Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Week 18 - More Unemployment Challenges

Surprisingly keeping positive hasn't been a problem.  I guess you eventually get to the point where you deal with so many adverse events that you become conditioned to it.

I had what I thought was a great 2nd interview for a position I really thought was going to be given to me. Unfortunately there were three other finalists and I wasn't one of them.  I really didn't get any feedback as to why I didn't get the job but in hind site it may have been my over confidence.

To add flame to the fire my fiance whom quickly jumped into a retail sales position to help with the home finances lost her job.  In the moment I was flushed with emotions... anger, disrepair.  Instead of breaking down though, I just hopped in the car and drove to an old park I used to frequent as a kid and spent a few hours gathering my thoughts.

Being well over the halfway point where my unemployment benefit ends has certainly made me reassess my target employment searches.  I'm looking at both professional and near-entry level positions.  Though I love money as much as anyone, my actual salary requirements to live what I consider a comfortable existence is actually on the low side.  I'm content with the simple things and am happy with my current level of existence.   I have all the "things" I want and need and being able to maintain and replace them as needed would make me content.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Weeks 10 through 17 - The Death Spiral

Re-reading my previous entry I now recognize how quickly depression was setting in.  Over the following weeks my attitude and enthusiasm quickly began to spiral.  I was keeping a positive attitude on the outside as best I could but eventually I broke down.

I slumped into self-pity pretty quickly.  It wouldn't have been so bad if I were getting rejection letters, at least that way I could asses what the problem was and make corrections.  But I had nothing to grip on, no responses, no leads, no potential solution.

Prior to this event I've never been unemployed for more than a week or two.  I had every confidence that after a half dozen interviews with various places I'd be right back on my feet.  Those interviews never came, not even a single courtesy rejection letter from my applications.

I still had what I consider to be a successful freelance business running.  If you remember I had hopes of spinning that into my new source of full-time income.  Unfortunately I lack the sales skills to make that happen quick enough before my funds run out, especially in my current state of mind.

During these weeks I began researching various social services program.  Seeing if there were some type of program that could help with my negative income flow before I totally run out.  The sad truth is that only when you are truly indigent is when programs become available to you.  I really can't believe there's nothing in place to help people before they reach such lows.

After a pep talk from my wonderful fiance I am finally able to snap out of my funk and let my logic take over a bit.  Realizing that complaining and worrying is simply not productive.. well actually counter productive!  And that while many people are concerned about me over this situation, they can only offer moral support and simply aren't able to change it.  I am the only one that can invoke that change.

With this realization I decided to make a commitment to my self, that from this day forward I would only be positive and not expend any energy on negative emotions and thought.  I cleared my calendar (I'm a time management freak) and started adding deliberate tasks that are both positive and proactive towards my goal of financial stability.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Weeks 6 Through 9 - A Journey Through Space and Time

Saturday, July 23, 2015 - My blogging activities haven't decreased due to lack of interest, but rather lack of reportable events.  No much of note has transpired since my last entry.  I continue trolling the usual sites in search of that elusive perfect lead.

Don't get me wrong, leads are coming in and some quite good!  But as good as they may seem to most people they simply aren't engaging to me.  I have a deep need to be of significant value to a company, not just a replacement part that keeps a business together because someone else failed.

I'm beginning to see the flaw in my employment quest, the companies I want to work with don't have an actual position established for which I would neatly fit.  Although I have no doubt I could bring significant cost-effective value to these companies they need to be convinced that a new position is in order.  Admittedly, sales is not one of my upper level skills and convincing them they need to create a position for me may be beyond my current abilities.  A realization that does have me educating myself on that process.

Speaking of challenges, managing my schedule seems to have become a bit of a task.  By nature I like to have my time completely managed and schedule so I know exactly what I'm doing, when and how long it will take to complete each task.  Working in an office there was a specific demarcation as to when the workday began and ended with neat little slots for lunch and breaks.  These chronological cues no longer exist for me, so I needed to create my own.

In nature, astrological events guide earthly creatures.  Being (arguably) earthly creature this seemed to be a logical homeopathic approach to time management.  Within Microsoft Outlook I imported sunrise, sunset, solar noon, meridian passing (essentially lunar noon), new moon and full moon.  I then built my schedule around these fixed points.

The great benefit I've found by this method is that I am no longer bound by the typical 24-hour daily cycle.  A great advantage should I fully embrace the freelance lifestyle and solicit global clients from various time zones.

I really have a distinct feeling that you will begin seeing a shift in my entries as I transform from job hunter to entrepreneur.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Week 5 - So the State Has Been Laid Off As Well?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016 - It's a real challenge to remain positive when there's negative energy around you.  I left the house feeling good and ready to be productive as I headed to my "Enhanced Re-Employment Services Orientation".  Fresh notebook in hand, lists of questions to ask and feeling good that I'm keeping the ball rolling.

The staff at the State office was very friendly.  A woman at the desk quickly spotted I was a "First Timer" and got me into the proper line then waiting area for my orientation to begin.  The waiting area was filled with people waiting for various sessions to begin.  Considering everyone waiting was unemployed the mood was surprisingly happy.  You could see than a few friendships have formed between the regulars and some even seemed to have formed relationships with the staff.

