IT Employment

After the layoff: Should I jump right back in or do some retraining?

TechRepublic member jdclyde talks about his post-layoff decision to retrain and gain a couple of certifications before finding another job. Did he make the right choice?
This post was written by TechRepublic member jdclyde.

It's been a week since I was laid off, and all the paperwork has been submitted for unemployment. Now what?

After thinking about it and bouncing ideas off of a lot of people, I knew one of the most important questions was whether or not I could make ends meet. Fortunately, I spent the last few years getting rid of previous debt, and so my current costs of living are shelter (mortgage) and food for my twin boys and myself. Since those costs are manageable, that takes the pressure off, for a while.

My peers keep asking if I've found a new job yet. I know that it's meant well, but the more I look at things, the less I think that jumping into a new position is the way to go. For the last 10 years, I've been more of a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to computer support. Do I want to stay good at a lot of things or become great at a few?

This is a big decision: Do I rush back into the work force or go back for retraining and some specialization? With the current job market, I'm afraid of ending up in a job that requires more specialization than I currently have -- or in such a remedial job that I am bored to tears. Of course, I will look anyways, just in case.

The other option is to get some training and brush up on some skills, maybe even pick up a certifcation or two, which will open a few more doors a little down the road. Next week, I'll find out if I "qualify" for state-paid training. I'm not sure how being displaced could make me NOT qualified, but the nice lady behind the counter seemed to think my degree could count against me. It's hard to believe that our government would punish people who try to better themselves.

Since I'm not one to sit around and wait on a "maybe," I stopped by the place where I got my BA in networking. Part of the benefits for alumni is the ability to take a class as a "refresher" for free. The problem is that the class is in week 6 of 15, and the next rotation doesn't start until the fall. So, I decided the best solution was to join the class immediately and catch up. Tuesday is Cisco 3, and Thursday is Cisco 7. Sure, the class is from 4:30 P.M. until 9:00 P.M., but other than not being home to make dinner two nights a week, what else do I have to do? Within a few months, I could have my CCNA, and by winter I could have my CCNP.

Did I make the right decision? With 26 weeks of unemployment benefits (before extensions), I'm thinking seven weeks of this is a good investment.

If you were an employer (and I know some of you are), how would you look at this path? Am I heading the wrong way in this fork in the road, or is there not really a "right" way to take? Would you "ding" me in an interview for not jumping right back into another job, or would you value someone who looks to increase their skills?

For those TechRepublic members who have been in my position, what did you do? Did you have the choice?

More posts from jdclyde:

About

Sonja Thompson has worked for TechRepublic since October of 1999. She is currently a Senior Editor and the host of the Smartphones and Tablets blogs.

56 comments
yada
yada

I've been unemployed for 7 months. This is the 2nd round (9/11 was the first round when contracts dried up). The first time, I re-invente myslf by going into another area of IT. This time, I made a job out of getting a job; took some low cost technical seminars; finished up my CISM Cert; and took on two foster children. Yes, it matters. Take the training while job hunting. They will ask you what you did during your time off.

bachel73
bachel73

My best advice is to take the time to cultivate an identity for yourself on line...I found some fantastic resources for cultivating your online personality in this one layoff article. It recommends taking rest and taking to build up blog, social network, show off skills. etc. You have the time--use it. Seeing findingDulcinea for the article--really useful tools included in the piece, from Scobleizer, Bankrate, etc. http://is.gd/jPkJ

sleepin'dawg
sleepin'dawg

It's happened or will happen to most people at one time or another. It happened to me. The sooner you get your CV sent around the sooner you'll get feedback. You might have to consider relocating and that might be a bit problematic with your boys but you might be able to get past that if you sit down with them and level with them about the situation and the current economy. Whatever you tell them, be honest; both about the situation and your feelings. A question you might want to ask yourself is, "Whare do I want to be in five years? Ten years? Do I really want to stay in IT?" Whatever you decide you know you've got my best wishes for a soft and happy landing.

Lost_in_NY
Lost_in_NY

Since you wisely managed to build a financial cushion, I think that taking a few months to refresh you skills and potentially gain another cert is a great move. And I don't any potential employer worth working for could fault you for that (it's not exactly like you're lying around on the beach reading cheap romance novels!) And of course you're keeping an eye out to make sure a potential dream job doesn't pass by while you're taking this educational sabbatical so sounds to me like you've got all the bases covered. Best of luck!

