In my last few days at The Advertiser, quite a number of co-workers who weren’t picked up by the new newspaper mentioned that they were going to just take some time off to “decompress”.  I agreed with them and said that that would be a sensible thing to do.  But honestly, I wasn’t sure what they meant by “decompress”.

Today, I am honored to have Diane Ako as a guest blogger here on Midlife Crisis Hawaii to help me understand the term “decompress”.


The merger of the Honolulu Advertiser and Honolulu Star Bulletin has gone through, and many people have been left without a job. One of those is a fellow blogger, Rodney Lee, of Midlife Crisis Hawaii.

Rodney and I met virtually, through blogging, and exchange friendly e mails time to time. I told him it took me six months to decompress after my own layoff from KHNL (when it was merged with KGMB and became Hawaii News Now).

He wrote back, “How would you describe ‘decompress’?  I’ve heard that term a lot from other Advertiser workers.  How do I know when I’m done decompressing?  What is the feeling?  Depressed, angry, envious, etc?  Is it when all those feelings and emotions are gone that one is done decompressing?  Or those feeling will never disappear?”

And I felt sad; empathetic. I sent him back an e-hug. He suggested I post my answer because there could be others who might benefit.

Here goes my personal experience:

Everyone’s layoff experience is different. Your relation to your former company, your former managers, your career ambitions, how much support you got from your coworkers; your financial need (are you the breadwinner); what else is going on in your life?

In my case, the layoff was both hard and easy. Hard, because I had vested 16 years of ambition and dreams into this career, only to see it flame out in a way that I hadn’t expected. Being a newscaster was my main identity for most of that time (until I had a child.)

I would describe the newsroom environment at that time as a BP oil spill.

On the other hand, it was easy, because I was torn between my job and my child, and I really wanted to be a stay-at-home mother. I had nagged Claus to let me, and he didn’t feel comfortable with that. Until KHNL chose for me.

It was also easy because I hated the morning shift hours. It required a lot of discipline to go to sleep at 7 p.m., rise at 3 a.m., and live all my waking hours feeling always tired. I missed a lot of things that happen after dark. The only good thing about that shift was that I would go to sleep with my child and we’d cuddle up in bed.

By decompress, I partially mean my body was getting used to regular hours again. I also mean I had more free time to just sit and emotionally recuperate. I liken it to the way your body feels after you party too hard the night before; you’re just zapped. You need to sit and think about nothing.

So for me, I wasn’t  – as Rodney asked – depressed, angry, envious. I was drained. I was exhausted. If I had to name a feeling, it was mild sadness and mild anger. Mostly just fatigue.

When do you know when you’re done? I have no idea. I still sometimes feel that way. I have cycles where I feel really tired and spacey, and I know I’m not quite myself. But because I’m a stay-at-home mother to a now-three year old, I am never sure if it’s just because Olivia’s worn me out.

I look at this like the divorce of a 16 year marriage. I think people (including me) can relate better to that idea. That helps me have patience with myself.

I don’t know what the answer is for you. For me, I just try to take it easy and be gentle on myself. I take it one day at a time and understand that healing takes time.


Also reach me via

Thank you, Diane.

Ever since that 4:00 company wide meeting on February 25th when we were told that The Honolulu Advertiser has been bought out by The Star Bulletin, it’s been an emotional roller-coaster ride.  Up until the very last day of work, we weren’t sure whether we’d be hired by the new Star-Advertiser or not.  During that last week of work, people were getting called by our HR department presenting them a job offer by the new paper.  While others received letters mailed to their home.

The big question everyone was asking was “Did you get the call?”

Those of us who weren’t selected were never formally notified that we weren’t hired.  It was kind of by default that if you didn’t receive a call or a letter, then you weren’t selected.  So it wasn’t like “Bam!  Here’s your walking papers”.  It was more like a slow death.

But I had pretty much come to terms with it by then.  It is what it is and it was time for me to move on.

Only when I let it, did it really bother me.  When the thought of us taking pay cuts to save our newspaper – only to have the carpet pulled right our from under our feet did it start to bother me.  But I was too busy saying aloha to my co-workers to sit and stew in anger.  And feeling envious for those who did get selected didn’t sit right with me.  Instead, I honestly felt happy for them and wanted them to go over there and give it their all – as they have done in the past.

I hardly felt depressed although I was a bit disappointed that only 1 of the 6 or so colleagues in my department – that were chosen to work for the new paper – came by to say good-bye and give me words of encouragement.  I thought that was real professional of him.  And I respect him for that.  Sadly, the others left without so much as a “thanks” or “good-bye”.

But I never felt the need to decompress.  I thought it was time to get on my high-horse and start looking for other jobs.  And to use my spare time to brush up on the newer computer technology and languages to make myself more marketable.  It’s almost as though I refused to let me feel sorry for myself.

I’m sure a lot of it has to do with the support I receive from Paula and my family, from all of you people who read and post to this blog, and from good friends.  For instance, at Hawaiian Brian’s this past Saturday night, I received so much love and support from the Hawaii ’72 gang and the other close friends that I’ve made there (thanks to sally 🙂 ).  And from special friends like Diane Ako who took the time out to talk with me and share her experiences going through a lay-off, and Linda Kato for helping me understand the unemployment system and offering her continued support.

