I knew that I was going to have a bad day when Human Resources asked me to drop by 15 minutes into my work day. I must have been the first person in the conga line that lasted well into the afternoon, and I'm sure we all heard the standard "it's not a performance thing, it's the economy" speech. One small, disconnected part of me wondered if the person helping me carry my stuff out would last the day - and if not, who would help him carry his stuff out?
It was a long drive home. At first, I wondered what I would say, how I would explain what happened to my family. I also kicked myself for showing loyalty and turning down an offer two months prior to my layoff. Finally, I wondered what moron corporation originated the idea of not laying people off in December, so as to not to ruin anyone's holidays, but thought that November was perfectly alright. Needless to say, the long drive seemed to pass too quickly.
I was unemployed and cranky, with half a mind to go back to bed, pull the blankets over my head, and forget about the world. Fortunately, the other half of my mind won out. I was going job hunting!
I uploaded my resume and status on Monster, Dice, JobCircle, CareerBuilder, and Hot Jobs. I even contacted every head hunter that I had worked with in the past and quickly learned that job hunting late in the year has a lot in common with being Elmer Fudd during wabbit, excuse me, rabbit season. The jobs just didn't want to play fair, and even if I could get a get an interview, someone who "absolutely needed to interview me" was out until January, due to the companies' "use it or lose it" vacation policies.
So, half of November and all of December where pretty much a bust, except for one bright spot. In Pennsylvania, when someone is downsized, the company is required to pay for a career transition service, which in my case was Career Concepts Incorporated. If you're unfamiliar with career transition services, they're the folks who make suggestions and ask questions, such as "Are you considering this industry?" and "Are you really going to wear that to an interview?"
The one thing that the career transition service probably helped me with the most was a resume critique. They suggested a change of format, because - although my resume was "Impressive" and "current" - the format was somewhat old fashioned and didn't show off my skills as much as it could. So, with the end goal of freeing myself from the monotony of daytime television, I updated my resume.
The first week of January, things started to happen. I was getting calls and interviews! During one interview, I mentioned that I was reading a book on mobile web development. That company asked for a second interview in February, which was quickly followed by a contract, and I was a Right To Hire consultant.
This whole transition was quite an adventure. I learned that career transition services can be very useful, it's more difficult to job hunt at the end of the year, and that sometimes it's beneficial to casually mention an interest in learning new skills. The final thing I learned - thanks to hours of commercials - was that television stations believe that people who watch TV during the day either need a lawyer, a doctor, or training.
So, after nearly four months, I'm employed again. But this time, the company I work for appreciates loyalty. Why else would they buy us pretzels every Wednesday and breakfast every Friday? Of course, this makes me wonder, how long before I'm too big and get stuck like Winnie The Pooh in Rabbit's front door? Oh well, if you don't hear from me for awhile, just ask Eyeore, he knows where I'll be.
Have you been a victim of downsizing? How did you work through the transition of finding a new job? Do you have other tips for folks who are still seeking employment?