I Was Unemployed For An Hour And It Sucked

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My Monday, March 4th, started off like pretty much every other Monday. I had flown into Miami the night before to meet with one of my largest clients. I was proposing an additional $460,000 of annual spend, which would have made them my second-largest client overall, so I had spent the entire morning reviewing the proposal with my local sales and management team. We felt very good about the prospects of the deal, so I dialed into my weekly team meeting at 12:30 PM with a rather genial mindset.

Until I saw who was on the call, that is. In addition to my boss and my colleagues, my boss’ boss and the VP of HR were dialed in. Text messages started flying immediately between all of us.

“Something’s going down.”

“Oh, shit.”

Unfortunately, we were right. Moments after the call started, my boss’ boss gave us the words every upper-middle class worker dreads:

“We’re going to have to let you go.”

I literally fell out of my chair. The woman seated across the aisle from my desk gasped and rushed over to help me, but I waved her away. The VP of HR came on next to explain what the terms of our severance would be, our COBRA benefits, etc., but I don’t think I heard any of it. My heart felt like it was beating in my throat.

I had spent the previous three years building a business from nothing—literally nothing. I created a brand name, hired a team, and went from billing about $100k a month to almost $2M. I had brought on some of the largest dealerships in the country—the number one exotics dealer in America, the number one Chevrolet dealer, the number two CDJR dealer, and the largest dealer group in Kentucky. We were profitable a year before anybody expected us to be, and so far in 2019, we were at over 130% to budget.

Unfortunately, none of that mattered. The company, which had once been a founder of Cars.com, decided that they no longer wanted to be in the automotive space. The existing customers would be handed over to our strategic team, which handles larger, non-automotive accounts, and anybody whose job title had the word “automotive” in it, including mine (Director of Automotive Development), was eliminated, effective March 15th.

As the call ended, I sat there in our Miami office, a dead man at a desk. I had often heard that you can determine how long a job search would take by taking your annual salary and dividing it by ten thousand, and that’s how many months it will take you to replace your job. At that calculation, I was looking at well over a year of unemployment. That wasn’t going to work.

I did some math in my head, and the severance they were offering, plus outstanding commission payments I was owed, would last me about four months. But there was no way I was going to rest. I started making phone calls immediately.

My first call was to my original boss at this company. She had moved on about a year ago to one of our vendor partners, a small, digital boutique firm based in Canada. While she and I disagreed on, well, just about everything, we had a great mutual respect for each other and accomplished some fantastic things while working together. And even though she was a few years my junior, I had immense respect for her and learned a great deal while she had been my supervisor.

Unfortunately, I got her voicemail, so I went to work updating my resume. I even went so far as to create two—one for Kentucky, and one for Miami. Let’s be honest—six-figure jobs aren’t plentiful in the Bluegrass, so I was willing to consider any and all options, including a relocation.

I called everybody else I knew in the business. None of them had any current openings at my level, but a couple of them did have openings for other roles that were good fits for my employees and colleagues, so I sent them resumes for my team and asked them to set up interviews (I’m happy to say that two of them actually did, and job offers are pending).

As I was updating my resume and my LinkedIn page, it occurred to me that I don’t actually own a computer. I’ve had a laptop through my various jobs ever since 2003, so I’ve never needed to buy one. I started to panic a little bit, realizing that I would have to spend a significant of that precious severance money on a new laptop in order to be able to apply for jobs.

The rest of that day, I sat at my desk, applying for anything and everything that looked like it could possibly align with my experience and skill set, no matter where it was in the country. For all the talk of how unemployment is so low, there didn’t seem to be many jobs in my desired salary range that weren’t “UNCAPPED COMMISSION! OWN YOUR OWN BUSINESS!” insurance sales jobs.

I finally decided around 4 PM that I couldn’t bear to be in the office anymore, so I left and went to my hotel. Luckily, it wasn’t much after that when my old boss called.

“Tell me what happened.”

After I related the sordid details, I asked the uncomfortable question I had to ask. “Are you hiring?”

“…well, yes, I am.”

She told me all about the position that she had available. It wasn’t in automotive, but it was working in digital advertising, selling white-label CRM tools and digital platforms to agencies, broadcast media companies, listing directories, and others. The pay was nearly dollar-for-dollar what I had made in 2018. Small company. 300 employees. I wouldn’t have any direct reports. Company was based in Canada, so the benefits were kinda wonky. 401k wasn’t really a thing.

