After 15 years in my business, I can't find work. WTF do I do?
June 12, 2013 10:03 AM   Subscribe

Maybe you've had bad experiences before in your industry, but this being unemployed shit is all new to me. It's going on four months now, and I still cannot find work in my industry. I'm tired, scared, and broke as a joke. What would you do in my situation?

Let's just say I've spent a long time working in my industry... I'm a lighting industry consultant, I built a big nerd website community, and I've worked all over the world doing what I do. Now, there's no gigs to be had, and I'm looking all over the US trying to place myself back. Something else that is very bothersome is that I have done a lot of things to support my industry over the last decade, and now I can find no love.

I'm already hooked up (and have been for years) on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter; there must be 1200 PDF copies of my resume out there floating around, too. I've been pulling 80 hours a week just looking for a job.

I'm sick of this shit. I'm sick and tired of working 80 hours weeks when I had a gig for money that was good but not great, and for people who could give a shit about anything but themselves. I can't take this anymore, I need something to give.

What would you do in this situation? Here are some things that are ever-present in my thinking right now:

* Should I change careers, and how the hell would I even go about that at this point besides going back to school? I have a wife but no children, and she's Canadian and can't work here yet.

* Were I to change careers... I would probably want to do something with the Masters degree and other acknowledgements I have gained over the years. I've been thinking either Optometry or some kind of Engineering, both of which I need more school to do. To me, this seems like a pipe dream, but my skills are excellent when compared to the skill sets of these two careers.

* I was told the other day by a person interviewing me over the phone that I was "severely overqualified for the position" being discussed, regardless of how much I need the money. WTF is that?!

* I left a job paying very well for very good yet NDA-protected reasons -- this was the biggest mistake of my life, even though it's not my fault for needing to leave. It left my family in a bad place, but the alternative of staying wasn't something I wanted to even discuss. Every day I wonder how I could have avoided this -- but hindsight being 20/20 as it is, I can't help but be depressed over this situation.

* Bill collectors are calling; this is new to me too. I can't blame them, I ran out of money. Should I be considering bankruptcy?

* Mental distress -- I learned what an anxiety attack is, and how they feel because of this shit situation. With no health insurance and zero money to eat, live, or even survive, life has become very interesting.

Id love some feedback here -- are there industries I should be looking into for a job that could turn things around for me here? Look, I'm not naive, I know millions of people are going through this -- but as for me, I have been doing OK in my career until now. I'm so frustrated I am ready to walk the hell away from my industry and go do something better than I can support my family on and maybe live a little less tight.

I'm out of options. We just need help. I cannot let my wife down, I love her too much.
posted by Snell's Constant to Work & Money (36 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Snell's Constant: "* I was told the other day by a person interviewing me over the phone that I was "severely overqualified for the position" being discussed, regardless of how much I need the money. WTF is that?! "

They're worried you'll leave them when something comes along that your qualifications line up better with. Training costs money, unnecessary training is wasted money.
posted by theichibun at 10:13 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

I can't speak to all of your questions, but as for the following points...
  • Your state or city may have mental health benefits available. You should call them and find out. Explain that you're unemployed and are having anxiety attacks. You should certainly handle this BEFORE it affects your inability seek work.
  • I'm assuming you have checked into unemployment benefits? Eligibility varies ... even if you leave a job of your own free will, you might qualify for benefits.
  • NDAs are variably enforceable. I don't know where you are, but there's a very good chance that the NDA that you signed isn't enforceable, and that you're fine to speak about the reasons that you left.
  • Yes, you should talk to a bankruptcy lawyer. The purpose of bankruptcy is to conduct a controlled drawdown in assets and pay them to the bill collectors without the bill collectors hassling you and just grabbing what they can get. They have to leave you with things like a vehicle to get to work or interviews and other things like that, but you can expect to lose luxury items like televisions and jewelry.

One thing that you might consider putting up front in your cover letter is that you've been in the industry for a while, and regardless of qualifications, you're trying to reinvent yourself and put yourself into a career position where you're going to be happy, not just where you're going to make a lot of money. When asked about compensation in an interview, I once said "It's really immaterial. I'm reinventing myself and it's apples to oranges. I care much more about how happy I am than I do about what I'm making."
posted by SpecialK at 10:17 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

While you're looking, sign up with temp agencies and start temping. I wish someone had told me to do that at the beginning of my employment. It will provide you with at least some amount of income and it will allow you to develop contacts.

