The furlough – a company cost-cutting measure previously associated with the manufacturing sector – now embraced by those of us working in paragraph factories around the nation.

In the last year, my husband and I have had three separate weeklong furloughs (perhaps it wasn’t so wise to marry a journalist after all). These furloughs are, we’re told, what’s keeping us employed. According to my 2009 W-2, they are also making me earn the same salary as a manager working 50+ hour weeks as I did as an hourly employee two years out of college. Sadface.

(Aside: These are the times where I think back to freshman year at journalism school. I wonder what it would have been like to pick the PR or advertising tracts instead of news. Luckily, none of us went into this business to get rich.)

Furloughs have been something of a hidden blessing for some journalists. They’ve used the uninterrupted time away from work to learn new skills, take on freelancing work or send out resumes for new and better positions. Others have relished in the fact we can’t be contacted on furlough (as opposed to vacation), taking this precious time to spend with family and friends. I’ve used my time to do a bit of both.

A year ago, I had a furlough this same week. It was then that I launched Zombie Journalism to be a place for me to experiment with WordPress, share some of the insights I learn on the job and get my name out there for future career opportunities. I hadn’t planned on it becoming a “real” blog – I don’t really have time to be a “real blogger” – but we’ve had our moments in the last year where it approached something kind of real.

I hope some readers have had an opportunity to learn something here in the last year. In the next year, I’ll try to write more and better posts that you’ll find interesting – and maybe even comment on every now and again. It started with a new URL – as I recently purchased (which has only become available since March 2009). I also plan a redesign very soon – so stay tuned.

If you have things you’d like to know as a fellow journalist, social media enthusiast, student, reader or stalker – let me know (it’ll certainly help with the writer’s block). Let’s make ZJ’s next year the One Where it Counts.