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

Employers, in my experience, vary in their thoughts about this. Some are suspicious of one's motivations and reasons for delaying the hunt for a new job. Burnt out? Lacking initiative and just wanting to lay about as long as possible? Etc. OTOH, others can be quite understanding an even supportive of the idea that one might want to some take time out to re-evaluate their position and goals, perhaps take some refresher training or specialty training. Or even just take a while and spend some time with family and go fishing. Yah just have to take that as it comes and deal with it since not all employers are of the same mind about these things. The main thing, I believe, is to have a positive attitude and motivations about whatever course of action you take and to be able to articulate your reasoning well during an interview. After all, one of the things prospective bosses look at is your overall motivation, initiative, and attitude. Those things can be a deal maker or deal breaker, especially in an economy where there are more people looking for jobs than there are available job openings. After all, if I'm looking at two candidates of more or less equal qualifications for an opening. And one just strikes me as a nine-to-fiver who only works because he or she has to, and is only in front of me because that person is reaching the end of his or her unemployment benefits and HAS to look for work. While the other has explained that he or she decided to take a bit of time to catch up on some family time, decide what direction to take as to furthering his or her career and to then engage in some self improvement/continuing education. Then went out and started seeking work even tho he or she did not HAVE to do so at this time (has the finances to delay starting to work again if he or she wanted to). I'm going to be very inclined to think the second person is a better choice. Has shown positive motivation, initiative, etc. In addition, the fact that the 2nd person is not DESPERATE for work, still has the ability to pick and choose, would give me a bit more assurance that this person actually wants the particular job I'm offering. Is more likely to stick around for a while, and to put out best efforts. But this is just the way I think about these things. And the way numerous others I personally know think about such. But that is not to say that all prospective employers think the same. Because they do not. In my work world, we do primarily new installations and system configuration, programming, and start-ups. So most of our work involves new buildings or major remodels/retrofits. As a result on any particular project I often have contact with numerous contractors of various kinds. Almost without exception, if asked the question of what is the primary thing they look for in a new, prospective employee. They answer something like, "That he or she WANTS to work, shows up every work day ON TIME, or early, and gives me his or her best effort throughout the work day." Beyond that, most all of them are willing to be at least somewhat flexible about whether or not prospective employee has EXACTLY the right diploma, cert, trade school, or past work experience. Of course, the prospect needs to have enough relevant past experience and training to be useful and earn his or her paycheck. But the well self motivated employee can learn those areas where he or she did not match ALL the hoped for qualifications. OTOH, I've seen some folks who met ALL the prerequisites ... who were slugs. Did only the absolute minimum they could skate by with. And in the long term the employer regretted the decision to hire. Get my point? As concerns whether or not to specialize. A two way sword. Can maybe get you a job sooner, and maybe at even better pay. But today's high demand and high paying specialty ... can suddenly have the bottom drop out of it. Happens all the time. Having a specialty is fine. But I'd also maintain current knowledge of a broader and more general field. And/or develop a second specialty sufficiently different from the first so that its unlikely both specialties would become "yesterday's news" at the same time. One of the problems with specialties is that sometimes the need for such simply goes away. Or, the numbers of folks needed in that specialty drops drastically. For whatever reason. Such as a change in technology. Or, if the specialty is in much demand, pays well more than other work, can be learned by the average person, then a LOT of people jump into it eventually and the field becomes over crowded. With the result of many of those specialists being unemployed, and those who still have work are likely to be paid much less on average. So try to not become a one trick pony. I think you're current plan is fine if it suits you. And taking a break from IMMEDIATELY seeking new work is unlikely to hurt. But I'd think about starting a search even before you're done with those classes. The class hours you mention are doable even if you take a new job before completing them. And most employers aren't going to have a problem with it if you tell them, "Hey, I'm currently doing some night classes twice a week, and still have a month (or two) to go. So I'm going to need to take off a little early on Tuesdays and Thursdays until then." Heck, I've done precisely that. Didn't have the prospective boss even blink twice about it. Now, if I'd said I needed of early Tuesdays and Thursdays for the next 4 years, it might well have been a problem. Just my thoughts. Worth nothing more than that. I'm no smarter than anyone else here.

cbader
cbader

I had an education in networking but I want to be more well rounded so when I got laid off last year I went back to school to get my degree in programming, Im also taking the Cisco boot camp to get my CCNA, and possibly CCNP. My current job has a team of developers so I get to be exposed to both networking and programming. Everything kind of worked out in the end.

polaris20
polaris20

Something very similar happened to me a few years ago. Like you, I did not specialize in any skill set. After sending out quite a few resumes and getting no response I opted to take advantage of some retraining that the government was paying for. In the end I earned my CCNA, CCNP, along with a few Microsoft certifications. Honestly, I don't think having them helped me in my job search. I eventually got the job I have now because I knew someone who in turn knew someone who worked for the company that had a job opening. Unfortunately, I don't get to utilize the skills I learned while earning the certifications very often. At least the training fills in the gap in my employment history. My thoughts are that specializing can probably lead to a more interesting job, but getting the job requires experience, not just training. Also, the job market you are in can be the biggest factor in your job search. I ended up moving to a different state (at my expense) to get a new job.

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

...I'd say both. With the way the job market is, even if you went on an interview tomorrow, it would probably be at least a few weeks before anything shook out from it even in the best case. Also, the opportunity to improve your skill set with minimal outlay in cash is pretty choice, if I do say so. Definitely something worth pursuing, regardless of job situation! Just my 2 cents.