If you've been told you're severely overqualified, dumb down your resume. If you were officially the VP of Widgets, you are the Widget Manager. If you were the project manager for something, you worked on a team to manage the projects. And so forth.

Is your wife employed?
posted by phunniemee at 10:18 AM on June 12, 2013 [6 favorites]

With all those contacts somebody must have short term contracting projects they need help with.
posted by COD at 10:19 AM on June 12, 2013

First of all, have you identified jobs you'd like to do for others? If so, awesome.

Secondly, what's your narrative? What are you going to tell people about you that will get them to feel confident that hiring you will be a good decision for them (because honestly, they could give a rat's ass about YOU.) "I'm interested in a postion with a good work-life balance. I realize that while I may be over-quailfied on paper, I'm willing to take a postion that allows for a steady income stream and the opportunity to learn new skills." I once told someone, "I'd like to get out of the house and have a place to wear cute outfits." Lie your ass off! Tell them what they want to hear.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:20 AM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

Food stamps.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:24 AM on June 12, 2013

Whoa, 80 hours a week just looking for a job? You sound like you need to pull back a bit.

I've been there, so I really do understand the money situation. But you may be coming across as desperate in your interviews. Desperation is the world's worst cologne, as they say.

Take some temp jobs to get some food on the table. And I mean, temp jobs. Work in a warehouse for a week, do some filing, etc. Put yourself up on craigslist as being available for odd jobs. Have your wife do that too, she doesn't need to confirm her legal status to anyone when she's working for cash. Give your head a break. It's hard to understand taking a break when you need cash, I remember that feeling too, but sometimes it's necessary in order to regain focus.

This too shall pass, so try to keep in mind what's important. Your health and your marriage. Don't forget to get outside and get a little sunshine on your face each day. It won't make everything all right, but you will feel better.
posted by vignettist at 10:25 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

work-life balance, steady income, learn new, those are sort of benefits for yourself, not for your employer. Good decision for them means benefits for them.

Have you considered consulting to some lighting factories in China? I bet some of them could use the help, especially with product development and marketing. Maybe you can help one of them build up a brand? You could pitch a proposal to them with the understanding you are only going to do this for one factory.
posted by Dansaman at 10:25 AM on June 12, 2013

Even if you don't qualify for unemployment, you can use the services of the Unemployment Office. You're, what, 35 - 45 ish? Check out Government jobs, and study to take various qualifying tests.

You're probably a decent electrician. Can you get work with a licensed electrician, to make some ready cash?

Sell stuff, anything you can, to buy groceries and keep the lights on. Go to a temp agency and get any hours you can.

Home Depot, Lowe's, hardware stores, etc., are often hiring for non-resume jobs. You'd be a fast, easy trainee.
posted by theora55 at 10:42 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

It would help if you told us what, specifically, you've done today to find work. Once we know that, we could suggest what else you might do.
posted by tel3path at 10:48 AM on June 12, 2013

I'm wondering if you have asked your professional network for help. There must be a few people in your massive network you have a close, trusting relationship with. Ask them what they think is going on.

I get the sense that there may have perhaps been some sort of sudden shift (perhaps accelerated by the Ongoing Global Clusterfuck Meltdown 2008) that is responsible for your situation.

Anyway, I've been there. I continue to be there. Feel free to MeMail me if you want some ideas for the job search.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:16 AM on June 12, 2013

Response by poster: tel3path, I'm 35; I've been networking within my industry, outside of my industry, and with people I know through other people's people. I'm using places like Indeed Jobs, Careerbuilder, Government Jobs, Monster, Craigslist - as well as the various community boards and sites within my industry and at any lighting company I can think of to research. Of course I've also gotten my resume in the hands of every friend, every resource, and every sentient being I know in order to spread the word that I've been looking. At the same time I have been polite and not overbearing in doing so, which takes time too.

I feel like I have exhausted every resource I can think of, and I'm a really smart guy, which also kinda kicks my ass a bit, knowing I'm failing. I literally found myself at the bottom of the market at the worst time of the market for our business, where everyone has the job they need and no one is looking because the wiggle room is no longer there.
posted by Snell's Constant at 11:17 AM on June 12, 2013

Honestly, I know it sounds crazy, but four months is not that long at your career level. If you take a non-resume job, you will be able to catch your breath and create a job search strategy and campaign, with a little bit of money coming in. This is also the time people go to parents/siblings for a tide-over loan, if possible.

