DIY

New Year, Same Work


Well here it is; a new year and a new challenge. That’s the usual line but a change of calendar doesn’t necessarily mean an automatic change in your life. You have to make changes happen.

The main reason for New Year resolutions seems to be being unsatisfied with one’s present condition and wishing to change.

If you hate your job leave it. Life’s too short to rot in a dead end job but somehow we put up with it instead of making the change. If we all ditched the dull job and worked at making our living in away we really enjoyed our employers would really be in trouble. They would need to change the way they dealt with their human resources and maybe that would be a good thing.

Going back to work after a holiday is always hard, especially if you have had a rally good time. Now that Christmas and the New Year is over the holidays are all done and I found it hard, now that there is noting but work on the horizon, the coldest part of the year and many long months until the summer and the chance to get myself back in the sea for sailing, swimming and snorkelling. So how can I settle back into the routine of work?

Well, I sorted through the list of calls, arranged them in a sensible order and set off. Many of my customers had been closed for the whole Christmas and New Year holiday so I had a bit of a backlog of calls to clear. It was a busy day and passed quite quickly. I did miss my big lunches and the afternoon nap but I have been quite busy with various writing projects so I was really swapping one kind of work for another.

How do you cope with a return to routine? Do you dread going back to the daily grind or do you look forward to getting back in harness?

Let me know how it is for you.

25 comments
Oz_Media
Oz_Media

I decided to quit work on Dec.17th, just said I'd had enough and was bored with it. Thanks for the opportunity but I think I' am going after a new deal. I had a few offers over the last few months, so I knew the market was still strong. I ended up starting from scratch, on the 18th. Dug through a phone book and selected companies I wanted to work for, reseasrched them and built a few business propsals. Cold called them, hard during the holiday I must admit, sold myself and ideas, got three interviews, started work on Jan.3rd. I've done it so many times in the last 25 years it's unbelievable. For those who feel, as one posted said,it was too much work, took too much time, scheduling interviews, skipping work etc. That is simply compacency. Not a bad thing really, one because that's why I find it easy to find work as nobody else is pushing hard enough and two, some people just lok for a comfort zone and deal with it, and that's just fine. Myself I am a little mroe driven and sometimes oberambitious, I seek better than what I have as soon as I get what I have now. Employers know I'm a job slut, they still hire me based on proposals, promises and experience. They know they will benfit from hiring me and work to keep me there as I can prove what I promise. Again though, I have different drive than some people, not unique as I know many people who do the same thing, I also know many peopl ewho simply go to work each day (even if grudgingly) and deal with it on a day to day basis. Neither approach is better than the other, it just depends what YOU want out of life.

jdclyde
jdclyde

to have to drag your tired ass out of bed everyday and force yourself to go to "that place". I used to be a shop rat while I was working my way through school AND supporting a family of four. I HATED it. This was good, because that was all that kept me working 50 hours in the shop, and then go to school four nights a week to get my degree. There were a lot of people in the shop that all started out working and going to schoool, got comfortable, and gave up on the school as too much work. I HATED the union shop life so much that it kept me going. Life is good, now. I know, you don't NEED a degree to get a job, but MANY employers here in Michigan won't even talk to you without one.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

My piddly MS CS is the new BS CS out here. If you have 298372379724375 years of experience, but you don't have at LEAST a BS, your resume is going into the trash can. Sad, but true.

jdclyde
jdclyde

I went to a place that said "if you have a degree from x, y, or z, fill in the level. If not, put none for secondary education". I walked out, as that was clearly not going to be a place that I would fit in, not to mention I didn't go to x, y, or z, even though I have a BA in network management and they only required only an AS. If it opens a door, I am all for having a CERT/Degree, but I recognize that it isn't the certs/degrees that make me who and what I am.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Yes I know, it's not just Michigan but there are many employers who still actually believe that you need certs to be worthy of working for them. I also make a point of proving otherwise, but while I don't want to argue your point (perhaps 2 in 5 can be converted with some effort but many can't) I also don't even bother with such a mentality behind my employer candidates (I prefer to interview companies instead of their interviewing me). I just move on to someone who I know is a little more aware and dynamic, I'd rather work for a tiny company at a strong wage where I can control my own destiny, than for a corporation or even medium sized business that offers what the bean counter thinks I'm worth (which is never more than they get paid) I find, in my line of business development roles, that there are greater opportunities to amaze a small business and have them make you the highest paid employee on the payroll. The last guys I was with were paying me more than they paid themselves. (and people wonder where I get me ego from?) It's a bit tricky staying humble when your employer bows to your abilities and starts asking you how to run his own business, it's also a pretty cool feeling. :) Thanks JD, been beating it out with a lot of useless twatz on TR lately, nice to speak with a human agan. Cheers! OM Look ma, no tipoz!

