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Unexpectedly, you lose your job. (Or a loved one. Or something or someone important to you.) What do you do next?

I have lost both, but since today I would rather keep my writing a little more light-hearted, I tell you about the time I lost my job. It was back in the year 1990, I was the Catalog Coordinator for Conran’s-Habitat. I have written a bit about my time as Catalog Coordinator, I had a great job, my bosses gave me a lot of respect and let me do my job without any interference or supervision. I made it up as I went along and I got things done. Wait I should perhaps explain. When the former Catalog Coordinator left for personal reasons, her job was fairly straight forward; getting merchandise from the store and the warehouse and bring them over to the studio located right next door to the store and have the photographer and the assistants booked to do the photo shoots and then return all of the merchandise to the stores and warehouse, afterwards she was responsible for proofing all of the catalog type before the galleys were sent to the printer. Her job was a good one and I applied for the job when she told me in confidence that she was leaving and she thought that I would be a good fit for the job, you see I was a sales associate on the furniture floor at Conran’s Habitat at Astor Place and the Marketing and Advertising department shared the floor with us behind a closed door.

When I was hired, it had coincided with the hire of our new Conran’s Habitata President Ray Brunner. He decided that he wanted to make the Catalog more upscale and so my job went from relatively simple and small scale logistics to really complicated and large scale logistics. No more photo shoots next door, I had to find locations, no more next door locations, I had to find West Coast locations, trucking, lodging, catering, permits and insurance. It was pre-Internet. It was fun.

Unfortunately the power that be overseas had decided after three catalogs that Ray Brunner had to go and the whole entire American operation had to be shut down. It was sometime in August, I think late August, that an Englishman gathered the entire Marketing, Design and Advertising team together and announced the dissolution of the department to a room full of artistic women, emotions ran high that day. Everyone was in shock, then the scurrying commenced, my bosses went and started to work on their portfolio’s and I didn’t know exactly what to do, I was a logistics person and 22 years old to boot. My big boss Vivian told me that I was due a severance package and not to worry. What I learned from watching all of these professional women was that: it was best to stay calm, prepare for the future and arm yourself with your best work, your qualifications and never panic. Especially No panicking.