“I’m definitely, definitely interested,” I said. “Tell me what I need to do.”

She set up an interview for me with her boss for that Friday, which seemed like an eternity away. My flight out of Miami wasn’t until Friday night, but there was no way in hell that I was going to go to the office any more that week.

So while I waited for my interview, I made searching for a job my full-time job. Every day, I started applying for jobs at 8:30 and didn’t stop until 5:30. I filled out dozens and dozens of applications on LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter, and everywhere else I could find a job posting. My phone never rang. My email never buzzed. It became clearer and clearer that most of my eggs were going to be in the basket of that Friday interview, at least if I didn’t want to be patient—which I didn’t.

Friday came. The interview was quick, light and easy. If there’s one great skill I have in life, it’s interviewing—I’ve never interviewed for a job I wanted and not walked out with an offer in hand, and luckily, this one was no different. “The offer will be between $XXXXXX and XXXXXX, and we’ll get it to you next week.”

“I’d prefer the higher number, sir,” I grinned on our video conference from my Miami balcony.

It took another whole week for the offer to come in, and I didn’t want to wait on it. I kept applying for jobs. The result was mostly the same, although I did have a couple of bites from companies in South Florida, but I wasn’t entirely interested in them. I spent much of my time calling and meeting with existing clients and informing them that I was no longer with the company, with reactions ranging from shocked to horrified. Some were okay, but most of them told me that they were no longer interested in doing business with my old employer if I wasn’t going to be there. I conservatively estimate that they’ll lose roughly $5-8M by laying me off.

On Friday night, at 6:00 PM, four hours after my exit interview and an hour after my employment had officially ended and my email account had been terminated, I got the call. My offer was coming via email, and my first day would be the 25th. I had a deep, cleansing exhale. I don’t think I fully realized just how much stress I had been under the previous two weeks. I hadn’t been eating or sleeping very much.

Yesterday, I had a full breakdown. I just sat in my bonus room and allowed myself to lose it for about an hour with the door closed. I walked out, bleary-eyed and exhausted, but ready to go. I looked at my phone, and of course the first notification I saw was an interview request from a company that I had applied to within an hour of being informed of my involuntary departure. I laughed, and swiped it into the virtual trash.

So, what should you do if this happens to you?

Stay strong. Remember, if you were good enough to get the job you have, you’re good enough to get another job just like it. This isn’t the Great Depression or even the crash of 2008-09. There ARE jobs out there, and you’ll get one.

Remember that you are not your job title. So much of our society defines us based on what we do to pay bills. That’s not who you are. When I called my dad to let him know that I had been laid off, he told me something that I’ll never forget. “You killed yourself for that company for three years, and they never cared about you for one day. They swept you aside and never thought twice. Remember that when you take your next job.” It literally is just a job. It shouldn’t be your entire life.

Clean up your social media. Everybody who gets a resume from you and has some interest in you as an employee is going to throw your name in the Google search bar. Make sure that what they see won’t cause them to exclude you. If your Facebook profile picture is of you shotgunning a Bud Light while shirtless, you might wanna change that up a bit. If you’re in a field where social media is valuable, make sure that yours looks the part. Otherwise, all it can really do is hurt you. Lock it down and make it private.

Always be looking for the next opportunity and don’t be naive. I had some sense that my job might be in danger, but I had ignored it and kept my head in the sand. Had I been proactive instead of reactive, I would have left this company months ago. When you see a job that interests you, either inside or outside your company, pursue it. This isn’t the old days—nobody is retiring with the gold watch after 50 years of service anymore. Your company has no loyalty to you.

Finding a job is your new job. I was really fortunate that I had a contact who had a job for me. But I still worked eight hours a day at finding something else, and I still had very little success. It will take hours and hours of filling out applications, writing cover letters, refining your resume, updating your LinkedIn—all of it.

Don’t get discouraged. You’re going to file dozens, maybe even hundreds of applications, and you won’t get a response from 90 percent of them. That’s okay. Don’t stop filling them out, not even for a second. Do your very best with each application—customize your resume if you have to, write a new cover letter for each one.

