So, funny story:
A little under two weeks ago, my record of employment came in the mail, along with the pay stubs for my last two paycheques at the Gazette. It was about then that it hit me that I didn’t work there anymore. Now I was unemployed, and I needed to figure out what I was going to do for the rest of my life.
As I figured out what that would mean, a week ago Sunday I went on the government of Canada’s website and filed for unemployment insurance benefits. At least it would seem like I was still getting a salary while I looked for a new job.
That’s when Murphy’s Law (or a corollary thereof) took effect. Shortly after I woke up on Monday afternoon, I got emails, Facebook messages and telephone calls from my former colleagues, telling me about a job opening at The Gazette for a part-time copy editor on contract.
The paper is in the process of switching to a new content management system for both print an online, which will notably include a change of page layout software from QuarkXPress (version 3.32, released in 1996) to Adobe InDesign. This will mean a lot of training for existing copy editors, so they decided to hire a few more to help put out the paper. My name, apparently, was one of the first to come up.
Yeah, she’s dumped me a few times, but I keep going back. Funny what love does to you.
The interview was pretty short. It’s not like I needed to provide references. “Can you start Monday?” I was asked over the phone. And just like that, I had my old job back.
There was a bit of paperwork to deal with (actually none of it on paper, it was all getting electronic accounts setup and a security pass reactivated), but at 4pm Monday, exactly one month after leaving for what I thought could easily have been forever, I entered the office and went to work as if I’d never left, stopping occasionally to hear a “welcome back” and a joke from a colleague.
I felt a bit weird. I mean, there was some drama exactly four weeks ago. I sent a going-away email, had a going-away party. Everyone knew I’d be back, even though they didn’t know how or when. It seems they were right.
Instead of venturing into the unknown and beginning on a new path, my unemployment turned into little more than an unpaid month-long vacation, ending the day after the closing ceremonies of the Olympics.
This will be my fifth contract at The Gazette, my fourth as a copy editor. And the length is unknown, even to my bosses. It could be measured in weeks or months. It could last forever, or I could be back on EI benefits before you know it. I’ve gotten accustomed over the past five years to not knowing what’s in store for the future beyond the two or three-week notice that’s given on the posted schedule. Living a contract life is a sacrifice I’ve made in exchange for being able to work at my favourite job in my favourite city, and without a wife and kids to support it’s hardly a burden to be occasionally unemployed or underemployed for short periods.
So like I have for the past few years, I’ll enjoy it while I can. Particularly the awful, awful puns.
I’m a hypocrite again. All hail The Gazette.