Michael Jay
Michael Jay

the main question being, how long can you be unemployed? You say that your expenses are low, but you should take a very serious look at just how long you can last under the current condition. Run the numbers, can you last 6 months? a year? I only say that because it may be difficult to get a job in the current conditions. Be prepared for the worst possible outcome so you are not slapped by a difficult job search. Not meaning to scare you but I do care and am just saying, don't let the money thing get out of hand. I think that the top priority is to get a job, preferably a tech job just as soon as possible, even if it is not the greatest fit, take it. Fortunately your boys are old enough to take care of themselves while you take a job and do training on the side. I know you will make the right choices and you will get back on it, cause you are a fighter. Get out there and do it. Just my thoughts, Best to you JD.

reisen55
reisen55

Finding a job is indeed a full-time job buy any skills improvement (a) helps YOU and your career and (b)can remove some daytime and life worries by keeping you BUSY. I have an independent consulting activity that brings in extra income and even though I was in-between checks when I was unemployed, just DOING SOMETHING is great therapy for the soul.

jdclyde
jdclyde

Have you faced this decision, of run right back for another job, or pickup some more training? As a note, the training is FREE training [i](the best kind!)[/i]. If you were a hiring manager, would you think I am making the wrong decision? Join in and share your thoughts. I am in uncharted territory here, and am open to all ideas.