Why would I need to decompress when my spirit is so fulfilled?

But I know that it’s far from over.  After all, I still need to find another job.  As for dealing with the rejection of not getting a position that I applied for – well, that might be for a later blog entry down the road.

How would you describe “decompressing”?  Depressed?  Angry?  Fatigued?  How do you “decompress”?

Again, a special mahalo to our guest blogger (and regular blogger), Diane Ako.  And please visit her blog at the Star-Advertiser site (when her blog link starts appearing) or on her personal blog site at:

91 Responses to “Decompressing”

  1. LINDA KATO says:

    Rodney, Your supervisor spoke comforting words to lift your spirits. She truly was someone with high self esteem. When you feel good about yourself it is easy to speak words that make others feel worthwhile. Supervisors with low self esteem continually make comments to make their subordinates feel small. Glad you had a supervisor that valued and appreciated you as an employee and as a person. She’s a memory you will always treasure.

    You are special!

  2. LINDA KATO says:

    Good morning, Rodney and MCLer’s!

    Have a GREAT day!

  3. Rodney says:

    @Andreas – Thanks for your post. Having so many friends and support does wonders for the soul. And the prayers feeds the spirit. There was at time that I was down in “the pits” and it wasn’t pretty. I don’t ever want to go there again.

  4. Rodney says:

    @Linda Kato – you are an angel. 🙂

  5. Andreas says:

    Thanks, Rodney and Diane, for sharing your highly personal stories and putting yourselves out there in all your vulnerability. You are both an inspiration.

    Rodney, I admire your unwavering positive attitude and I share your disappointment in five of your six department co-workers.

    As far as decompressing goes, I’m a big believer in action. Everyone deals with hardship in their own way but I’ve found that staying in motion enables you to instinctively handle a situation that would cripple you if you faced it in a state of inactivity. If you’re not careful, I think decompression can serve as a gateway to depression.

  6. LINDA KATO says:

    @Rodney, Good job! I hope your phone rings off the hook with offers! I believe in the power of prayer, I put in a good word for you to the big man in the sky, several times a day for you! Good things are coming your way soon!

    @Sally, you are MLC’s official cheerleader! Hope all is well in YOUR life now, you mentioned an illness awhile back. Hope you are healthy now! We gotta keep Rodney in good spirits until that offer comes in!

    @Diane Ako, thanks for your guest blog today!

    Goodnight everyone, back to my contesting!

  7. Rodney says:

    Sally is on it tonight!

  8. sally says:

    When you’re out of Schlitz, you’re out of beer.

  9. Rodney says:

    sally – MLC’s official cheerleader. 😀

    Wasn’t there a beer commercial that used the word Gusto in it’s jingle?

  10. sally says:

    Remember Rod, what I told you before. Allow NO ONE to enter the sanctity of your subconscious mind and try to make you feel less that your greatness.

    Go out there with GUSTO! Word of the day is Gusto! Go out there and kick serious bu++ and feel sorry for the ones that deny you. Poor thing them, they cannot see the genius the could have had.

    Go Rod!!!

    RAH RAH!!!

  11. Rodney says:

    @diane ako – Thanks again for being a guest blogger and for all your support. I can see your blog now on the new StarAdvertiser site. Looking forward to reading more of your amusing entries. Keep up the good work!

    @Dean – like Mitsi, I too didn’t have a Plan B. I too was in denial. Now reality sets in. What to do? Get back on that bike and start riding it again.

    @Linda Kato – I put my resume on last night. That’s the first step of getting back on the bike.

  12. M says:

    Back to work tomorrow after a day of decompressing with masako.

  13. M says:

    We bought cucumbers today. We are ready.

  14. sally says:

    When I cry, I cry with gusto! The next morning I look like a marshmallow took over my face. I learned the cucumber thing in some magazine back in the 70’s and it’s never failed me.

  15. LINDA KATO says:

    @Sally, Thanks for the tip about cucumbers. Could have used that one last September 2009. When my Mom died I cried every day for over 2 months. I thought I would never stop missing her. Time does heal a broken heart. I spent every Sunday with her and cared for her for the last 7 years of her life. I still miss her terribly but I don’t cry every day anymore. Losing her taught me to value each and every day that I live. I wake up with a smile and go to bed with a smile. I don’t “sweat the small stuff” anymore. Life is too short. Every day is special!

    You are special!

  16. diane ako says:

    M and Masako, I’m really sorry about your cat. I know what that feels like.

    Rod, Thanks for giving me a guest blog spot! How kind! I am so happy to have met you through blogging. Call me anytime if you want to share and compare experiences.

    Paula, My husband also isn’t pressuring me to find work. That’s really nice. We have good husbands yeah? 🙂

  17. LINDA KATO says:

    @Mitsi, Welcome! You catch on fast! Smilies are too high tech for me. LOL

    @TwoFish, Thanks for your wonderful “Rainbow Bridge” story. Loved it!