When my session was called, the woman at the desk gave me a "that's you" nod and I followed the group of about 8 people up the stairs and into an obviously mothballed corner of the building.  There was no air conditioning running but windows were open.  AV equipment in obvious disrepair and dark computer workstations.

The leader apologized for the condition of the facilities and explained that they are in the process of shutting it down and that this session will be merged with another.  He also explained that the session length will be much shorter than we were told and that basically (with a wink and a nod) that they were just going through the motions so they can maintain their funding.

The main scope of this session was to ensure that everyone knew how to search for a job and that it is no longer a matter of looking at the "help wanted" section in newspapers.  Once he knew I was technologically capable and aware of the online search tools I was set free.

As for my questions...  well..  They are Federally funded but state run.  While they don't discourage job searches outside of the state they have no inter-state database that allows you to search beyond the state.

They do have "something" about small business startups and entrepreneurship but I would have to attend a session called "Career Services Information" which will give me access to someone familiar with all the various options. 

So in other news.  My fiance is now working.  Alone that income isn't enough to run the household but along with my savings and unemployment eases the stress just that much more and is giving me a little more time to figure out what to do.

While I still feel very optimistic about finding "a job" it does appear that it may be a bit more difficult that I had anticipated to find that great second career that can feed my spirits as well as my bank account.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Week 4 - Officially on the Dole

Tuesday, June 14, 2016 - I just spotted my first electronic deposit from the Unemployment Office.  Guess that makes me officially on State assistance.  Part of me says it's about time I see some benefit come out of all the money I've paid into the system over the years while the other half of my says this is utterly embarrassing and why the heck am I blogging about this?  I guess I can live with myself knowing that I'm using it as intended...  a simple crutch as I get over this small challenge and I'll soon be paying back into the system so that those who have made it a career path can do so. that those who are in need of State benefits can continue to live with dignity.  (You saw what I did there?  Yea, as my mindset shifts towards self employment there is less need for the charade.. not that it really is that.. but obviously I've been behaving a little better than usual knowing that potential future employers are hopefully scouring my social media).

Now where was I?  Dang, this is starting to read like a Deadpool fan fiction article.  (Note to self.. add copywriter to list of skills).

This week the State sent me a request to attend an "Enhanced Re-Employment Services Orientation". I looked up this program because the letter wasn't very descriptive and according to the State Website..
The Enhanced Re-employment Services program identifies customers who are likely to exhaust their unemployment benefits before returning to the same or similar employment.
Wow, aren't we positive.  Hmm...  wonder if the state is hiring copywriters?

I really hope they've dealt with others that share my mindset.  I have two lines of questioning that I'm going to push on them... 1) Do they have any assistance programs for finding work and relocating out of the state?  2) Do they consider self-employment and entrepreneurship a "job" and do they have any programs that can assist in that venture?

I really hope so, teaching me "how to dress for success" or formatting a resume isn't really going to help me a whole lot here.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Week 3 - It Really Wasn't THAT Bad!

Tuesday, June 6, 2016 - I had a few private messages saying that my last post was a bit of a pitty party.  Well.. I guess it wasn't as positive as I was hoping but in light of everything I think I'm doing a pretty good job at maintaining my composure.

I think this week will truly mark the end of the initial phase of this process.  The "vacation hearing" is over and done with and the state paid my my unemployment compensation retroactively.  I at least now have a little understanding why this was even the case.  It was a matter of a few questions left blank from my former personal department... I'm sure just a clerical oversight.  (That didn't sound too passive aggressive, did it?  Yea.. I know.. I'm doing my best.)

Lots of deep breaths and sitting out in the sun trying to relax this week.  Home-life is somewhat stressful, mostly because I'm just not used spending this much time with my significant other.  Mind you we're not having any "problems" per se, just getting used to this new dynamic.  She'd normally have her daily routine while I'm at work and I'm still settling into one.  But it's all good.

Now that the unemployment money is definitely flowing and I have a solid written budget, we're no longer in panic mode.  The fun food is back on the grocery list and occasional casual dining and ordering out is back on our schedule.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Week Two - Life Support Disconnected.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016 - Okay, maybe the title of this post is a bit dramatic, but it's just what I feel like has happened.  Today is my last day of company paid health benefits and it's a bit frightening.  My fiance seems to believe there's some free State programs available but I'm not optimistic.  From what I gather they have minimum asset requirements (I own a home, so that disqualifies me) and they determine income as your last two years averaged.

I did get my COBRA offer in the mail... it's no secret that its kind of ridiculous to think many people can afford that while being laid off and while ObamaCare is an option, the affordable plans are really only to protect you from major medical expenses over $10k.  Certainly an option if I go the self-employed route but at this point with or without it any catastrophe would wipe out the finances quickly.

Other than that, I'm still pondering my direction.  Mostly doing a lot of networking with both potential employers and entrepreneurs.

Of note I did learn something new.  Had no idea that "Adult Internship" was a thing.  Stumbled upon the website of BoomerDen.com and thought it was quite interesting.  Certainly something I may explore.

For those of you playing at home, I have not received my first check from unemployment yet.  I do think that is mainly because I was released mid-week.