Submitted by an anonymous contributor.
A little background, I am a single mom of two teenagers living in Atlanta Georgia. The last time I was unemployed was over 24 years ago. I worked for my last employer for 14 years. For reasons unrelated to my job performance, or any wrongdoing on mine or the company’s part, we separated in December of 2014. I can relay all the emotions I went through, shock, disbelieve, weeping (yes I wept), sadness, depression, jubilation (felt adventurous for a wee second) and optimism. I did not understand unemployment until it happened to me. I was always of the school of thought that when one door closes another one opens, until that door closed on me. Although everyone told me not to worry I would find a position quickly with my experience, my skills, my background, it would be a piece of cake, I still worried. I am a single mother with two kids, one in his first year of college. I have provided for my children single handedly for the past 8 years, what do I do now? When you go through a divorce they refer to the loss of your spouse as if you lost a limb that is the feeling I had when I lost my job, a part of me was missing and not just the money or the career, but the relationships as well. Sorry if this sounds melodramatic but I am just being honest. Yes I try to count my blessings, they are many, but this is wow, something altogether different. And so with a mix of excitement and trepidation, I set out to find a job in a city where I never job hunted before. It has been 2 1/2 months, 50 resumes, 3 interviews (with no offers or even a “thank you but we chose another candidate.”), Linkedin Premium, every available job board, networking, working with a career coach, sending my resume directly and still I wait for that door to open. And I apologize to all who have been unemployed longer than two months and think I should just get a grip. I hear you, you are probably right, but I own these feelings.
Lay offs are in the air again at my company. Not to mention, things have slowed down significantly in my own job duties. I’m stagnating in my department and I’m no longer getting work from the creative department. Right now everything is screaming at me that it’s time for me to leave. It doesn’t feel right yet – and no, that isn’t the fear of change talking – but that’s another conversation for another day.
Anyway, despite the smiles and encouraging meetings saying how WELL the company is doing and how STRONG we are, I am noticing small inconsistencies with these statements.
Yikes, I haven’t been around for a while have I?
Well, I’ll update things. First, I’m still at the same job I have always been at. I’m not getting work from the creative department although I have finally felt comfortable again asking for projects (ever since layoffs and being overworked in my own department, I just haven’t had time). Oddly enough, I had my goals meeting with supervisor yesterday and I might be getting more responsibility from her, which is good and bad. Good, because I can do something different. Bad, because I feel like I’m getting further away from transferring departments.
A couple of months ago, my company did layoffs and about 10 to 12 people were let go. Luckily I did survive, but about two months later I still sense things aren’t right.
It left me wondering what the true impact of layoffs and whether if can hurt more than help. Two months later after these layoffs, two people have left the company I hadn’t thought would leave any time soon. For me, I am trying to transfer departments, but if nothing happens my reasoning staying will be gone.
Meanwhile, I’m hearing conversations about business not doing well from coworkers alongside talk of renovations and remodeling getting done. I think the problem here is just bad management. But the tragic thing is that work loads are higher and people are getting behind on things.
2015 is around the corner and that means all of us are lining up our resolutions and goals to inspire us into the new year. For me, for the first time since I’ve had this blog (I think), I want to put together a list of career related goals for myself. I’m hoping this will keep me on track and help build better habits too.
1) Stop eating out of my boss’ candy jar.
Okay there are only so many mini-snickers you can eat before you realize how crappy they are for your body. So my number one goal is to completely eliminate this habit. And no more left-over-sprinkle-kitchen-hunting either. If I have yogurt for breakfast, I just have yogurt. I don’t need to toss in crap to an otherwise healthy start of my day.
On Christmas Day, I woke up at 4 am, very alert, and after having just gone to bed at around 1 am, I thought it would be a good idea to put the coffee on and just go with it. Will this be a terrible idea around 6 pm today? Well, we’ll see!
And I made a list of a few of the things that crossed my mind –
1) “It’s 3 am and I must be lonely.”
I always think of this song if I’m up early at an ungodly hour. Every time. So if you’re awake right now too, here’s the song for you –
The last time my family and I celebrated Christmas was back in 2006, my second December after high school. This year I didn’t expect to celebrate Christmas at all actually. In fact, most years I would sneer at Christmas movies and snark at all the junk that happens around this time of year. Not that I was bitter, but in reality, I couldn’t stand the idea that this one time of year everyone SUDDENLY got really nice and generous.
Well, this year something changed. First it changed with my family in terms of birthdays. For the lack of a better way to say this, we were too broke to do all that much for birthdays. This year none of us had the money for gifts. In prior years, though, even when we did have money, we felt miserable about the day. We were usually the most miserable on our own birthday. That huge expectation to be happy on our birthday collides into the fact that we’ve been through a lot and it’s hard to meet that expectation of happy.
I made a choice to quit my career a year and a half ago to move with my partner of 4 years, who is in the military, because the military moved us. Because we are not married I don’t qualify for unemployment. In the new place we moved to I have basically hit a brick wall with jobs. I have a master’s degree, over 10 years experience in my field, excellent references, and can’t even get hired for retail. I can’t pay my bills and my partner can’t afford to pay everything for both of us. I want to work and I need to work. I apply for so many jobs I loose track. In the past year and a half I have had exactly 2 interviews, both over the phone. Both seemed to go well but nothing happened. I am not even getting a chance to sell myself in person.
I’ve recently found myself on ‘that’ side of the table. You know the one. The side where you sit alone and face a panel of inquisitors who hold crisp, white sheets of paper with questions that require you to summarize your career in two minute intervals.
It’s been over 10 years since I’ve had to go through the interview process and I can confidently say the interview questions I’ve been asked are nearly the same ones I answered 10 years ago.
– ‘Tell me/us about a time when you had to deal with a difficult situation and how did you handle it?’
I am so pleased to have this writer return to continue talking about his unemployment journey. Follow him on Twitter for more!
In the last entry, I mentioned how difficult it was to find a great paying job in this area that was not a service sector job.
The fact is this area-from Las Cruces to El Paso-has added just over 3,000 jobs in the past year (2013-14). Awesome. If I want a job here they are available. I just have to be willing to start at $9.00 per hour. Does it matter that I have a Master’s degree? Nope. Not at all. Does it matter if it’s in Human Resource Management? Nope. Not at all.