Progress: Getting organized after losing a job

This little reunion was one of the best ways to start the new year.

Over the last month, there was a lot for me to be happy about. Christmas with the family had been wonderful. Progress on The Thieves of Traska was in an excellent place. I went to Albany to see a friend and go to a concert.

For a little while, I got a better handle on my stress at work. Some good opportunities were headed my way. I was even going to resume my classes in the spring. And then I lost my job last week.

It shocked many, but surprised very few. All the well-wishes and support I’ve received from friends and family have almost entirely included some form of congratulations. It’s been no secret how much stress I’ve been under.

Just before all this happened, I’d read Tee Morris’ blog post 3 Tips on Getting Back on Track When Life Knocks You Down. His post was so helpful in calming me down and finding what I should do next, I emailed him a thank you. He was kind enough to reply with another invaluable blog post: 5 Things to Do After You Lose Your Job.

His point about avoiding a social media meltdown made me reconsider whether or not I should write this post. But I’m not here to rant or make my former employer look bad. In fact, I still have a lot of love for the company. I want to follow in Tee’s footsteps and use this experience as a chance to maybe calm someone else down and help them figure out their next step.

Both of his posts stress the importance of getting organized again. I’m not sure it’s what he had in mind, but my first step was moving my furniture all around and sorting out my physical space. At the very least, I got to use up some energy shoving my massive dresser back and forth across the room. Progress is progress, right?

Then I reorganized my time, taking some of my old routine to structure a new one. Bianca gets her insulin shots at the same times as before. I start the morning with a cup of tea, then work on writing for a few hours. Just before noon, I get coffee, take care of a few chores, and then turn to the job search. I trade off days searching and applying. At 3 p.m., I get the next cup of tea and start catching up on reading news and blogs. After 5 p.m., the focus is on dinner and relaxing. I can read, watch a movie, catch up on a TV show, play video games, or work on some art.

Bianca’s just happy I have more time to rub her belly.

Perhaps the greatest advantage of creating this kind of schedule is that it cuts down on panic. Every time your brain starts demanding when you’ll have a new job, you can calmly remind it, “We found some excellent opportunities yesterday afternoon, and we applied to them today. Tomorrow we will find more.”

One of my favorite professors always talked about the importance of self-discipline. It’s what makes you consistently early to class or work. It’s what keeps you from binging articles instead of writing or applying to jobs. It keeps you making progress.

I answer Glassdoor’s Top 10 Oddball Interview Questions

Tis the season for job interviews (particularly for my fellow members of the class of 2015)! And if you go to, you can find lists of the top 10 unusual job interview questions shared by job candidates for the last few years. Since I’m waiting to hear about getting an interview, I took a stab at answering them.

  1. What would you do if you were the one survivor in a plane crash? (Airbnb)
    1. That really depends on where I’ve crashed; options are far more limiting if you crash at sea than if you crash on land. First priority would be making sure I really am the only survivor and no one is injured, and then I’d check if the communication systems in the cockpit still work. From there, it’s really about getting home.
  2. What’s your favorite 90s jam? (Squarespace)
    1. “Are You Jimmy Ray?” by Jimmy Ray.
  3. If you woke up and had 2,000 unread emails and could only answer 300 of them how would you choose which ones to answer?” (Dropbox)
    1. Since the question only limits how many I can answer and not read, I’d skim through to find the emails that actually require a response and start replying first to anything flagged as high priority.
  4. Who would win in a fight between Spider-Man and Batman? (Stanford University)
    1. Marvel and DC film studios.
  5. If you had a machine that produced $100 dollars for life what would you be willing to pay for it today?” (Aksia)
    1. If I already have it, why would I pay for it? I’m also confused about this machine; does it print $100 bills every day for the rest of my life, or only provide me with $100?
  6. What did you have for breakfast? (Banana Republic)
    1. Granola bar and yogurt.
  7. Describe the color yellow to somebody who’s blind. (Redbox)
    1. If yellow were a feeling, it would be warm sunshine on your face and grass poking up between your toes.
  8. If you were asked to unload a 747 full of jelly beans, what would you do?” (Bose)
    1. Assuming we’re talking about a plane here, I’d probably get the crew to assist me. If that’s not an option, I can always open the door. (Are these jelly beans loose or packed?)
  9. How many people flew out of Chicago last year? (Redbox)
    1. People don’t fly; planes do. A trick question as old as “If a plane crashes on the border of Canada and the U.S., where do you bury the survivors?”
  10. What’s your favorite Disney Princess? (Cold Stone Creamery)
    1. I’m going to ignore Disney Studio’s ownership of Marvel and Star Wars and go with Ariel.

Have your own collection of unusual interview questions? I’d love to see them in the comment section below!