Six months redundant and black dog approaching fast. Survival advice sought.
June 12, 2009 5:32 PM   Subscribe

Six months redundant and black dog approaching fast. Survival advice sought.

I do not think that I am in a unique situation or a particularly desperate one but I am in a personally precarious position. Perhaps this question can help others too. I have worked in the insurance industry for the past 5 years and was made redundant in January of this year. Soon afterwards I discovered my wife was pregnant with our second child. I have been trying to put a brave face on for my family but as time has gone on, and I have had interview after interview and not made it through, my self-esteem and confidence has taken a battering. Progressively my motivation and outlook on life are deterioating fast. I know that I was competent for my previous employer and over the course of my employment made the company a lot of money. I am being as flexible as can be in terms of looking for jobs which may require relocation, also applied for jobs overseas. The weight of expectation on my shoulders is enormous and with each successive interview, I feel the gap in my CV looms ever bigger in the attention of the prospective employer. For people in similar situations, what gets you through the day right now?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (7 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Are you making a gap in your resume by putting the months down?
If your resume came across my desk I expect it to say

Some Company 2004-2009

I might ask if you were still working there, but if the answer back was "We had layoffs, I took some time off and am now getting back in the game" I wouldn't take that as a bad thing all in itself.

Good luck in your search.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 6:08 PM on June 12, 2009

... my self-esteem and confidence has taken a battering. Progressively my motivation and outlook on life are deteriorating fast....what gets you through the day right now?
First, it was the routine. As long and minute as I could make it. I literally wrote out a checklist of things to do every night in a pocket moleskin - from the time to get up in the morning, to brushing and flossing, to the number of sit-ups and push-ups I would do, to the number resumes I would send out that day, to the time I would go to bed. I micromanaged every minute of my day. It felt excellent to look at my long list of things-to-do and see check marks next to each of them every night.

Second, was the self-improvement. The best investment you can make is in yourself. I set aside time and goals each day to study and become knowledgeable in topics that would make me better at my job, and better at life.

You have to realize that, objectively, there is only so much that you can do in a day. Focus on that, what you can do, and don't let a minute pass wasted. You have a big goal - getting a job. But realize, that that big goal is preceded by a number of smaller goals, like sending out X number of resumes a day. Achieve those smaller goals. Once you know that you have done everything in your power that day to move toward your big goal, then you are on the right path.

Then, statistically speaking, you will get a job. It's just a matter of time. Remember that it's not about if you'll find a job, but when you'll find it.
posted by jabberjaw at 6:12 PM on June 12, 2009 [12 favorites]

Sure, you're in a tight spot, out of work, with a second kid on the way... but that doesn't explain the level of pressure you seem to be under.

Maybe it's coming from within, maybe from without... is your lifestyle unsustainable? Maybe you should downsize. Are you not getting the emotional support you need? Maybe you should talk to your family...

Sorry you're in a rough spot, but you'll be okay as long you reach out to people around you, think realistically and soberly about your needs and wants, and keep hacking away at it.
posted by wfrgms at 6:34 PM on June 12, 2009

If you have any time available to volunteer somewhere with people you want to work with or for, do so. Identify what you core values are, i.e. the kind of world you want to live in, and go find places that need your skill set.

While it won't find you work immediately, the networking opportunities are abundant, it gets you out of the Fear Zone and into the I'm Changing the World For The Better With My New Free Time Zone. This will do wonders for your self-esteem and also re-assure your family that your moral compass is still completely set for true north.

Even if it's only a half hour or less a week, getting outside your head and easing another person's burden is the most effective way to keep yourself centered right now.

I've been laid-off since February, and even though I don't own a home or have children, volunteering has been what has kept me the most focused and present while my job search continues.

Remember to breathe and no one will think ill of you right now - unemployment is ticking nicely along nationally at just under 10 percent. We're all sharing this burden together right now.

Be well. I believe in you.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 7:07 PM on June 12, 2009 [2 favorites]

I was laid off at the end of January, and the first few weeks were grim. Then my partner was laid off in April. Those were some grim weeks too. My approach to avoid sinking into a deep dark hole was do everything I possibly could to control/improve our situation. Really, I spent hours a day at this (and not just scrolling through the piddling job listings).

You can't really control when you'll get hired. But you can update all your job site profiles. You can't control if you win the lotto, but you can apply for unemployment, food stamps, WIC, COBRA, etc. You can get on a debt management plan. It won't eliminate your debt, but it will give you better control over how much you have to pay every month. You can take stock of your collections of stuff and sell that for money (we sold a ton of our yarn, others could sell off their valuable LPs or whatever).

I am a type A personality and a major control freak. I'm still a little spazzy about having no job and a partner with no job, but I know that I've done all I can. And though I'm not religious, I've kind of "let go and let god". You have to get to that point or you'll drive yourself crazy with all the self-doubt and stress.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 10:17 PM on June 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

I had 3 interviews in the span of I guess 7 or 8 months before I finally got my current job. I sent out HUNDREDS of resumes and most of the time didn't even get a rejection letter in return. And then out of nowhere I got a call from someone I'd probably sent my resume to at least 6 months previously, there was a phone interview 2 days later and the following week was the final interview, they called later that evening and offered me the job. The next week they flew me out to look for places to live and two weeks later I relocated to the other side of the country to start my job. It isn't my dream job, but it's a job and I'm very happy to have it.

I'm telling you this because you really don't know what is going to happen. You can go for months with nothing and then tomorrow you could get a call and 2 weeks later you could have a job. It's frustrating when there isn't some date in the future you know you'll be employed by and right now you feel like you will probably never work again outside of the fast food industry, but you will. It's really hard right now, no one will look badly upon you for having a gap in your resume, employers are turning away talented people left and right because they simply don't have any work for them.

It's always darkest before the dawn, it'll be alright.
posted by whoaali at 3:23 PM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

I've been made redundant three times in the last decade.

What keeps me going? It sounds trite, but staying busy. And I don't mean watching TV or wasting it on the Internet.

Go to the gym. Volunteer at local organisations. Read some self-improvement books. Learn a new skill. If nothing else, in an interview or cover letter situation, you can talk about what you've been doing since you were laid off and turn it into an example of self-initiative, and how you. will. never. give. up.

It's not your fault you were laid off. It's just a numbers game.
posted by almostwitty at 9:48 PM on June 14, 2009

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