Also, just a thought without more detail -- can you get in touch with the job you loved and left, and see what's up there? Either networking or freelance or something?
posted by thinkpiece at 11:20 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

You keep speaking of your résumé in the singular. If that's the case, I'd start there. Find jobs you would like to do/fit your needs/could pay the bills, then tailor your résumé to fit the description. It's not just the cover letter that should be specific to each employer, you need to customize your résumé as well.

If you're getting comments that you're over-qualified, tone down your résumé. Reduce job descriptions and even rewrite job titles when they sound too advanced. Make sure (as others have mentioned) to state your expectations, acknowledging that you may be overqualified but you're looking for this specific job for that specific reason.

For instance, I applied for a significantly more junior position recently, and stated that I had been away from the industry for a while and was looking for a lesser role to "catch up" to the changes that had occurred. This "absence" from the field was due to unemployment, and there wasn't anything to catch up on, but it sounded good enough to get several interviews and eventually land me a job.

Remember, you're job hunting, not job fishing. Figure out what you want, and go out there with a plan to get that one thing. If you keep trying to catch just anything, you'll continue to be disappointed.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 11:29 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Have you considered expanding your job search to the whole country, with the expectation that you may have to move? Or even having your wife look for work in Canada and consider moving there. At least one of you would have a job.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 11:35 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Okay, I believe you, I've been there myself. Take a breath.

You say you are doing a lot of networking - great. I have expressed my views on networking before, which is that (in my humble experience) it's a valuable activity but not necessarily a linear path to finding a job.

What I usually do (gasp shock) is apply for specific vacancies. I am not saying you're not doing this, I am saying it should be your first line of approach. If you can find suitable vacancies at the rate of one a day, apply for them at the rate of one a day. As you're so frantic I would suggest that you *not* apply for more than that.

What I don't do is look on the huge boards like, which are just a black hole. Each vacancy will be getting thousands of applications, and I believe less than 1% of hiring managers actually fill vacancies through

I don't know the lighting industry so can't suggest where you might look, but my first port of call if I didn't know where else to go would be employment agencies near me - for temping or more permanent things.

To avoid throwing your resume into a black hole, make personal contact with them first and then ask if you can go and see them to register for temp work. I've commented on this recently (gotta go soon, apologize for lack of detail, look thru my recent posts) but find a name, look them up on LinkedIn, and follow up.

Also, when applying to a specific vacancy, always add "I look forward to hearing from you, and will contact you in a few days to discuss." Then do so. Often you won't be able to get hold of anyone, or (especially on the big job boards) may hear "oh I don't think I can find it, oh here it is, let me look that over." Don't get your hopes up. Most of the time your application will have been thrown away, and even if they retrieve it they won't likely bother following up. KEEP TRYING.

For academic jobs I use and I get a fantastic hit rate; for nonacademic jobs I use and apply *only* to ads placed directly by employers and *never* to agency ones, and I get a hit (interview) rate of about 1 in 20 which, for that sort of thing, is very good. With I got a hit rate of about 1 in 400. You see what I'm saying? Waste of my bloody energy.

If you've heard all this before don't say "yes, but". Reread what I say, carefully, and *don't give up*. I've been there. I know you can do it.
posted by tel3path at 11:38 AM on June 12, 2013 [4 favorites]

* I was told the other day by a person interviewing me over the phone that I was "severely overqualified for the position" being discussed, regardless of how much I need the money. WTF is that?!

That's the way it is now. I've heard that exact same line over and over. Basically, employers don't want to hire actual, seasoned professionals, because they will have to pay them a professional wage. They want kids right out of school, or with about 5 years of experience, that they can low-ball. It's friggin impossible for anyone with decades of experience to get hired in many fields.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:39 AM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

Are you really thinking of engineering or optometry? Do you have an undergraduate degree? Access to a university? I'm an academic advisor (pre-pharmacy), and I've see some second career-type people lately. Optometry is, like pre-pharmacy, for people who do well in the sciences--must have chemistry, biology, and calculus. Is this you? 35 is a good age to make the leap.
posted by feste at 12:03 PM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: @feste -- yeah, I have been discussing it with my wife... I probably need to brush up on some Calculus, but I can do that online or by hitting the library and grabbing a text book. I do a lot of trig and math in my field (energy calcs, beam math, photometrics, et al) that I think the switch would be perfectly easy. I have excellent people skills (sales, marketing, customer relationships, client relationships) and I can manage a business.

