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January 15, 2010 / Brittany Hendrick

Pop the bubbly

Today marks one year that Sony Music decided to close its Atlanta operation and lay off a bunch of us. Not a big deal… if it didn’t also mark one year I’ve been without a job. This is getting ridiculous, not to mention upsetting. But I have a couple friends who’ve been unable to find work for two years. Now, THAT’S tough. And it lends sober realization that I very well could still be unemployed another year from now.

Not to say 2009 was a bad year. Unemployment afforded me to do many things I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise: travel overseas, attend all of my niece’s and nephew’s baseball games, donate eggs, navigate Manhattan, see Super Furry Animals perform a string of shows despite not touring the U.S., visit my dad and other family/friends, conclude my post-grad/desired career path, and apply for a Fulbright Grant. I don’t know how I pulled off all of this, financially and mentally.

The only thing I was supposed to accomplish, but didn’t– write more poems!

But back to the job search. What the fuck do people want from me?! It’s not like I’m unskilled. It’s not like I’m applying for VP jobs. Having a fucking college degree doesn’t matter. Not that I think that entitles me, but I fulfill the basic “must have four year degree” requirement often posted in job descriptions.

A guy I know wanted me to be the grantwriter/editorial queen for his non-profit baseball park. But I don’t think it’s going to work out. Without going over the boring details, basically, the guy running the show doesn’t have general overall knowledge about operational functions– from administration to who you put on your Board of Directors to business plan to timelines. He thinks things happen quickly, like magic.

He would ask, “So, how’s the grantwriting coming along?”

Ummm, it’s not!

This was after I repeatedly told him: I need to see all your financial information, Board, exactly how every penny will be spent, etc. I don’t think he realized the level of involvement required by a grantwriter. I’d have to know everything.

But he won’t reveal his financial information to anyone. Then no grantwriter can do shit for you! A large corporation won’t give you thousands of dollars without you describing your fiscal responsibility and track record! And corps CERTAINLY won’t give you money if you don’t have a sound business plan! I told the guy all of this.

So, what did he do next? Hired a marketing company– a meeting which I attended along with the other guys involved in the non-profit– to tell him the SAME things I told him. Of course, I was the only female, and the youngest, so why the fuck would any know-it-all businessmen listen to me. The low point was when the guy said he wanted to have a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the park’s ground break.

“When are you breaking ground?” a marketing company person asked.

“In two weeks,” replied the non-profiteer.

*stunned marketing company people and me*

I had NO IDEA that was his plan. I could’ve told him– for free– there is no way PR could be organized fast enough for that! This guy effectively embarrassed all of us. I wanted to sink through the floor. This guy wanted my brother involved, too (they’re friends). But my brother told him bluntly, and put it best: too many idiots are involved (he wasn’t talking about me); and if my brother is in, it’s at 50%, and it’ll be done big-time, with big players/investors, not “Mickey Mouse” style.

This was last summer. To this day, no park exists. Oddly, I had a bad dream about this guy last night, too.

Back to the job search.

So far, 2010 has been more of the same. Not much on the books yet. I decided to put off grad school until 2011. Instead, there are other items of focus this year, such as writing a killer batch of poems, egg donations (hopefully), paying off debt (almost there!) and finding a job so that I may work for a while and get some money in the bank. THEN go to grad school. The job thing would come in handy, too, for tuition and housing. Fulbright is highly competitive, so I have to plan as if I’ll be paying out-of-pocket, about $25,000 total. That’s also assuming I’m even accepted into the school, which is why many months are required for me to write exceptional poems. Too many things to do at once! One… thing… at a time…

At the end of March, I’ll be traveling up to Buffalo, NY, where my family and friend Terrie live. Terrie and I will go to Toronto and Cleveland to see Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, who are not playing shows in either Buffalo or Atlanta. Truthfully, it’s not necessary for me to go, just as it wasn’t life-threatening for me to see Super Furry Animals, either. I’m not the type to piss and moan if a band doesn’t play Atlanta/Athens, because I know that touring decisions are based upon many facts, and are not arbitrary.

Likewise, it’s not the end of the world if I miss a band. But hey… I have the time, so why not. (So, why didn’t I travel to NYC to see Doves?! Argh!) That’s probably why I schedule all this travel: something to look forward to.


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