Employment

Thinking About the Future

(Source: flickr.com via @Randall)

What this awful job has made me realize is that I’ve meandered for too long. While there have been creaking door openings for some ideal corporations, either I wasn’t quite the right person for them or that I just didn’t press my case as well as I could.

So, I’m annoyed that I can’t quite realize something that I’ve always wanted to do. A future where I’m just another guy with unfulfilled dreams looms large. That pains me because I’ve always felt that I could do something meaningful. Now, it’s looking more likely that I’ll just be ordinary. While that isn’t such a bad thing, wouldn’t it be nicer to make a big change, be a bit of a difference somehow?

Of course, time moves and sitting still won’t change things.

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Employment

Three Interviews in Four Days

(Source: flickr.com via @hlwindcrampe)

Yes, it’s up to this point. Thankfully, there is a small window of opportunity here. Three companies that were happy to chat with roles that are in my wheelhouse.

Unlike last year, at least I’m still getting paid. The situation isn’t so desperate and I actually feel that I have a chance. I know I’ve hired myself in the past but this feels different. I am calmer and when I’m there yakking with the HR folk, I am less emotionally involved, like I’m watching it all from above.

I don’t know if that helps in the long run but it feels less painful if I get rejected (yeah, I’m thinking of that, too). The most valuable thing I’ve learned is that I know what I like and this current job isn’t that.

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Unemployment

Re-thinking

(Source: deathtothestockphoto.com)

(Source: deathtothestockphoto.com)

I’ve got a lot of time. Well, sort of. Being Mr Mom means getting kids ready for school or naps, preparing three meals a day (yeah, think about that), perpetually picking up toys from the floor, grocery shopping, and so on. I feel like I need to do a few of those things before I can really settle into this seemingly endless job search. Well, endless isn’t true – it just feels that way.

I need focus to apply for a job. I put in effort. I customize my materials as all the advice says. For a given job, there’s a little research on the company needed. That becomes a small (but enjoyable) rabbit hole.

For all this effort, I haven’t come close to a job offer. Final interviews, yes. Something that says I’d be employed, no. And so, after a heated discussion with my significant other, I need to do a bit of thinking. Again. The questions are about:

  • What is it that I’m good at?
  • Where can I apply this?
  • Can I be open to being in other industries?
  • Can I view my past experiences into something applicable for a different industry?
  • Can I join at a level lower than I am used to?

Essentially, it all boils to re-framing what’s possible. The last few months of effort hasn’t really worked, so an adjustment has to be made. Yes, I’m open to different things because I know that I can apply what I know to other circumstances. The tough part is being able to think in an uncomfortable new way. I like it to the awkwardness of a new class, a new environment, a new hobby. That bit has been harder than I expected.

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Unemployment

When Did I Become Unemployable?

(Source: flickr.com via @smartblue)

I’ve been keeping an eye on the clock and it’s been ten months since I haven’t worked. That time has gone by quickly and my routine of child-rearing, housekeeping and limited personal development has repeated itself day after day. In the shower (where I do some of my best thinking) I just wonder where I skipped a beat career-wise. While I feel technically competent, there are some skills where I think I didn’t quite keep pace with the market. I can point to the somewhat backwards looking environment that I worked in but also my own inability to look outside of my current situation. That is, while working, I should have viewed the market and gauged my own capabilities against what was on the up. Interviews and job ads are looking for things I should have and really this one is on me.

Also, I think I neglected building more useful connections. In the hustle of job hunting, using existing connections to find new ones seems to be the way to find roles. This use of oily recruiters isn’t getting me anywhere. Again, on me.

That said, I do have energy (most of the time) and propelled by a little smidge of disgust about my own situation just keeps me going. I know there are organizations that aren’t as smart as they could be and surely I could be useful to them. While it’s a trap to fall into bemoaning my situation, pushing to find something new has to be the main focus.

To tomorrow.

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Unemployment

The Things I Miss

(Source: flickr.com via @401(K) 2012

This extended period of non-working gets me down because of a few things that I really miss.

I miss the commute. Being able to just plug in, listen to a treasured podcast, flick through some mail, and then arrive at the station to walk to the office was a precious amount of alone time that I no longer have.

I miss the banter. That inane stuff that people yak about because they want to burn time, spark a little creativity and to just find out what’s new from another human. Right now, I’ve got a toddler substituting for that and while he understands me perfectly, he talks in babbles.

I miss shopping. I miss this one most of all. Yes, as a household, we didn’t budget too tightly when I was working and we didn’t worry about buying this or that at a whim. Nothing too extravagant but an internal wishlist, always at the top of my head, could be retrieved within seconds. I can’t even think about that without that pang of longing.

I have learnt, however, that we are an all consuming society. Unable now to satisfy that need to just buy, buy, buy, I see how that programming is so unavoidable. We are told to buy this or that (and yes, I contributed to that machine). Yes, I crave for the ability to buy those things that I want, even though I’m not so sure about why I wanted them in the first place and that I have so many other things that do exactly the same thing, only they’re older.

Am I better for knowing this? I don’t know but I can’t wait to go shopping again.

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Unemployment

Stasis

Source: flickr.com via @housephotography

So, I find myself teetering – not trying to fall on either side of an emotional seesaw. Anxiety and dark brooding anger on one side and irrational giddiness on the other. I’ve been crazy optimistic before (when I thought I’d be a shoe-in for a job or as one recruiter said, “you’d already hired yourself”) only to be badly disappointed.

In trying to stay level, I’d say that I’m emotionally neutered. I can’t speed to anger or worry because that’s unproductive while being too excited can only lead to a let down.

Going through the day trying not to be too sad or glad is tiring. The search is okay. I don’t think I’m networking hard enough and the Christmas worry is perhaps easing, mainly because I’m trying not to be too down about it. The home pressure has eased and there is an uncomfortable comfort in this current state of play. Whether that helps in the overall job search, I’m not sure.

I do know that trying new things (freelancing is certainly on the cards) and self-training is happening (albeit too slowly). That gives me some energy but it’s getting long now and while I know I’m capable, time is ticking… but to what end?

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Unemployment

So, That’s Six Months

Source: flickr.com via @KellyPuffs

The clock has ticked quickly and it’s been six months of unemployment, ceaseless job search and rejection.

That’s half a year of no paychecks.

That’s half a year of missing office banter that provides the proverbial cherry on top to working in an office.

Perhaps most importantly for me, that’s half a year of not able to hone my thinking – no questioning, solving and just twisting over a puzzle.

Then again, there’s the Mr Mom thing. I had half a year of seeing a little one grow big and really, I couldn’t have had that with a corporate job. At least, not in the current climate. Yes, it’s my silver lining to the situation. And really, I think it’s half a year well spent.

 

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