So, I’ve been out of work 415 days. I know! Unbelievable.
I am watching the dollars closely. I still haven’t had to use any of my retirement money but I know that is coming in the next few months. I still have no debt besides my house payment, but I’ve almost blown through my savings and am into my travel fund money now. Yes, I usually keep that money separate. It bothers me to use it for general living expenses, but what a gift it is to have it. This destination is not quite what I had planned for those dollars, but there’s no better one.
After this experience I am even more a proponent of living within your means. I live quite well, but had enough of a cushion to cover me for a while.
One recent survey I saw said half of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. I’ve seen other figures that put the number at around 75%. I know many people in my age bracket that have saved nothing for retirement. These are not always people in low income brackets.
If that is you, please focus on building a safety net. I know it’s hard. It may seem impossible. But you can. It may mean getting rid of some non-essential expenses or getting a part time job. It may mean some lifestyle changes, like less eating out, downsizing, or missing some event you wanted to attend.
Just think of my 415 days. Could you survive it? Many are not fortunate like me and don’t receive severance. Unemployment benefits in North Carolina are for only 12 weeks and are certainly not your salary equivalent. I’m paying nearly $500 a month for health insurance, which will go up to over $1,000 a month in July. Think about it. Spending years working to be financially stable has removed a lot of the stress for me. How long can you survive?
But stress – it’s certainly more difficult after a year of being out of work. In case you were wondering, I have no clue as to whether that lessens my chance hat finsing a job. Recruiters say yes. I say it may lessen it, but not everyone will count that against me. I never did when I hired people. But as a hint, don’t ask anyone out of work that question. How can it help them?
I had an in-person interview yesterday. I believe it went well, but I haven’t left an interview feeling as though any went really badly. Though in retrospect maybe I shouldn’t have asked one guy how something he was doing could be legal. Then again, if he couldn’t answer that question (he didn’t) it’s not the place for me. (They changed the subject.) So even that one went well in my mind.
If I get through this in-person interview round, there will be one more in-person interviews to get through. That will have been two phone interviews, two sets of people interviewing me yesterday, and one more interview with two people. It’s a long process, but also one of the most streamlined I have experienced.
Even if you feel good about an interview (I do feel good about yesterday’s), you never know who your competition is and what they bring to the table. I can’t do anything about that, though, so I do the best I can and move along.
I wish I had kept a tally of all of the apps I had filled out and all the different kinds of interviews I have done through this process. It’s astounding. That in itself would have been a book! I hope there is not a ”next time”, but if there is I will be keeping up with that information. I had no idea that job hunting today is so – weird. Often it defies logic.
As one person said, ”Whatever happened to the day you went for an interview and left with a job?” It’s hanging out with the dinosaurs.
When all is said and done, there is a purpose here. I still trust I’ll end up where I need to be. Maybe soon, God? I await good news.
Though I do believe it is all good news. I hope I never forget that this is nowhere close to being a tragedy. There are many worse things that can happen, have happened, in my life and yours. You have to keep it in perspective.