Nine months ago my unemployment officially began. The day before I’d said my goodbyes to Voce Communications colleagues, some of whom I’d worked with for just a few months and some I’d been with for seven years but all of whom I had at some point considered family. I bore them no ill will and had seen the writing on the wall for a while to some extent or another. My billable hours each month were practically nil and while I’d been working on important internal projects that situation just isn’t sustainable within an agency environment without significant support from all levels. That support evaporated over time and so, on July 1st, I was out of a job with no immediate prospects for anything new for the first time in almost 20 years, since leaving school.
That was a jolt for me. Since I was 23 I’d been employed full-time, with almost no breaks between jobs. I entered my new reality of unemployment more than confident that this would be a short-term situation. I’d been applying for new positions for a while at that point and felt sure my reputation and experience would result in a new job being offered in no time.
What followed was a whole lot of frustration. The last nine months have been a seemingly never-ending adventure in not hearing back from people, a series of “let’s have a quick chat and check our chemistry” phone calls and more instances of essentially getting no feedback on my job-search efforts. That’s lead to a situation where I’m constantly being asked to fly blind even as I need to make micro-adjustments in my approach. I literally don’t know what about my search efforts have been good and what the problems that have prevented me from getting beyond whatever automated filters are setup and which have deemed me unworthy.
In an effort to come to terms with some of what’s been going on over the last nine months, this is the kickoff of a new regular series here on my blog that talks about my own unemployment journey. Since July 2016 I’ve had short-term contract positions, done freelance ghostwriting and worked at a retail establishment. Some of these have been more fulfilling than others, some have afforded me opportunities I wouldn’t otherwise have had. Some have been extraordinarily frustrating and made me want to run for the hills. They’ve gotten me along, for the most part, regardless of how edifying they’ve been, which is all I can really ask for.
None of them, though, have given me anything near stability, which has been disconcerting for me. There’s been very little over the last nine months that’s provided me a solid reason to get up in the morning, something I’d always relied on a job to provide. We can discuss whether or not that’s healthy, but it’s the reality of my situation.
There’s plenty more to come as I revisit the past and chronicle what’s happening in the present. My hope is that not only can I share this story for my own reasons but also help someone who’s going through a similar situation, even if it’s just to feel like they’re not alone in this.