I have no idea how I would be able to pay for school AND support my family (just my wife and small dog) AND go back to school. I already have 50K in student debt from my two other degrees. I've paid it down a bit over the last decade, but taking on more debt is daunting right now. I assume that since I have NO job to speak of, grants and other opportunities might be available, but I can't really say for sure. My guess is that I will have to catch up on some credits I never had, then do 4 years of Optometry or Engineering school, and then start all over.

I'm still not sure if I'm ready for that yet... I have no idea what to do for the first time ever.
posted by Snell's Constant at 12:30 PM on June 12, 2013

I suggest you meet with the university's office of financial aid. The existing student debt is a complication, but optometry (not sure about engineering) is also a good bet for finding employment. It depends on where you live, too. If you have good and cheap choices to earn pre-requisite courses, that's incentive to at least take a class.
posted by feste at 12:43 PM on June 12, 2013

Can you package your services as a consultant of some kind? So instead of someone hiring you for a specific position, you could sell a set of services/deliverables for a project. Develop a few different packages and start selling yourself as a consultant. Make this reflected in your LinkedIn and own personal site.
posted by barnone at 1:05 PM on June 12, 2013

I suggest an ad in a trade journal/a trade newsletter. It doesn't need to be more than a small blurb.
posted by michaelh at 1:06 PM on June 12, 2013

Sorry - just saw that you are a consultant. Are you looking for full-time positions or smaller consulting-type gigs?
posted by barnone at 1:06 PM on June 12, 2013

Response by poster: @barnone: Yes to both.
posted by Snell's Constant at 1:11 PM on June 12, 2013

Whoa. Hold it right there buddy...

First off, take a deep big breath. Sit down, take a deep breath and relax for a minute
You need a day off from all this craziness that is going on in your mind. You are panicking and that is never good. You are like a guy who is drowning and flaying his arms around, madly, to grasp anything and everything and you are pulling yourself further and deeper into it.

My suggestion--

Take a day off. Go somewhere away from your desk, computer, family, madness -live in a place where you can take a short hike in nature? Do it. Pack a sandwich and take that hike or walk. During that hike just sit it out, relax, enjoy the outdoors. Why is this needed? Your mind is overworked and you will not do yourself any good if you do not give it a break. You will breakdown if you do not do so.

The next day, take out a notepad and write down your career uptill now. Where have you been and the skills you accumulated. Write down all hard skills you have followed by soft skills.

Then you need to get creative. Work smarter not harder. Everybody in your field as you say is looking but you need to look in places they are not looking. You worked in lighting industry-what does that mean and how can your current skills open doors in areas which you never thought about? Some thoughts/avenues you can explore.
--Lighting industry links up to architects (large and small who design industrial structures).
--It links to interior design firms.
--It also links to (depending upon your experience) the auto industry and the airline industry=they have lighting consultants, which means there are companies out there that provide lighting to these outfits and these companies themselves have units who handle lighting
--it also links to modular furniture giants like Steelcase who provide design and structure to all kinds of units/offices etc.
-large companies like Boeing have facilities department where they hire architects and engineers. That is another option
-Folks like Nike etc. have large showrooms overseas, and I mean large. They need skills to work with designer/construction to get these areas well-presented and lit up. You could be a valuable liason

I would also suggest this question-WHY are you not getting a job? No seriously. Is it your resume or that there are too many with skills like you or something about how you present yourself or some of your references are bailing out. Make sure you are buttoned up on that aspect

You do not need to go to college yet. What may happen is that you will enroll in something out of desperation, take a few classes and completely lose your way. Not the way to go. This is not the time to take such deep decisions because you are obviously desperate and panicking. That is the worst time to make life changing decisions because you lack clarity and will be clouded by the drive to get out of this trouble you find yourself in.

Set yourself a calendar for each month with goals. Give yourself a few months (depending upon your situation) to find the right job. Parallel to that, give yourself a close look. Do you really want to switch careers; if so which one is right. DO NOT RUSH. Take a cold, clear, patient look at your skills and your drives and your motivations. THEN decide if you want to take classes. My suggestion on what to go to school for? MBA. That is one degree with which you can fit into any industry. I speak from experience.

