For the first time in my life, I am unemployed and don’t want to be. What I mean is that I left IBM, I volunteered to be laid off so I could move from California back to Utah. At Intel, I wanted to leave and was already job-hunting, so when I was laid off and got severance, I was happy. All of my other jobs, I just left to go to the next job. This time, it might end up being a good thing, but it was not by choice or something I wanted at this time. So here I am, several weeks after the layoff – unemployed and in unfamiliar territory?
Unemployment – what I’ve done
So, what I have I been doing? Well, first of all I am thankful for severance. I always planned on leaving this job through a layoff because I qualified for too much severance to just walk away. So, my goal was to not get fired and time the next great job in conduction with a layoff. Well, I got the layoff but not the next great job, so now I am job hunting. I have done most of the usual job-hunting things already: updated resume, followed-up on leads from friends, checked local company Web sites, etc. One thing I have not done is work with recruiters. I don’t want to get into it here, but the short explanation is that they remind me of used car salespeople.
What else I’ve done
So, now I am waiting. This is strange for me. What have I been doing with all my time? Well, mostly working on my own business ideas. I have learned a lot more about running a Web site than I ever knew – I have been running my own Web sites for about 15 years now. In the past few weeks, I have put up fourteen new Web sites of various types with more coming. They are up and running but need promotion work. My strategy is to get them up and promote them over time. This also gives me a chance to see what works and explore many different things.
What else have I been doing? I have done a lot of research. I am learning about running Web sites, Web site tools, SEO, freelancing, health things, and Web business models. I figure this is the time for me to re-evaluate my career goals. Where do I want to be with my career 2, 5, and10 years from now? What skills do I need to develop? How can I prepare myself for retirement? How can we afford our lifestyle if I don’t get quite as high paying of a job? How do we make up the difference? Do we need a lifestyle change? There are lots of heavy and hard questions for us to consider. Maybe some of these questions can’t or shouldn’t be answered until the time comes. Maybe it is just a series of dealing with one thing at a time – get a job, evaluate finances, make needed changes. I really don’t know. Again, lots of unfamiliar territory.
I have also been completing projects that I have needed to complete for awhile, such as some home repairs, picture editing, and garage cleaning.
Timing is a big part of my challenges too. How long do I try Plan A before I switch to Plan B? What worries me the most through all of this is health insurance. I was really lucky that my former company is covering my insurance costs for about six months, and then I am on my own. Well, between my wife and I, we can work and bring in some income, but until I get a full-time job, we will have no ongoing insurance. Of course we can always by insurance, but it would be very expensive. If we get to that point, is it better to buy insurance and wait for the great job or is it better to jump on the first reasonable opportunity that comes along? Again, timing is a big part of the challenge of unemployment.
The fuzzy road ahead
So, I have no answers or wisdom or even good gut feelings. I just try to plow forward each day with the best options that open to me for that day and hope that what I am doing leads me to some endpoint I am hoping for, however long that path is. I also pray a lot for help and guidance. And while doing this, I have a fuzzy view of the unfamiliar territory ahead.