    Have a great evening everyone!

  18. Mitsi says:

    @Dean (BTW this is a newly learned skill – I’m assuming the @ means “back at you” or something along those lines) – You were so smart to think ahead. A couple of months ago I was asked what my “Plan B” was and the question stunned me because I was still in denial. You were so right in pursuing something else. I wish I had planned better. Although things might not be going too smoothly for you now, I can tell it’s all worth it because you are “charting your own course.”

  19. Mitsi says:

    Ha! Thanks Rodney and Sally – I think I got it now, although I may need Aunty Paula’s translation skills in the future. 😆

  20. Dean says:

    “You fell off the bike but got right back on.”

    In this case, the whole bike was stolen out from under Rodney! 🙂

    When the Star-Bulletin was about to shut down back in 1999, I remember the feeling of “what to do next?” That sense of impending doom, of a fate that was well beyond our control, was stunning. You could see it in everyone’s eyes when the announcement was made. It’s that “holy s—!” reaction that comes when the unbelievable happens.

    I was lucky in that there was a lot I could do — including installing Pergo floors — but the question was how to turn a collection of skills and make it pay off fast.

    Fortunately we were given a reprieve when Black bought the paper but it wasn’t the same. And I could see that there was still a risk of things falling apart. So I began to work toward a Plan B and that’s where I am today.

    However, even the best of plans don’t always go smoothly. There have been ups and downs. Had to learn a lot about running a small business. And often what seemed like a good idea falls well short of expectations. But I’ve learned to adapt and have become more cautious about what I do and who I work with.

    But above all I get to chart my own course (in a very small boat) and make good use of skills I’ve learned in the past several years. And that kind of job satisfaction is hard to beat.

  21. sally says:

    Mitsi: ask Aunty Paula to explain. LOL

  22. Rodney says:

    @Mitsi – LOL. Here’s the secret.

    There has to be at least 1 space before and after each colon for the emoticon. (that’s why the question mark didn’t take).

    If you want to put 2 emoticons next to each other, there needs to be 2 spaces between the closing colon of the previous emoticon and the opening colon of the next emoticon.

    Does that make sense or as sally says “he’s talking ‘manspeak’ again”. LOL

  23. Mitsi says:

    Oops, that question mark didn’t take. That’s okay, I’ll get the hang of this. Thanks!

  24. Mitsi says:

    Hey Rodney, thanks for the link:

    😉 Is this working:?:

  25. Rodney says:

    Hi Mitsi! Everyone, please welcome my dear friend Mitsi. She too is on “paid leave” like me so yes, we’re both in the job market.

    As for getting the cute emoticons, Mitsi – here ya go:

  26. Mitsi says:

    Hello everybody! First day posting to this blog, any blog in fact. I have to catch up with the lingo and figure out where to get those cute icons. I’ll ask my teenager when he gets home from summer school.

    Masako and M – so sorry about your cat. I have one too, and love her to pieces. In fact my family is getting worried that I’m becoming a crazy cat lady. I loved the poem that TwoFish shared, it brings comfort to me that such a place can exist.

  27. Seawalker says:

    Atta-boy, @M…that’s the attitude, and always putting the better half’s worries before yours. How’s Queenbee and Braddah Lance doing? Gotta make sure the whole blogger gang is okay.

  28. M says:

    Guud afternoon MLCers!

    masako and I went SUPing for 3 hours this morning to decompress. Being at the beach and in the ocean feels so guud…

  29. Kage says:

    @Ynaku- That story about your dog and not eating is too funny. 🙂

    I have the opposite problem with my cat. He eats anytime anyone goes into or near the kitchen. He is becoming the little chubball.

  30. Ocean Lover says:

    @ Ynaku…… da DOG WHISPERER? 😉

    Can you go over da speaker phone and make Da Teenager WORK AROUND THE HOUSE? 🙁

    Now THAT………would be a miracle.


  31. Ynaku says:

    I agree with Kathi. Our pets are so loyal. Sometime more loyal than our own family members 😉 I have 3 dogs at home right now. One is almost blind. get’s lost in the house and makes a mess. But we still feed her and cherish her.

    I have my Big Dog, that always waits for me to come home. He refuses to eat if I’m not home. Once I was away for a few days and my wife couldn’t get him to eat. He’ll take a few bites but not devour as he normally does. They called me and after I spoke to my dog over the speaker phone, he started to eat. 😀

    Yeah, I love that big Babooze.

  32. kathi says:

    M & Masako: sincere and heartfelt condolences on your loss of Monty. Even 18+ years of a great life is just not nearly long enough.

    I am glad to see so many here that truly understand how pets are such a huge part of our families and our hearts. I feel sorry for those who think “it’s just a cat (or dog or…)” because it’s obvious they’ve never known the love and devotion of a special pet.

  33. visitor says:

    @TwoFish – Thanks for sharing the Rainbow Bridge poem. Having lost my dog recently, it brought back some warm and emotional memories.

    Her ashes came in a embroidered bag making reference to the “Rainbow Bridge,” but I didn’t know the significance.

    Thanks again.

  34. TwoFish says:

    Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.