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

"Where do I want to be in five years? Ten years? Do I really want to stay in IT?" Makes me think of a recent conversation I had with one of my grandsons. He's 14 and had a school assignment where he was supposed to pick 3 or more adults he considered successful in their work lives. And quiz them on how they decided upon their career paths, what it took to get into the kind of work they did, and so forth. So, I was one of his picks. And he arrived at my house complete with plenty of blank paper for note taking and several pencils. Looking for some "Grandpa" wisdom, I suppose. The youngster has the mistaken impression that I am one of the more successful people he knows and suffers a mild case of hero worship. He explained what kind of info he was after to me. And explained that his teacher was wanting him to start developing some ideas about what he wanted to be when he grew up. So one of his questions to me was just that, "Grandpa, how did you decide what you wanted to be when you grew up?" I couldn't help it, I started laughing. Even knowing he was being perfectly serious. "Grandson ...", I told him, "I've been thinking about that for years. Ever since I was a boy about your age. And am still trying to figure that out. When I do figure it out, I'll certainly let you be one of the first people I tell." Then I spoke to him some about my journey in life. How I was born a farmer's son, and at one time wanted to be a farmer. But the farm was sold and my Dad moved on to other work, several kinds before he found his niche in life, that which he did very well, and eventually became a business owner. As a youth, I'd worked part time and summers in a number of things. Had worked helping painters, carpenters, masons, etc. Had admired each in turn and at some point had decided that was what I wished to do. But, for various reasons, each time I'd moved on to something else. Spent a whole school summer break riding a commercial fishing boat as a general helper. That'd looked good to me, also. Then spent a summer as a general laborer helping my Grandpa who by that time worked as a foreman for an oil well drilling outfit. Thought that was for me. Ended up finding steady, year round, part-time work in a neighborhood small grocery store working for a wonderful old fellow I admired a lot. And thought I had it settled. I'd be a grocer. Worked at that for several years, until I graduated High School. Was very good at it. He taught me a bit about most every facet of the biz, from customer service, to developing a stocking plan, the book keeping and accounting, and so forth. Particularly I liked produce. Maybe it was the left over farmer in me. But I have a love for fresh produce, and an eye for picking out the best. And after High School, from which I graduated early, for a while I went to work for a large grocery chain in their produce department. And was quite good at it. But ... I'd always also had a love for science and technology. Reading about and studying the real stuff, took all the science courses my school had allowed me, far more than was required. And was a fan of reading science fiction novels and stories. Had it settled in my mind that I had a career in the grocery biz, with a specialty in produce buying and marketing. When, one day I walked by a sign advertising this new computer technology course. A combination course. Do a year at Control Data Institute, and then a year at this local college, get a 2 year computer science degree. My ears perked right up, and next thing I know I was walking into their student application office, without having even thought the whole thing through to any deep extent. Heart pounding, etc. Mind racing. "Can I get into this? Can I do this?" I could and did. Threw myself into it and graduated top of the class. So now I was gonna be a COMPUTER guy. And in fact was hired before I actually had a diploma in hand, by Control Data. A short lived computer career. Once done with the schooling, I was now at an age where once I lost my draft deferment, my number went to the head of the list. Worked for Control Data for 6 months when I got my notice which essentially said I had so much time to join voluntarily, or I was to be drafted. I did not want to be drafted. I knew draftees had few choices, and their training was scrimped upon. Even if I was to be an ordinary rifleman, better to volunteer and get into one of the regular volunteer outfits, who had both better people and got better and longer training. Almost became a Marine. Passed all the tests, and had agreed to return following week and raise my right hand. But then ran into a Navy Recruiter. Who smiled, and spoke of more opportunities to travel and see more of the world than it was likely I'd see in other branches of the service. And he had "Cruise Books" he'd collected from his various past assignments to show what he meant. Now, I was a back country, hick boy. Born and raised way in the back hills. True, we'd moved to the big city. But I'd frankly not seen much of it. Was always either working or going to school. One or the other, or both. Usually starting in early morning and not finishing until between 8 and 10 p.m. at night 5 days a week. 8 hours work on Saturdays. Sunday was my only normal time off. Usually spent that day with family, and/or going fishing. So seeing the places he'd been, people he'd met, and the things he'd done ... gripped me and next thing I knew I was back home packing my bag, leaving the next day for Navy boot camp. As it turned out, they didn't need any more computer or electronics types. Had more than enough, at that particular time. But, when I was going to go into the Marines, it would have been as a rifleman anyway. I'd already decided to put the "computer career" on hold. I'd figured what I'd learned was still with me, could use it later. However the Navy had offered training as what they call an "Engineman". Essentially a small boat mechanic (well, some of those boats got pretty large). I figured that was okay. Something technical, knowledge I might be able to use later, one way or another. So ended up getting trained for that, and for small patrol boat combat operations, the use of a number of weapons from hand guns to 50 cal machine guns, mortars, etc. And ended up on a patrol boat in the rivers and canals of Vietnam. Tool bag in one hand, weapon in the other. Anyway, did several tours in Nam, voluntarily. (and collected several scars) By the end of those, that war was winding down, for patrol boat types anyway. The last year I was in the Navy sent me off to a Shore Patrol detachment, where I became a "Chaser". Specialized in hunting down and retrieving various service members who had gone over the hill and were running for various reasons. Usually connected with some crime they'd committed while in the Navy. (We didn't bother much with chasing down those who'd simply decided they did not want to be in the Navy any more, not worth the effort.) So when my whole enlistment was up, I got out for a couple (almost 3) years and became a cop. Decided maybe THAT was what I was gonna be when I grew up. Then changed my mind, went back into the Navy as they offered me more training, still mechanical, but a whole different field. They trained me for large ship systems, steam powered propulsion and generators, water distilling systems, electrical generators, and so forth. Later, when opportunity presented itself, I applied for and got sent to specialty schooling in hydraulics. At another time, in air conditioning and refrigeration. At another time, in cryogenics. Etc. Along the way, I gained a secondary specialty designation in security and law enforcement. And between assignments in the engineering department of various ships I did shore tours related to that secondary specialty. Still didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up. So I started doing correspondence courses, and night classes when I could, in various things. Picked up a BS in marine engineering technology along the way. Also picked up considerable college credits in various Business related subjects. Such as business law, accounting, marketing, salesmanship, real estate, etc. Even became a licensed Realtor in California. During an assignment to the Navy Engineering school in Illinois, decided maybe I wanted to be a teacher and picked up a license for that in Illinois after taking some additional coursework and passing their tests. During this period the Navy also greatly expanded it's use of desktop computers for general office and administrative uses. And started seriously employing PLC's for the uses of controlling machinery on ships. With my past AS in computers, when they asked for personnel to identify themselves who might have adequate backgrounds suitable to help them to R&D for such things, I stepped up and was picked to work in those areas. I'd retained what I'd learned back when, plus when personal computers first became generally available and affordable to the public I'd started buying my own. Vic-20, Timex Sinclair, C-64, etc. Had picked up Basic programming and the machine language of the systems I had. The Navy redirected my daily work so that I was both teaching personnel how to use desktops and the apps available at the time, and I was programming specialized apps myself that were of use to us; and I was spending time over in the engineering labs evaluating, testing, and debugging PLC controls. But then moved on. Undecided. The being a teacher thing dropped, for the moment. I was sent back to sea as a controls specialist. Both pneumatic and computer (PLC). As part of my Navy duties I did career and personal issues counseling. And as an advanced degree was helpful in advancement, I picked up a Master's in Sociology. And for a time I thought that was to be my future. Then I retired from the Navy, and STILL had not figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up. ROFLMAO!! Worked for a major telecom. Where I had multiple duties. I was in charge of facilities maintenance and repair (buildings and the equipment inherent to them such as electrical distribution and service, heating and air conditioning, plumbing, etc) in my area. Also in charge (within my area) of their efforts to install a system to use dedicated computers in a black box, to monitor and operate said equipment and connect all that to a nationwide data network so that if one of their utility buildings in the sticks somewhere had a problem that issue showed up on a screen of a desktop in the main telecommunications network center somewhere. And appropriate action could be taken before situation became critical. I also developed a central database system for them where all the equipment was listed, and logged as regards to make, model, needed spare parts, the work history of all maintenance and repair actions, and so forth. In addition, in my area, I became their general purpose office desktop and LAN system guru. They were using XT compatibles, then 286's, then 386's with the early versions of Windows, but mostly DOS and DOS based apps. I did PC repairs. Conducted classes on how to better use Word Perfect, etc. Did new installs and setups. Figured out and fixed issues with the LAN and with modem connections. Etc. Jack of all trades, so to speak. And handled the area security issues. Setting up CCTV surveillance, installing door access control systems, and so on. Nowadays, I work for a firm that designs and installs computer based automated controls for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning; as well as other mechanical equipment that's part of a commercial building. Monitor and control energy usage to maximize energy conservation. And does the integration and control of other things into one, integrated package. i.e. Alarm and safety monitoring equipment, CCTV, door access control, etc. In another couple hours, as I go to work today, I'll be editing and modifying web pages on a dedicated web server. Another dedicated computer in a "black box". (No keyboard or video screen of its own, nor even provisions for connecting such) The web pages are a series of graphical screens showing the building and its equipment. Click here or there to see individual room temperatures. Click on temperature to see graphical cutaways of the actual operating equipment and all its monitored status points. Make adjustments or troubleshoot from where ever you are as long as you have access permissions and a web browser of your choosing. Change operating schedules of equipment or lights, see which rooms are occupied. Change screen to see who has used access card to enter or leave an area. So on and so forth. That dedicated web server retrieves data over a data network from dedicated computers in "black boxes" that are operating the temperature control systems, the fire alarm and fire suppression panels, the CCTV cameras, the door access control system, etc. Even the motion sensors which automatically turn on lights in an office, for instance, are also monitored by one of those computers in a "black box" (which are never actually seen by the occupants, most don't even know they exist). So that not only do the lights come on, but one black box talks to another elsewhere in the system over a data network so that the box controlling the machinery which heats and air conditions that area turns on if it was off, automatically. And, records are made and kept. The fact that an access card registered to so and so was used to enter the building, then a particular area. CCTV camera shots are made and images of the person recorded to a very large hard drive. Also, copies of the digital data are sent off site to a secure archive area. Person is "followed" to office where lights come on and air conditioning starts. If desired, system can report amount of additional energy used to light THAT particular area and to air condition it specifically. And so forth. Chuckle ... Big Brother IS watching. In any event, that's what I do these days. Tomorrow? I don't know. I'm still trying to figure out what I'm gonna do when I grow up. And that's what I told my grandson. I also told him that IMHO, the journey through life probably counts as much, if not more, than the destination. After all, none of us truly knows what tomorrow will bring. So I suggested to him that it really did not matter that much that he try to decide exactly what his career route should be today, or tomorrow. Pick a course of travel, work towards that. Always learn as much as you can. Or at least attempt to learn something new on a regular basis. When yah reach a fork in the journey of life, THEN decide which way to go. Based up how things are at THAT time and what you know at that time. Keep on moving and learning. Sure, you'll take a wrong turn from time to time. Maybe guess wrong as to which is the right/best path. Part of life. None of us has a crystal ball which works worth a damn. Learn as you go, be open minded and flexible. If you have the opportunity to learn something new, even if you don't see how it fits in with your PLAN right now, try to learn it. Yah never know. Could come in handy some time later. Finally, I told him what I tell a lot of folks. DO NOT be a one-trick pony. Know how to be more and do more than one single specialty. Or, in the journey of life you'll restrict yourself to one road, and one road only. And if that road gets washed away by some event, you're stuck and with few or no options. Same goes if the road is still there, but you've become tired or bored with THAT road and wish to try another. Learn to develop more options. Just some thoughts.