Be Patient. Remember, even though finding a job is your top priority, it’s not necessarily the top priority of the hiring manager. He or she is doing his or her normal, regular, everyday job and trying to get you hired. If they say you’ll have an answer Friday, and you don’t get one…don’t panic. It’s probably coming on Monday. In the meantime, try to breathe and relax.

 

After all that, I’m happy to say that I’m looking forward to starting a new job in a kinda new industry. Plus, I’ll finally be able to post some of the things that I’ve had to keep secret for the last seven years that I’ve been in the biz. Send your Ask Barks to barkm302@gmail.com and I’ll publish them somewhere.

 

51 Replies to “I Was Unemployed For An Hour And It Sucked”

  1. Avatar-Nate

    It’s a scary new world out there Mark .

    I hope this gig alows you to fly further than before ~ it’s foreign to me, I’m a Tradesman and always will be .

    -Nate

    Reply
  2. AvatarTom

    I think what should be added and is important to note; is that jobs are always there – IF YOU ARE WILLING TO RELOCATE.

    The playing field of possibilities now can be seen far and wide by just the adjustment of range on a search bar navigation. I suddenly found myself looking at hours long commutes as welcoming opportunities because they were the best possible options to take that would allow me to continue my current lifestyle. In the end, I chose none but to start on my own from scratch; but I think it’s an extremely scary thing when you start having to involve much more than yourself and upsetting others livelihoods ; simply to work for a place that doesn’t really care about you.

    That, to me is the biggest kicker of all.

    Reply
    • AvatarBark M Post author

      Very true. If I weren’t willing to travel up to 100%, I could never, ever make the kind of money I’ve made for the last ten years living in Lexington, Kentucky.

      Reply
      • AvatarDave L

        I guess we all make choices in life, but that amount of travel while my kids were young would never be acceptable. You can never regain that time away from your children.

        Reply
  3. Avatarhank chinaski

    Congratulations for surviving the upheaval. Bonus character points for finding landing spots for your team members. I hope the family is well.

    “Your company has no loyalty to you.” This, in neon. The men I have known in your position have found new jobs in the same way: back channels and old contacts, never through the application grind.

    You have the advantage of being in the prime age window, being old enough to be experienced but young enough not to be considered a fossil. I’ve heard that once 50 hits, you may as well have leprosy.

    Reply
  4. AvatarJustPassinThru

    I would add to this:

    MINIMALISM. Always consider “What-If.” Live within your means, to the extent you can.

    My scale is far below your own, and my achievements humbler; but I had that same horrific fear for five weeks. Caught up in a workplace scene, with a guy who, frankly should never have been hired…and who was dismissed a few years later after being responsible for an incident involving nuclear waste (no lie)…I was taken “out of service” from my railroad job and sent home.

    To wait. The antagonist, who actually struck me in the face, was of a protected class. Read into that what you want.

    Five weeks they spent before giving up searching for a lawsuit-proof way to fire me without terminating him. Five weeks, I looked at my house payment, and my shrinking bank balance…and wondered what would be next. Five weeks charging groceries on the MasterCard.

    It was over; I was called back, after having a power-play “counseling session” involving a lot of verbal abuse from management. It taught me a few things: One, count on nothing you do not hold in your hand or your vault. Two, count on no future promises or guarantees – union or law or stability of your employer or contractor.

    Three, buy nothing without an alternative way to pay for it or exit strategy.

    And this has served me well. Three years, which have just wrapped up, I was in limbo – too young to retire from the railroad; not healthy enough to obtain another job in my craft; but too healthy to be marked “disabled.” So, with Uber and a used car, and savings, I have made it – finally – to the next phase, a retirement pension based on age.

    Plan. Assume nothing. Always be ready for when the excrement hits the blower.

    Reply
  5. AvatarFred Lee

    Congrats on the new job, and kudos for the vigor with which you pursued employment. After 20 years at a mega-corp I recently changed jobs. Voluntarily, but I still have some observations:

    * It’s much easier to find a new job when you’re still employed. I’m hiring now, and have just passed on a couple resumes because of empty time in their resume, ranging from 2 months to a year. Unfair? Maybe. But I’ve got dozens of candidates who don’t have that vacant time.

    * As a corollary, time stretches when you’re unemployed. You noticed this even though you were still employed. When you’ve got a solid job, 2 weeks from application to first contact isn’t a big deal at all. When you don’t have a solid job, it feels like an eternity.