(this suggestion is based on my experience, you may or may not follow it but its here. Read this book, they are real world experiences)
posted by pakora1 at 1:29 PM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: @pakora1: why though? Wy an MBA? You're not the first person to say that to me, and you're definitely not the most successful (no offense meant) who has changed paths and taken the MBA route. What is it about that degree that is so magical, and why would I want to get one?
posted by Snell's Constant at 1:37 PM on June 12, 2013

Are you getting interviews?
posted by KathrynT at 1:56 PM on June 12, 2013

Snell's Constant, why are you focusing on a detail of pakora1's advice that you don't like, and trying to convince her she's wrong and insufficiently successful to be offering advice? Because your question sure does read like a rhetorical question, even if it isn't meant as one.

You are starting to play "Ain't It Awful" here and I don't think that's really what you want.

Try taking a step back and paying attention to the other things that pakora1 (among others) have said. One, that you need a break. You need a break because, at this level of focussed desperation, you are shutting down, becoming hostile, and not paying attention to much outside yourself. Employers can smell that kind of fear and frustration and they definitely hold it against you. It is no coincidence that the real upturn, during my very long patch of un- and under-employment, came when I simply didn't have the energy left to overthink things, but also was forced to come up with creative new approaches because my usual patterns weren't working. During subsequent jobhunts I've often wished I could dial back the desperation and get back to that more, for lack of a better word, fatalistic mindset, but it's tough and you have to be prepared for your own inevitable anxiety.

I agree that you should not return to study out of desperation and, if you do, there is more than one good degree out there for employability; however as you rightly point out, you're still paying off your other degrees and you don't want to throw yet more money into a career that should be paying you, not have the status of an expensive hobby that you can't afford to sustain. Try to think of more ways to transfer your existing skills instead of paying thousands more dollars to acquire random new ones.

Being unemployed is desperate even if you're very experienced at it, so I totally understand why you are howling at the moon right now. But you have to take some perspective. Please try to take in what we're saying and act on some of the suggestions.
posted by tel3path at 1:59 PM on June 12, 2013

Response by poster: @tel3path -- I was just asking about the MBA. I have no ill will for anyone here, or anyone really in general. I really want to know. There's nothing hostile about it, I'm gathering up all the info I can.
posted by Snell's Constant at 2:03 PM on June 12, 2013

Okay, well, you are coming across as hostile when you don't intend to. This is probably affecting the way you're presenting yourself in your jobhunt and networking. It happens very easily when your back's against the wall and you constantly have to practice overcoming this in your self-presentation.

Perhaps you could enlist a friend to do some interview role-play with you. They may pick up things that you didn't realize you were communicating. I well remember one occasion (my 18th interview in 6 months) where the interviewer told me I had put myself down at least six times during the discussion - he gave examples. I was quite shocked and I explained that, while I thought I was very skilled and capable, I had also been looking for work for a long time, and however much confidence I tried to muster I kept on getting the message that whatever my abilities, the outside world wasn't going to respect me for them. Although I obviously did not get that particular job, the interview was one of the most valuable I've ever had.
posted by tel3path at 2:17 PM on June 12, 2013 [6 favorites]

Have you had a real conversation with someone you trust in your field, where you tell them the struggles you're dealing with an get their honest advice?

I ask, because I have a friendly acquaintance in a similar situation in my field. She's been unemployed for 2 years. She's talented and hard-working, but there are a few things holding her back, mostly in how she's perceived in our field and how she's going about this search.

It's hard to watch this colleague of mine struggle when I'm fairly certain these problems are blind spots for her. I don't consider her a close enough friend to tell her these things unsolicited, but if she asked, I would probably give her a kind version of my observations (staying vague here because the exact issues are not important to this question).

We all have blind spots, and it might be helpful for you to talk with someone you've worked with before, who knows you well. Not just any random coworker, but someone you consider a friend, who won't hold it against you but will also be honest with you.

Good luck!
posted by lunasol at 2:27 PM on June 12, 2013

Wy an MBA? You're not the first person to say that to me... What is it about that degree that is so magical, and why would I want to get one?

There's no industry for which an MBA is going to be unsuitable. It's never going to be a flat-out Bad Idea to get an MBA, even if it wasn't the most optimal thing you could have done. It's an easy piece of advice to give.

