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Corporate Nursery Rhymes

I hate corporate jargon. My “ask” is that people stop using it, or I’m going to demand a “come to Jesus” meeting.

To make a point that probably doesn’t need to be made, I’ve rewritten a few nursery rhymes using corporate speak. I expect to fail fast on this effort, because I honestly don’t have the bandwidth to keep doing it.


Twinkle, twinkle, little star,

I-don’t-know-what-I-don’t-know about what you are.

Up above the world from a 30,000 foot view,

Like a diamond in the cloud.



Rain rain go away,

Let’s table this for later.



Hey diddle diddle

Herding cats and a fiddle

The cow jumped out of the box

The ducks in a row laughed

To see such sport

And the dish doubled down with the spoon



The Five Stages of Employment Loss and Grief

As I type this from my home office (really, it’s just a room with a computer and some rock memorabilia on the wall), it’s a beautiful, breezy night in the Chicago area.  The windows are open and I’m listening to Trompe le Monde by the Pixies.  And so begins my fifth week of unemployment …

After I was recently let go from my last job, a friend cautioned that the emotions and reactions tied to getting fired are very similar to those surrounding death and grief.

Specifically, he was referring to the Kübler-Ross model, or what most of us call “the five stages.” (It should be noted that Kübler-Ross is a totally awesome name, based on its incorporation of the very-metal umlaut.)

The Kübler-Ross model plays out like this:

Denial – “I don’t believe you! This can’t be happening!”

Anger – “Why me? This is bulls****!”

Bargaining – “I’ll do anything — go to church, donate money, whatever.”

Depression – “Why should I even carry on? What’s the point?”

Acceptance – “It is what it is.”

I believe that the response to losing one’s job is quite a bit different from the stages tied to death. Now that I’ve been thrice-fired in my career, I’d like to share the VanOsdol model for sociologists to consider:


1. RAGE – Because anger seems a bit too passive a reaction to such a life-changer. In the first 48 hours after losing a job, everyone in your life feels like an enemy and conspirator, and you want them all to WIPE THOSE COCKY, SMUG, KNOW-IT-ALL, SMILES FROM THEIR FAT, IGNORANT FACES. GRRR! ARRRGH! GAH! SIZZLE SIZZLE!

Sample behaviors tied to Stage 1 / Rage:

  • Unfriending now-former co-workers on Facebook and blocking those same people on Twitter
  • Drinking, and swearing loudly while doing so
  • Burning, shredding, and destroying all traces of your previous employer, from apparel to paystubs

2. BRAVADO – Swagger goes a long way to giving off the right impression, regardless of whether or not you actually feel what you’re selling.  This is the stage where you tell people “everything happens for a reason,” and that your next opportunity is going to be amazing.

Sample behaviors tied to Stage 2 / Bravado:

  • Over-posting on social media, just to let people know that you’re out there, and everything’s totally cool. No worries. Onward and upward. Bigger and better things await.
  • Spending money like a drunk sailor on shore leave, because, really, the next opportunity is right around the corner–there’s no need to tighten the belt yet. People are checking out the LinkedIn profile–they’re totally interested. It’s going to happen.

3. ISOLATION – Friends and colleagues are always sympathetic for the first two weeks of unemployment. They’ll proactively reach out and ask you how you’re doing. They may even take you out to lunch while the wounds are fresh and your bravado is peaking. Then, once that third Monday hits, you’ll be all alone. The calls, texts, posts, and tweets will all come to a stop. This has happened to me every time I’ve been on the proverbial beach–their lives will go on while you’re left behind on your little island. Adrift. No lifeline. Holy crap.

Sample behaviors tied to Stage 3 / Isolation:

  • Refriending now-former co-workers on Facebook and unblocking those same people on Twitter
  • Drinking, and quietly sobbing while doing so

4. THE CHEAPENING OF SELF – When the dream gigs aren’t lining up as you expected, you open yourself up to performing any number of humiliating jobs for money (“How bad would it be if I wore a Statue of Liberty costume and stood outside a Liberty Tax facility?”). This is the most dangerous stage of unemployment, and how strippers are made.

5. ACCEPTANCE – This stage is the only commonality between the stages of grief/death and unemployment. After all the drama, the ups and downs, near misses, good interviews, bad interviews, and false alarms, it simply is what it is.  As anyone will tell you, it’s not the incident that defines you, but rather how you recover from it.

I’m currently cruising along the Acceptance stage, though I have my weak moments where I imagine what I’d look like holding a torch on Tax Day.

Download:  The Offspring “Why Don’t You Get a Job?”

Joblessness: The first 24 hours

I got fired yesterday; it sucked. There’s no way to positively spin the experience (and thanks to my previous career in radio, I got to experience that life-changing trauma two times prior to yesterday).

That said, the first 24 hours of unemployment are always kind of thrilling: I can go to the pool next week! Dozens of friends and strangers are calling and emailing! I don’t have to wake up at 5 a.m. unless I want to! In the past, those emotions have tended to quickly segue to nerves, fright, and occasional terror. Not this time around.

I’ve been given the gift of being able to push the “reset button.” I’ve already reconnected with a few long-time friends and a handful of network acquaintances. I also made an overture to a company I’ve had a crush on for quite some time. My attitude is upbeat because it should be upbeat. I’m in charge of what comes next, and it’s going to be spectacular.

So how did I spend my first full day as a member of the unemployed masses? I bounced around the burbs with family and friends, including a lunch stop at Real Urban Barbecue in Highland Park (their burnt ends: Oh, sweet Jesus). Tonight, I emceed an English Beat concert, which resulted in Dave Wakeling shaking my hand as he walked on stage saying, “Thanks, that was a really great introduction.” How bad can things truly be?


Since I’m on the topic of jobs, here’s my LinkedIn profile. Let’s be LinkedIn buddies!

9-5 World

When I had just entered my 20’s, the idea of living in a 9-5 world was repugnant.Years later, it’s a world I completely live in, as I fight Chicago traffic in the 8am hour every single day.With that in mind, I’d like to say that the drive-thru coffeehouseis perhaps the greatest invention ever, even better than the cotton gin.I know such things exist in the suburbs.Let’s get them in the city now.