    * Another corollary, employers can smell desperation and it smells bad. People who change jobs while employed do so from a position of power.

    This all supports your bulletpoint of always be looking. Of course looking doesn’t mean applying for jobs, but definitely keep the linkedin up-to-date, and work on your network. I hate that shit, but it pays dividends. I curate my network, so I’m not one of the “500+ connections” people. No need to have a bunch of interns on there. A well curated list of well-known industry people helps a bit.

    But most importantly, getting laid off from a 6-figure job should never put someone in a financial panic. If you’ve had a 6-figure job for a long time, you should have a $50K emergency account, at least. The severance should be nothing more than a nice bonus for additional padding. That way you’re not desperate, you’re still applying for jobs from a comfortable position. Sure the paycheck isn’t coming in, but anybody living off their paycheck is doing it wrong.

    Reply
    • Avatarrambo furum

      I have my doubts that the last sentence there will be addressed. Both of the brothers here give the distinct impression of perpetual hand to mouth living despite no rational circumstances that would necessitate it. Where’s the FU money?

      Reply
      • Avatarpennysaved

        FU money is great, I quit my job 6 months ago because I didnt enjoy the environment. I didnt drop any F bombs, just told the CEO I was leaving for personal reasons. In the interim, I’ve consulted a little, done a lot of stuff with my kids, redid my guest bathroom and slept/exercised a lot.

        I think the Brothers Baruth spend it as fast as they get it. It’s true that you only live once, but having reaction like Bark’s to a layoff doesnt seem very fun. I’d rather be able to quit a job I dont like than have dozens of watches/shoes/suits in my closet. It’s a question of how much you value the options a healthy nest egg provides vs the stuff you can buy. (For the record I do have 5 pairs of Allen Edmonds, as life is too short to wear shitty shoes) Point is, 5 pairs is enough.

        I read just yesterday that while income is positively related to IQ, the tendency to have financial troubles is not. I was surprised to see this, as I associate future time orientation with intelligence. Perhaps the desire to save for a rainy day is personality trait vs a sign of smarts.

        Reply
      • Jack BaruthJack Baruth

        Can’t speak to Bark, but I didn’t save a penny until my son was born. Spent maybe $1.8M on clothes, cars, racing, travel, random amusements.

        Don’t regret a penny of it. There were things I did at 25, and 35, that I can’t do at 47. Those things were expensive.

        I know a lot of people who are preparing to retire at my age. The vast majority of them will spend their retirement watching Netflix or wandering around the world blinking like owls at things they are seeing too late in their lives to ever truly understand.

        The definition of “FU Money” in 2019 is probably:

        * 5M – 10M in the bank
        * Live in the Midwest or South (because otherwise you’d eat that up in housing and miscellany over the course of 15-20 years)
        * Have NO major medical issues, not never

        If you do that, then you should get 15 solid years of assisted living when you’re old.

        Reply
        • Avatar-Nate

          God _DAMN_ Jack ! why don’cha scare me a little bit more ? .

          -Nate
          (who _was_ having a nice morning playing with my Sweet’s 3 -1/2 year old great grandson)

          Reply
        • Avatarbaconator

          $7.5M is plenty of F.U. money here in Northern California. You’d have to race Lemons and not IMSA WeatherTech challenge, and you’d have to live in a place where your kids can go to public school for K-12. But those aren’t hardships.

          You’d also have to resist the urge to call yourself an “angel investor” and piss away money investing in illiquid startups. That’s a common post-retirement dream in this part of the world that would be imprudent to chase with “only” a $7.5M nest egg.

          Reply
          • Jack BaruthJack Baruth

            Well that assumes you already own a house, right? My home in Burlingame would be $3M.

        • AvatarRod Jones

          I am 66 and have a brand new 4200 sf custom home in Colorado. Its on 10 acres of view property with a mortgage including taxes and insurance of $2500. Retirement income is 100K/year. Even though I am in demand at 150-200K per year, I choose to say FU and enjoy puttering around on my land with new Kubota. Im not rich but Im comfortable and happy. As someone else said…you only live once.

          Reply
          • Avatar-Nate

            Bragging now, eh ? .

