I knew October would become a lousy month at the end of September when my car died from a blown head gasket. The timing was bad. Since my last two non-writing tech jobs ended after nine months or so, and the company I worked for had announced layoffs for its full-time workers, I expected to lose my job. And, not surprisingly, I got my layoff notice the following Monday morning. If being without a car and out of the job wasn’t bad enough, the Republicans shut down the government.
The last two times I looked for work last year, I got a job within three weeks and collected one week of unemployment. Under “normal” circumstances (and nothing has been normal since the Great Recession started five years ago), I could have expected the same success with my current job search this time. But with the Republican shutdown casting a pall over the economy, I wasn’t certain that I could get a job that soon before I ran out of money. If the Republicans were successful in destroying the global economy by defaulting on the good faith and credit of the United States, it didn’t matter anyway.
With two weeks left on the job, I updated and posted my resume to the job search websites, sat back and waited for my cellphone to ring. It didn’t. During the Republican shutdown, no one was calling me back. I scanned the websites, submitted my resumes to interesting positions and continued to wait. Only after the Republicans backed off from the economic cliff, and President Barack Obama signed the continuing resolution into law, did my cellphone started ringing off the hook.
I immediately had two meet-and-greet interviews with local recruiters. They claim to have numerous jobs available, but they never do and were more interested in my interactions with other recruiters. I went to these meetings to dust off the cobwebs and figure out what I need to change from being out of the job market for nine months.
One recruiter suggested that I changed my chronological resume to a functional resume. Since I had so many contract jobs over the last few years, I could highlight the various job skills that I have accumulated over the years (i.e., quality assurance testing, PC refresh technician, network support, help desk/desktop support and data center technician). I spent a day rewriting my resume at work since all my responsibilities got transferred to someone else, uploaded the resume to the job search websites and more phone calls came in.
It’s difficult to look for work while still working. Now that I’m not working, I’m playing the waiting game with recruiters who have submitted my resumes to hiring managers. The clock is ticking down. If I don’t have a paycheck by the end of November, I won’t have rent for December and things will fall apart from there. After surviving two years of unemployment, six months of underemployment (i.e., working 20 hours per month), and filing Chapter Seven bankruptcy, I’m not sure if I can put up with surviving on the edge again.