jdclyde
jdclyde

And a certain one is just out to be argumentative, and really hasn't had much of a point lately. How is the new job going? Another difference between you and people I meet, when you ask THEM what they do, they reply with WHERE they work, not WHAT THEY DO. It is the place they are at that defines them, not the work they perform. ( Dow and GM mostly ). My response is always "I get paid to play with the toys". :D

Joe_R
Joe_R

If a person takes full and total responsibility for his/her lot in life, then the outlook for that person becomes a matter of choice. Is that not true?

bdmore
bdmore

Not everything in one's life is under one's control, that's a go-getter myth. The outcome of things that you can't control are not a matter of choice. Taking full and total responsibility for your life is about making the best you can of any situation. It is called resiliency not choice.

Joe_R
Joe_R

But if you don't think it's a myth, then it's not. You actually help make my point very well. A person - and only that person - can decide how to respond to the things going on around him/her. And there's actually nothing "go-getter" about it. It's simply a matter of choosing how to live one's life. Do you suggest that other people directly choose how you'll live your life? All people, without exception, are born into circumstances that are beyond their control. How they process it, however, is totally within their control. Ironically enough, I just read a report that some of the happiest people on the face of the earth are among the poorest. I will admit, however, that some people choose to be miserable. I suppose, in a way, that's what makes them happy.

Joe_R
Joe_R

In the context of this discussion, at least the blog article that started the whole thing, I'm talking about choice. The writer ended his article by asking, "Do you dread going back to the daily grind or do you look forward to getting back in harness?" The answer to that, my friend, is all a mater of choice. And I believe my initial answer was along those lines. One makes the choice to either be content or happy in his/her job or to be miserable (look forward to, or dread?); or if the job really is unbearable, then a person makes the choice to either keep it or leave it. It has nothing to do with being resilient. Resilient: Marked by the ability to recover readily, as from misfortune. If I were to apply resilience into my answer, I might say this. Even if a person gets laid off from a job, he/she is faced with making one of two choices: Either be a victim of circumstances, perhaps even wallowing in self-pity, or be resilient and take control of what lies ahead. That's my answer, and I'm sticking to it! But I do thank you for chiming in. It makes for some interesting discussion. (Even if we do disagree.)

bdmore
bdmore

Again, most of what you just described is more about resiliency than choice. Choice is when you are presented with 2 or more options where each one can be effortlessly obtained. When you are faced with hardship and you do the best to adapt, that is resiliency.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

I once had a friend who worked at a liquor store, he took care of cash, stock etc. and was happy as a pig in ...with it. As long as he had a few beers in the fridge after work, was able to buy new guitar strings and a few parts for the car I was restoring for him, he was happy. Not rich, not poor but happy...complacent, contented. In my eyes, that is success, he has achieved what he has striven to do and doesn't expect more from life. It doesn't make him a loser, but a winner. I personally seek more out of life. Others are rich as hell, have everything most people would ever want but still haven't found happiness, thus still working toward that dream. Success is the progressive realization of a worthwhile dream, no matter what that dream may be. As you suggested Joseph, if you think you can't you are 100% correct. If you think you can you are also 100% correct. Now THAT'S a cool destiny!

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

I agree in the case of walking across a street and getting hit by a bus, you cant control it at all. As far as progressing your career, being a go-getter is no myth and is really the only way to get what you want. It would appear to be a myth if you have given up at it, and thus aren't really driven enough to be considered a go getter though.

Joe_R
Joe_R

Instead of being killed because of getting hit by a bus, imagine this. While a person is waiting to cross the street, a careless motorist drives through a puddle, splashing water all over the front of you. How do you react? Is it a matter of choice? It would be fun to see all the different possible reactions. Here's mine: The person just stands there for a moment, pretty much lacking of all emotion, looking down at the soaked clothing. When the light comes on for pedestrians to cross, he nonchalantly continues to walk across the street and enters the building on the other side which houses his place of employment. He walks through the door, goes up the elevator (or lift), signs in, and simply walks into his boss's office. He just stands there for a moment, looking at his boss, who asks, "What in the heck happened to you?". And you reply, "A funny thing happened on the way to work today...." The choice is this. Either what I just described (or any variation thereof), or the beginning of having a terrible day. I maintain that it's not what happens to you that determines the outcome, but rather how you respond. I think Oz_Media and I agree. Okay, what's another possible reaction? (This could really be fun!)

