After I learned that I was being laid off last September 2019, I tried to relate my situation to the scenario that Liam Neilson’s character found himself in “Taken.” Sure, his daughter had been kidnapped during a vacation in Europe, but luckily his character had “a certain set of skills” and a lot of dedication. I, too, had been through job losses before so I thought I would be able to draw from those experiences and find employment again quickly. I hoped I could find a new job quickly enough to make my job loss feel almost temporary, as though it was only a speed bump in my life.
I had until the end of October to wrap up my role. I spent the remainder of my time doing new work, and summarizing the information that others would need to have once I was gone. I was also signing up for multiple job boards, updating my resume, and increasing my presence on LinkedIn. Everything I thought I should be doing as I kickstarted my job hunt.
From my very first day of my job search, there have always been new job opportunities out there. In fact, they are so plentiful that it is easy for someone to overestimate their chances of getting a new position. Around Christmas, I was already noticing that I was sending out a ton of job applications and queries, but receiving a proportionately small amount of responses, even if you included the “I’m sorry, we’ve decided to pass on your as a candidate” type emails. I relaxed a bit during the holiday season because I knew that companies just weren’t going to be as focused on hiring around then. By then, I had had a few phone interviews and at least one near-miss, but it was already beginning to feel discouraging. As I had hoped, things seemed to heat up again in January and the responses–both good and bad–started to roll in. By February, I had a couple of job interviews for positions that I sincerely thought I was a good candidate for. Things seemed to be looking up.
Then, of course, our state closed down in March, and the rules for job hunting changed. Fortunately, unemployment benefits were increased and extended for those who needed them. But, by April I found myself competing with a much bigger pool of job seekers.
Now that it is August and almost a year since I was laid off, I feel as though I am Katniss from “The Hunger Games.” I’ve always felt as though this was a fight for survival–both professionally and personally–but I’ve never felt as anxious about my situation as I do right now. I know that there are others who are searching for a job, so maybe my situation isn’t so unique, especially right now. But, there isn’t much that I can do to help until I’ve gotten a job.
And, I am sure that I’ve made a lot of mistakes that have kept me in this situation. Maybe my cover letters weren’t snappy enough, or the format of my resume was wrong. I hate job hunting mostly because I feel as though everything I do as a job candidate, from the resume to the interview, is under close scrutiny. I know the point is to demonstrate that I can be a valuable contributor, but I can do a lot more than pump out a resume or answer questions about myself. I am a strong believer that actions speak louder than words, and in some cases I am just better at doing something than talking about it.
This is why I am hoping to devote a little more time towards my blog at http://www.jonmorgan.net, where I can cover aspects of my career that can’t really be addressed in a resume. I’ll also be continuing a couple of my other side projects, so I’m not just devoting all of my time towards the hunt for jobs.