    There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.

    There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

    All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.

    The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

    They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

    Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

    Author unknown…

    I know my Dad is near Rainbow Bridge, taking care of all my pets that I have had in my lifetime, and all the canaries he used to raise and get awards for. Maybe my Dad is talking story with your loved ones who are up there too.

  35. sally says:


  36. Masako says:

    Ohayoo Gozaimasu! Thank you everyone for your love and support. It means a lot to me.
    @Sally- I need to get some cucumbers.

  37. M says:

    Ynaku, took today off since masako is on summer break so I could be with her.

  38. M says:

    Great tip sally!

    Was sad getting up this morning. Monty would always be in bed with us… 🙁

  39. Ynaku says:

    Good Morning.

    I can just see M at work with 2 cucumber slices over his eyes with small puka so he can see through.

    Nah M, going take time to get over it.

  40. sally says:

    M: it’ll work for you too.

  41. sally says:

    Good Morning!

    Masako: If your eyes are all puffy from crying all night, try this trick. Put a sliced cucumber on each eye and relax for a few minutes. (don’t be like me and fall asleep lol)

    You will be refreshed and your eyes will look at least decent, not like two puffballs.

    Just a little hint from someone “been there, done that” many times.

  42. M says:

    Guud morning Rodney and MLCers!

    Thank you all for all the kind words again. It makes it easier to decompress knowing all the love and support that masako and I have here.

    Rodney, you are going though a lot too with the lost of your job and passing of your father. We all share your lost as well.

  43. LINDA KATO says:

    Good morning, Rodney.

    When I started reading your Vegas column and this one too, I enjoyed all the advice of what to do and see in Vegas. With this column I love the memories from the past that you regularly share with us. You have a special talent with writing and very good computer skills. YOU ARE SPECIAL! Put those resumes out there. Someone will discover you and will put your skills to good use in their company soon.

    With so many of us suppporting you and praying for you, only good things will happen for you. Think positively!

    Have a great day!

  44. jaydee says:

    @M and Masako,

    So sorry for your loss. Pets are such a big part of our families and losing one is devastating. My wife and I buried our cat Krishna last year and it was heartbreaking. He was with my wife for over 19 years. He was a special cat, always coming over to the table at dinner time, waiting for a bit of sashimi or steak or greting us when we came home with that unmistakable purr of his.

    We have good memories of him as I’m sure you both have for Monty. I made a special place in our garden for Krishna. Maybe, when you are ready, you two can have a special place for Monty.

  45. ankleBYTERS says:

    There are no set rules or directions on the process of “decompressing” and how to eventually move on to the next step of recovery. Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual.

    It may be that most of us write our own life story. Making it up as we go along. But others seem to have lives that are already shaped and planned…inescapable…perfect as a circle. If some lives form a perfect circle…others take shape in ways we cannot predict or always understand. Loss had been a big part of my journey. But it has always shown me what is precious and dear.

  46. snow says:

    M and Masako – Condolences on the loss of Monty! Pets are so special; it’s a heartfelt loss. Take care.

  47. Yv says:

    Rodney. Thank you for sharing your experience, thoughts and feelings around this very personal and traumatic episode. I believe your willingness to discuss your experience is a community service because others are seeking answers and relief.
    Decompression is needed to rest and move beyond the immediate intensity of emotions that are natural in association with such an experience which was outside most people’s ability to foresee. A positive healthy attitude is essential as it Definitely helps prevent undue amounts of doubt or worry to take up energy that’s needed to concentrate on conducting a successful job search.

    I’m sorry if I went on too long. I can’t see my entire post. Where’s the hook?
    Wishing you the best. And again, mahalo for your blog.

    My advice is to build a routine of reading up on resume writing, interviewing, and applying for openings. It’s useful to do background research on companies to find those whose values, products or services seem like they are be a good fit for your experience and interests.

    My apologies if I sound preachy — I am very empathetic to anyone who loses a job unexpectedly and I hope my suggestions might help. I agree with the idea of building new skills as well.

    I do wish you and all the others who are in a similar situation the best as they find jobs. I’m grateful we have a government that has benefits for the unexpectedly unemployed, and that’s really who I think it’s for.

  48. Rodney says:

    And so much love and compassion for M and Masako as they go through their own decompression. All you MLCers make me so proud.

    Hugs to all of you!

  49. Rodney says:

    @everyone – Thank you for your words of encouragement. An old boss of mine – who I highly respect and consider her my mentor – told me “You just have to have the self-confidence, Rod. You have what it takes. You just have to believe in yourself”.

    She said that to me over 10 years ago and I still remember it like it was yesterday.

  50. visitor says:

    Rodney – Hang in there. Things will work out.

    M & Masako – Sorry for the loss of you pet. I recently lost my dog, a long time companion…I know how you must feel.

    Speaking of life’s up’s and down’s and the mentioning of “cycles.” It reminded me of this old Frank Sinatra song. The words are simple, but meaningful.

  51. LINDA KATO says:

    Rodney, life is a journey. Wouldn’t it be nice if we only had one up after another up! The true strength of a person can be seen when things are not going well. It is real easy to smile and be happy when everything is running smoothly in our life. This is a new beginning for you. You will find a BETTER job with BETTER benefits for your whole family.

