Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Day In Between the Days...

This is the day in between the days in between the days of Christmas and New Years. Well, not exactly right between but it sure feels that way. A short work week for those who work. A kinda quiet week for those of us who don't work (at anything other than finding work). All is quiet on the job boards.

On the bad news front, I had a final meeting with my outplacement counselor yesterday - she says that 2009 is going to pick up slowly, which I think is her optimistic way of saying that it will get worse before it gets better. Obviously, she knows this from her firm being hired to manage more layoffs. So hold onto your desks, working people, the scythe of layoffs is still swinging. My advice to you in these times:

  1. Be a contributor, not a manager. Managers always seem to be more expendable than those that produce.
  2. Act like a consultant . I've covered this in an earlier post: You, Inc.
  3. Prepare your family. Speaking from personal experience, there's nothing worse than coming home to your family with the unexpected news that you no longer have a job. Sidebar - this has happened to me twice in jobs where I didn't really expect it (although I should have). In the one job where I constantly felt like I would be laid off due to all the uncertainty surrounding a bankruptcy and a buy-out, I never got laid off. After all the dust settled, I left for a better job.
  4. Have a financial plan. One that involves something other than credit cards.
  5. Relax. If it's going to happen to you soon, it's already decided. Nothing you can do in the next few days or weeks will change that. And it's not the worst thing in the world that can happen to you or your family. There are other more important events that are far worse, like death of a loved one or serious illness. Have some perspective. Define yourself by who you are, not what you do.

Sorry to sound so grim. I hope for the best for all the employed people - I really don't need your competition in trying to find a job. I promise my next post will be more uplifting.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Christmas is always a good time of year to appreciate what you have. Although I'm still unemployed and without much in the way of prospects, I'm still going for the "there are others way less fortunate than you" route. I am convinced that a job will come my way. Do the work, find the job. And so to all, a Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Search Lite

It's been a little hard getting into the job search this past week. With disruption at the house forcing me to my laptop for a few days (projects, power outages, snow storms, projects) and the need to put snow tires on the cars, donate platelets, Christmas shop and work on those projects, I haven't been able to dedicate any more than 4 hours any of the last several days. Not that there's a lot to search for out there. The listings are looking a bit sparse. I've done some networking and I am spending some time preparing for life after outplacement (services officially end tomorrow but I've got two more meetings to attend). And "people" say things should pick up after the first of the year, so I'm ready for that.

Looking ahead, there won't be much searching the next couple of weeks. Christmas means getting together with family which includes some travel, and we're trying to knock the majority of the projects off by the weekend after new years. So, even though I don't feel productive on the search front, I can feel productive on the project front.

If I don't post again until next week, Merry Christmas everyone.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dark Day

One of the things we do in outplacement is to keep track of the time we spend looking for a job. The theory goes that it helps make you more accountable and allows you to figure out if you are spending time on the right things. Based on my numbers, I'm not very accountable and I spend time on the wrong things.

This past Friday will have to be entered as no time spent searching. It's really hard to work your job search when you have no power and are more concerned about staying warm than about getting to the Internet to search job listings and send and receive email. Power was out all day until Friday night. We were the lucky ones as others still don't have power today. Anyway, with the state of the job market right now, there wasn't a lot to miss.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

You know you've been at outplacement too long when...

When they ask you to run the weekly meeting (called the JSWT = Job Search Work Team). Yep, it happened today. The regular (and I suppose paid) facilitator was unable to attend and my career counselor who runs the office had other meetings, so she asked me to step in. It's really not that hard, and since you get to know the people you have been meeting with, not that threatening. The usual routine is we go through our numbers (hours spent, contacts made), bring up any issues and share stories (today we discussed a couple of members' experiences at recent job fairs). It went pretty well and I came close to filling the two scheduled hours. She's asked me to step in again next week when our regular facilitator is on vacation. I'm thinking I should ask for pay, or at least an extension of my benefits which run out at the end of the month.

In other search related news, the "not no, not yes" from the long commute company turned into a "no" and the "nothing" is still nothing. And I have no more possibles in the pipeline. I have had some good conversations with people in my network - one introduced me to a CEO at a Manchester company and the other had some ideas that may play out, so all hope is not lost. And I continue to fire off resumes to the very few jobs that I see out there. It's a tough market, or so I hear from everyone I talk to.

I did get a great piece of advice from one of the JSWT members today. He advised that if you believe that 9 out of 10 contacts will bear no fruit, then you should treat each of the "no's" you get as getting you closer to that one "yes". Glass 9/10's full or something like that. Since I am not good at dealing with rejection, this is helpful advice.

Tomorrow I'm donating platelets. I need to feel good about something.

Friday, December 05, 2008

No/Not No/Nothing

Yep, that's the sum of the week on jobs for which I'm currently a candidate. No on the perfect job close to home. I never did get past the HR screen. They're say currently checking references on two candidates and I'm not either of them. Not No, Not Yes on the long commute job. I talked to the HR recruiter and she said the status was "no status" whatever that means. She suggested checking back late next week. And Nothing is what I heard on the consultant job. I did hear from the recruiter on Tuesday, but he had no real information on what was up or what the next steps would be.

The advice from outplacement is to keep your pipeline of possibles full even when you think you may be a solid candidate for a position even up to the point where you might be getting an offer. After all, offers do get rescinded and jobs do get cancelled. While I haven't had much other luck firing resumes off into the dark of the Internet, I continue to try to fill the pipeline. A week of No/Not No/Nothing tells you why that's important.

Monday, December 01, 2008


I was involved in interviews for two separate jobs last week, each of which seemed to go well. There was a consulting job that I second interviewed for on Monday and an insurance company job that I interviewed for on Tuesday. Both interviewers indicated that they would get back to me this week. So far, nothing but the sound of crickets...

When you work at home (looking for work) and you set your own priorities, it is easy to forget what a Monday morning after a holiday weekend can bring. I vaguely remember dealing with all kinds of issues - things that went wrong while we were away, things we needed to get done before the end of the year, regular update meetings, project status reports and so on. Probably the last think anyone is thinking about is getting back to the dude who they talked to last week. I get it. It's just real quiet out here...