I promised my kids, and myself, that I wasn’t going to go back into government contracting because it is way too unpredictable. Contracts come and go and change and the person sitting at the desk doing the work has no control over who stays, who goes, who tells the story (all respect due to Lin-Manuel Miranda, but I couldn’t resist). But, after being out of a full-time job for over three and-a-half years, I folded.
I took a job as a contractor for the United States Department of Agriculture on a contract that was up for renewal, but everything looked good for long-term renewal. I started the 2nd of January full-time in DC, staying at hotels and going home as often as I could. The plan was to move down after school was out for the summer. I was looking for places to live and everything seemed good. I was wrong.
Just under two weeks from the end of the contract major changes were made. It wasn’t just me. About 66% of the people on the contract were scoped out of the next phase of work. It wasn’t me. It wasn’t them. It just was.
If any of my former team members find their way across this, please know that it was an honor and a pleasure to work with each of you. I have rarely worked with a team that gelled so quickly and performed to such a high standard straight out of the gate. I am impressed with you, I am awed by you and I am inspired by you. I will miss the Breakfast Club like nobody’s business.
Now I find myself looking for the next new chapter just a few months after I thought I started the next book in the series. Frankly my friends, this story sucks. But it is what it is. This isn’t a great time to be looking for work. So many people are out of work that the market is flooded with people applying for anything that they are remotely qualified for (and yes, I fall into that category too).
It isn’t easy. It isn’t fair. And, it’s scary as hell. It is the life of contractor.
Wreath-laying ceremony near the site of the crash of Flight 93 on the first anniversary of its hijacking. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I’ve started and restarted this post so many times. I think it would be hard to find anyone over the age of 16 or so here in the United States that would say that they weren’t affected by the September 11th attacks. Everyone remembers where they were, and everyone has a story. You would think that someone who loves to tell stories would be able to tell theirs. But I rarely do.
I grew-up in Somerset County, about 20 minutes from where Flight 93 came to rest. I knew a few of the first responders and a coworker lived in the debris field. I knew a lot of the television videographers and reports that spent weeks at the media camp near the crash site. My husband was one of them. So was one of our groomsmen, the reporter who helped get us together, and more friends than I care to count.
This is where, even after all this time, I can’t find the right words to tell the story. There are things that people behind the cameras see and share with those they trust that the rest of the world will never know. It changes how we see the world and how we’re affected by events like 9/11. Men and women who do their best to carry on as professionals while witnessing so much heartbreak and fear. And still, no matter how hard I try I can’t find a way to describe what it was like without it immediately becoming raw, and the feeling that it’s not entirely my story to tell.
I know it doesn’t compare to the pain of those who lost loved ones. Or the trauma experienced by survivors and first responders. But, it is very real. It happened and it was hard for the people who went through it and their families.
It’s still hard to talk about in many ways. That’s why, after all this time, I still can’t find the right words.
I came across this article this morning. This is really exciting news. And, I admit, I haven’t finished researching this yet (something about actually getting work done and meeting deadlines). But just the potential has me really excited. The idea that you wouldn’t be tied down to one machine or hard drive(s) to finish a product, that you would really be able to do production on-the-fly, is a mind blowing concept for me.
A million years ago when I first got into production the world consisted of tape-to-tape editing, and if you were lucky a switcher of some sort to make it look a little fancier. When I left college the buzz was on non-linear editing and the potential to get a system soon(ish). Then I worked in a real-life television station, in a small market, that got a system (mostly because the guy who headed commercial development and was probably the best in the market insisted on getting one – and was willing to help foot some of the cost). Of course being low person on the totem pole I was only allowed to watch it in use and stare at if fondly while I did my tape-to-tape editing on 3/4 (yep, three-quarter) tape. Not only was I tied to machines, I was in a tiny room with no sunlight and human contact. Eventually I got into corporate video and met my first non-linear editing system. I even got one at my desk. My own system right there where I worked!
The take away there is that it was at my desk. Where I worked. If I had to travel (which I did frequently) there was no checking out and capturing footage at night at the hotel. No rough cuts to show anyone so they knew how things were going. It all had to wait until I could get back to my desk and edit. Even now when laptops are able to do a good job handling editing you still need extra drives for the footage.
Just the idea of being able to edit using a cloud. That could access the video and allow you to edit without being tied down to any one computer. To be able to work where you need to, when you need to, without having to drag heavy drives with – this is the future. I’m anxious to see where all of it goes, and if it really works of course.
This is just one more reason why living in the future is so cool!