    I believe that better things are coming for you and they are right around the corner.

    I once went to a baseball game and absolutely nothing happened during the first 8 innings. The score was zero-zero. How boring to me. Then in the 9th inning all the action started, home runs were made, the crowd cheered! Here’s hoping that one day soon you’ll post, MCLer’s I found a new job! It starts tomorrow and it’s better than I thought possible.

    Dream big and think positively. Have a great week!

  52. Masako says:

    Thanks everyone for your kind words. Thank you Rodney and Diane for sharing your experiences about decompressing.

    Rodney you said: “Diane is right – it comes in cycles. And you know what? It appears that we decompress all the time throughout our lifetime. Whether it’s the lose of a job, a failed relationship, a passing of a family member, or a dumb statement we made. We’re always decompressing. It’s how we heal.”

    That is so true, there is always something going on in life and even good things in life need decompressing sometime such as coming off of a vacation, good SUP session or whatever fun activity that you do…..isn’t that why they show couples in bed smoking after activity? They are decompressing…..LOL

    As M said we are decompressing over the loss of our cat and thats how the healing begins.

  53. LINDA KATO says:

    M & Masako, my deepest condolences for your loss of your beloved cat. May God comfort you in your sorrow.

    @Rodney, so many words of encouragement, so many friends. You are truly blessed! I will continue to pray for an employer to discover your talents soon! Your beautiful and understanding wife is there to support you on your journey as well as your many friends.

    Count your blessings every day. Your cup is half full!

    Take care.

  54. Aunty Paula says:

    Diane: Thank you for sharing your experience. Rodney gave me the opportunity to decompress a few years back after I felt burnt out. I loved my work, but it got to a point where it started to affect my health. I suffered from insomnia and lost 10 pounds in one month without trying. I continued working there for 5 more months before deciding to leave. Despite the loss of income, Rod never told me I had to find another job. I needed ME time. We lived within Rodney’s means, and I was happy doing my little projects around the house. After about 9 months of ME time, I ran into an old friend in the supermarket, and she told me the school she taught at was looking for help. By then, I felt ready to try something new, and my family was missing having steak for dinner. It was a great experience working there, but another opportunity arose as talks of school cutbacks were beginning. I opted to take a chance in a new field, and thus, avoided ” furlough Fridays”

    M & Masako: I’m so sorry to hear about your cat. Pets are part of the family, and the loss is no less painful to endure. May the Lord grant you strength and peace. My deepest condolences to you.

  55. Ynaku says:

    No matter what anybody says, there is NO closure when you lose something you love so dear. Memories stay with us the rest of our lives.

    M, at least Masako was with Monty to the very end. And I’m sure Monty knew how much he was loved. 😥 😥 😥

  56. M says:

    😥 😥 😥 😥

  57. M says:

    Thank you everyone for your kind words. Monty passed away in masako’s arms… 🙁

    I came home 30 minutes later… 🙁

    We are both decompressing. He was a big part in our family…

  58. ct says:

    Rodney – Thanks for sharing. All I can say is that I went through over 3 months of unemployment and practically lived on credit cards … so I can relate to what you’re going through. But won’t go into it for you sake … (unless you really want to hear it … just ask) because all I needed was listening to my music … a fist bump and someone to say Keep on keepin on.

    So here’s a fist bump … and a shout out of Keep on Truckin’ … from me to you … cuz I am confident that you’ll be back on your feet in no time …


  59. Rodney says:

    M & Masako: Condolences to both of you.

  60. Rodney says:

    @uhas2 – Thank you.. The ARRA is a good deal, unfortunately, it ended as of 05/31/10. Quite a few workers at the Advertiser tried to apply for COBRA before the 5/31 deadline, but because the interim company offered health insurance (at a higher premium), that disqualified everyone.

  61. sally says:

    M & Masako: I am so so sorry about Monty. I know the feeling of the loss of a pet, I still cry when I talk about my Kimi Girl, and that was 20 yrs ago! You will remember good, happy things. And you will decompress.

  62. Please accept my support and good wishes in this time of stress. It is normal to feel anxiety and uncertainty during what is probably the most difficult times in modern history.
    You’ll have to do your best in all your endeavors and not allow negative thoughts to dominate your daily activites. You have every right to be concerned about the future during what I consider to be the “toughest” time I have lived through in seventy plus years!
    Deep in my heart, as bleak as the present and future appears, it will recover and “bounce back” bigger than ever before! It always has!

  63. uhas2 says:

    Good things come to good people.. it will happen to YOU! I was reading Diane’s blog and seen how much of your unemployment you pay for your cobra benefits. If you havent heard or seen any information on it try to do the research “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” aka ARRA, it’s part of the cobra plan, in which the former employer contributes 65% of the medical rates and the employee pays 35%, hope this program is availible to you in which it will help your expenses durning this time. Just a little more information that may help you.

  64. Kage says:

    Rodney- positive thoughts will get you through this and attract positive things to you.