            Me too :

            I’m old & crippled, live in a collapsing termite farm in The Ghetto and and have enough to eat (pot belly), not many bills so life is very good indeed .

            I just spent several dayze in Death Valley, I gave up on riding my old Motocycle the first day there and concentrated on not giving my big brother the thrashing he desperately needs, that and fixing his crappy old truck that broke down repeatedly as all my buddies went roaring off on their Motos, having fun and so on .

            Two 18 hour and one 26 hour days, wow am I tired but being able to live here in America and choose to do the foolish things I apparently enjoy doing, is what makes me feel rich .

            In all it wasn’t much of a vacation but I’m not sitting in a chair next to a dirty window looking out at the world that left me behind either so if one looks at the bigger picture, I’m rich beond my wildest dreams although I don’t have any $ to take my sweetie out to .lunch right now .

            Perspective is a thing few have a good grasp on .

            -Nate

        • AvatarGreg Hamilton

          Although Jack doesn’t know me, I think he is on to something. Most of my day is spent blinking like an owl at things I do not understand (my computer screen) but trying to make sense of it all. Hopefully I will make sense of some of it or I won’t get paid.

          Reply
    • AvatarBark M Post author

      As the great Billy Mack once said, “When I was young, I was greedy and foolish, and now I’m left with no one. Wrinkled and alone.” Something like that, only with money.

      Reply
    • AvatarAoLetsGo

      Good on you son for your quick bounce back.

      Me: I am amazed that I have not been fired given my age/salary combined with a shitty attitude and dated skill set. However, my kids are successfully launched and I have enough FU money to live a simple yet adventurous life.

      You: Might want to save up for a bigger umbrella for that next sudden cloud burst.

      Reply
  6. Avatarstingray65

    Bark – congrats on the new job and I wish you the best. Just curious what your observations are regarding automotive advertising in the face of what looks to be a fairly significant downturn in new car sales. Was your former employer cutting “automotive” because of fears that ad revenues would decline?

    Reply
    • Avatardejal

      Or, “automotive” was the personal baby of someone upstream that moved on or was let go. No advocate / no job even if it’s profitable.

      Reply
    • AvatarBark M Post author

      I think they thought that automotive didn’t necessarily require specialized expertise or knowledge, and that the vertical could be suitably handled by generic “strategic” reps. I am confident that they will find this to be a losing strategy. Every car dealer I know (and that’s over 3000) works with an automotive-specific agency. The business is too complex and too specialized to be handled by a jack of all trades.

      Reply
      • AvatarVTNoah

        Agree 100%. They might get a few accounts here and there, but any GM or Marketing manager worth their salt utilizes an integrated automotive specific solution. At my company, we’ll lose a dealer from time to time to some of these generic agencies only to have them crawling back in 30-60 days with a bigger investment to try and make up for the lost market share.

        Reply
  7. Avatarmichael moskovitz

    Congratulation on the new career. Will you and Jack be headed back to New Jersey Motor Sports Park anytime soon?

    Reply
  8. AvatarRonnie Schreiber

    I started to panic a little bit, realizing that I would have to spend a significant of that precious severance money on a new laptop in order to be able to apply for jobs.

    You can get a perfectly serviceable laptop from a business computer recycler and save a lot of money doing so. Right now, the local recycler I use, PlayitagainPCs, has an Intel Core i7-3630QM 2.40 GHz / 16 GB / 500 HDD / DVD-RW / Nvidia GK104 [Quadro K3000M] / for less than $300. You’ll have to get an OS for it but still unless you’re doing high level graphics work, I think a used computer is a much better option than a new one. I paid $70 for the HP laptop that I dedicate for use with my 3D printers and laser engraver/cutter.

    As for your bullet list, I’d suggest adding a final point: start building your own pirate ship, work on ideas for self-employment.

    Reply
    • AvatarNoID

      Also, so long as job-hunting was to be your new job, I’m pretty sure even Kentucky has libraries. Set up shop there for 8 hours.

      Reply
  9. AvatarRonnie Schreiber

    I made searching for a job my full-time job. Every day, I started applying for jobs at 8:30 and didn’t stop until 5:30. I filled out dozens and dozens of applications on LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter, and everywhere else I could find a job posting. My phone never rang.

    In the space of less than a year I got seriously injured in a car/bicycle accident, got fired from a pretty good job, and was divorced. Clinical depression was the least of my problems and only now, many years later, do I feel like things have turned around.