sleepin'dawg
sleepin'dawg

Regardless of Obama's stimulus package, there are going to be a lot of people out looking for work and the Detroit area is probably going to be one of the worst hit areas in the country. A lot of permanent jobs have beeen lost and while some will get relief through early retirement, most people are going to be totally jammed up. Single people will have the relocation option but I realize it won't be so easy for those with dependants, like yourself. At least your ex shouldn't hold you back too much but just in case get some legal advice. Drop me a PM if I can give anymore advice. BTW I'm doing my damnedest to keep from laying anyone off but have had to cut back on hours, to 30 hours, for most wage earners. Have a sort of hiring freeze in place at the moment but will hire as necessary. Not replacing those we lose through normal attrition but would if we absolutely had to. At least we're debt free and have solid cash reserves. Keep in touch and good luck. [b]Dawg[/b] ]:)

debposton
debposton

The idea of training and being able to do that and focus is wonderful. The reality of finding a job quickly is not. You need to start looking now while you are in school. Add the new classes to your resume and coverletters....it might take months to find the job you are after.

jdclyde
jdclyde

and looking at the direction our economy is continuing to go, it just might not be easy to find a job, so waiting very long might not be a good idea. I am thinking a few weeks to brush up on my Cisco basics, and it will be time to start the search. Will start setting up my lab tomorrow. Need to inventory my equipment and get it in the rack.

OldER Mycroft
OldER Mycroft

[b]JD !![/b] I had an email 'conversation' with a few peers tonight and this phrase came up. As you know my initial placement in the workplace was within the Print Industry - not a place to be if you have a weak stomach, believe me. One of my emails ran rather (if not identically) like this: [b][i]"Whither thee dither, or wither thee ither, or whither thee nither - be tae yirsel' true!" That's more or less the way I've conducted my (professional) life and been fired no less than three times. Am I upset about it? Weeeeel (a guid Scottish phrase..) NAW, NO REELY ~ Erftwhiel Ah could'ha Bin Slang in Gaol we' an appurtenance in court! (Best to be 'let go' before the 'definitively foreseen letting of blood' on one occasion & the 'possible letting of blood' on the other two. Whether any of my employment curtailments (two of them in excess of 3 years) could have ended in Court Proceedings - I have no doubt whatsoever. But it would difinitely NOT have been for the letting of blood! A summarily courteous hefty financial payment saw to that. Unfortunately my capability for my lesser colleagues proved to be only what I THOUGHT they were going to receive - what they ultimately did get was outwith my control. I'll tell you what though - I ENJOYED THE BLOODY FIGHT and some of them actually visibly quivered!! If you know that you are correct - NEVER give in. NEVER... Brian[/b][/i] So - there you go! From a Scottish point of view and, from a [b]"Scoattiche Propheshinnull"[/b] point of you, I would suggest that you listen to what other peers tell you. Then listen to what all the other people around you tell you. Then listen to what YOU HEAR. LISTEN and you won't go wrong. You might not be right but you won't go wrong. ;)

