On a Serious Note


Like many writers, I have a dayjob. I’m fortunate. I’ve had a rewarding career for the past twenty years and recently ventured into my second as romance author. The fluctuating economy has affected many of my friends and family, but until now, I’ve been personally unscathed aside from a layoff early on.

That all changed on Friday at work, the bubble around me having burst upon the realization my position is as vulnerable as any in my community. It threw me. On the commute home, I imagined all sorts of outcomes to the news I could ultimately be terminated based on data outside my direct control. I imagined losing our house, my friends, my security. How would we live on Long Island on one salary until my writing is profitable? Even more worrisome, what would happen to our son if we didn’t have enough savings left for him after we’re gone?

I sank onto my bed that evening, struggling to wrap my head around the eye-opening events of the day. Before I knew it, my husband had sought me out and hugged me close. Our two children followed suit, cuddling around us. The blanket of love calmed my mind like no libation ever could. Gazing at my family I realized everything I ever needed in life was right here, on this queen-sized bed. Fear retreated, vanquished by my family’s support. I’m thankful to have a great dayjob (for the time being) and a promising future in writing.

Another perspective

What if my worst fears about my dayjob came true and I had to move on to something new? We wouldn’t be “tied” to Long Island, allowing us the option to move anywhere we like, such as Florida. That puts my worst-case scenario in a whole new perspective now, doesn’t it? (Although, believe me, I’m perfectly happy staying where I am until my retirement.)

I generally wouldn’t share a story like this on my happy-go-lucky blog. But I want you to know, if you ever find yourself getting sucked into a vortex of worry like I was this past week, things will get better. You may not get over an obstacle, but you may go around it by looking at it from another perspective.

Sculpture of Papa Hemingway

On tap for March is…

Once Upon a Time Update

Ernest Hemingway’s Key West Years

Key West Guest Blogger Travel Post

Contemporary Romance Reviews

Another  Wednesday Romance Writer installment

Until then, I leave you with Kelly Clarkson’s latest anthem.

How do you handle financial stresses or worries about job security?

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34 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rhonda Hopkins
    Mar 06, 2012 @ 22:43:25

    {{{hugs}}} Jolyse! I hope all works out the way you’d like. I’ll be praying for you and your family. It’s amazing how the love of family can make everything okay even during difficult times.

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Mar 06, 2012 @ 23:14:24

      Thanks, Rhonda. Nine of my coworkers weren’t so fortunate today. They received pink slips, some having worked as many as twelve years with me. I feel so badly for them, and hope they’ll be able to find other work quickly despite the current climate.

  2. Marcia
    Mar 06, 2012 @ 22:48:40

    Oh, Jolyse I hope that doesn’t happen. I love your positive spin on it. Sometimes that’s enough to create the right vibes and may things go your way.
    2 yrs ago in February, I got very lucky. My husband and I were putting the final touches into the planning of our wedding (March 20th), when things suddenly got very hostile at my job. My former boss did not handle stress or financial difficulties well. I heard that he had to fire someone, and I knew it would be me. In a small company as we were, I was the only expendable one getting paid enough to make a positive financial difference for the boss. I ran one half of the operations, but it was a job he could do himself if necessary. I talked with my husband and he agreed I should just leave. Having never before been fired, couldn’t bear it happening at a job I was going to be leaving in a week anyway. So I left. If I hadn’t been getting married and had gotten fired at 57 yrs old and single, I don’t know if I would ever have recovered financially. Whew! Close call.
    I pray that you are able to stay in your job or will find a substitute for it. But if it happens, I know you and your family will bounce back after the initial shock. I know you love L.I. and K.W., but our little town is a lovely place to live if you wanted to relocate…(hint, hint). 🙂 Wishing you only the best of circumstances!

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Mar 06, 2012 @ 23:17:22

      Thanks for sharing your story of triumph over potential disaster. One of my good writer friends reminded me this is where my faith will pull me through. I know I’ve been doing a lot of praying on the situation. LOL I’m not alone in this, but it’s still very frightening when your family depends on your income to manage a household and future plans.

