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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

March 2015



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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

Still crazy after all this year

I have an anniversary coming up. In just one week, it will be a year since I got the news I was laid off from Microsoft. I'm still trying to understand what it means to be 60 years old and unemployed. I haven't been idle, and in fact, just completed a short-term contract. I'm looking for more work, contracts, or other sources of income because frankly, I wasn't ready to retire.

I joined a couple of discussion groups, job seekers' support, etc. after I was laid off and found that I easily slipped into the same role as others in my situation. "Hi. I'm a Content Strategist at Microsoft, laid off in January after 10 years. I worked in Mobile Communications at Microsoft." Somehow, we all defined ourselves based on our lives at Microsoft. We worked our resumes around our Microsoft careers, our Microsoft experience, and our Microsoft payscale.

And most of us got absolutely nowhere in our job search, because frankly nobody cared about our lives at Microsoft.

It was an intensely liberating day when in the usual round of introductions at one of these meetings I said, "Hi. I've been involved in the publishing industry for over thirty years as a writer, publisher, designer, and technologist." Somehow that completely redefined who I was in my own eyes, and changed significantly how I was forming my job search. The contract work I did was eBook design. There are few people in the country that know more about how to design and produce eBooks than I do. It's not a big market, but I have hopes that it is one that I can do more work in, simply because I love it so much.

So, in spite of the fact that I'm still unemployed, this year promises to be one in which I do a lot more of what I love doing, whether it is for someone else, or for myself. You can see my new blog The Secret Life of eBooks where I've started discussing eBook readers and will be progressing to file formats, security, and design in the near future. Wish me luck!