ℹ️ TL;DR: While wandering around the streets of Austin, Texas, I unknowingly stumbled into Twitch/OnlyFans streamer PeachJars’ “Free Advice 4 Charity” table, and hilarity ensued. Scroll down to see the video!
“How do you stay optimistic?”
“What do you mean?” I asked, because I wasn’t sure what he was referring to.
“At the start of your talk, you mentioned that you were recently laid off. It’s brutal out there right now, but you wouldn’t know it from the way you gave your talk. You look like you were having fun.”
“Maybe I’m wired that way,” I replied. “But it’s also that this isn’t my first layoff. I find that things go better if you have a firm belief that you can make things better.”
“In fact,” I added, “because this isn’t my first rodeo (hey, we were in Texas; I’m supposed to use that metaphor!), I know that inside the rough times, there are a lot of surprising good times baked in.”
This was the day after the conference. It was morning, and my flight wouldn’t depart until 6:15 p.m. I had a couple of choices:
Option 1: Hunker down in the hotel lobby and continue the job search. After all, it is a brutal job market at the moment, even for people with my experience.
The Moxy’s lobby isn’t so much a hotel lobby as it is a pretty nice hangout space with good free wifi and coffee, lots of tables and power outlets, good music, a bar, and a nice taco restaurant. I could easily get a lot of job search work done there, which some might say would be the smart thing to do with that time.
Option 2: Leave my bags at the hotel, break a twenty-dollar bill into small change, strap on the accordion, take in the sights, sounds, and people of Austin, and make some people’s days a little odder (and hopefully better).
You’ve probably already guessed what I did.
I met Ryan the busker at Guadalupe and 23rd and put a fiver in his bucket. In exchange, he invited me to play Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’ with him, and as a Florida musician, I am legally required to be able to play Tom Petty. We had fun.
A number of people at the nearby bus stop shot video of us, so you might see it floating around the internet.
Free advice for charity
The breakout moment of my walk was when I passed by a table that was promoting free advice for charity, where the charity was Alveus, an exotic animal sanctuary that provides permanent homes to non-releasable exotic animals.
A cheerful young woman sat at the table, flanked by another holding a sign, and a third running what looked like a streaming camera rig. I confirmed the “streaming” part when I saw that the table had a sign that showed the seated woman’s Twitch URL.
PeachJars, I thought. Cute name. I’ll have to look up that channel later.
Rather than tell you what happened next, let me just show you the segment of her stream where I appeared. And be sure to read the stream of comments in the right column!
Later, on my flight back to Tampa, I looked up PeachJars online. It turns out that she’s a popular Twitch streamer who also has an OnlyFans account. This may be the only time I’ll ever be in a video with an OnlyFans artist!
😘 My thanks to PeachJars and company for being so kind!
Lunch with new friends
I had posted earlier on LinkedIn that I was in Austin for the day and asked if anyone wanted to do lunch. Luckily, Connor Brown, Noah Birrer, and Jacob Colvin answered the call, and we got together at Iron Works Barbecue, where Noah covered my lunch and I enjoyed the conversation so much that I forgot to take a picture.
Find the good times in the bad
I could’ve stayed in the hotel and worked on my job search, and I might be a few hours ahead today. But because I chose to step out onto the streets of Austin — a city that I don’t see every day — I had experiences I wouldn’t have otherwise had, met people I wouldn’t have otherwise met, and my headspace is even readier for the hustle.
I now have a better answer for the person who asked me how I stay optimistic while being laid off. It’s because I set out to find the good times in the bad. If you’re laid off, see if you can do the same.
I’ll close with this quote from Sigmund Freud that I’ve been hearing repeated lately:
Also in this series…
- Laid off in 2024, part 1: The 15 worst minutes of 2024, followed by 15 more
- Laid off in 2024, part 2: First referrals and blue dragons
- Laid off in 2024, part 3: How are you doing?
- Laid off in 2024, part 4: Make the Year of the Blue Dragon YOUR year!
- Laid off in 2024, part 5: The next two weeks
- Laid off in 2024, part 6: The separation agreement / Money, money, money
- Laid off in 2024, part 7: Join me on “Surviving a Layoff” this Wednesday!
- Laid off in 2024, part 8: Step one — get a box…
- Laid off in 2024, part 9: The box came back, the very next day…
- Laid off in 2024, part 10: Unearned consequences
- Laid off in 2024, part 11: The dreaded non-disparagement clause
- Laid off in 2024, part 12: Lessons from “The Martian” and other notes