Today is the anniversary of my layoff, at least three days ago it was. It has been 15 weeks, which is equal to the number of weeks of severance pay I received. I wanted to write an update of what has been happening to me for these weeks and also how I feel about things. Today is also special because I applied for a job for the first time since the layoff. Not sure if anything will come of the application, but I continue on my journey.
Let’s start in reverse order, today was my first application, not because I was disinterested in working, nor because I was too busy. Simply, there have been no opportunities that fit my salary, job, and location requirements. Am I being too picky?” I don’t think so, not unless these mean I am picky:
• Wanting to spend less than two hours each way commuting to work
• Working for about half my previous salary
• Avoiding doing something I am not really qualfied or good at doing
Am I worried? A bit, but not extremely, because this period included Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the end of the year. These greatly reduce the number of new jobs being opened. The job I applied for today was not perfect, but it has the potential to be good. The job is close enough in distance, is for a good company, and the work fits my skill set. The monster huge question is salary. Are they willing to pay what I need or am I willing to go even lower? I guess this depends on how well the other pieces fit together. I would take a lower salary if the other things make up for it.
So, how do I really feel not having a job? Being unemployed is a shot to my ego. Although, I know I am good at what I do, I just start to question if anyone else thinks I am. Of course, if I don’t apply for any jobs, which I have done finally, I will never know. My wife has a great on call/part-time job, so this eases my worry a great deal. We cannot survive on what she currently brings in, but it stretches out how long we have until things go critical. Unfortunately, she has no health insurance with her company, so we need to shell out for insurance ourselves, which can be about half of what we must spend each month.
On a typical day, I look at the job listings and do not see any good options to apply for. In today’s world, there is no need to go out and submit resumes to different employers. Online job listing service and company Web sites have made that obsolete. You just do your checks each day and that is about it. I am trying to do some networking and slowly spreading the word to friends about my job need. However, I reached out to many of these people weeks ago, so I probably don’t need to bother them again too soon.
The irony of times like these is that I have a lot of time to go on vacations and do fun things, but because I do not have money coming in, I feel guilty doing them. Now, not being able to spend money doesn’t mean that I am bored or killing time. In some ways, I feel like I am working too many hours and am too busy.
This is the part that might bore you, but I wanted to identifdy what I have done in fifteen weeks. How has the time passed so quickly? Well, without going into the details, here is a list of what I have been doing:
• Editing my backlog of stock photos, so I can put them up for sale (3 weeks).
• Editing my backlog of ballroom photos, so I can put them up for sale (3 weeks).
• Resurrecting my ballroom photography Web site, so I can sell photos (1 week).
• Doing Christmas and Thanksgiving related family activities (1 week).
• Learning about and building an Instagram following that can be monetized (2 weeks).
• Writing a computer program for a new business idea (5 weeks).
If I knew I would have fifteen weeks of time (or more) and knew what I know now, I would have spent most all these fifteen weeks on what I think is the most promising business, the computer program. However, this idea did not exist until December. Right now, I am trying to move the development along as fast and as far as I can before I land the job I am currently hunting for. I think of this new business as my layoff insurance or retirement income. Some days I spend over twelve hours working on it. The Instagram idea did not come along until mid-November. So given what I knew fifteen weeks ago, I headed down the right path and over time, more ideas came to mind. Also, I had an offer for some contact work fourteen weeks ago that I did research and allocated time for, but I am still waiting for it to pan out.
OK, more than you wanted to know regarding what I have been doing with my time, but I wanted to record this for my own benefit. The last time I was laid off, I was sick soon after. I could not go in for job interviews, so I worked on what I though then was a good idea – Web site businesses. I think I started six or seven sites and had plans for at least that many more. Most of these sites were aimed at making money through advertising. As of today, two of the sites remain. Three of the sites had issues beyond my control and needed to be shut down. Two of them never made it off the ground. The remaining sites have not been maintained, so they receive no traffic. Fortunately, as soon as I was healthy, I started job hunting and had a job in less than a month.
In today’s situation, I am still positive that once the right job opens up, I have a good shot at getting it. The hard part, as with looking for the right one to marry, is you never know how long it will take. And though none of us would compromise when it comes to a marriage partner, it might make sense for me to compromise for a job to have insurance and money coming in again.
So, the road ahead remains uncertain. I guess life is always uncertain. Maybe I should just call this the road ahead or the road ahead again.