The difference a year makes 

A year ago, I lost my job. Gannett was “reorganizing” its newsrooms in Iowa City and Des Moines (among others) and that came with a 15 percent reduction in staff.

I had the, um, “opportunity” to interview for two jobs in the reorganized “newsroom of the future,” but I knew Iowa City wasn’t in my future: the jobs that best fit my skill set were moved to Des Moines. The best-case scenario would have been to sublease the apartment we’d moved into six weeks before and move to Des Moines to work in some really impressive facilities alongside a lot of talented people I still admire.

Instead, I got two weeks to finish up my projects at the Press-Citizen and then three weeks of “transitional pay” to supplement my unemployment insurance.

I was a little salty about it.

OK, I was a lot salty about it.

Continue reading →

How I’m surviving seasonal depression in the Midwest

This stock art dude suffering from seasonal depression was totally me.

This stock art dude suffering from seasonal depression was totally me.

I missed a lot of Midwestern things when I lived in Texas, but I never once missed “real” winters.

Adults who get excited about snow —I say this affectionately — are the worst people on earth and they need to grow up. Snow is terrible. It’s cold and wet, it makes driving dangerous, it ruins the hem of every pair of jeans. Snow is the reason I left Kansas in 2011.

And while everyone thought I was being ridiculous, my biggest reservation about taking a job in Iowa City was the weather. Everyone said I’d be fine, the winters weren’t that bad, and climate preference was no reason to turn down a good opportunity.

I didn’t mention that I’d struggled with depression for years, or that it was worse in the winter, or that central Texas winters had saved me. Because that stuff is kind of heavy.

In Iowa, I’d have a great job with normal hours, and I’d finally marry my fiancé after two years of living in different states. How could I be sad if my life was finally coming together?

I’m Sarah Kelly, and I always find a way. Continue reading →