Magical? If you were to get an MBA, there's nothing magical about those three letters. There's a huge difference on what it will get you depending on where you get it, and the difference is the people who you will meet while you are getting the MBA and the people in the alumni network.

There's plenty of unemployed MBA's out there these days, and plenty of MBA's who didn't have a job lined up and decided to go the postgrad or PhD route. Nothing magical to see here.
posted by yohko at 2:58 PM on June 12, 2013

The best thing I did for my job search was to hire someone to help me with my resume. I was really resistant, but I wish I had done it sooner. As soon as I got my resume up to snuff, interviews started rolling in. I used Resume to Interviews and can't recommend them enough.
posted by radioamy at 4:37 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

I don't think you should go back to school while things are still in free fall. I'm a little skeptical of the idea in general, and more so with $50K of debt already, but at a minimum get some stability in your life first.

> I literally found myself at the bottom of the market at the worst time of the market for our business

If it's not specific to you, then do you think your niche is going to bounce back? If things were already in a slow decline before the recession, you'd better think about changing course long term. Otherwise you can scale down and wait for the recovery.

In any case it sounds like you need to look at work outside your niche, or loosely connected to your niche. You might have to make a lot less money for a while (hopefully temporarily).

The idea of a less prestigious version of your resume sounds smart to me.

I agree with others that 80 hours/week seems excessive. Don't get me wrong, it's impressive effort. If gigs were to be had for the deserving of them, you'd have one now. But I doubt that your 80th hour--and probably not even your 20th, after this long--is really making much difference in your search. Try something different for part of this time, even if it's just doing day labor.

Do some things that you enjoy that are not particularly job/gig oriented. Obviously, you can take this too far, but you sound like you're in no danger of that. It sounds to me like you have too much identity tied up in your vocation. That is a damned dangerous thing these days, for exactly the reasons you're going through right now.

Try not to focus too much on the past or what might have been. You can only torment yourself with that. It won't help a bit with tomorrow.

Whatever happens, you won't actually starve. They won't haul you off to debtor's prison. You may have to more or less start over--maybe not, I hope not--but if you do, fortunately hedonic adaptation works both ways. You'll get past this. Good luck.
posted by mattu at 4:44 PM on June 12, 2013

Architecture without light is just something people bump into. I've been in the lighting industry for a decade and it still has modest growth, and having the fundamental quantities down is a good start. Most hardware goes through middle men (distributors) and they are looking for sales and support staff. If you have a computer bent there is work for people who can operate lighting design software (AGI32 / Visual / etc) for doing layouts in commercial / roadway / etc lighting.

I've known a few people who have jumped from theatrical to commercial (and back). More in common than you think. And these days so few people have the physical training not to touch a live line...

Message or drop me an email if you want to know more.
posted by nickggully at 5:37 PM on June 12, 2013

Best answer: I'll nth everyone who suggests signing up with a temp agency; and heck, why not sign up with several?

Also, how about becoming an online "micro-task worker" (or "digital worker"), e.g., at Amazon's Mechanical Turk, Cloud Crowd, ClickWorkers (and there are others; see below). So while you are looking for work in your actual field, you can start earning money immediately; and most tasks don't require you to be able to do anything other than read/write in English and make evaluations of online stuff or fill out surveys.

This website has a list of these kinds of companies.

Some of them are not necessarily for 'unskilled' jobs though--instead, they are sites where you can offer your particular skills (whatever you can come up with that might be of use to someone) as a contract-worker.

All of this is to say is that you can start earning money right now. It may not be a great deal (esp for the unskilled work), but it could help you feel better and get you on your way to paying at least some of your bills.

Given that your wife can't currently work, while you are doing the above, she should be helping you find work. E.g., let her do the job searches and resume-sending and cold-calling on your behalf. You two are in this together, and you make it sound as if keeping the two of you under a roof and with food to eat is only your responsibility. Also, maybe your wife can do some of the online/crowd-sourcing work too if she still has a bank account in her home country?

Finally, is it possible for both of you to ask your respective families for a little help, e.g., a gift or an interest-free loan to help keep you afloat while you look for work? Again, you are not alone--surely the people in your family would help you in a time of distress, Isn't this that time?
posted by Halo in reverse at 2:16 AM on June 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

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