think I’ve had more than 100 nights where I slept straight through the night.  For whatever reason, he always meows during the night, jumps on my head or requests to be fed, even though we set some food out for him during the night (So he wouldn’t bother us!  Go figure that out!).  I’m sure my heart and the rest of my body is used to this by now, but I know I lost thousands of hours of rest because of him.  My lack of rest, along with finding chewed wires, ripped up furniture and torn carpet added stress to our lives instead of alleviating it.  Because lowering stress is what pets are supposed to do.  Right?

When we bought our house a few years later, we got a second cat to give him a friend.  It’s a female cat, and in the 3 1/2 years we’ve had her she’s had no outstanding moments of being a pest more than pet.  Her behavior has been more typical of what I knew from cats growing up.  Even though he got a friend to be with when we are away, our sort-of Russian Blue kept giving us the blues.

The easy thing to do would have been to get rid of him, but I knew and my wife knew nobody would take him and he would be put down.  In between my trips to Radio Shack for replacing all of the chewed wiring around the house, I decided to try and get him to at least acknowledge when he was being a jerk.  And it worked.

These days, he’s still a jerk, but he doesn’t have to be disciplined as much as before.  A few years back I started using unique sounds, words and body gestures to express to him that he was doing activities deemed inappropriate by me.  Now, he’s so in tune to what I convey to him that I swear he apologizes to me when he gives a little meow when I raise my voice.  He is good to our son even though the one time he bit him hard enough to give him an abscess.  When this occurred, I used the same gestures like any other time without getting mad at him.  So far, he hasn’t bit our son again and I try to teach our son how to play with the cats.

Our house is a mess with the torn carpet, furniture and sleep patterns, but we are used to it now.  I know someday I’ll be thankful for our problematic cat, at least I tell myself this to make me feel better about losing all that sleep.  Let this little story from a schmo be proof that a broken relationship can be mended with love, patience, a few rolls of electrical tape and a reliable specialty electronics store nearby.

Self-Esteem At Age 40

For the first 16 to 20 years of our lives, many of us go through the same challenges when we attempt to define who we are as individuals, what is expected of ourselves in society and how our experiences reflect upon the people in our lives and the world in general.  Family and friends usually have a lasting impression on us from the very beginning, providing insight into what it is to be human.  In the beginning, choices are made for us.

I grew up in the same home for the first 23 years of my life.  My parents were raised Roman Catholic, so I was Roman Catholic.  I went to private Catholic school until it became too expensive to attend.  Why not public school from the very beginning?  Because my parents never went to public school.  The neighborhood was very blue-collar meaning there were many people working hard jobs that required intense labor.  The mentality was very simple-minded thus my thinking became the same, and the expectations of my life going forward mirrored what other kids my pocket of town had for themselves.  I was confident that I could be a success at anything, because I thrived in my own little comfortable square of Simpletown, USA.  I really didn’t know the world at all, and yet I was about to go out into it after graduating from high school.

After generating mediocre academic results in high school (Remember, I thrived in my mind during my time at home), I had to go to community college first before going for a four-year degree.  Since my parents never went to college, this was the first life experience that was truly my idea and foreign to many of my friends back in the neighborhood.  And it turned out to be a terrible experience because I wasn’t prepared at all for the responsibilities of college.  My confidence was shattered, and I felt like I was always destined to fail when attempting to do new things on my own.  I licked my wounds for some time.  Instead of trying college again, I worked one or two jobs at a time, working in four different places over the span of 11 months.

One random day when working in the warehouse at a retail job, I had the most vivid epiphany of my life.  I can still see the roof above the back aisle of that warehouse if I close my eyes.  I simply said to myself, “Hey, try school again.  You failed at school because you jumped into the experience blind.  Now, see what you have to do to make it work.”  So I decided to try school again.  This time, my approach would be different based on the results of my previous failures.

During the time I was planning my return to school, I became very aware that my self-esteem could be tested in a negative way every time I had a setback involving an experience that was outside of the comfort zone that was set up for me during my first 19 years of life.  Instead of being afraid of the potential setbacks, I embraced them.  And once I embraced them, my world expanded beyond the scope of my previous 19 years.

This approach went beyond school.  When something occurred that sucked the confidence out of me, I would ask myself questions like, “Was this your fault?  If so, how to you keep this from happening again?  If another person hurt you, can the relationship be mended?  Can we co-exist?”  The assessments I made over the years were done to help me understand the situations I found myself in, not to dwell on them.

After taking this proactive outlook involving my ever-changing self-esteem, my independence flourished.  Despite many setbacks, I accomplished many things that my high school self would have never envisioned.  While working and going to school, I moved out on my own at 23 and never returned to live at home.  I continued working and going to school, earning my four-year degree at 28.  I met a girl that grew up about 20 miles from me and we moved in together.  When she expressed the desire to pursue her doctorate, I decided to move away with her to help out with the expenses (And of course because I loved her.  Duh.).

