The Economy sucks! It does! Really! You Gotta Believe Me!!!!!
"To be honest, I'm kind of looking for the home run, said Christopher Priga, who is 54 and has not had steady work since he lost a job with a six-figure income as an electrical engineer at Xerox in 2002. There's no point in hitting for base hits, he explained. I've been down the road where I did all the things I was supposed to do, and the end result of that is nil. "
Now read the article carefully, most of these men have had sources of employment, either off the books or contract work since they left their last "real job". So when you see that 7% unemployment figure for men 30-50 years old, take it with a grain of salt. The problem isn't that they don't work, they do, when they want to, they just have a perception problem. I did too for a while.
When I lost my job in 2001 I took anything that came by and I eventually took a job for 20% less than I had been making. Why? Because when you are UNEMPLOYED any salary at all is a RAISE. I didn't want to, I wanted to hold out for that pie in the sky, but I had two things going for me, my wife and a severance package that included an outplacement service.
Maddmom is a great money manager and a hell of a motivator and we were able to maintain ourselves, our sanity and our standard of living while I worked my way back to the salary that I had when I lost my job in 2001, it took FOUR YEARS. By that time I had another kid and was paying Catholic school tuition for the oldest two.
The outplacement service taught me two very important lessons, the first I already told you, when someone offers you work, and you don't have a job, you are getting a raise. The second was that you need a plan, get a job first, then work on your career. It's not easy, and everyone who has ever been let go, especially if it wasn't their fault goes through a period of mourning, even depression. My own case lasted almost three years, once I had my job I worked it, but I paid no attention to my career other than working hard so I didn't get laid off again. But that was it, no job searching, my resume got old and I didn't really pursue any increase in responsibility because I had done all of that before, and it didn't do me any good. So I sympathize with this guy's sentiments:
What got to him was not the work. It was the frequent furloughs, the uncertainty whether he would be recalled, the mandatory overtime and 50-hour weeks often imposed when he did return, the schedules that forced him to work every holiday except Christmas, and then, as rising seniority finally gave him some protection, a six-month strike in 1983 followed by a wage cut. His pay shrank to $13 an hour from $17, a loss he did not fully recover until those last three years.
ÂI was always thinking if there was some way I could get out of this, do something else,Â Mr. Beggerow said. ÂWhat made me so upset was the insecurity of it all and the humiliation. I donÂt want to take a job that would put me through that again.Â
But this is 2006. EVERY job makes you suffer insecurity and humiliation. There is no security at all, so you need to be your own manager. The best advice I ever got was from a mentor I had at my previous job (once I got out of my funk, I got myself a mentor), he said that you may work for a company, but your job is your career. Career and company are two different things. Everyone nowadays has to consider themselves a contractor, negotiate the best rate that they can for the work they do, manage their own retirement, pick and choose benefits, and run their home as a business.
You can be loyal to a company, but be ready to jump ship if you have to, you can't expect to sit in a cube day after day for 30 years then retire with full benefits. Even the guy who writes your pink slip can't do that. You have to be ready to move to the next opportunity at any moment, never burn bridges, keep your skills up to date and NETWORK like hell.
Point being, you never really stop working. No matter what your skill set may be, in reality you are a salesman, working on straight commissionssion. You sell a product to anyone and everyone. Sometimes you don't get the best price or you break even, other times you hit a home run, and put money in the bank. But if you can't make the little sales, you'll never make the big ones.
Get to work.