I was reading over some of my past posts and came across the one titled “Restless” from March of earlier this year. In that post, I talk about the sense of unquiet that I was feeling deep within me, that I felt like I was searching for something. I concluded that perhaps it meant I was open to new opportunities and that a bit more risk-taking would be in store for me this year—and that this would be a very good year indeed.
Since that post, I have been laid off from my job of over four years, applied to countless positions in my determined job search, only to be told that I’m over-qualified or that I made it to the final round of interviews onl y to be beat out by one other candidate. I’ve trimmed every ounce of fat off of my already tight budget, anticipating a long haul before I am gainfully employed again. I worry that, at 48, my age is becoming a factor in weeding me out as a viable prospect. So I worry and worry, and worry some more…
I find myself working out more than ever, to use up all this restless energy—running 6-10 miles a week, working out with a barbell program 4-5 times a week and one session of yoga. It’s a way to funnel this unsettled energy into something productive.
Interestingly enough, all this exercise and restive thought is igniting my libido. I feel like the perpetual crouching tiger is prowling within me, searching for release and as I lie awake in bed, my mind fills with wanton sexual fantasies. A girl could go crazy for lack of sex!
I realize that a part of me feels like it has been on hold for 20-some years–my health, my emotions, things that I want to do and experience. I want someone to ask me what I need, what will make me happy. And care about the answers.
I feel like doing something delightfully rash, like pulling out a few grand out of my meager savings and flying off to Europe and wandering the streets of Paris. Just shaking loose of Pittsburgh and these Etats-Unis. Being uninhibited, unfettered, impractical. God, I’ve been practical and reasonable for so long, about so many things.
Writing this makes me resolute: my time will come. I just need to plow through this short-lived period of unemployment and separation from what I really want, and then…and then…I am going for it. And what will be, will be.
Paris, here I come.
It has been a little over two weeks since I was laid off and I have been fairly buzzing with energy. Relatively speaking, I’m doing great. I think it helps that right from the start I sized up the situation pragmatically, considered my options, made priorities and a game plan, focused on my successes and didn’t take getting laid off personally. I don’t mean to sound like Pollyanna or anything but seriously, by not sitting down and letting waves of desolation wash over me and think, “ah, woe is me!” but instead, maintaining an active state of “do something, and do it now!” I have been able to ride this dip in the road fairly well.
I’m lucky, I don’t have any debt other than a mortgage, which I just refinanced at a spectacular 3% for 15 years (yeah, that pretty much rocks) and fortunately was able to finesse that a month before I was laid off. I set about trimming even more fat off my budget and by living frugally I can live on severance and unemployment for a significant amount of time. I did some research and a strong candidate, in this market, can usually be assured of finding adequate employment in 3-6 months. My goal is by the end of July. I’m doing the job search full time, networking, using LinkedIn, other social media, job boards, referrals. I will be employed and expect to employed well.
I’ve even got a spin, a truthful one, on being laid off. As my former employer put it, it was a business decision. As a software sales executive, I covered NY, NJ, New England, and Canada, and any open territory in the rest of the United States. I did this all remotely from Western Pennsylvania. We did not have the budget to send me to meet clients face to face, go to networking events or conferences. This was a terrible handicap vs. our competitors. But now, the company is in the process of merging with a small software company in NYC that has 3 sales people in my former territory. One of those sales people will be taking over my territory.
And it makes sense. I’d make that decision if I was running the company. So no looking back and on to new opportunities, bigger and better ventures.
I’ve also turned my attention to my house and all those projects you never have time for when you are juggling a professional life, personal life, family, friends, and everything else that comes along. My garage has been completely organized and cleaned out, even had a company come and haul out the computer monitor, two televisions, printer, scanner, VHS player, window air-conditioner and other sundry items taking up half of my garage.
I also pulled out boxes of old files and went through filing cabinets and found documents, even taxes, credit card receipts, stuff dating back to 1986! Boxed it all up and took it off to be shredded by a professional, bonded company in town. Done!
Another priority I made was to focus on physical fitness. This is something I started over a year ago but, let’s face it, with no job to go to every day, you can really make time for some major workouts every day.
My girl friend, who is a local caterer, and I, meet three times a week to walk/run 4 miles and do 74 steps up a steep ridge where we live. We do them twice. I’m also doing Les Mills Pump (a barbell with weights-based workout) several times a week.
Diane, the caterer, and I just worked out an agreement, where I will provide sales/marketing services in exchange for physical fitness training a few times a week. A win-win situation so I can put something on my resume during my time “off”.
So what’s my point of telling you all of this? I know this post is a bit different than what I’ve written before but so many people have been in this situation, especially with this rollercoaster economy. Being unemployed can be one of the most devastating things to happen to someone, especially when you have a family to support. But I adamantly believe (and have written this before) that you define a situation by how you respond to it. Action brings results. Positive thinking, about yourself, what you have to offer and what the future will bring, opens the door to new opportunities.
So raising a glass to all of you that are in the same boat, good luck to you and give it your all. Persevere! I do think that things are looking up. I see more activity on job boards like The Ladders, Careerbuilder, Monster. But make sure you use LinkedIn and your professional and personal network.
This is also a great time to explore something you’ve always wanted to do, something you feel passionate about. I know once I get some of these projects completed that I am looking forward to spending more time writing and cultivating my creative Muse. This happened for a reason and I am embracing the moment.