Thursday, August 30, 2007

"Come to the Dark Side of the Force...."

I received my final pay cheque as a full-time employee of Big Crown Corp. today. It was a less than I expected, which got me thinking about the financial future.

So I pulled out the calculator and did some math. Money in, money out.

Our family lives modestly, and selling our house allowed us to pay off a lot of debt. Our bills for the month are paid, and nothing is dangling over our heads. We're in the black.

But when I crunched money in and out on our basic monthly bills, I realized I will have less than $100 a month to spend on groceries if we try to live on the Hubby's income.

We feed three very hungry children. A hundred bucks is not going to cut it.

Although I had a great interview the other day, Big Crown Corp is not going to be calling for evening and weekend casual work very often. They need stringers during the day more often than at night.

"Hey, I can freelance my way out of this!" I thought desperately. "Freelancers don't make a tonne, but I only need an extra $500 a month or so! I can earn that... right?"

I sat at the computer to do a bit of brainstorming. I decided to check the journalism job board for freelance here in Vic.

Huh. All that's posted is a communications job. PR. The Dark Side. I'm not looking for full-time work anyway...

I went out and sat on the step with my mom, who is in town visiting.

"Where's the PR job?" she asked.

"Oh, at the university up the road, the one with the castle and garden we visited."

"You mean the one you can walk to from here?"


"What's the hours?"


"Nine to six, like the CBC?"

"No, 37.5 hours a week, so I guess nine to five, or 8:30 to 4:30."

"Is the pay good?"

"The highest range is about 54 grand."

My mother looks at me.

"Are you nuts? Good pay, good hours, interesting work and no commute! You'd be around the corner from your kids. Split the pay with a nanny, so what? You're still much better off financially than you would be if you stayed home."

I blinked. Then I ran for the computer.

I have sent my resume and cover letter. I will drop off my writing samples in the morning. I am pumped.

But I can't shake the feeling I am failing.

I am the last of two of my BCC girlfriends who are still technically "working journalists." All the rest have crossed over to the Dark Side.

Now, I've always had tremendous respect for many of the hardworking people in PR. My first media mentor was a PR director in New Brunswick. I only poke fun with the Darth Vader reference.

But I always saw myself as a reporter. I live it. I breathe it. Even on mat leave, I have reporter brain.

In her latest book, The Pickton File, Stevie Cameron writes about experiencing this feeling when she was gathering material for the book.

"Sometimes, in dark moments I would never admit to anyone, I felt I wasn't even a journalist any longer," she writes. "What I am, all I want to be, is a reporter."

That's me. But I am also a mother with children who need clothes and want swimming lessons, and we can't afford either on a hundred bucks a month.

So today I choose motherhood over journalism. I guess I'm on my way to the Dark Side. I just hope, when my kids are older, there's a way back.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Back on the payroll of Big Crown Corp.

On Friday, I escaped the bonds of housewifedom for a few hours and plunged back into the adult, workaday world again.

In other words, I had a job interview.

While I'm not interested in going back to work full-time, I am going a little shack-wacky here in the burbs. Being with the children can be fun and fulfilling, but many times it is also emotionally and physically draining, as well as boring. There are only so many times I can talk to Little I. about his favourite Transformers or teach A. how to spell a new word.

So about a week ago I called the manager of the local CBC Radio and asked if he wanted to meet and talk about casual work. He did.

We made a number of plans for a get-together, but my child-care schedule kept getting in the way. Finally, we agreed on Friday afternoon, since the Hubby gets off early on Fridays.

That morning was a flurry of washing and shaving and hair-styling. I picked up the boys at day camp and hauled them to the local McDonald's for lunch, then ran some errands around Esquimalt. Baby N. and Little I. dropped off to sleep in their car seats while the minivan sat in the Canex parking lot. A. listened to a CD while I put on make-up.

I marveled at how wrinkly I had become over the past year, and how the concealer was NOT concealing how old I looked.

We picked up the Hubby and headed downtown.

I was incredibly nervous.

I found the building easily enough, and the manager I had spoken to. He welcomed me into the office and we started talking.

The first thing he asked me was if I had been a lockout blogger.

"Why, yes," I stammered. "How did you know that?"

"Because I used to read you every day," he said. "I was on the management bargaining committee."

Oh dear Lord, I thought. There goes my casual job.

Seeing my discomfiture, he laughed. "I loved your blog," he chuckled.

After that, we got along like a barn on fire.

I've been added to his "stable" of available casuals, working the odd evening and weekend shift.

He even hinted about a full-time producer position being boarded right now, but that's too many hours for me right now and too much responsibility.

I can't tell you how relieved and comfortable I was in that news room. It felt like a little piece of home.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

For C.

Almighty and Eternal God, You are the everlasting health of those who believe in You. Hear us for Your sick servant C. for whom we implore the aid of Your tender mercy,that being restored to bodily health, she may give thanks to You in Your Church. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.

Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

Saint Gianna, patron of mothers, pray for C.

Saint Michael Argemir, patron of cancer patients, pray for C.

All Holy men and women, pray for C.

Please, please, please pray for her, whether you believe in prayer or not. Her children are still in elementary school.

I love you, C. We're praying our rosaries off.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Too romantically satisfied to post

Sorry, faithful readers, but I had a MARVELLOUS date with the Hubby last night, with no children, and am far too happy and mooning about to post anything intelligent. I have a few posts in draft, but just can't seem to get my brain to work.

Ah, l'amour....

Be back with housewifely, feminist angst later.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Act of rebellion

I am a reporter/editor with CBC Radio in Yellowknife. I am an employee for two more weeks. And I blog.

I do not have my supervisor's permission to do this. She would probably laugh if I asked for it.

I will not bow down to the false gods of censorship and "guideline documents" in my personal time on my personal blog.

Nothing I write here reflects the opinions of the CBC. It is a personal blog.

Everything I write here conforms to the journalistic policy of "Outside Activities".

I have not forgotten the lockout, or the blog I penned then.

Back to my regularly scheduled natterings about my perfect and beautiful children and the state of my dining room floor.

(Go see this and this for an explanation. Man, this stuff ticks me off.)