Unemployment Benefits, Conclusion

Last in a six-part series, reprinted with permission from an article that appeared in the Society for Technical Communication Lone Star Community newsletter, Technically Write, April 2002.

New “Benefit Year”

January 2002. Despite still enjoying the stressless life (or at least the less stress life), I figured it was time to get serious about a job search, though all indications were that it was still a dismal scene. I made a couple of networking connections; all hope was not lost for ultimately achieving a good career move. However, I got a bit nervous when the interim reality of the current market began to encroach on my carefree attitude. I knew I might have to do something less desirable in the meantime. My frustration was evident in an e-mail response to my former manager at Company B:

There seems to be a bit of activity out there as of last week – found three editing job postings in one day. But I still haven’t been able to get a peep out of Company D. I’m hoping my revised resume will titillate their keyword search. …

Yes, I had that conversation with one recruiter whose client was looking for someone with knowledge and experience with data warehousing. I explained to him that it’s true

I do not have writing experience in processes and procedures for the data warehouse world.

Nor did I have experience in railroad crew scheduling when I wrote the user manual for a crew scheduling system,

or programming experience when I led a team of writers to produce an API technical reference,

or aircraft maintenance experience when …

You’d think the recruiter would get the point. But it doesn’t seem to matter, as it’s the buyer’s market these days, and they can be as picky as they want and probably pay less to get it!

Travel Benefits?

Then another possible benefit of my downtime presented itself: time to travel. I received an invitation to visit Vail, CO in March. It was crazy money-wise to consider going anywhere, as I still had virtually no prospects. On the other hand, I hate to pass up an opportunity like this while I have the time.

Though tempting, I decided not to go. I became increasingly dedicated to the job search, but was not yet in a panic about my finances. And my upbeat attitude held, as I commiserated with a jobless friend:

I can sympathize. I am aware that a “career” search is not exactly a realistic approach right now, so I am also looking for an “interim” solution. … although I may be facing a similar situation of starting over again, having done it and gone on to achieve more than if I’d stayed put …, I know I’ll do the same again (achieve more). And so will you.

Can this really be me—this optimistic spirit who has taken up residence in my body?

While picking up the pace of my search efforts, I continued to be nonchalant about the lack of response seemingly common to all. I noticed a bit of activity in job openings that I’d be interested in. That was encouraging, except that no one wanted to talk to me, or at least not yet… Otherwise, I was still lovin’ doin’ my own thing.

Extension of Benefit “Coverage”

Now it is mid-March 2002. Hard to believe I’ve been unemployed technically for seven months. But I’ve also been successful at the job of achieving just about everything on my list of unemployment benefits to enjoy, tasks to accomplish, and more. As you might have experienced, this saga of joblessness could go on for quite some time. But I need to end this somewhere (pun intended).

I know it’s difficult to embrace a cavalier attitude about a lack of adequate income. Been there. (Check with me after my Unemployment Compensation runs out… not that it’s paying the bills now.) But from recounting my approach to this pervasive experience, I hope those of you in a similar situation get an idea of how you can adapt to discover and take advantage of your own unemployment benefits.

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    • Techquestioner
    • March 30th, 2011

    There’s a blog by Erik Proulx, who was laid off by an ad agency at http://www.pleasefeedtheanimals.com/. He went on to create a movie called “Lemonade” about unemployed people who took the time to do amazing things while unemployed. It has kind of erratic, but interesting, postings. You may find it interesting, too.

      • Paula Robertson
      • April 1st, 2011

      Thanks for the competition! 😉
      I’ll post your comment, but folks, please come back here after you check out the link. And I thought I had a corner on erraticism… Ha

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