Job Seekers: Learn to Enjoy the Time Off
(Editor’s Note: Ken and I ran into each other recently and he told me this story. I asked if he would write it up and I’m really glad he did. Enjoy!)
Getting laid off is never an easy thing. I have been working since I was 15 years old, working is what I do. The last time I was out of work was the last construction down cycle in 1977 and that was for two weeks. I remember how hard that was then and it was only two weeks.
This time, I have been out of work since June. When it first happened I went into “work mode.”
- I would wake at 6 am and go into my office in the house.
- I applied to every job board
- I would register and visit every company website within a 50 mile radius.
- I would rewrite my resume and customize it for every job I saw.
- I applied for every job from dishwasher to CFO.
This unemployment was not going to last very long for me. I would usually stay in my office until 7 pm and come out to say hi to my family and go back to my office to apply for more jobs.
I met Jorge, the CareerJockey editor, at a Pink Sip Party. I went prepared to exchange cards, come home and look everyone up in Facebook and LinkedIn, send an invitation to connect and continue my journey.
Five months into this unemployment and I knew things were getting better. I filed my rejection letters by industry and geographic area. My average response time for a rejection letter went from 30 days down to 7. Ah ha, a glimmer of hope the backlog of applicants was shrinking employers were rejecting me faster. I read technically the recession was over, all the signs were pointing in the right direction.
One morning around 8 I went into the kitchen (to get my third cup of coffee) and sitting in the high chair was my 18 month old son, Nate. He looked up and said, “Hi, Papa.” Then I remembered something Jorge had said at the Pink Slip Party. He said, “Someday you are going to miss this time off. “
I thought to myself, “What time off, I am working day and night trying to get a job.” Then as I saw Jorge’s posts on LinkedIn, and I would see him at all the networking events and I thought, “He was right, I am going to miss this time off.”
The economy is getting better and yes I will find another job, and yes I will go back to having 15 hour work days again, but there is one thing that I will never have again. An 18 month old son who is a sponge and developing the personality and behavior he will have the rest of his life, and this is the only chance I will ever have to play a major role in that life of his.
I still go to my office at 6, but now I go into the kitchen at 7 to eat with my son. Now we are able to take our neighborhood walk between 9 and 10. All the traffic has dwindled since all the working people are off to work. The only ones left are the shift workers and other fortunate parents who get time at home with their babies. It has been wonderful. Thank you Jorge for reminding me that this too will pass and that I will all be back to work someday.
Until then make sure we spend our time out of work as productive as possible, and that includes things you will not have time for once we go back to work.
Nate, really thanks you.