Jessie
Jessie

When my job cut me down to one day a week last summer, I got into training (which I'm still doing) and looked for another job. Even then, it took me 3 months to get a real job offer (Partly I think because of the extra weight I was carrying around, interviewers would be all excited after seeing my resume, then I'd get in there and they'd ask me, are you SURE you can do this kind of job?) but I'm making more now than I was then... with longer hours, and continuing with the training. Did you know you can get student loans for certs? And BTW, I recently discovered that 9 shots of tequila in 3 hours is WELL beyond my limit... for the first time EVER, I had a lengthy discussion with the porcelain Goddess about the advisability of drinking till ya puke... and then I took a nap on the bathroom floor.

lewinskys
lewinskys

I myself am facing the same issues here. I am currently a Certified Networking guy. But over the years, upgrading and refreshing training hasn't been part of this companys focus. So my certifications are very old and rather useless. But my years of direct knowledge is valuable, yet how do you present that to a new employer? I have to look at the my geographic area to see if there is any point in upgrading my computer training, or just retrain in a totally different area. And in this area, many businesses have shut down, so "IT" isn't really needed. I am 15 years from retirement and need to focus on a position that will attempt to tide me through to the end.... What ever that career path will be. But I think a good review of career, geographical analysis, and the ever changing IT world should be looked at for career decisions.

J Alley
J Alley

My suggestion seems to fly in the face of most suggestions but here is why: When I was responsible for hiring (when I had a job) it would have made almost no difference to see a gap - even several months. And, I always saw certs as an indicator but not a guarantee (we have all seen people with credentials and wondered how they got them). So I don't think it will affect you one way or another whatever you do in the first few months after the layoff. The courses do make you look like you are keen - but we all knew that anyway from reading you. I think the courses are valuable for you because they are getting you excited about a direction for your career and maybe helping you understand where you want to specialize - but this gets to an important point. What is the job market like in your area - big companies or small? What size of company do you want to work for? When you dive into Cisco you make yourself valuable to those companies that have Cisco infrastructure and probably larger ones that will need a specialized person. I would encourage you to ensure that you don't get sucked into your courses and lab - as fun and engaging as they are. Others have said it takes time to close on a job. And, you have to generate the offers. The order of operations my coaches have suggested are: 1) figure out who you are and what you want; 2) understand what the business environment needs; 3) determine what stands between you and what you want/what businesses want and then start to fix that (which is where taking courses comes in as part of it); 4) put together your marketing package 5) build your network (try LinkedIn.com) JD, you are very articulate and thoughtful, have a sound technical knowledge and a good analytical approach based on what I've read of your writings. I also get that you know how to work well with other people and I suspect you'd be a damn good boss. Given all this, I think you could set your sights higher (manager, network architect, etc.) and do well at that level. Granted there are fewer opportunities at higher levels and I don't even know if that turns your crank, but for what its worth, I think you could move up. All the best! (PS, I'm getting pumped about my own job hunt).

Jellimonsta
Jellimonsta

Learning is always good, obtaining certs does not physically hurt you (and it sounds like they won't financially hurt you either). However, don't expect that they will necessarily translate to an easier time finding a position, or a better pay grade. I would definitely look into it while you are job hunting, but I would still be active in job hunting, even while training/ studying. Good luck JD, you will land on your feet. :)

ctech1
ctech1

I would look for employment while retraining. You might find a dream job by accident. Go luck on your CCNA! Set a test date now and stick to it! Mine is mid June after my last class.

sleepin'dawg
sleepin'dawg

You'll never go wrong by acquiring knowledge, especially when it's free. The question you maybe should be asking is whether you wish to stay in IT where there is a limit to advancement and you're confined exclusively to the function; a function that may not be there in a few years time as technology changes and advances. Once upon a time programmers and keypunch operators were the hot jobs to be in; look where they are now. Drop me a PM, I might have a few other suggestions for you to consider. Remember the old cliche,[i][b][u]"If you keep doing what you've always done, you'll keep getting what you've always got."[/i][/b][/u] Maybe it's time to open yourself up to new oportunities, new challenges and new vistas and possibilities. In Mar/88 I was in a similar situation and it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. [b]Dawg[/b] ]:)