  3. Patricia Yager Delagrange
    Mar 06, 2012 @ 22:58:11

    I swear, so many people are affected in some way by this economical downturn. My husband (our sole supporter) was told he wouldn’t be fired by there would be “forced” days off without pay. We considered ourselves lucky that they didn’t let him go because that would have been disastrous. But it did make me think of what we’d do “if” and really, we’ve had money and not had money, and I can’t say I was happier more with it than without it. My happiness doesn’t come from my car or my house anyway.

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Mar 06, 2012 @ 23:29:28

      Your priorities are in the right place, Patti. My husband and I appreciate the material things like our home and our car because they give us shelter and transportation, but they aren’t status symbols for us either. Thanks for your words of support. I’m hopeful my worries are for naught and it reaffirms my commitment to helping others who have fallen upon hard times.

  4. Jeannie Moon
    Mar 06, 2012 @ 23:10:16

    Honey, I hear you. What you have to do is continue to do the best work you can and hope the misguided people in power realize somethings cannot be brought down to a simple number. You are not a number and your family all but told you that. ❤

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Mar 07, 2012 @ 16:50:43

      Thanks, Jeannie. I know I have a lot of company. It reminds me of that famous part in You’ve Got Mail where Meg Ryan wonders, “I hate when people say it’s nothing personal. It’s business, not personal. If anything, life oughta be personal.” I’m trying to look at it as writing fodder too. I have more angst from which to draw upon for my characters, and more characters to create from those around me.

      I won’t give up or give in. I’ll keep doing the work to the best of my ability. Come what may.

  5. Donna Coe-Velleman
    Mar 07, 2012 @ 01:44:55

    That stinks, Jolyse. Unfortunately you have a lot of company. Just keep doing what you’ve been doing; being optimistic, looking at alternatives and keeping the faith and you’ll come out ahead. Wishing you the best.

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Mar 07, 2012 @ 16:52:50

      Thanks for the kind words, Donna. My greatest treasures are my family and friends. I’m so grateful for LIRW, WANAminions, FB and Twitter writers pals. My cup doth overflow. 🙂

  6. Nicole Basaraba
    Mar 07, 2012 @ 06:44:07

    Thinking of you Jolyse. A close family is what really counts during these times. So happy to hear you have such a great support system.

    P.S. I’m looking forward to March’s lineup. 🙂 AND we SO have the same taste in music. Love Kelly Clarkson.

  7. Gwen Hernandez
    Mar 07, 2012 @ 09:30:29

    I hope you get to keep your job, Jolyse, but I love your attitude. There’s a joke in the service “home is where the military sends you.” But it’s true, because it doesn’t really matter where we are as long as we’re together.

    Good luck!

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Mar 07, 2012 @ 16:55:58

      No words ever spoken ring as true, Gwen. I may lose a beloved career and the pay that comes with it should the worst-case scenarion play out, but I’m not risking my life for others as our US military does. They are truly courageous and I can learn from them.

      I hope your week is going well. 🙂

  8. Christine Ashworth
    Mar 07, 2012 @ 10:28:38

    Hang in there, hon! Okay, here’s some realistic advice. Remember unemployment checks are there for a reason, and there’s no shame in taking advantage of that system if you ever need to. (Been there, done that more than once in the past 5 years.) In the meantime, while I hope like hell you keep your job, start economizing even more. Sock more money away, start building up your savings against that threat. You never know – it may not be needed, but it will make you feel more secure.

    And you’re right – your family is your biggest blessing. Sending lots of hugs and prosperous wishes!

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Mar 07, 2012 @ 17:00:29

      We’re savers, Christine! Thank goodness, right? I’m most concerned about my son with special needs. If I weren’t working, it would be very difficult to live in the New York metro area–too expensive. We’d likely have to leave the state and find another where he could receive services we could afford.

