I have a job. That’s a good thing, because for about three hours today, that was in doubt.

It was nothing personal. My whole office was out of work for that three hours. It turned out to be an administrative error. I’m not quite sure how an administrative error leads to an entire office being let go for three hours, but maybe I’ll understand when I’m older. And Mike Judge, if you’re out there anywhere, I can tell you some stories that make Office Space seem positively tame.

I’ve had worse days than this. Definitely.

I won’t tell you about all of them, but I’ll tell you about one of them. It was the fall of 2005, either October or early November. I interviewed for a job with a box manufacturer in Alton, Illinois. That’s a long, long drive from where I was living at the time, and it was just a temporary job, and it was boring printer administration work, but it was work, and work was scarce, and I needed work. And neither the pay nor the job title was going to hold my career back any.

I nailed the interview. I usually interview pretty well. I fully expected to get an offer the next morning, and since I was literally working on a week-to-week basis administering cable modems at the time, I was pretty sure I was going to have a new job the following Monday.

But that drive home from Alton was nearly an hour, and a lot can happen in an hour.

I expected to call the guy who was trying to place me there and give him good news, but he’d already called and left a message before I even got home. With bad news. I hadn’t been gone five minutes when the pink slips started flowing. My would-be boss no longer had a job. And the job position I interviewed for no longer existed. It wasn’t even clear if the department existed anymore. The company was having financial troubles, and those were the breaks.

I knew financial troubles. I think I’ve only worked six months of my career for a company that wasn’t having financial troubles of some sort.

I understood. I was disappointed. But I understood. I found steady work a few weeks later and never looked back until now.

Not many people can say they’ve managed to get laid off before their first day. Hopefully I won’t pull off that dubious accomplishment a second time.