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

I can honestly say [b]It Depends[/b] on any job you are applying for but in the current Economic Climate I can't see just how this would cause any Hurt to Job Prospects. Unless of course you where to apply for a job that doesn't require these Certs and you would be considered as [b]Over Qualified.[/b] But I can't see you applying for anything like that to begin with and for most HR Types see Paper Certs as good things to have so you would get moved higher up the Totem Pole with them. :) Besides starting Classes just after being Laid Off shows potential Employers that you have Motivation and are not prepared to sit on your a$$ waiting for a Knock on the Door. Even if for some reason you fail to finish the classes it's not going to hurt at all. Though if you are offered something in the meantime I would take it as it's always easier to find a new job while you are employed. Col

ehamouda
ehamouda

i think it;s the best suited time for an upgrade, try to take a couple of certs while you doing a slow job hunting.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

If you can't get something that pays, do volunteer work for a small charity. Can't do much anymore without PC's, charity depends on them as does any other racket, err... company. Unlike for profits, they're usually quite cash strapped, making them often at a loss when it comes to their in house network, cleaning up their systems, etc... You have knowledge they need. They can also keep you busy while helping to keep your skills sharp. I work for a small not-for-profit. While not hired on as IT support, I've taken it on in addition to my bean counting duties because we desperately need someone in that role. It's a plus for them, and for me. My IT time is often voluntary. Add to your resume in a manner that showcases not only your skill and knowledge, but your heart.

Ed Woychowsky
Ed Woychowsky

If you train in the next hot thing then you'll win, but guess wrong and you might have used cash that could be better used keeping a roof over your head and food on the table. I don't know if this is happening in your area, but a couple of the local community colleges in my area are offering 12 credits free a semester to people that have lost their jobs. As for what to skills to pick-up, my guess would be XBRL and accounting.

cmiller5400
cmiller5400

I'd go for it without even thinking twice. Why pass up something for free? I wouldn't worry about the gap. Training is always a good thing in my book!

jck
jck

um...drink! :^0 Honestly? If you need some training, get it now and FAST. Go to vo-tech or something for 3 months. If a job comes along in the meantime, good. If not, you're better prepared than before the class. I'd also say to update rather than gather new skills. Make it look like you are keeping current on everything in your dossier. just my 2 centivos worth...hasta tequila! lol

Geek3001
Geek3001

I'd say that you should do both. Job hunt using your current skill set but also work on expanding the skill sets. You can find a lot of free stuff on the Internet. (I'm using W3Schools.com as a way of enhancing my web design work.) You can also find relatively cheap training on Lynda.com. For $25 a month you can access all of their content. Or get an entire year for $250. I've learned a lot with the courses I've taken from them. Having a project to demonstrate your learned skills would also be useful.

JamesRL
JamesRL

I would suggest that training is always good, and I normally don't comment on gaps in employment unless they are big ones, and in this ecomony, I can understand even bigger ones. What do I mean by big? Six months or more. My recommendation is to start looking and do the training, if you get a fast tunaround offer, you can mention the training. I have worked around that kind of thing before. But at this point you can afford to be picky about your new employer, so don't jump unless it feels right. James

shasca
shasca

Any reason you need to stop searching while getting educated? I went back to the local Community college at night for 4 years to get my Microsoft certification while working full time during the day. Main reason was finances. There would have been no way I could not be working and pay for college. Have you recieved notice that you be able to collect unemployment? Will it be enough to survive on? Do you feel you have large enough savings that you won't be cutting into your emergency funds. Those would be my main deciding factors.

jdclyde
jdclyde

I would loss a lot on my house, as the market in the area is just not moving anything that isn't lowballed because of all the forclosures. thankfully, because of the divorce, my cost of living is VERY low. I have done NOTHING but pay off debt since I found out the ex was planning on leaving me, so my house/utilities are about $700 and then food expense. I can make that for a while, with almost no other bills to my name. And yes, the ex is pissed because I will be filing for child support this week (finally). I can ride this out. Thanks! I have changed my mind, and will be doing the job search ASAP while I also do the training.

jdclyde
jdclyde

there are more avenues in front of me than just the simple fork I had envisioned. I go in tuesday to find out what more options are available, in training, aid, and placement. When possible, my answer is going to be "all of the above". B-)

jdclyde
jdclyde

I almost chucked, but held it back. B-) Seems three pitchers of beer, a few jagerbombs, and a few shots of tequila are VERY close to my limit. B-) Will see how the rest of the night goes. ;\ oh yeah, darts, we won. :D

jdclyde
jdclyde

is to brush up on the cisco and get that ccna to start out with. the dang things, you put them in place and forget them, so unless you are an installer, it is easy to forget. will have my lab together this week, touch up my resume, and then start getting my name out there.

jdclyde
jdclyde

But with a tight job market, maybe keeping my eye out for that good job might not be a bad idea. I feel like I got at a fork in the road, and instead of going right or left, I hit some black ice and slid right down the middle.... ;\

jdclyde
jdclyde

looking into training from the state, and re-sitting my Cisco classes. I don't see having routers being something that will go away, but increase. After sitting in two days of classes, I am already getting geeked about playing with the routers all over again. :D Tomorrow, I start setting up my lab at home.

