Friday, May 28, 2010

To Survive Unemployment, Just Add Water and Stir

My first post on FUNemployment was several months ago.  I'm sure people are afraid to ask but want to know, so ... how's it going, really?

Surviving The Leper Complex - Fascinating how some people meeting you for the first time or even long-time associates assume you have a strange disease called unemploymentitis. Maybe this is why there are leper colonies. I've found it more fashionable to say I'm "between jobs" or "trading my severance package in the stock market."

Muchas Gracias - A kind few friends and thoughtful former colleagues have sent job leads my way and advocated for my application on specific openings within their organizations. In most cases, these are not the people I would've expected to reach out, but I'm thankful and amazed.

Load Up Your Resume, Revise the Way Your Data Lands in the Online Database, Add a Cover Letter, and Click SUBMIT To Apply - I have applied for hundreds of jobs (mostly online) and talked with dozens of headhunters, in and out of Utah, where I live. My track record includes dozens of phone interviews in my pajamas, three face-to-face interviews, and no job offers. Yet.  I've even applied at grocery stores, but, well, it's complicated.

You Can Trip Over Someone While Walking Sideways - Because there are countless candidates for every position, lateral moves are more difficult. For one lateral move opportunity, I had agreed to take a 33% pay cut, and someone with a more relevant background in the same type of job was selected instead of me. Ouch.

Burning Through Savings Slowly - Because I had ample notice that my pink slip was coming, I was prepared financially for a change in cash flow.  With my austere budget and unemployment, I'm dipping into my savings at a much slower rate than I would have expected, but it's not pretty.

Unemployed People Sit Around and Watch TV All Day So Their Brains Are Atrophying - Not me. Okay, I admit sometimes CNBC is on so that I can follow the financial markets, but not soap operas or Dr. Phil. Since January, I have been learning stock trading and writing this blog.  And I go to yoga 5-6 times a week.  Trading and analysis works my quantitative and spreadsheet skills while blogging is helping to retain my writing skills. The new skills I'm learning along the way, such as stock options trading and search engine optimization may help me eventually leap to new type of position when some brave and hopefully cheerful employer takes a risk on hiring me.  Yoga helps me let go of any frustration I'm feeling.

There's No Substitute for Office Politics - I admit, I don't miss caustic emails and meetings filled with jockeying. And I miss all of this even less when I read Meeting Boy, who mentions the Seven Dwarves in a meeting: Grumpy, Dopey, Sleepy, Bossy, Boring, Spacey, and Conniving.  Yes, I remember them well! 

Life Goes On - Unemployment status doesn't give me a bye on other life eventualities ... relationship drama, car problems, putting our beloved Westie to sleep, toilet troubles, and heating system failures. I've had it all.

With a Little Help From My Friends - A friendly phone call can work wonders! So can a a meal out at an inexpensive diner.  Getting together with my weekly jewelry making group is a delight.

So many free offers, mine for the taking

Salute to Rebate Checks and Free Coupon Offers - I never used to get so excited about rebate checks from my credit card company or my insurance carrier. And free coupons seem to be coming out of the sky. I got $5 from Wal-Mart, and two $10 coupons from Kohl's.  The steady stream of free undies coupons from Victoria's Secret keeps me well stocked.  And deep discount coupons from Groupon have led to purchase of essentials like plants for the garden and meat and cheese for the fridge at more than 50% off.

Adding Water to Almost Everything - I've always been a fan of adding water to my drinks, but I now add water to everything from salad dressing to hair styling milk.  Amazing how product manufacturers con us into thinking that a certain consistency is necessary for use of their products. What I cannot add water to I make at home, laundry soap and bread, for example.
Laundry soap in process

FUNemployment is Still Fun - I used to have a reputation at work for being driven. I still am, but in a much different way. I have more "me" time and I indulge myself on occasion with an outing in the middle of the day (retail and day spa therapy, courtesy of my gift card stash).  I definitely socialize more. I've gone on two very inexpensive vacations, made possible because of frequent flyer miles and a free place to stay (New York City) and pooling of resources in a large group (Colorado).  And I have more time to get data for my son's stock options homework or draft client correspondence for my daughter's business.  If nothing else, I look out the window at the beautiful mountains, just because I can.
Another great vista from nearby

Unemployment is like everything else in life. I'm trying to embrace it, make it my friend, and sooner or later, I really will find the next big thing.


  1. It's great to see your creative writing and sense of humor :)

  2. Great sense of humor!

    You probably have already received lots of free advice, but try

    That is where I got my job!