    M & Masako- my condolences on your cat. I have two and home and feel for you.

  65. Seawalker says:

    Rule of thumb – I saw somewhere that for every $10k in salary you are looking for, it’ll take another month to find your job. So if $75k is what you are holding out for, then expect to find your job in 8 months time.

    They also say that in times of adversity, your true-self gets exposed. That’s why I’m always cranky after being out of the house for 11 hours and finally getting home from work. Hehehe! You holding up good, Mr. Rod!

    Eh, @Ynaku (#4 & #5) – The eyes are the windows to your soul. I read that “sitting on your butt” thing. Too late now…LOL

  66. snow says:

    almost forgot… thanks to diane ako for sharing with us! it was very thoughtful and honest.

    m & masako… so sorry to hear about your cat! 🙁 our pets are like family members.

    rodney – that’s really too bad that your co-workers who got picked up did not come by to see you. unfortunately, it’s human nature to avoid uncomfortable situations and they probably did not know what to tell you or did not want to make you feel bad. when my friend got laid off, i brought her flowers on her last day and she immediately started crying! i felt so bad! at least you can be thankful that your office did not turn into someplace you didn’t want to be (many of my former colleagues got badmouthed in their former departments before getting laid off… can you imagine?!).

  67. dihudfan says:

    remaining positive is the biggest plus!!! keeps you healthy, physically and mentally!!! enjoy your time off… good luck in search of a new career!!!

  68. RBB says:

    @ – M & Masako I feel for you, even a pet that has become a part of the family is hard to let go of, when there was talk of putting Smokey down, I cried even after knowing him for just 6 years. My condolences.

    @ Rod – What ever you do, I wish you the best of luck. I was fortuate in that being a non-vet I was still able to retire from the shipyard. Many of my friends were caught in the RIF and it’s hard when they had families.

    One of my tennis students is head of the HR dept, and guess what her job is, she doesn’t get to do the hiring, just the laying off and I can see how it affects her. I have known her from Kainalu Ele thru Kailua High, then never saw each other till a few years ago. For the company not tell anyone to their face is so wrong, WWD.

    I’m sure you as well as the other’s of the Honolulu Advertiser will find employment, just get out there and “Kick A”. Remember also that there is someone greater than all of us and he will hear you, just talk with him. He is not a genie and doesn’t grant “wishes”, he will make sure that your needs are provided for, and the key word here is “needs”.

  69. Seawalker says:

    A while back, I was telling BL what it was like being on the other side of the coin of losing your job. Unless you don’t have a heart, it is even sadder when you have to fire someone or lay them off. HR is the biggest bunch of chickens, they’re okay with delivering good news, but they refuse to be the bearer of bad news. But that was the nature of my position, and it was (is) what it was (is).

    I had to show no emotions while in the office, just like a robot. But driving home and reflecting on the day’s events, and knowing how their livelihood was affected by me (tip: never blame yourself, it is always the company), my eyes began to get misty. You never get used to it, no matter how many times you go through it. Get the picture, no need to say anymore…

    @Rod – To me, the best anecdote to something earth-shaking as losing your job is to simply get another one. I think we all can attest to that, well, at least I can. I’ll email you something tonight–no guarantees, tho. What’s your email again, only have your Advertiser one?

    Before I forget (the wife says I tend to do this a lot!), if anybody needs a computer person to get rid of viruses or even to tune-up your computer, I went to this braddah recently in Ewa Gentry, Joe R. of PC Trends in Ewa Gentry. He flushed out my computer and even found a couple of hidden viruses. My 5-year old computer is a lot faster and more efficient. Other than the car drive to the west side of the island, he charged me just $43 (around there). This guy is good and with all computer people, he’s kind of quirky–right, @Rod?

  70. snow says:

    i haven’t been through a layoff but i’ve been pretty close. i understand the stress of not knowing what your future holds, thinking you won’t have a job and not knowing how you are going to pay the bills, even after being a hardworking and faithful employee.

    i ended up getting a part-time job, just to alleviate some of the stress of potentially having no income (though, unemployment benefits are a great thing if you need them!). it helped keep me busy and keep my mind off of my situation. thankfully, i never did lose my job but i can imagine all the emotions and thoughts that could be going through your head!

    you have a lot of support and that is what helps you get through the tough times. don’t be afraid to vent (men often don’t vent ’cause they want to look like they can “handle!” who cares… just get it off your chest!) – it helps to alleviate stress! exercise, too – go for a walk with paula (sunset walks are nice!)!

    anyway, rodney, you know the MLCers are here for you! if there’s anything i can do to help, don’t hesitate to let me know!

  71. M says:

    We are decompressing now. Our cat has a tumor and is very weak and old and will have to be put down. Masako has had him for about 18 years and she’s having a very hard time the past week seeing him getting weaker everyday. She was holding and talking to him all last night. It’s so sad and very emotional. He’s a part of our family and we’ll spend our last times with him today and tonight before we take him to the vet tomorrow. 😥

  72. kathi says:

    Hang in there, Rodney – I admire your positive attitude.

