The Big News

Well, folks, it happened. My Biennial Layoff.

Yep, for the second time in the past three years, I’ve been let go from my job. Each time, it truly was for economic reasons, though — so don’t go thinkin’ I’m just an unemployable hack. (OK, I’m a hack, but not unemployable.)

Back in ’08, I was part of a three-person layoff. It was actually the second set of layoffs out of a total of four within a year.

And now in ’10, I was part of a four-person layoff, which was the second or third within a year.

But shed no tears for good ol’ Harley. Because this one really drove home the new Golden Rule: “Be your own boss so nobody can fire you.”

So I will be freelancing for a time, seeking new full-time opportunities (or even contract gigs), until I am able to initiate The Plan. The Plan, in a nutshell, is my own agency.

This market (Dallas-Fort Worth) is teeming with industry. Tons of small and mid-sized businesses, crying out for a new face on the ad scene. And that’s just what I will be bringin’.

So if you’re reading this and you have a small business or your mom and dad do or your Uncle Bob does, please let me know if you/them/Bob is looking for marketing help. I’m all about integrity, creativity and results.

P.S.: Playing Mr. Mom is, by the way, awesome. Spending all this time with our twins is incredible, and one of the greatest things I’ve ever done.

Busy week.

Last Friday, met with a freelance client.

Monday, met with another one.

Tuesday, meeting with a local agency about possible on-site freelance and maybe even full-time gig down the road.

Wednesday through Friday, writing the entire Web site for the first two clients mentioned.

This Wednesday will be three weeks since the interview I had, which has yielded no response whatsoever. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think that’s all that cool.

Random Ramblin’s: My Royal Return!

Sorry I’ve been so remiss in posting. (I know you care.)

July 4th was really cool. After the usual BBQ, we drove over to this spot in Frisco where we could see fireworks (albeit most were far away) in like five different towns at once. Of course, the ones at Pizza Hut Park – which claim to be the best in North Texas –  might have been just that.

Saw Incredible Hulk and Indiana Jones.  Loved the first, liked the second.

Got my “Heart Rate Monitor for Dummies” as part of the master plan to try interval training. My friend Charlie says it’s the latest thing – short bursts of maximum effort to get the heart rate up, which is basically anaerobic activity that gets you the benefits of aerobic activity.

(Or something like that.)

I don’t know what it is about Caffeine Free Pepsi. Maybe it’s sweeter than other soft drinks.  But we love it.

Finished my two-month, contract-to-hire-oh-never-mind gig. Do NOT want to talk about it here.

Currently freelancing on-site at a Dallas agency. Much better.

Interviewed last week at a major utility company for a client-side gig. Should hear something this week.

Fantasy baseball-wise, I’m pretty much craptabulously done. I’m starting to think I’m really a lousy competitor, even though so many trades I make work out better for me than my trading partner and I’m able to find great bargains and young talent.

I pretty much HAVE to get a haircut every four to five weeks, or it starts to look godawful (like it does now). See, the part that grows fine (sides and back) overtakes the growth of the super-slow top part of my head, and I end up looking a bit like a pumpkin without the green stump part.

Our forecast here is like 95 to 98 every day. Of course, we’re all indoors most of the time. And on the weekend, the closest pool is usually near-empty.

The Phillies are in first place. Wonder if it’ll last. Not likely if they don’t get better pitching.

The Summer story writing contest is coming up. (If you recall, I entered the Spring contest with horrendous results.) But now I’ve got a much better idea of how to approach it. And hey, it’s only $5 to enter.

Ad Campaign I’m Loving: The Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man in the World.” Heard a radio spot for it today and laughed out loud. THAT is saying something. Euro RSCG New  York, I salute you, you magnificent bastards! (And stay thirsty, my friends.) I actually went and bought a case just to support the company.

OK, time to brush my teeth and head to bed. Nightie-night.

Freelance fun

So I worked on-site as a freelancer at a downtown Dallas agency.

Came in, they put me right to work–which is understandable, they’re paying me by the hour.

The account supervisor “downloaded” the projects I’d be working on–pretty easy stuff (letters, brochure edits and a DM postcard) for a large HVAC service provider.

The agency is pretty quiet, and since I had pretty much zero distractions (none of my usual office knick-knacks or posters or toys), I really focused in on the work. My undiagnosed AD/HD must be pretty mild compared to most.

Work-wise, it was an interesting change of pace. I got to write a lot less formally than I was at my last job–considering my two major clients near the end there were really corporate and B2B focused.

Anyway, the office was pretty cool and the main people I met were nice.  The rest of the people mostly gave me a quizzical look and moved on, but upon further review I realize that’s how I was with freelancers at my previous agencies with whom I wasn’t working closely.

So basically, it’s a lot like temp work.  It just pays a lot better and you might get to work on some interesting projects.  (And it’s a whole lot more exciting than my “home office” environment.)

Update on me

No new job yet.  No freelance yet.  Still working on both.  (Like a dog.)  Cross your fingers, toes, and glutes for me.

Having lunch with my buddy Marc tomorrow.  He’s an art director currently doing a bunch of freelance.  It’s easier for art directors, though…his skills are held in higher regard by most people.  Because, as you know, ANYBODY can write.  (It’s just the levels of talent and effectiveness that range widely, though few understand that.)

At least the weather is beautiful and baseball is back.

Random Ramblin’s on a Sunday night

It reached a balmy 85 degrees here today.  Freakin’ awesome.

I signed up for a free membership at TheLadders.com.  They claim to be a great resource for jobs paying $100,000 and up.  Despite my incredulity, I just might see if we can cough up $30 for a one-month membership to see the potentially decent-looking marketing gigs available.

Hoping some freelance comes my way this week.  I don’t want to be an everyday nuisance to my potential contacts, but I need to stay, as the corporate drones say, “top of mind.”

At least I can use some of this extra time at home usefully.  I’m going to go through my closet and find out what I don’t wear so I can donate it.  I’m going to file a bunch of our financial stuff.  There’s a lot more on the list.

The American-based baseball season kicked off on ESPN tonight.  (The two games played in Japan last week count too.)  Our country’s leader threw out the first pitch at the new Washington Nationals stadium, and was interviewed during the game by the ESPN broadcasters.  Every time I see him smiling and relaxing and having fun, I’m reminded of our troops halfway around the world.  Not sure if I get mad, sad or a combination of both.

I’ve met with two different staffing agencies in the past two weeks, each of whom does work in advertising/marketing.  Hopefully, they’ll be able to dig up some opportunities for me very soon.

I wonder what it says about me psychologically that I love sitcom reruns.  Maybe it’s just the comfort of familiar laughs.

Watched a couple Rock of Love 2 episodes tonight, thanks to our DVR.  It’s just mind-numbingly ridiculous, watching these usually stupid skanks fight over a has-been of wussy metal who is very clearly wearing a wig.

Argh, I’m blanking.  It’s late.  Good night.