How to get out of my rut?
January 12, 2010 9:21 AM Subscribe
I've been unemployed far too long. Help me find a way out of this rut - off-the-wall ideas encouraged
posted by photo guy to Work & Money (17 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a 29 year old guy who's been unemployed for about a year now and am starting to have various doubts about my situation. My degree is in Electrical Engineering and my only job since college has been five years doing embedded software development, a position I got mostly by luck. Sounds impressive, but the company was incredibly chaotic - I spent 90% of my time putting out fires, fixing people's mistakes, and arguing with my boss. Since it was my first job out of college, I tried to network and pick up a few technical skills, but never had the time. As a result, I get a lot of "you've got decent 'soft skills' and experience, but your technical skills are too weak" from employers.
I know I should consider grad school, but I honestly don't have the money or feel the motivation to go back for a Master's. In this field, it seems you have to really be in love with technology to be employable, and I just don't feel it anymore. I used to feel that way when I was in college, but somewhere along the way I guess I found that I hate being in a lab all day. I'm looking into jobs in sales or apps engineering where technical skills aren't as important, but those jobs are proving rather difficult to find.
I feel like I'm doing job-hunting right - I try not to waste time perusing job ads. Instead, I'm trying to target specific companies, work with recruiters, and get the word out. Given the number of interviews I've had (12+ phone interviews, 6 in-person), it seems like I must be doing something right. Still, I keep getting "you're a decent fit, but not a perfect fit".
I've also tried/considered more off-the-wall ideas, like consulting (only found one client, he flaked), retail/service jobs (I have no experience, engineering's all I've ever done), even teaching English overseas for a year (still considering this - the living overseas thing sort of appeals to me). At least with these I could say I'm doing SOMETHING with my time.
I guess it's the "one year" stigma that's really bugging me right now. I'm surprisingly not stressed - I actually feel much better than I ever did working. Still, many people tend to give me "WTF" looks when I tell them I haven't held a steady job in over a year, like I'm a bum. FWIW, my situation isn't all bad - I'm single/unattached, no debt, still have modest savings, and have a much better social life than I did when I was working.
So help me brainstorm MeFi! What should I do next? No idea is too crazy or stupid.