It is March 21, 2011, a Monday. I have spent the better part of the day searching the job boards for postings that apply to my technical background, sending out resumes, and applying for jobs online. In return, I see a few read receipts and a couple of automated emails that confirm my applications have been received. This is a common day for me. On average I send out five to seven resumes and apply for anywhere from two to seven jobs every weekday. If I’m lucky, I get a phone call from a prospective employer.
I am a 44 year old father of one and married, luckily to a working wife. At the time of this writing, I have been unemployed for 270 days or since June 24 which was my last day of employment, with the exception of the few side jobs I’ve worked fixing friends computers. I worked for a local city municipality in the Information Technologies Department. It was a good job that paid very well, almost $80,000.00 a year. Unfortunately, the economy, the State of California’s budget, and just bad financial administrator on the part of the city, kicked the city hard. I was among several permanent employees, some with 20 plus years on the job, who were laid off, in two separate lay-offs. Now, I make $900.00 every two weeks from my unemployment benefits. I’m not complaining, that’s still more than a lot of people make.
Since I was laid off, I have treated unemployment as my job. I wake up in the morning and get ready for work; I shower, get dressed, and grab my coffee. Then I make the long walk to work, my computer which is about 15 feet from the kitchen. I start my day. Of course, there are the distractions of my 3 year old daughter, who also needs to get dressed, go potty, and have breakfast. After she is setup for the morning, I get to work, the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse playing in the background. First it’s Craigslist, then Monster, TheLadders, USAJobs, CalJobs, Indeed, and several others, looking for the latest jobs that meet my search criteria and skill-set. I try to find the jobs I haven’t already applied for and frequently check my list of jobs applied for neatly kept track of in an excel document.
After several hours of job search, my daughter and I take a break. We go for a walk around our neighborhood, pick some dandelions, and enjoy the beautiful vistas Southern California has to offer. From my house, I can see the expensive and expansive estates of Rancho Santa Fe, a quite affluent area in north San Diego County. Back at the house, we eat lunch, and then it’s back to the grindstone. More job hunting for me and more play-time for my daughter. Often, I wish she could have more time in preschool to be with other children, but it’s just simply not affordable on my wife’s income and my unemployment benefits, so she gets to spend the days with me.
I check the job boards again, making sure I haven’t missed anything. I check my LinkedIn account, send out a few Twitter updates, check my email for the umpteenth time, and end my job search for the day. I read a few articles to try to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of the Information Technology field. I take a deep breath. It’s around 4:00 PM, time to go to the park. I pack up my daughter, and off we go. For an hour or so, I wipe my mind of the worries of being unemployed and play with my daughter, talk to the other parents about being a parent, and watch her interact with other children.
Home again, its dinner, Momma is home, and the evening is upon us. Soon it will be a new day, and it will all start over again. More resumes to send out, more applications to submit, more waiting for that phone call that promises hope for a new job and a new beginning.
After 270 days of being unemployed, I am still hopeful and in good spirits. I know that it is only a matter of time before I am hired by a great employer, but in the meantime, it sure would be nice to feel that security and purpose of being employed again.
How are you doing?