It’s Labor Day and I’m Part of the Labor Force Again

Being unemployed with a family to take care of is a nerve-wracking situation. I was laid off from my job late in 2015. I didn’t think it would take that long to get back into the work force but was I wrong. I was wrong by a lot. It ended up being about 10 months before I was able to find my new (part-time) job, which I just started in the past week. They say everything happens for a reason, and certain things are meant to be. Although I’m not working full-time, I believe this opportunity is a great fit given the way things have evolved.

The Aftermath

I felt like I was in a good position to re-enter the workforce in a fair amount of time. I gained a ton of new experience and skills at my last job and gave myself a month or two to be picky. If you’ve ever been laid off, then you know it’s a sucky feeling. I’m a positive person though so I forged on. I applied for jobs that matched my experience and skills, and as more time passed without any leads, I applied for jobs that I was a little over-qualified for. I received positive feedback and suggestions for my resume so I felt like I was in good shape, but I wasn’t getting any interest from employers. When I did get a call back, there was always something wrong.

  • On at least five occasions, the interviewer called me 10+ minutes late.
  • One of those late phone interviews resulted in a complete re-schedule because the interviewer was out sick and didn’t notify the recruiter. I debated whether or not to continue with the process. It was with a major tech company so I sucked it up. When we finally did the interview, there was no apology.
  • I should have walked away from that company. The recruiter posted the wrong job description. She said certain technical skills would be nice to have, but not necessary. When I went to the in-person interview, it was clear that those technical skills were mandatory. I also asked questions based on the job description and the answers contradicted the description and the recruiter’s information. Awesome. At least I earned two points per dollar on my parking fees.
  • Another recruiter told me she would send my info to the hiring manager, who was on vacation, so I wouldn’t hear back until the next week. I received a rejection notice the next day.
  • A phone interview with a hiring manager resulted in a 20-minute conversation about why my experience and skills didn’t match the position. This was after he called 15 minutes late and told me the interview was to learn about my personality.
  • One HR representative reached out to schedule an interview by asking me to select three time blocks. I responded with my selections, even sent a follow up email a couple of days later, but never received another response.

So what happened? Bad experiences aside, my theory is that the huge influx of people moving into the Seattle area has created a lot of competition. When I searched for jobs on LinkedIn, many of the positions had around 200 or more applicants. Two hundred!

My Experience as a Stay-At-Home Dad

My daughter was about 2.5 years old when I transitioned from productive employee to Stay-At-Home Dad (SAHD). For those first few months of unemployment, I was enjoying the quality time that I was spending with her. We went to play areas at the mall, had lunch dates, and just wandered around. It didn’t matter what we were doing. We were just spending quality time together and bonding. She’s going to be our only child so those moments were precious.

unemployed-life

This photo was taken during the first week of my unemployment.

One day we were walking around Kohl’s and I remember thinking, “This is the life.” At that moment, I didn’t care that I was unemployed. I was wandering aimlessly at Kohl’s with my daughter on a Tuesday morning. It doesn’t get any better than that. And it didn’t. Not too long after I had those warm fuzzies, she had a meltdown and my new thought was, “I need a job.”

As unemployment continued, I found it harder and harder to be a SAHD and home-maker while also looking for jobs. I didn’t want to put my daughter in front of the TV or iPad for hours at a time but she always wanted to play so I didn’t have much other choice if I wanted to send out a few applications. We’re fortunate that we have family nearby who can provide free daycare so we started sending her over there a couple days a week so I could have some quiet time to apply for jobs, run errands, or just relax. Being a full-time parent felt a lot more exhausting than being a full-time employee. I definitely give a lot of credit to the full-time SAHMs and SAHDs out there. It’s tough, tiring, and thankless (at least by the kids). Ugh. Responsibilities.

On the plus side, we went to Disneyland and we made it to the Disney Store for 14 weeks of Disney Summer Play Days. We scored all of the Tsum Tsum wristbands. This allowed us to get the Mickey and Minnie Mouse wristbands that were only available if you had the entire collection. It would have been a lot more difficult if we only had the weekends to participate. When we tried to collect the prizes in 2015 while I was working, we missed out on completing the collection.

mickey-minnie-tsum-tsum-wristbands
When we picked up the wristbands, I felt a feeling of relief that I wasn’t expecting. Fourteen weeks of going to the Disney Store to pick up those wristbands was really a lot of work. It sounds like it’s not a big deal but it is. Who goes to the mall every week for the entire summer? Disney fanatics, I guess.

Why I Started This Blog

I never really knew I liked writing until I moved to the Seattle area. When we moved here, I was fortunate enough to be able to work from home for my old company. That lasted about eight months before the company was sold and I was let go. So there I was. Unemployed for the first time since getting out of college. It was easier because we didn’t have any kids yet, although we knew she was on the way. During that unemployment stint, I started a travel blog. It was a little difficult to keep up with because I wasn’t traveling anymore. Then our daughter was born and blogging stopped completely. However, I used my blog as a portfolio which helped me land my last job. So apparently I’m a capable enough writer to land a job.

Fast forward to this current round of unemployment. My growing frustration with the job search, and of course the need for some type of income, led me to want to explore becoming an entrepreneur. It was a scary thought for me to leave the friendly confines of corporate life. But everywhere I looked, there was someone out there creating their own opportunities. From Youtube vloggers to pre-teen entrepreneurs on Shark Tank to personal friends starting and growing their own businesses, I was inspired to try and create something for myself.

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky

And this blog was born. That quote has resonated with me for awhile so I put it into action. This time I knew I wanted to write about something that was easy to keep up with. What better topic than parenthood and family life? I can’t escape it so there’s always something to write about. I spent a lot of time getting things ramped up and just when I did, a job opportunity came knocking. I’m very thankful for this new job. I’m able to bring in some income for my family and gain new professional skills and experience while still having time to build my own small business. The challenge now is to find a new routine to adapt to my new situation.

The blog has taken a bit of a back seat over the last few weeks due to having family in town and the start of the job, but I know it’s not something that I want to give up. I enjoy writing and sharing information, so I’m in it for the long haul. Maybe this is the way it was meant to be.

(Featured Image Attribution: “work” by Daria Nepriakhina is licensed under CC BY Attribution 2.0 Generic)

20

Leave a Reply