I was very lucky to secure a job near her school while she was attending.  It was a rural area, so I have to admit I was worried about what I was going to do for income. I left that job when we returned home two years later when her classroom portion of her work was complete.  When we came back, her job prospects were rising, and mine took some time to find traction.

It was 2008, and an economic recession hit the job market hard in the U.S.  I took whatever job that I could get just to pay the bills.  What happened over the next two years was a job odyssey that I would not wish on anyone.  Five jobs in two years.  As I moved from one position to the next, my self-esteem would fall lower and lower.  Doubt crept into my life again, and it was the same emotions that I felt all those years ago when I dropped out of college.  Only this time, I wasn’t living with Mom and Dad.  My girlfriend was now my wife, and we had thousands of dollars of school loans to pay and many other monetary responsibilities.  No matter how much I struggled, I still reflected on my past experiences to find answers to my worries.

In 2010, I found work at a place with good working hours, modest pay and good benefits.  It was a very stable job and I was fine with it despite the usual drama from co-workers (Whatever, I remembered high school.  We all deal with this at work).  Since I landed this job, we bought a house, got two cats, had a son and our finances stabilized.  Well, stabilized as much as we can with school debt.  So, happy ending, right?

In a previous post I mentioned I was let go from said job in 2015.  All the emotions of self-doubt, depression, worry, anger and frustration start to settle into my brain again.  Even at 40, even when I overcame so many obstacles before to attain some level of success and stability, I felt like I accomplished nothing.

The stakes are much higher for me now than when I was that silly high school kid that I don’t even recognize anymore, but I will ask the same questions of myself that I did over twenty years ago, and searching for answers so I can learn from the experience .  As always, I am ready for the challenge.

On The Grid/Off The Grid

Even though I’m now in my 40’s, I consider myself an above-average observer of social media and how it has changed our way of communicating with each other.  I remember our pre-cable TV world, our pre-Internet world and a world where our version of social media was logging into a chat room on America Online.  Over the short span of about 20 years, the ability for us to allow our family, current circle of friends, past friends, co-workers and even celebrities into our lives has never been easier.  That is, if we want them to be in our lives.

I’ve always been ahead of the curve when it comes to technology.  In 1998, I had a clunky Motorola cell phone that I kept in my car for emergency purposes, and that was it!  It was just a phone, nothing else.  It was too big to carry around since the size was comparable to stacking three current Android model phones on top of one another.  When I upgraded to a Samsung flip phone in 2003 it had a color screen display and I paid $10 a month for Internet access.  My friends thought the color screen was cool enough; the Internet access was otherworldly at the time.  I had text message capability, but it was too costly to use it (10 cents per incoming/outgoing text).

I would have joined Facebook from the beginning if I could have.  I jumped into that in early 2008 when it was just gaining popularity outside of the college campuses.  It was cool at first when I would have people from another time in my life come back into my consciousness on a daily basis without having to physically meet with them or actually having to pick up a phone to catch up on the X amount of time apart from one another.  Looking at their family photos, personal triumphs and daily posts drew me closer to them without being any closer to them prior to the Facebook experience.

I never got into Twitter or any other type of social media at the time because the amount of time I was spending on Facebook was enough for my interest in it.  I would estimate that I would spend between 2-4 hours a week on Facebook and my friend list was a modest 450 since I didn’t go out of my way to “Friend Request” people.  As I grew more comfortable with having Facebook in my life, I also developed a hatred for it that grew more intense over time.

The “tipping point” concerning my love/hate social media relationship slid to the hate side in 2012.  The early 2010’s were a very busy time in my life, and my wife and I were spending the greater portion of our time searching for a home to buy.  We were saving money any way we could, so we put off getting smart phones until we determined our budget with the new home.  Once we found a home, we of course spent many days getting the home ready for us to live in, which made checking our social media accounts less of a priority.  When our son was born, stuff like Facebook was not even thought about for days.  When we would log in after a few days, we would discover news from friends via social media that was not shared with us via cell phone or even text messages.  We would see that people would post things like, “We are going to ABC bar tonight around 8, then hit XYZ when the drink special is over at ABC.”  2 days after said post was put up, my wife or I would get a message saying, “Hey, we see you didn’t reply to us going out on the weekend.  Is everything all right?  We missed you guys!”

This happened a lot starting in 2012.  Another trend I noticed in the same year was how much useless crap my Facebook friends were posting on there.  I don’t know if I was blind to it the first 4 years I used the site, but I like to think I wasn’t.  I found myself on average wasting a good 45 Facebook minutes a day filtering through the drama, politics and other agendas I constantly tried to escape from in everyday life.  Also, my responsibilities in life were about to be increased by 100% with the birth of our son, and I didn’t want his photos plastered all over the Internet.  So I deleted my Facebook account in early 2013 after a good 5 year run.

