July 2009

Well, I was beginning to think I’d never be able to say this again, but…

I got a job!

Six months to the day after I was laid off as part of a mass lay off at the last company at which I worked, I started work at my new job, and I couldn’t be more excited.  I really like the people I’m working with, I’m thoroughly impressed with my boss, and the work is exciting, fast paced, challenging and compelling. How did I get so lucky?

As someone who has worked steadily since I was 14 years old — often at multiple jobs — being out of work for six months was frightening. Even scarier was the fact that there just didn’t seem to be any jobs in my area of expertise available. I got close a couple of times — once, I was second out of over 2,000 applicants — but even those positions paid over $15k less than what I had become accustomed to making. It was completely demoralizing and depressing, but I kept pressing on, and from this experience, I learned that the job search is easily as hard work as any position I’ve ever held. A year and a half ago when the company I was working at was bought out, and my position was moved over 1,000 miles away, I had three great offers within two weeks of beginning my job search. This time, during six months of constant applications, resumes and cover letters, I had zero offers.

Of course, I don’t have to tell any of you that it was the economy. Ten percent of you are out there looking for jobs right now, and I’d venture to guess than 80% of you are biting your nails, afraid that a pink slip will come with your next pay stub, while the remaining 10% are either fortunate enough to be secure in your position or oblivious to the sword of damacles that is hanging over your head.

As for myself, all I know is that I have never appreciated having a job more, and I will do whatever I can to excel at it, so I can keep it.  I know that I am one of the lucky few who got laid off in this economic downturn to have gotten a job, and I’m even luckier to have gotten a good one.

Just as we baby-boomers were getting used to life without such icons as Ed McMahon, Farrah Faucett and Michael Jackson, news came Saturday, July 18, 2009, of the passing of 92 year old Walter Cronkite, the greatest newsman to have ever lived.

Not many people know that Walter also called Oklahoma football for WKY radio in 1937.

Cronkite calling OU Football in 1937 at the age of 21Cronkite, just 21 when he worked for the Oklahoma City radio station, later recounted that his early work on the broadcasts lacked solid preparation and knowledge. I wish there were some recordings of those old games, so we could hear it for ourselves, because he obviously fixed those problems throughout his career.

For those of us who grew up watching Walter Cronkite, a part of our childhood has now passed with him. He was the one who told us when JFK was assasinated. He was the one who thrilled with us when we first landed on the moon. He was the one who told us about countless soldiers who died in Vietnam. And he was the one who taught us history, through his wonderful “You Were There” programs.

Even though our political leanings differed, I always had great respect for Cronkite as a journalist. He was always thorough and told the news without bias, something not seen by most anchors today. And speaking of anchors — Walter Cronkite was the first newsman to ever be called an anchorman. As a matter of fact, he came so identified in that role that eventually his own name became the term for the job in other languages (Swedish anchors are known as Kronkiters; in Holland, they are Cronkiters).

Because of his non-biased presentation of the news, Cronkite was voted the most trusted man in America, a title he richly deserved. I’ve missed his newscasts since he retired, but I miss him more today. There will never be another like him.