When “Time Off” Is Not A Vacation

   Posted by: Michael Bernier   in Today's Reality

The past two weeks since being laid off have been anything but dull.

The first week actually felt like I was on vacation, probably from the feeling of relief following two weeks of heads-down work updating documentation and training my replacement. I was able to sleep in late (if you consider 8:30am late), take care of some things around the house I’d been meaning to work on, and generally relax. I was checking my ex-company’s online job board each day to see if new positions were opening up, and I did apply for a couple that seemed to fit my background. I also got word from a former co-worker about an opening on her team that she thought I should apply for…it’s in an area I’m not as comfortable with, but she assured me my background would be very useful in the role, so I applied for it as well. She said she’d be looking for the application to come through. The week ended on a pretty good note, and I felt very confident that my next job was just around the corner.

Then came the second week. Silence. No replies to my applications, not even the one I had “inside help” with applying (at last word she’s trying to contact the recruiter to find out where my application is in the pipeline). I started getting letters from my former employer about what I no longer had access to, reminding me how my severance would be paid, what it would cost to continue my medical benefits through COBRA, options for rolling over my 401K, etc.

Stuff’s getting real, I thought.

It was time to buckle down… so I dug into the information I was getting from a representative assigned to me from the job coaching company my ex-employer is paying for me to use for the next four months. At his request I had sent a copy of my current four-page detailed resume for analysis, and he came back with what I call “the usual list” of tips and suggestions – “you must have a summary statement”, “you shouldn’t list more than 10 years worth of experience”, “highlight accomplishments, not skills”, “keep the resume to no more than two pages”, and so on. I don’t care who you are, none of those are easy to do when you have a technical career that spans over three decades, and you have no idea what training or experiences from all of that time may be just what an employer is looking for… but I decided to humor the guy and give it a whirl. I started hacking away, eliminating entire sections and completely rewriting others, and by the end I had a document that was just under two pages in length as he requested. It doesn’t have all those details I felt were important to keep, but it does point out the most important aspects of each position I’ve held. I said to myself, we’ll run with this a while and see what happens. I have all the stuff I removed in a second document I can provide if needed. If you’re interested in seeing a comparison of the two, let me know.

His next suggestion was to update my social media accounts to reflect my job change. I have two accounts, one on Facebook (who doesn’t?) and one on LinkedIn, which for those who don’t know is a site that focuses strictly on business people and has been around longer than Facebook. I decided to not only update my employment status on both, but also to update my online job history on LinkedIn with the revisions I made to my resume. Will it make a difference? We’ll see.

In the meantime, I got some help from an unexpected direction. A classmate of mine from high school contacted me through Facebook and asked me to forward a copy of my resume to him. In turn, he put me in touch with one of his company’s recruiters in my area. He was the first business person I’d talked with since my layoff, and we had a delightful conversation about my situation, background, and what sort of position I was looking for. He said he would check with his clients to see if they had any openings, which made me feel good about the day… but it was something else he said during the conversation that made my entire week: he mentioned after looking over my resume that I have “very marketable skills.” Now that doesn’t sound like much, but coming from a person who has never met me before and has only my resume to go by, that meant the world to me. Maybe that job coach’s ideas for restructuring my resume weren’t so bad after all?

So, now I begin my third week of unemployment. I expect I will be even busier, working all the job boards and searches, sending out inquiries, doing some networking, and hoping to land at least one job interview with some company somewhere. Just to get to an interview will be a major accomplishment even if I don’t get an offer, since it means they’re at least interested enough in what I’ve done to talk to me.

Wish me luck!


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This entry was posted on Monday, February 8th, 2016 at 12:48 am and is filed under Today's Reality. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One comment

Frances Steedley

Praying for God’s best blessings for you. Love you.

February 8th, 2016 at 11:44 am

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