It’s Friday. I’ve been out of work 10 days now. It seems like 10 years and 10 minutes all at the same time. I have no frame of reference. I thought it was Thursday on Wednesday and Friday on Thursday. I have worked 12-14 hours every day for 10 days now. What kind of work, you ask? Great question. I’d love to tell you.
I have reworked my budget and have returned purchased items. I have worked on my resume and gotten input from others. I have set up a job search spreadsheet and applied for unemployment. I have donated 10 boxes of books (Books4Cause) and reconstructed my bookcase. I have taken care of legal matters and investigated what ISOs are and how they could impact me. And I spun up this website.
I cancelled future back-related PT appointments. And I’ll be done with mental health therapy as well. Even though I suspect I’ll have some kind of insurance, my provider is out of network and when money is tight – I have 6 weeks of severance – I stop spending on anything that doesn’t directly help me bring in money. Put another way, my health comes last when money gets tight. I know that this is the same for pretty much everyone. Why is healthcare tied to employment anyhow? That’s a topic for another day.
Today I feel the urge to talk about job hunting. I don’t know the correct way to do this new to me experience. I haven’t had to look for work since like 1983 or so. Things have changed. ::eyeroll::
I have pals who have applied to 50+ jobs in the last 10 days. I have other friends who applied for 250 jobs before landing. I’ve heard that it’s a numbers game…increase your chances by applying to as many jobs as possible. But I have to wonder: are they all jobs these folks really want? Do people truly apply for everything instead of what they really want? Do people feel hopeless? Do they feel their worth is less because they were laid off? I don’t know the answer to this and I suspect I’ll get as many different views as there are people out of work.
I have very dear, non-IT friends who do not understand what I do or what I’ve done. And so, in trying to be helpful, they’ve sent me advice on how to get a minimum wage job in retail. I’m not sure why anyone would think I would want to (or physically could) work at <retail shop>. Or, my “local” friends know that I knit so they suggest selling hand-knit items on <social marketplace>. I love my friends madly. They love me back. But it’s interesting to me that I’ve never taken the time to share with them what I know and what I have done in my work life. That’s on me.
I don’t want to come across as ungrateful. I am beyond grateful for all the love and support they lavish on me. I have never felt more supported than I have this past week. So I thank them and ask if I can send them a copy of my resume in case they run across something more appropriate. Hopefully that will give them a better idea of what I’m looking to do. And I have to start talking about myself in ways that highlight me, rather than poopoo my talents. This is NOT the time for me to be humble.
Thankfully, my IT pals get it and I have a very large network of dear dear friends. Thank the heavens for macadmins.org. These people are my lifeblood. In very few words I can tell them what I’m looking for. I have found LinkedIn to be a valuable resource as well. While I do have to zhuzh mine up (that’s a task for next week), my network has expanded manyfold and I search it regularly for contacts inside companies I’m interested in working for.
I do have some advice for you when you have a friend who’s lost their job:
– Let them know right away that you’re available to talk when they’re ready. Then give them some space to grieve. I couldn’t speak for 2 days. I didn’t eat for over 24 hours. I still haven’t slept a full night. This is about them.
– Touch base a week or so after initial contact. Just let them know you’re thinking of them and you’re still available.
– When they’re ready, ask if they want your advice or just an ear to listen?
– Ask them if they are eating and sleeping? Offer to bring them food or cook for them. They’re grieving. They may not be able to even make a decision like what to eat for <meal>.
– Offer to look over their resume if you have those skills.
– Offer to practice interviewing with them.
– Ask them if they’re ready to start looking again – give this question some time before you ask.
– Please don’t assume desperation. Most folks in tech layoffs have received a severance of some sort. Don’t assume “something is better than nothing.” It’s really not. Center your friend’s needs: ask them what they’re looking for in a job and salary range before you tell them about that part time retail job.
– How can I help and who can I introduce you to are probably two of the most valuable offers you can make to your unemployed friend.
I can say that today – at least for now – I do not feel worthless or even less worthy than I did 2 weeks ago. I do feel scared, that’s for sure. I’m very afraid, for dozens of reasons, that I won’t find another job. But I do not feel desperate. And I feel some gratitude. This has shown me how many people I have in my life who really do care about me. I had no idea. I am both stunned and oh so grateful.
Until next time…