    When I got behind on child support and alimony, my ex’s collection agency, aka Michigan’s Friend of the Court system, got a court order forcing me to spend at least 4 hours a day at one of the Michigan Work Centers, applying for jobs. The public employee referee at the court, who managed to get his daughter a sweet gig on the public payroll as staff counsel there, would regularly mock my attempts to start up a couple of businesses. Trying to explain that having to spend that time applying for jobs meant I couldn’t use that time to fill orders I already had in hand, made no purchase on the guy’s conscience, if he had one. Once, when I borrowed money from a cousin to pay about $700 on a bench warrant, he looked genuinely disappointed that he couldn’t send me to jail.

    At the work center I sent out a minimum of four resumes a day, sometimes as many as ten. I’m a professional writer and can spin my resume to fit a job opening, but you start getting disillusioned when you don’t even get a rejection about an opening for something virtually identical to something on your resume. It got so depressing that I actually looked forward to the rejections, at least that meant someone bothered to tell me no.

    Oh, I was also explicitly told by the bureaucrat in charge of the Michigan Works Center that I could not tell potential employers that I was looking for work because I was under court order to do so. He said he’d declare me non-compliant with the order by sabotaging my effort to find work. When I asked him to put it in writing, that I was not allowed to tell potential employers the truth if they asked me why I was looking for work, he simply refused, still threatening me.

    Those Centers, of course, exist to employ rectal orifices like him, not to actually find unemployed people work.

    Truly one of the low points of my life.

    Reply
    • AvatarGreg Hamilton

      My goodness! I’m sorry to hear about the hand fate dealt you, but you seem quite resilient. You and Jack have the most bizarre and fascinating stories I have read. I hope things are much better for you. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is curious about how you handled your troubles. Good luck to you and if it is not too painful I am sure expanding on your comment would make a great article that I for one would be anxious to read.

      Reply
    • AvatarDirty Dingus McGee

      Ronnie,

      I have seen a large number of “bylines” from you on the Hagerty website, over the last 3-4 weeks.

      Congrats on your new gig.

      Reply
      • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

        Thank you. Companies may have no loyalty but true friends do. It helps to have some skills putting words together.

        Reply
  10. AvatarDoug

    All of your points are right on the mark. I for one had a contract job with a tech company that was pretty much indefinite in term. I really really loved the people I worked with and though I considered moving on, I kept trying to get them to convert me over to a permanent position. Unfortunately my time ran out even though my bosses were begging them to keep me. I really sort of kick myself for not leaving within that four year time, but the job was perfect for me at the time. As it worked out, I was unemployed just over one month and I went back to work at the same company through some referrals from contacts I had worked with in the company. Your reactions and situation apply perfectly to me…although I was given about three months notice that it was likely to happen so it really took me about five months of full time looking.

    Reply
  11. AvatarDirty Dingus McGee

    ” It literally is just a job. It shouldn’t be your entire life.”

    The only exception is if you’re self employed. Then it has to be at least 75% of your life, at least in the beginning. You absolutely HAVE to stay on top of just about every detail. If you don’t, several years of blood, sweat and hunger, can be blown away in a heartbeat. More so now in this digital age, where information, both good and bad, travels at breakneck speed. And as the old saying goes; 1 “aw shit” will wipe out 100 “atta boys”. I keep zero presence on social media, I gratefully let my partner handle that, as he is far more diplomatic(?) than I. I tend to be a bit blunt and tactless, which some folks appreciate but not the majority..

    And having been hungry in the past, including starting this business, I now keep a sizeable chunk of money “in the hole”. I don’t NEED a new car, nor do I need all the latest and greatest toys and gizmo’s. All those things are fun, but it’s good to know that if the SHTF, I don’t need to worry for a good while. It’s also a plus that my bills are lower than most folks, no mortgage, no car payment, etc. In all reality about $1200 per month would cover my major bills, taxes, utility’s, insurance, another $500-$800 for other expenses, unless I was to cut out some things, which wouldn’t be hard to do.

    Best of luck on your new endeavor.

    Reply
  12. Thomas KreutzerThomas Kreutzer

    Sorry to hear about your difficulties but happy to hear that you landed on your feet. Better still was the way you helped your team members find places to go – it’s a rare boss who cares enough about his people to do that. You’re a stand up guy.

