Because really, registering for unemployment is something that you should do AS SOON AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN after you find yourself laid off. Seriously. Why would you wait? You don’t deserve it? They’ve been taking it out of your check all this time, just for this potential occurrence!
So, you are home. There’s a hastily thrown-together box of office stuff in the trunk of your car that you left there because you don’t feel like getting it right now. It will wait. You already dismissed as a little too TV-drama-y the idea of going to the nearest bar on the way home and drinking yourself into oblivion, so pretty soon you are going to have to start telling people you got laid off. You will start with your significant other, and then things get a bit more complicated. You obviously should tell your best friends, first because they’re your best friends, and second, they may be the most motivated and potentially best-positioned to perhaps help you out. And your siblings. And… Your. Parents. Yeesh. They are worried for you, and they will tell you so, and spin all kinds of not-good scenarios that you weren’t really to the point of thinking about yet. You knew they would do this, but even if you waited a couple days to tell them, you didn’t wait long enough. So that’s around time you start to panic a bit, as you realize it’s true, and it happened again. You are unemployed.
So you register for unemployment (see my mini-rant on doing this ASAP). After the first time you are unemployed, you definitely prioritize this, because it takes time for it to kick in. It’s a lot easier now that it’s all a few clicks away, anyway.
Also, you update your resume on the job websites. You will not be sure later if this was or was not a good idea, but that’s a topic of another post.
You now, quickly, have gotten yourself two sources of job leads: one, the lower-volume, high quality stream of jobs that apparently is always flowing around your circle of friends and coworkers, that everyone is normally ignoring, but now that you need a job, people are looking at for you; and the other, the firehose of contract jobs you probably don’t want, that all these agencies seem to be falling all over themselves to jam you into.
This is the first “up” part of the rollercoaster, with buddies giving you leads and passing your resume to their various HR departments for you, with the double incentive of helping you, their friend get a job, and maybe pulling themselves a nice referral bonus(!). At the same time, these contract agency recruiters keep calling you, telling you how good your resume looks and how they have these contracts they want to put you up for. From your initial despondence, you transition to really starting to think you won’t even have enough time to enjoy these unemployment days off! Time to make a list of all the home tasks and hobby things that you really, really want to get done in the next few days, before you end up starting a new job!
At this point, one of two things will happen. In the first scenario, one of your friends’ leads pans out, you get an in-person interview and a job offer, and you really are back to work before you know it–this really does happen, not even half the time, but it happens. In the more-likely scenario two, you maybe get the in-person interview–or don’t–but you don’t end up with that first quick job. And after that initial rush of sending off resumes and chatting with these contract recruiters (you don’t even *want* a contract job!), those end up feeling like black holes, because they may hound you for your resume and right to represent you on this job, but then you hear crickets from them.
So this is then where the next phase starts, which is actually the *real* part of finding a new job. The slog. This is the part of the roller coaster ride where you wish you hadn’t gotten on.
(I was going to start this a week ago, and I was going to catch up all in one post, but it hasn’t been happening like that, so I’ll just part it out into a few posts, and see where it goes)
So, I have been meaning to make a record of this latest unemploy of mine. It–unfortunately–feels like I’m getting a real feel for the progression to finding a new job after being laid off. I feel like I know the pattern, although every time I sort of doubt it will hold this time.
I don’t know this ending yet, but so far, it feels very similar. It starts like this:
First, you get laid off. It’s a crummy day. You may or may not have seen the signs, like other people slowly getting let go around you, or talk of a slowdown in income or traffic for your team’s project, or, you know, your project being canceled or something. Maybe you saw the signs and figured you were safe/lucky, or maybe you started tentatively putting out feelers–but too tentatively. Maybe you just went on, oblivious. However you mentally prepared or didn’t, *POW*, here’s the sit down with your manager and HR, where you aren’t ready, and where they try to maintain a little decorum by being icy, icy cold. You will probably follow along (I’ve laid a couple people off, myself, not fun). It’s like an unexpected slap in the face, whap! You don’t really respond, so you act like a gentleman (or a lady) and that’s what they are really hoping for, instead of the crying or the anger flash that you would do if you were in a movie (“I say!”). You knew right when you sat down, by the setup, with the people, and the big envelope of stuff for you to read over after they’ve told you about it. There’s no plea bargaining or anything, and anyway, how would that even work? So you just listen, maybe don’t listen, maybe put yourself in your poor manager’s shoes, maybe wonder how the HR person is able to be so nice the rest of her day. So you don’t stomp out or anything. You just take your envelope and slink back to your office or desk.
I personally, have been lucky, and at the places I’ve been let go from, they have each let me collect my things at my leisure, taking as long as I wanted (sort of). However, where I was working where I had to let people go as a manager myself, I had to help them get whatever they needed together ASAP and walk their sad bottoms out the door in “30 minutes or less”, telling them to schedule a later time for them to pick up the rest of their stuff from boxes at the front desk. That seemed pretty brutal, but I guess it’s just two ways of pulling off the same bandaid. In retrospect, when I’ve been laid off, each time, I stayed too long before leaving, like as a micro-defiance, like I didn’t want to go right when they said to or something.
This last time, I think I at least tried to motivate myself out a *little* faster, but I still dragged it out.
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