    My only layoff was at a time when it was still not too hard to get freelance work in my field. It was a far different economic environment than it is today, so there is really no comparison.

    But for many of my friends and family, the unexpected ending of one job or career led them to something better or more fulfilling, and I wish this for you as well.

  73. Rodney says:

    Thanks everyone for all your help and support.

    As uncle Jimmy stated, decompress means to “reduce pressure”. I think when I realized that I wasn’t going to be offered a position with the new newspaper, I decompressed at that point and figured that I’d start moving on.

    Ironically, a different kind of pressure is put upon me now – to find a job. The COBRA article in today’s Star-Advertiser is scary. Over 50% of my unemployment pay will have to go towards medical coverage for my family. After I do land another job, it’ll be time to decompress again.

    Diane is right – it comes in cycles. And you know what? It appears that we decompress all the time throughout our lifetime. Whether it’s the lose of a job, a failed relationship, a passing of a family member, or a dumb statement we made. We’re always decompressing. It’s how we heal.

  74. TwoFish says:

    “I don’t have time” was what I used to say. When terminating a part-time job to take another that was full-time, I thought I was going to be doing better. But the day before I was to start, I got notified that someone else had been hired.


    It ticked me off so much, I was determined to put applications for jobs each day, at least 5. This became more work than working, but I polished my resume with the help of a couple of friends in management, and actually, I was only unemployed for thirty days.

    Now, it’s not about “I don’t have time”, because I now make time if it is priortiy. It’s that “big rocks” thing, putting them in first.

    But I did take time during that uh, decompression, to do all the things that I wanted to do, and now my perspective is different, and more proactive.

    You’ll be fine, just live within your means.

  75. opso says:

    Diane – thanks for sharing your personal experience with us. i still miss you folks in the morning. 🙁
    especially when Cat was on. it was so funny and natural.

    Largo – for me…..the only thing “remotely” close to what you are going through…..was having to go on strike awhiles back. there was a lot of frustration, anger and animosity. not having any control over the sitch and having your livelihood in jeopardy and by the decisions of others is gut-wrenching

    even if it was only for 2 weeks….i don’t ever want to go through that again! we actually collected unemployment for that time. so that helped a skosh.

    but like everyone said….time heals all wounds. and yeah…no sense sulking and getting all hubuts. what’s done is done and just move onward and forward.

    and as they say in K-Dramas: AJA AJA….FIGHTING! 😀

  76. M says:

    Rodney, be positive, something better will come up… 🙂

  77. Ocean Lover says:

    Rodney…………”decompressing” appears a natural thing to do after such a life changing event occurs. But your attitude of “I’m not gonna sit around and am gonna MARKET MYSELF” speaks VOLUMES of your character. Wish MORE were like you!

    Best to you and Paula….


  78. uncle jimmy says:

    apart from that observation, people’s responses to a layoff will vary by individual..

    first of all, we can file for unemploy to reduce some of that pressure and buy some time..

    we can seize the opportunity to “get back in shape” and get into some kind of physical activity.. action is the best remedy for feeling depressed.. surf, play tennis, play golf, jog, whatevehs..

    we can spend time to get back in touch with friends and “talk story” about all kine stuff, but also letting them know that we’re open to new opportunities..

    we can brush up our skills or develop some new ones by taking a seminar or class..

    we can network with professional or social groups and approach it as “how can i help you” as opposed to “how can you help me”..

    “decompress” means to “reduce pressure”, but there are lots of ways to do it.. a certain amount of pressure is a good thing if it stimulates us into constructive action..

    mostly, it’s just get going and get out there..

    beyond that, like several have pointed out, fo’get ‘um and enjoy the day..

  79. uncle jimmy says:


    Losing a job is not the same as losing a career in most cases, although with Hawaii’s somewhat limited opportunities, it can sometimes seem to amount to that, or does it? The question may boil down to having the flexibility and imagination to figure out new ways to apply one’s skills..

    GLTA the former HA gang..

  80. eddyo says:

    whether thru being laid-off or retiring, there is always that “what’s next” feeling in a transition. The difference is that in the former you don’t choose the path. over the years, I noticed that if a colleague is not doing well & may be in career purgatory, some co-workers get uncomfortable with addressing dealing with this & start to avoid their peer.
    this is not only unprofessional, but it lacks any decency. It’s human nature, but to your colleague that came up to you, much kudos.
    As boomers, we are the one’s to confront & deal with issues.

  81. M says:

    Good morning Rodney and MLCers!

    I never got laid off and I hope I never do.

    Diane, I can feel the pain when you got laid off and how you put it in perspaective like a marriage and then divorce.

    I read your blog all the time but I never did post, it’s time that I start posting.

  82. weke says:

    Good morning, Go Surf, Plant the pikake, smell the roses. Main thing you filed. Don’t think about the BS the company said. Just let it go. I am in construction so I know. One door close and another opens. You will find something. Take your wife out to lunch. Have a nice day. The sun out.

  83. matt says:

    good luck with the search. it can be heartbreaking at times, but, in the long run, it pays off (both in the wallet and the soul) to make sure that the job you eventually grab is the right one for you.

