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Assignment, swag & a new friend!

Posted By Ester Venouziou, Thursday, October 13, 2011
Today I got my first official post-layoff freelance writing assignment.

It came a week after I was told I had lost my job at the St. Petersburg Times, almost exactly the same time, even. Interestingly, the assignment came via the Time Clock Man.

Time Clock Man is a division of Time Systems, and the company had recently completed a massive installation of a time-management and synchronizing system at One Buc Place, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' team headquarters, which happens to be the largest facility in the NFL.

My assignment was to write about the project for a trade magazine, and my first stop was to go see the Time Clock Man himself, aka Barry Rubin.

Barry and I have known each other for a year or so — we both serve on the Gulfport Chamber board of directors, and Barry also recently joined our Buy Local movement here at LocalShops1. But we had never really had a conversation before. Both too busy with our own lives, maybe? That got me thinking, how many people do we come across on a regular basis, but really know nothing about? I need to start paying more attention ...

• • •

Barry and I talked about life and jobs and layoffs, and how we each ended up in Florida. We talked about hometowns, and it turns out he's good friends with someone who graduated with me in high school.

I left the interview inspired, happy to have made a new friend. As we were walking out, this is what Barry said to me:
"Don't worry about the Times. You'll be OK. You have a lot of friends here and we will take care of you."

• • •

Three things I learned about Barry:
1. He started his company after he got laid off from his job, and he says the layoff is the best thing that has ever happened to him. He's now happier, less stressed and in control of his own life.
2. He has advanced degrees in psychology and has helped countless severely challenged children.
3. He is one of the funniest people around.

• • •

I also left the interview with a ton of swag!! T-shirts, key chains, chip clips, notepads. Even a giant eraser, with the words "for BIG mistakes" printed on it. Was he trying to tell me something?

Drop by his office (541 49th St. S. in St. Petersburg) and you can get some swag, too. And better yet, you'll make a new friend.

Are you starting over after a layoff? We want to hear your story! Please email us at, and include your story and contact info. We will try to include as many stories as possible in future blogs.

Ester Venouziou, founder of and co-founder of Gulfport! Magazine, is available for freelance projects: writing, editing, design or social media. She can be reached at or 727.637.5586.

Tags:  barry rubin  ester venouziou  newspaper jobs  st. petersburg times layoffs  time clock systems 

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