      Worries like that make me very anxious, so I believe it’s best to leave these types of what-ifs for my characters, not my real life. 🙂

  9. Debora Dennis
    Mar 07, 2012 @ 10:55:16

    Wow, I so hear you and feel your pain. Unfortunately this is such a common story in our current economy, we can only hope that people start seeing some happy endings out there. Keeping the faith is so important and together with the love and support of your family – I’m sure you’ll weather the storm. My husband’s company was recently sold to a large corporation – anything can happen – no one is safe. I pray a lot too. (and a chocolate martini every now and then doesn’t hurt either!)
    Hugs…

  10. Catie Rhodes
    Mar 07, 2012 @ 12:06:55

    Eeep. News like that always makes your heart go cold. I don’t have any sage advice, but I want you to know if you ever need a place to wail…you know where to find me. I’ve spent much of my life very, very poor. It’s not fun. It’s not easy. And it’s scary. Hugs to you and yours.

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Mar 07, 2012 @ 17:10:04

      You’re very sweet, Catie, to offer your ear should I need one. I’m hopeful we’ll pull through this. At the very least, it gives me a reality check about what others are facing or have already suffered.

  11. Aimee @ everydayepistle.com
    Mar 07, 2012 @ 12:51:59

    Jolyse, my favorite part of your post is how your family gathered around you. It all comes down to that, doesn’t it? Don’t be afraid and don’t worry. Come what may, you have everything you need.

  12. Sandy Rowland
    Mar 07, 2012 @ 13:51:55

    That’s tough, been there too. It’s an opportunity to realize that you will survive and what matters most isn’t money.
    I hope and pray you don’t have to go through it, but I know you’re capable of dealing with anything.

    Best to you.

  13. Maggie Van Well
    Mar 07, 2012 @ 16:38:20

    No matter what happens, you’ll never lose your friends 🙂 God never closes a door without opening a window. In the mean time, trust, have faith and gobble chocolate

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Mar 07, 2012 @ 17:15:23

      Aw, Maggie. You’re very kind. And thank you for listening to my tale of woe twice this week instead of once like everyone else. Thanks, too, for writing such a beautiful story that helped take my mind off my worries. I really enjoyed THE CHASE IS ON. 🙂

  14. Julie Glover
    Mar 07, 2012 @ 18:23:21

    It’s curious how the gratefulness for what we have is sometimes brought on by potential or real crisis. I’ve experienced those moments too. I’m so glad you have such a supportive family and — reading the comments — friends as well. Best wishes for your job and your writing career! I love your positive attitude, Jolyse.

    By the way, you could always move to Texas. It’s cheaper down here, I bet! 😉 And we love palm trees, beaches, and Jimmy Buffett.

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Mar 07, 2012 @ 18:40:26

      I’ve experienced health scares, but this financial scare brought with it another whole set of concerns I hadn’t anticipated. Thanks for the lovely invite to your beautiful state. My friends are so sweet. 🙂

  15. Darlene Steelman
    Mar 07, 2012 @ 19:57:43

    Jolyse… I hope things go the way you want them to! I hope that you know in your heart that even if they don’t.. they will go the way they are supposed to and you will overcome because you have no other option! 🙂
    “Whatever doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.”
    You’re going to kick arse no matter what!!! 😉

  16. Tuere Morton
    Mar 08, 2012 @ 08:38:35

    This is all pretty great advice, Jolyse!! My hubby’s in construction but was never laid off for than 2 weeks @ a clip. This past year, he was out for @ 2 months and we took a hit…The whole experience was humbling and definitely affects everything around you but I strongly agree with Maggie about the window opening when a door closes. *hugs* 🙂

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Mar 08, 2012 @ 13:01:48

      I realize even more after posting about my situation how many lives have been affected by the lagging economy. News that my county is in the red is scary, too. We’ll all pull through somehow, with lots of hard work, determination, faith, and a bit of good luck.

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