No, it has nothing to do with writing.
I didn’t talk about it much, maybe made a reference here and there. I certainly didn’t dwell on it. I just lived my life as I always have.
But for those who don’t know, or those who suspected, or those who knew, or even those who just don’t give a damn, I was unemployed for twenty-one months… since February of 2009. I was laid off, along with dozens of others, from my last job.
And I’ve been looking for work. But in the technical writing field, in the desktop publishing field, there just was nothing there. I mean, sure, there were a few jobs, and I applied to them, but because of the economy, it’s a buyers market out there. In a normal economy, where unemployment is low, employers might specify certain requirements, such as a B.A. with 5 years experience, but they were more lenient and if you were short of a B.A. or had 3 years experience, they’d still bring you in to look at you.
Now, those same employers won’t budge. That B.A. means B.A. Those 5 years of experience are set in stone. So if I applied for 10 jobs a week that I was less then qualified for, I’d hear nothing back. In 21 months, I think I only made it to the interview stage five times.
So, I started to expand my job search, creatively making several resumes aimed specifically at different career options. If I had some experience somewhere in my past, or had education related to anything, I made a resume for it and started applying to all sorts of different jobs. Security guard. Secretary. Administrative assistant. Bank teller. Landscaping. Janitorial. Editing. Journalism. Proofreading. Customer service. Whatever.
Another reason for the desire to change careers was Job Security. In the last 20 years, I’ve had FOURTEEN jobs. 14! Many of those were at Ma and Pa companies that folded, leaving me adrift. Some were just temp jobs. It’s a horrible feeling to become so gun shy that you dread going in to work because you wonder, “Is today the day I lose my job?”
So a while ago I applied for a job. A federal job. Through USAJobs, the government’s version of Monster, listing all government jobs. Anyway, I got a call back on a job I applied for and I interviewed on September 17. I wasn’t sure how it went, I’m awful at interviews and I’ve never been one to talk myself up to others, which is probably a horrible quality when trying to get a job. Afterwards, Karyn and I went to lunch at a chinese buffet. My fortune cookie read: “You are soon going to change your present line of work.”
Well, if unemployment was my present line of work, then a change in that would be a good thing, right? That was my reasoning.
Then on September 21, I received the best news I’d heard in 21 months. I received a conditional job offer. Dependent upon all the Homeland Security stuff. After filling out tons of forms, getting my fingerprints taken, and then waiting, I finally found out on October 6.
My background check checked out.
I had a real offer for the job.
I start tomorrow.
(…and it couldn’t come at a better time because I had just learned that because of a temp job I worked at for a few weeks over the summer, my Unemployment Compensation had been recalculated and starting this week, I’d only have been eligible for $72 a week!)