Last Thursday I lost my job without any warning. The small web design agency I was working for lost a couple of big contracts and they decided they couldn’t afford to keep me on as their only full-time User Experience Designer. This is extremely frustrating, not only because I liked most of my co-workers and felt like I was doing good work a lot of the time, but mainly because I had just finished paying off my credit cards for the first time, ever.
I was just learning what it was like to walk around without worrying about paying all my bills on time. I was about to start seriously saving money and/or paying down loans faster than expected. I was going to be in a position to be more than a couple of months away from homelessness. I was stable, and I had plans. I have mentioned here on occasion that in addition to my own foolishness, something external always got in the way of my intention to be free of debt. Exhibit A: Jobs Go Away.
I’ve never worked for the same company for more than two years. Either I’d get bored, or move across the country, or the company would be acquired… okay, there was one time I was legitimately fired. The boss and I couldn’t agree on how to run that company. I was two months away from finally achieving this small milestone at the place that just let me go. It’s fortunate that in the web design industry, nobody seems to care much about longevity, but it’s personally annoying.
My brand new ex-employer sent me away with a one month severance package. Even just typing that phrase made me a little nauseated.
But the most frustrating thing of all is that in looking at our household budget, there aren’t many opportunities for cutting back. The only luxury item that we pay for monthly is lawn maintenance, which doesn’t happen in the Fall or Winter, anyway. At $10, Netflix is negligible, and the only other change I could make would be to sell one of the cars, which would seriously hamper my ability to pick up another job. From my experience buying and selling cars, I’m pretty sure that selling a 2006 Prius in favor of a cheaper car would somehow end up being more expensive.
Okay. Deep breath. All is not inevitably bleak. Two more paychecks should be enough to get us through the middle of October, and I’ll have eight hours a day during which to look for a new job. There are still jobs out there. I’ve been applying and talking with people and I have a lunch meeting set up with an old co-worker who knows I’m smart and good at what I do. Hopefully, we’ll both like what we hear and I’ll be able to pick up another paycheck before things start to deteriorate.
I’ve filed for unemployment, which I’ve never done before, even though I probably should have in previous situations. I’ve updated my résumé and online portfolio. I’m going to refresh my Monster.com profile every morning and look for industry jobs in all the places I can find.
Aside from that, do you have any job search advice? I am seriously worried.
Published or updated September 13, 2010.