Day 13: Down

August 19, 2008

A question of the day today is: Do I take a job just to have a job or do I persevere and look for a job that is genuinely something I would like to do?

I would like to attempt to answer the question this time. I just got back from an interview with a company I used to work for. I made a few friends there at the time and they are willing to help me to transition. However, to be perfectly honest, there is no role for me there right now that I would be happy with and during the interview we found it hard to define a position for me. There is an opportunity to work in the marketing department for the time being and while I didn’t blow it today by being far from interested, I definitely risk being perceived as a chooser in a situation where I am not one. The choice is whether to agree to the mediocre opportunity just to get by or stay afloat for a while and look for better long-term options.

I am too early into the job search process to really be able to answer this question I suppose. For all I am concerned I might land something soon and there is no need to rush just yet. Things are even more complicated by the fact that I am applying for graduate programs this fall and one of the big choices is how to position myself for schools. Will a mediocre time-filler job look better than no job? What if no job means that I am consciously leaving something behind to really change things around. If anything, the lay off didn’t just happen. I have been contemplating quitting my job for a long time. It just so happened that my boss was contemplating the same regarding me. I am excited about the prospects and look forward to breaking out of the cage my career has become in just a few years into the making.

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Unemployment Day 1-11: Recap

January 1, 1970

Day 1: Way Down

On the day of the lay-off I made it a point to moderate my drinking and went to a Russian restaurant for some infused vodka and fatty food. That evening I had to tell my girlfriend what happened. She knew that I had a meeting with the management coming up but we were both guessing as to what it could be about. Turns out I was right. She was very sweet and supportive and I received some words of encouragement about my future prospects.

Day 2: Up

I had a brief conversation with an immigrations lawyer who delivered the good news about my ability to stay in the country for up to 90 days since the termination of employment to seek another position. I was happy to hear that and immediately ran through calculations in my head as to how thinly I would have to spread my savings in case I will have to use the full 90 days. I also called my former former boss and mentioned that I am looking for a job without diving too deep into the details of my situation.

Day 3: Down

I kept sighing all day. I did it enough times for my mother to decide to lecture me on the benefits of positive attitude and to advise me to say “aha” instead of sighing. I must say that little things like that count. I practiced in the mirror that and subsequent days to say “aha” in the most positive way. My mood remained down that day.

Day 7-8: Up

I went suit shopping and got a sweet Boss suit on sale at Macy’s. I got another Boss suit the next day and I am happy to report that both days were positive. I was excited to have suits to wear to interviews and now just needed those interviews to go to. This insight lowered my happiness level toward the end of Day 8. for an hour or so before going to sleep I became preoccipied with the idea of how people tend overestimate how happy they would be if they got what they wanted. It is a well-known phenomenon in Psychology. I think I might be overestimating my happiness for the time after I get a job.

A nagging question from days 1-8: Which suit color to buy for interviews?

A nagging question from then on: How to start getting interviews?

Unemployment Day 12: OK

January 1, 1970

As an opening post this could be something of a general statement about my goals, ideas, and ambitions. Instead I will say this:

I woke up with a horrible hang-over this morning to find myself unable to think and generally lazy to do anything. See, I have already justified to myself that getting laid-off was not such a bad thing. I have a plan of action and I have all the various scenarions of how things might turn out articulated in my head. Now it comes down to the nitty gritty of taking the necessary steps to accomplish the plan.

I was never good at writing cover letters and praising myself for my accomplishments has never been a priority. This time around, I delegated this task to my girlfriend who is apparently very good at spotting my “outstanding” qualities and formulating my experiences in the most presentable manner. She claimed that my initial drafts betrayed my fragile emotional state and that I sounded like I was desperate for a job…

…I am desperate for a job. Not in the million years have I thought I would end up like this. I suppose it could happen to anyone and especially in the current economy. But what happened to me has nothing to do with the economy. I was lazy. I was lazy to do what it took to keep the job. But, as I usually need a good kick in the butt to get me going in any particular direction and toward any particular goal, I am looking at this lay-off positively. My life is really in my hands now and my hands only. Stay tuned for a day-by-day discovery process filled with emotional up’s and down’s and a dose of healthy self-criticism on the matter of how to move forward.

Question of the day: How many cover letters does it take before I become a master of self-promotion?