  84. che says:

    Rodney, good luck. I think it was bad for them not to notify employees who weren’t going to be kept on. For me it would make it worse not knowing my situation. It would make me worry more and make it hareder to plan going forward.

    Anyway continue to stay positive. Everythig goes in cycles. Hang on through the down times because it will get better.

  85. sally says:

    Diane put it in a great perspective. A job is like a marriage, you spend half your time there and invest a lot of time and emotion. ankleBYTERS too, a wound turned into just a scar”.

    Thank you, Diane and Rod, for giving me a word for what I went through 6yrs ago. I wasn’t terminated, but I had to help close the practice due to illness. It wasn’t a good situation, in more ways than just unemployment.

    We ran the gamut on emotions. There was shock, sadness, disbelief, anger, unkind words, literally from one end of the spectrum to the other.

    But it’s over. And now it is nothing. I’v closed it off and no longer allow it to mean anything to me.

    Soon, Rod, it will be over for you too. I’ve told you before, you will have something better. God is watching. Karma is watching. The universe is watching. Whatever you want to believe in, it’s watching. You and Paula are good people.

    I can’t wait for the day you tell us about landing your dream job and you’re planning your next trip to Vegas again!

  86. LINDA KATO says:

    Good morning, Rodney. I was laid off once in the past in 1974 and I was a recently divorced single Mom with a 2 year old at the time! I worked only 5 weeks as a receptionist with Stapleton Associates downtown, a real estate company. The real estate market tanked and all the salaried employees had to be laid off due to no money to pay us. I was mad at myself for quitting a job at Snelling Personnel to take this higher paying job only to be laid off a few weeks later. I found another job working for an architectural firm as a secretary a week later (whew)! Bills could be paid! I then worked for a dental office as a receptionist before being called to work at the Dept of Labor where I’ve been for the past 34 years.

    Although I have never been unemployed after that, hearing from unemployed people daily tells me a lot so I can certainly understand what you are going through. These are different times. After 9/11 our world was never the same again. The past couple of years have been the worst I have ever seen! Never has the state been unable to make ends meet. Getting used to no air conditioning at work for several hours a day is miserable. Remember we are still being furloughed 2 times per month so a pay cut of $500 per month for me is still in effect. Difficult but somehow we manage to endure with the adverse conditions. We spend less and live within our means.

    Since these are tough times, realistically you may take awhile to find another job. This is why I suggested posting your resume immediately on, some of my unemployed claimants were called to work from posting a resume there. You are doing a wonderful job of applying for work with many stable emloyers. Think positively. One of them WILL call you. Pray daily, that works for me. God is watching over you. Take one day at a time. Use this time to get all the tasks done at home and with your family that you are usually too busy to do when working all the time.

    Take care of your health. Eat well and sleep well.

    Your entire support system, your friends and family are pulling for you and are praying for you. Think postively. You may not need our services on 7/6/10. But if you do, take advantage of it! You will have 26 weeks of UI payments. That will help pay the bills.

    Most of all think positively. As it repeatedly says in the book “The Secret”. If you think positively the law of attraction brings good things to you.

    Think positively. Have a great day!

    With fondest love and aloha,

    Linda Kato

  87. Ynaku says:

    I meant your NOT sitting on your butt 😀 sorry for the typo. Please fix that sentence for me. Unless you really enjoy sitting on your butt which I know you don;t like to do when I read of all your adventures dancing at HB Why not enjoy life now? Decompress

    rl: done. 😉

  88. Ynaku says:

    Hey Rod,you are doing the right thing. As the bread winner, you’re not sitting on your butt, crying, moaning and groaning, although you have the right to do that. But you are out there searching for a new opportunity. You fell off the bike but got right back on.

    I learned a new thing yesterday. The difference between a plan and a purpose. A plan is a rigid set of directions that doesn’t allow for deviation to get to the end. Whereas a purpose will allow you to take a detour, shortcut, make changes in order to reach for final goal. You have a purpose and you just got side tracked a bit, but eventually you will achieve your purpose.

    And it really helps to have a wonder family and friends support system. It makes the journey a lot easier.

    Take care my friend.

  89. Evie C. says:

    Wishing you the best of luck finding a new position…they´re out there. And it´s great that you´re using time to improve your skills! Now you can smell the plumeria!

    Think you´ve been in decompression mode and didn´t know it. You´ve been blogging all this time, so it probably helped you to put things into perspective after being written. Sharing your experiences also let us be, in part, your ohana, so thanks for that. It´s been great!

  90. jaydee says:

    I feel for you Rodney. I have been layed off a couple of times in my life and its not a pleasant experience. I must say, however, that I always seemed to get another job which turned out better than the previous job. I give God credit for that. He knows our needs and He has promised to provide if we call out to him.

    Hang in there brah. I see nothing but good times ahead for you!

  91. ankleBYTERS says:

    Diane mentioned it being similar to a lasting marriage turning into a divorce…its like a first when it is fresh, it is very painful but with enough time and work on self, it’s like looking at a scar…you remember the injury, but it doesn’t hurt anymore. Rodney, you’re on your way to seeing it as a scar.

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