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

That does make more sense, but I also see a different angle. A go getter doesn' treally think everything is under control, in fact a go getters life is usually a mad blur or activity that is never at rest and never reliable or secure. The mentality of a go getter would be to ignore this and simply keep pushing forward, regardless of obstacles and that little voice in teh back of your head saying, be careful, seek stability. Resiliency is ALSO a common trait of go getters, the ablity to roll with the punches and keep driving forward. In the end, it's all about giving up, conceding to effort and the millions who say you can't fo it. A go getter ignores those people and simply strives ot prove them wrong by doing it instead. I guess there's a NIKE slogan in there somewhere, but that's what its all about. Never giving up and always having teh ba11s to push for more. I think what you are referring to is what a go getter would consider complacency or FUD (fear uncertainty and doubt). Resiliency is the ability to picj oneself up and push forward, this is a VERY common trait for a go getter, complacency or fear is right next to inability or discouragement.

bdmore
bdmore

hmm, I think I didn't expressed my point correctly. I didn't say that being a go-getter is a myth (I guess I should have said "a go-getter's myth"), in other words, the belief of having everything under control is a myth that is more common in go-getter types, and also that resiliency is often confused for choice and "being in control"

Joe_R
Joe_R

It's spot on.

alex.a
alex.a

Looking for a new job can be a major ordeal -- polishing up the resume, reading and answering ads, being careful not to respond to phishing expeditions, finding time to interview, thinking up excuses for not coming in to work when you do have an interview, filling out application forms (why do they always want to know the name of my elementary school?), the stress of interviewing, etc. etc. It's sometimes better to put up with the boredom of a dull job. No job is perfect. Unless conditions are absoluely intolerable, you may be better off finding ways to deal with the boredom and even to improve your present work atmosphere.

ManiacMan
ManiacMan

at the end of December. I'm lucky to have my wife who works and is able to make some money in the present time, and also to have some money saved up to pull us through, but I do understand what you mean. The biggest psychological problem I face is not the interview process, as I know my stuff and am not worried about that, but feeling useless and disposed of because you have nowhere to go to demonstrate your skills. It is a very strange feeling not having to wake up to an annoying alarm clock to go to work and it does create anxiety in me. My biggest problem now is not that I'm not getting interviews or offers, but that many of these offers are lowballing me and frankly insult my intelligence when I clearly demonstrate that I am well worth the money I'm asking for, which is well within market range for my skill level and experience. I'm being optimistic, as I'm sure this is a temporary phase that will pass soon enough. I love what I do, which is why I'd rather be working, even if tomorrow I were to win the lottery. I simply can't see myself being a couch potatoe and wasting my life away doing nothing. I need to stimulate my mind and constantly challenge myself to stay focused and keep a sharp mind.