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

TAANSTAFL? I'm taking medical courses from 9AM to 9:30pm 4 days a week. One 2.5 hour break around lunch time. The courses are ALMOST free ($40 per course). But then you add on other costs: your time for 12.5 hours a day, 4 days a week, for 18 weeks. Time studying (medical stuff is at least as complicated as IT stuff). Books: one books was $93, second set was $107 and third was $89. so $160 for four courses plus these books. Uniforms: $40, plus $25 for special shoes, plus stethoscope / sphygmomanometer. However after this I will either change careers or be an SME (subject matter expert) in the medical field for IT dept of related company. (yes I've seen ads for this). Always pays to learn new stuff. My first mistake in June was waiting too long to start training. I should have started in the fall semester. You can still say you are looking for work while training. I am. I browse websites and occasionally apply if the job fits but is pretty sparse out there, and I now qualify as an expert also on weird stuff that companies / recruiters are doing in ads. The same job listed 5 times thru dift recruiters. A job where they want every possible acronym known to man, and for very little money. Jobs where they want the latest version actual hands on, OTJ, even tho I've run the latest version of the SW via a virtual image downloaded for a class. Nosey recruiters who just want info from you then hang up. Others I never hear from. Still others who want you to come in, get tests, copy of passport, etc. then never have an opening. the better companies actually notify you when you are no longer being considered for an opening. Even better if an actual person does this instead of an email address with 'do not reply'. And well-meaning relatives who want you to contact XX Agency, which it turns out only operates in another state (that they live in). Or who suggest you 'start your own biz' fixing PCs. "That would be great for you"... We've had whole discussions on that here and it would NOT be good for ME. (it certainly could be good for some people). I've already had it with friends from work who invite you over to install modem (for free) that their 15 year old has already garbled up and can't figure out, with no instructions or brand name on it. Or others who think that once you've touched their computer, anything that happens to the PC from that point on is your fault. Thanks for the lynda.com ref, another poster. That looks interesting but I am still working thru IEEE and ACM.org classes (for $99/yr). They are scant on Maya tho so might be a good deal.

jdclyde
jdclyde

I am in two cisco classes now, at the local cisco acadamy, as I would like to get more into the networking side of things. And I drank last night. and yes, there WAS tequila involved. :D

DelbertPGH
DelbertPGH

Being unemployed says to some you weren't good enough to get a job. Mostly, it says that to people who never got laid off. But prolonged unemployment says you may be losing your edge, and that your experience is getting stale. So get a job. Learn what you want. Then, start working the job you wish you had. Doesn't matter if you ignore the crummy job you were hired for. So long as job-you-don't-want doesn't fire you, continue to get experience you can put on your resume, for job-you'd-rather-have. Then start looking for the next job, with your big brain full of knowledge and your fresh on-the-job experience. Employers can use you like Kleenex. So long as you don't make an obvious habit of it, you can use them the same way. You don't owe them any more than what you find in the Ten Commandments. You owe yourself and your kids more.

jdclyde
jdclyde

After all, I don't want to wait until my unemployment is out or almost out, forcing me to jump at that time because I would have to, rather than want to. Want to do this on my terms to get a good fit.

DMambo
DMambo

that it'll take at least 7 weeks to find a new position. Join the class, get certified, look for work. Keep us posted.

jdclyde
jdclyde

Yes, I qualify for unemployment. I have low cost of living, with almost no debt other than my house payment. The college classes are ones I will re-sit for free, so again, no cost. At this stage, I don't NEED to work, so I can focus on training. I also have several routers, switches and servers, so will be making my own Cisco lab at home to do more self study. Might look at even doing some volunteer work.

sleepin'dawg
sleepin'dawg

You could rent it out for mortgage and tax costs plus a profit. This would make your house a small business and all repairs and upkeep would be tax deductable. This way you would retain ownership until the economy turns around and you could then sell at a profit, if you were so inclined. This is just one solution, there are others. [b]Dawg[/b] ]:)

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

I really don't think there are any jobs, no matter what I'd retrain in... Maybe I'll start brewing beer...

mkern
mkern

In this economy people will not be driving Motorcycles, unless gas goes up again. Recreational stuff put aside to eat.

jck
jck

Tila Tequila. Supposedly everyone wants to hook up with her for some reason. I didn't. She's a 5 in my book. Not even worth pursuing, since she shows signs of being pious.

jdclyde
jdclyde

No idea. had a sunrise... mmmmmm.

jck
jck

getting like...the A+ certs for PC repair and networking and stuff. then making my own business be my primary income...and getting the contract to maintain systems for the county school district where I live. i could easily get $250 a PC maintenance plus mileage, til they are out of warranty...then charge them hourly after that. yeeeeeeeehawwwwwww...i wanna drink and fix PCs. ]:)

jck
jck

tequila the drink? or were u watching that Tila Tequila chick? or...both? lol ]:)

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

I was thinking about a vo-tech school just for fun...I want to learn to work on motorcycles ;-)

JamesRL
JamesRL

The amount of time it takes to go through the application process. A job posted today will probably take 6 to 8 weeks to fill. Contract jobs usually take much less. James

shasca
shasca

Looks like you just answered your own question..........Happy Learning

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