This isn’t about EVE. It is background context and an update on topics I have mentioned before.
I’ve been unemployed for two years now. A less than auspicious accomplishment that plays on my mind.
I’ve tried to remark on this before, but I never seem to be able to explain the situation in a succinct enough manner.
I left my last job because it was obvious the organisation was in its’ death throes. It started shutting down just months later. Credit where credit is due – the last remaining Senior Manager was the Accountant, and he handled the process in a very orderly manner. As far as I had heard, no one lost any of their entitlements.
Not long after that, the US Parent company went into Administration and was sold, with the Shareholders losing all their money. The last CEO had in a couple short years taken a large successful international business and ruined it with his Dilbert like jargon and hot air.
A hollow vindication I guess of my initial decision.
I spent about four months just tackling the To-Do list around home. I never really made a dent in it however – as quickly as I accomplished something, two more items would be added.
When I started looking around seriously for work I found there was none. I’d been warned for years by colleagues that this was the reality. Knowing it, and seeing it however are two different things. Of the few jobs that did pop up, I was handicapped by not being able to travel (I had to do the school runs), and by a conscious and considered decision to specialise in a way that was now no longer particularly marketable.
I caught up with many of the people in my professional network, I had my resume reviewed, I looked for options to step sideways into other technologies, I tried to be creative in broadened my job search, but I found myself pigeonholed back into a career that was no longer open to me.
It is a very odd feeling to no longer be able to do the work you enjoy and are good at. Your self-worth takes a knock, you feel grief, embarrassment. It is hard to explain.
After 4 or 5 months I started looking seriously into buying a franchise. There is a romantic notion to being your own boss. I did some online courses and a crap load of research, and had long discussions with several groups. In the end however, while I found a number of Franchisors I really liked, and some products and services I could get enthused about, I did not find them combined. What I ended up with was a very long list of what I would steer away from – any Franchisors who were public companies or run by investment organisations, any franchise less than 5 years old, any pyramid franchises where you reported to a franchised area manager who reported to a franchised regional manager who reported to a franchised state manager and so on. I still get the emails and read the magazines, but currently I don’t have any prospects I am chasing.
Meanwhile I had always remarked that I could just get a lawn mowing business to bring in some money while the kids where still young. I earnt pocket money during High School gardening for half a dozen elderly clients. It was something I was and remained good at. Friends of ours suggested I could start on cleaning up their property, to see how I went. They lived on a large and very steep block that was overgrown with weeds and covered with blackberries. For the last year, for half a day a week, I’ve been doing their gardening. It has been a mammoth, heavy task, but our friends have been genuinely delighted with the results. It did however show me that I could not physically do such a job full time. My fall back option was not an option after all.
So – for the last 6 months I did a lot of research, enrolled and have undertaken study. The particular course I took provides a qualification related to training adults. The thought is to get into corporate IT training or the like. I had very good feedback from the other students and the instructor, who has gone out of her way to look for opportunities for me. That should all be finished by the end of January.
I don’t know if it will provide a solution for my unemployment, but it gives me options. It has also been a reminder, like the gardening, that I can be quite accomplished at what I set my mind to. I’ll have to set my mind in a similar way to finding work in the new year.