Ed Woychowsky
Ed Woychowsky

Ouch! Had a three month long stint of being on the beach (the nice way to say unemployed) back in 2001. I took the opportunity to update my skills, do a web site for the PTA (resume candy) and catch-up on my reading. The other thing that I did was visit dice, monster, hot jobs and jobcircle every morning, at noon and after five in the afternoon. It seems that head hunters are like developers in one respect, they like to finish-up before lunch and before the end of the day. Good luck.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Instead of looking for companies accepting resumes or advertising a position, look for those who are NOT hiring or advertising a position. Get a phone book, choose companies you would LIKE to work for, reasearch them well. The insternet, related companies from past employment etc. Once you research them sit down and think "How can I benefit them? What skills will they gain from" What can I bring to teh table?" Once that pproach is determined, call the BOSS. Not HR, not the secretary, not a recruiter. Call and ask who the owner is,literally. Simply ask "Can you tell me who the owner or president of your company is?" you will get a lot of secretary/gatekeepers saying "He's not in right now, I'll have him call you back." Answer" Fair enough, who would I ask for when I call back?" You have requested simply a name, twice, not an appointment, nothing else, just a name. If she says "Tom's busy and can't take your call, I'll have HIM call YOU back." Answer "No problem, (offer contact info) and then comment, I'm out and about a lot myself, to avoid phone tag who should I speak with when I call back?" You will get a name, you WILL. Now, wait a few days, no call back and hten call and say, "Hi it's Greg calling (if you name happens to be Greg of course)is Tim around today?" "No, he's in a meeting" "Oh, darn, we keep missing each other. When is a better time for me to call?" (not, IS there a better time to call) be assertive and speak conclusively, don't ask permission, simply collect information. Do this and you WILL, without any doubt, et in touch with the owner. At that time, you should have a pitch prepared, WRITE IT DOWN, and can pitch your inytent, goals and skills briefly over the phone. Then state, "I'm in your area on Wednesday, would you be able to meet with me and discuss opportunitites in your field?" I have had guys with no intent on hiring me that are happy to meet with me and let me pick thier brain. The last few opportunities i had were a result of meeting such a person who then said, I know who could benefit from a guy like you! At this point, you have the owner on your side. he will give you leads, recommend you to friends or better still, CREATE a position for you with his company. Sounds a little far letched? Most sales approaches do, and yes job hunting is a full time sales job. I taught a job club years ago, this method worked for 18 of 20 students intwo weeks time, they aither had a job of choice or were on thier way to a new career, in two weeks. I have also used it for years myself, through many industry and economical changes. It does work, perhaps it will take 30-40 calls to different prospectcs but it works. Best of all, this is the best way to work around low income. At this point, teh employer has an interest in your ability and skills, the ball is in YOUR court and YOU set the price. Do you need certs and experience? Some say that helps and I believe it may, but in my case it isn't. Jack of all trades, master of none. Most GOOD prospects will see benefit if you rpromote yourself properly, someone showing that initiative, drive and tenacity is what successful people (employers who run their own business) look for in people. Skills can be taught, lessons can be leaned but the right PEOPLE are hard to find. Good luck! ADDENDUM: In my most recent case, my employer (who hired me on a 6 month contract) offered me more money to stay on, I explained that they should have considered that before and that it's not fair to another prospect to play them against each other, how I shouldn't really have to find something new before they decide to offer me a raise to stay on(even though I was barely there 6 months). I politely thanked them for the opportunity and explained it wasn't THEM that I needed to het away from but it was ME who needed to constantly progress in my career. We are on good terms, they offered me a good reference, which I didn't use in the end. No bridges burned, both companies are happy to have seen benefit from my efforts. AND I MAKE MORE MONEY EVERY TIME I GET A NEW JOB! WOOHOO!!!! Edit: sorry for all the typos it was a long haul. Then again, people used to pay good money for that advice, 'free' comes with issues. Good luck.

bdmore
bdmore

you don't need to be employed. That's why there are hobbies and sports, they will stimulate your mind, keep you busy, give you a sense of accomplishment and maintain your self esteem. Just don't practice anything too expensive and/or time consuming that will interfere with your job search. If you are a programmer, you can try participating in open source project or working on your own pet project software. I spent 6 month of unemployment from 2002 to 2003 and I kept myself busy by writing pet project software. During that time, I woke up every day at the same time early in the morning and followed a routine. From Monday to Friday I spend 8 hours of sending resumes and writing software. My TV time during that time was the same as it is when I'm employed. I'm currently employed but now I'm better prepare to face any unemployment contingency. I paid off all my debt, increased my savings and I have some entrepreneurial plans that will give me some income if and when unemployment hit again. Who know, maybe I'll make more money as entrepreneur than as employee.

alex.a
alex.a

Stay strong, and don't give up! I was once "downsized" from a firm whose building I could see from my living room window. I was out of work for two months, and it disturbed me deeply to look out my window and watch people going to work at that building. I sent out hundreds of resumes and only got three interviews -- but one of those companies nibbled at the bait and I ended up much more gainfully employed. I also moved to a different apartment where my view evoked fewer memories.

JamesRL
JamesRL

I did some contracting and consulting early in my career, and gave it up to be stable. But consulting should pay more - and if you are disciplined enough, you should save some of that increase for a rainy day. One sucecssful programmer I know has been working contract for 10 years. And his wife doesn't work. Three kids, mortgage and car payments. And he takes August off every year. He is far more disciplined than me -better saver etc. I couldn't do it. When I was laid off and struggling I did consider packing it in and going to s small town. I could live 2 years off the equity in my house in a small town. But in the long run, I knew the market would pick up again. My family has roots here. So I stayed. I did some contracting to get by before the permanent job ( and was paid better as a business analyst on contract than as a manager with 12 staff). I spent my savings, except for locked in retirement funds. My EI was maximum $440 a week gross(the most you get in Canada at the time), less after deductions, and I didn't qualify for 6 months. We all have choices and make choices in life and we sometimes learn through bitter experience. I've learned alot lately. James

ManiacMan
ManiacMan

and considered to be self employed as an independent contractor. I'm lucky to have some money in saving to pull me through, but eventually, this money will also run out, so time is a critical factor for me as well. It gets harder when you have a family and have established yourself in a home you own. In my case, it's not so easy to just sell the place and pack up to go elsewhere.