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1 Month Later

Posted By Ester Venouziou, Thursday, November 3, 2011
It is now a month since I got laid off from the St. Petersburg Times, soon to be Tampa Bay Times, and other than these pesky financial worries, I'm loving life as a full-time entrepreneur & freelancer.

Here is what I've learned in the past four weeks
  • Out of sight does not mean out of mind. I'm very grateful for so many St. Pete   Tampa Bay Times friends, bosses and acquaintances who have come forward with sweet e-mails, reference letters, even leads for jobs and freelance opportunities. And I'm very grateful for all the offers to take me out for coffee or drinks!
  • Parents' love is indeed unconditional. I haven't exactly been the role-model daughter, and if I were my parents I'd have disowned me long ago. But despite my temper tantrums and often too-selfish attitude, my parents continue to be encouraging and supportive. I don't know why — or how — they do it.
  • is  a true community. I can't express enough thanks to all our amazing members, both shoppers and bizpeople, who have helped me transition into the post-Times world. And now that I have more time to spend with all of them, I'm learning more and more about all the ways members are supporting each other, and all the bonds we're forming. This isn't a networking group or a directory of businesses. This is truly a community, working together for a better Tampa Bay. It might sound idyllic, but the more time I'm spending with our members, the more I'm finding that it's true.

And here's what has happened in the past four weeks:
  • I've reconnected with long-lost friends, many of whom heard about my layoff from other not-so-long-lost friends. The outpouring of support from people I haven't seen in even five, 10  years has been incredible.
  • I stopped drinking soda. This wasn't a conscious decision; it just happened. When I still worked at the Times, I'd have two or three bottles of diet Cokes every night. In the last few months I had tried to cut back, but best I ever did was cut down to two cans, instead of two bottles.
  • Business is going better than ever. membership has been steadily increasing, website traffic has gone up about 15 percent and our Facebook page now has more than 4,000 friends. We are working on some exciting projects and I have made amazing new connections, many of whom I'd have never met because my work schedule at the Times (4ish to midnightish) prevented me from attending evening networking events, political functions and community gatherings.
I'll be writing more about these topics in upcoming blogs. From my outdoor backyard office, enjoying these perfect Florida days.

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:  dealing with a layoff  layoff and finances  layoffs  life after layoff  print journalism  st. petersburg times 

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