I've gotten the official word now that I'll be returning to work March 29. I'll be going back to my old paper - where I worked for almost seven years - as a half-time copy editor/paginator and half-time reporter. It's really the perfect arrangement for me. I always liked copy-editing and paginating, because it just comes completely naturally to me. And I've rediscovered a love of reporting during my last six months of freelancing (though I still and will probably always hate writing feature stories).
When I got the initial verification, my old boss told me that I'd be working at the same wage that I started at eight or so years ago. Then I got a follow-up call from him today. It seems the publisher signed the personnel requisition without really reading it, and now he's informed my editor that the job was only budgeted for a dollar less than that rate. My editor's still arguing for the higher rate for me, based on my experience, but it's unlikely he'll be able to get it. So it seems that I'm actually going backward from where I was before. Actually, it would have been backward anyway, as I'd managed to squeeze a tiny raise out of the company during that seven-year period. Oh well.
The county's at a 14 percent unemployment rate now, so I'm happy just to be going back to work full time. And to be staying in my own field. I can't complain too much about the pay rate, because the few jobs I've seen available - that aren't within my field - all seem to have starting wages of about a dollar an hour even below what I'll be making. Seems the financial struggle will continue, but I've managed to live on quite a bit less over the past six months - with my mother's help. At least I'll have to ask a little less of that help now and can take some of that pressure off her.