    Being unemployed takes a tremendous toll on a person. Even the idea of it is enough to send your average guy into fits and starts. Add to that the fact that so much of job hunting takes place on the internet – you lock yourself in a room and send out dozens of resumes most of which will never generate any response – and it feels like you are banging your head into a brick wall. The pressure can tear your guts out – no wonder you had a bit of a breakdown there.

    The fact that, in the end, it was your personal contacts that helped you find your next job tells me that the old ways still work, too. Maybe the lesson here is that they actually work better…

    Reply
  13. AvatarComfortablyNumb

    Your old man is right. Companies generally don’t “care” about their employees. You keep working and they keep giving you checks until such time as it no longer makes fiscal sense for one of those parties to continue. It’s a two-way street – you can drop them as lightly as they’ll drop you – but it sucks when you’re on the receiving end.

    Glad to hear you’re back on your feet, Mark. Now will you please bring back the Listening Room series?

    Reply
  14. AvatarTyler

    You, sir, were probably a victim of the internal consultant’s ladder-climber routine:

    Pick a specialized area that leadership doesn’t understand well, fluff their egos by telling them that they know plenty and an off-the-shelf approach will yield 80% of the results with 20% of the effort, cut a bunch of FTEs, then gtfo in the honeymoon period between the savings getting recognized and Finance hollering about reduced cashflow. Blame the latter on “under-resourced IT implementation” if questioned.

    The core problem IME is that revenue-generating functions always have easy (though often misleading) metrics. “What gets measured gets managed” also means “zero accountability for what doesn’t get measured”. Which is why bosses of overhead services and administration will resist even perfectly reasonable external benchmarks. Everybody wants to be the guy with “strategy,” and it’s way faster to cut numerators than to grow denominators.

    Reply
  15. AvatarTyler

    LinkedIn etc are pretty good resources for early- to mid-career folks in high-demand, technical fields. I’ve seen less return on time investment for high-experience job seekers (who usually pop as “overqualified”) or in broader fields like sales for which credentials are less relevant. The algorithms want square pegs for square holes.

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  16. AvatarDR Smith

    I think Bark bro Jack is taking about living a balanced life; save for the future, but also don’t put off everything for the future, either, else you will likely wonder “what if…” when you are older. I know I certainly enjoyed traveling the places that we went to while I was able to fully experience them, rather than waiting until retirement or later and visiting them in a walker or wheelchair.

    My wife and I practiced that; we often traveled all over the while in our 30’s and mid forties, visiting many countries and having many experiences….we discovered it was rather easier using the major cruise lines. Even we when decide to adopt because we could not conceive of a child the nature way, we went half way around the world. Now that we are in our 50’s we do save more and travel abroad less – things do change when you have kids. In fact, just bought a rental place in the south, and are making plans to transition over the next few years from the Midwest.

    I think the kids today have hit on a good strategy, especially if you are in a STEM career – work like hell, spend next to nothing, live as minimally as possible, then retire by the time you are 35 and then work when/where you want, and not tied to some corporate desk. That is the only problem with what we did, my wife traveled extensively in order to make the money to maintain the “lifestyle”, and I worked a lot of hours of the years (nights, weekends) in IT at one of the Big Three to make similar money.

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  17. AvatarCompaq Deskpro

    I would advise against a used Dell Precision, the GPU will shit itself several months after you buy it.

    14 inch business laptops with basic integrated graphics (E6430, T430) are usually a safe bet for under $200, put a bargain SSD (250GB for $30) in and your off.

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  18. AvatarEric H

    Even when you’re expecting it, it’s always a shock to get the “It’s time to clean out your desk” speech.
    It happened to me about a year ago on a Friday. On Saturday I updated my resume. On Sunday night I sent out three applications. Monday morning I had two responses and interviews setup for later that week. On Thursday I accepted an offer and started on the following Monday. I was not expecting it to take less than a week to get reemployed. Having a couple of months of severance pay from the old job was gravy.
    It really helps to be an in-demand specialist programmer.

    I wasn’t worried because these things happen and I keep 6+ months emergency funds liquid because you never know when and how long it will take.

    Good on you Bark for helping out your team, and congratulations on the new gig.
    Are you staying in Kentucky?

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