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My Laid-Off Life


No. 5: Marc Thomas
Age: 44
Job: Personal assistant at an architectural firm

My company combined three jobs into one. I should have seen it coming, but I didn’t. I was there for three years and six weeks. I felt secure. I looked for signs in some photos I’d taken a couple weeks before—I wanted to see if I had had any innate anticipation about the fact that I would be soon unemployed. There was nothing.

Things happen for a reason, though. That’s what I’m thinking now. I was unhappy in that job; it was bad for my spirit. I had just pushed that down because of all the benefits: vacations, travel, and bonuses two times a year.

I moved here in 1988 in pursuit of my dream to become part of the New York theater community—being laid off made me realize that two decades have passed and I’ve moved no closer to that goal. Now that I have some time, I volunteer-usher at many Off Broadway theaters, so I get to see tons of free theater. I also get to watch a lot of TV. It’s great to watch Lipstick Jungle because I love to see Brooke Shields working again. It gives me hope. And then there’s Stylista—it’s like The Devil Wears Prada in TV format. I teared up during that movie. I totally identified with Anne Hathaway. I know what it does to your spirit when no one gives you the benefit of the doubt. I like Ugly Betty, because I feel like I’ve been Ugly Betty so many times in my life. I’m watching all these reality shows now, too. It doesn’t matter if it’s Survivor in Africa, Top Model in Los Angeles, or Top Design—they are all really about surviving. Survival, survival, survival! I think that’s why I’m watching them.

I’m just trying to move on, you see. I’m cleaning out all the clutter in my life—it’s amazing what you accumulate in twenty years. I’m going to give it all away. I think you have to get rid of stuff in order to have space in your life for new things.


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