In July 2013, my wife and I attended the wedding reception of a friend of mine who I’ve went on a couple of road trips with in the 2000’s.  When we arrived at the banquet facility, I noticed there was a memorial table set up with two pictures, one of which was a recent photo.  The recent photo was my friend’s father, who unexpectedly died a few months before his wedding.  Can you guess how the news went out that his Dad died?  That’s right, Facebook.  No text message or a call from anybody about what happened, and I deleted my account already.  I told my friend that I didn’t know what happened to his Dad, and certainly if I did, I would have attended at least the visitation at the funeral home.

Fast-forward to the present, and I still do not miss having a Facebook account.  Yes, I do not interact with my old buddies like I used to, but even if I would have a Facebook account, I wouldn’t see them anyway.  I have a toddler that keeps me busy, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I also noticed in 2016 that the majority of people and businesses who are in the entertainment and recreation industries use social media to promote events and their brands more than other traditional forms of Internet-based interaction (Company websites, e-mail and fan club websites to name a few examples).  I got a Twitter account right after the new year.

So I’m off the grid.  Sort of.

The Comedy Of Unemployment

I’ve had many jobs in my 25 years of working.  During my time in high school and college, I held two or three jobs at one time to pay the bills and knock out some school debt.  I always had a good work ethic, and I always took a direct approach toward management when dealing with issues connected with a job.  In many cases, the results were beneficial for both parties and the work environment continued to be positive.

In October of 2015, I was fired from my job of five years.  This was the first time I was ever let go from a position.  It was clear that I did not agree with how day-to-day activities were being managed and my work performance suffered because of it.  I held my ground and stood up for myself, for I believed in my heart I knew what was right for the company and my own sanity after working without much strain for the first four years I was there.

Without going into too much detail, the drastic change in the final year of my job was the attempt of management to combine our billing system with our inventory management system.  I was their warehouse guy, and I never had real issues with the existing application I had all along.  Once the launch of the new system took place, my job became harder to do, especially when somebody in my department had the day off.  Did I mention we had two people in the department?  The old system was more efficient and allowed for some cross-responsibilities; the two of us could help each other when one got caught up with their work.  I had a hard time keeping up with the volume in the new system when we were both there five days a week!  So my co-worker and I were separated most of the time under this new application, which cooled our relationship with each other.

So where’s the comedy?  This sounds dreadful so far, right?  I will spare you the rest of the details and I will share with you what the heck I have experienced while being out of work during the major holidays in the United States.

The most important event that came from my job loss was the ability to be with my two-year-old son more often that normal.  To save money on day care I have watched him 17 days and it would have been more days if it was possible (We have to keep his spot there in case I find work, there is a waiting list with many day care centers near us).  Being with him made the sting of receiving 60 percent of my original pay worthwhile.  It’s pretty funny how this worked out in my favor, right?

I remember the days where the local newspaper would have hundreds of jobs in the Sunday edition.  There, I found many of my old jobs, including the one I was just sacked from.  It was easy to navigate the pages since everything was grouped together by occupation.  I knew what I could and could not do, so I knew what pages to look at when I would scan through them.

NOW, every online job board claims to have filtering devices to make your job search easier.  My ass they do.  I probably waste two to three hours per week looking at jobs that I would never be qualified for.

I have read these so-called “Career Experts” in various publications over the last three months.  99 percent of the time the advice is the same to stressed out career-minded individuals with real problems, using fancy words to tell people to kiss their supervisor’s ass no matter what the problem is, and MAYBE the situation will get better.  And if you are having a hard time finding work, check with temp agencies to see what openings they have.  Because a TEMP AGENCY is a long-term solution.  I’ve worked at two temp agencies over the years and they were a complete waste of time if you are looking for meaningful career work.  People get PAID to give this type of advice!  Where did we all go wrong!?!  What a life.

The state I reside in wants to see progress in your job search.  I get it, because I am sure there are thousands that try to work around the system. But have you ever tried to find work around Christmas and around Thanksgiving if you live in the U.S.?  It is next to impossible because the people who post the jobs are all on vacation!!!  I found myself applying for jobs I would never consider just to fulfill the requirements of the state.  Now that January is here, more promising positions are popping up online.

Even though I have been humbled by this experience it is nice to remember that I have had many positive days during my job loss.  If you think your time without work is hard, just remember that there is a man of middle age out there who is trying to reinvent himself while he has many worries on his mind.    A man of middle age who will share 1,000 words when he can to calm his nerves and maybe help somebody laugh in a tough time.