It has been close to 15 years since I have been unemployed. That’s kind of a long time for anyone who lives in the great state of Michigan. That being said, being faced with my upcoming layoff date of March 31, I’ve really been thinking about how different things are being unemployed today than they were all that time ago.
First and foremost, I’ve aged 15 years since the last time I was faced with having to call the UIA on a weekly basis. I’ve grown up a lot and I think this has a lot to do with why I feel less freaked out about my impending “doom” this time than I was 15 years ago. I posted the status you see below on Friday after several days of a roller-coaster of emotions the 25 of us that were laid off went through last week. I realize that not only was I shocked at my own optimism about my impending lay off, but that I would have never had the ability to vocalize my frustrations, fears and joys as easily as I had this time around. In other words, the last time I got let-go there was no such thing as FaceBook. I’m not sure yet if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
So I’m calm… Not only that, but this wasn’t a sudden layoff like the last one was. The last employer that decided to get rid of me did it in a very sudden and abrupt fashion. (They cleaned out my desk for me while they had me in the office telling me they had eliminated my position – and then escorted me and my box of stuff out of the building) This time, I have actually got a couple of months to search for something new. That’s kind of a blessing and a curse (More on that sometime later).
However, now that the U.S. is coming out of the recent recession and the the economy is improving across the entire country, I do feel better about my chances of landing a comparable (or better) position than the one I am leaving after 11 consecutive years of employment. Michigan, while still one of the more difficult states to work and live in, seems a little more forgiving for the supply chain industry now than it did 5-6 years ago. I don’t feel like I have to flee the state just to find another job. Granted, I would love to move on to another locale and have been toying with that idea for many, many years – but timing is not quite right yet. On top of that, I have achieved 2 more degrees since the last time I was unemployed, so having those diplomas under my belt really helps me feel better (Also, more on this later).
I can remember the first time I went through the process of trying to sort out and apply for unemployment. I was confused and worried that I wouldn’t be approved. I basically lived paycheck to paycheck so I absolutely needed some weekly income or else I feared losing my house, my car and everything I had acquired over the 5-6 years that I had been working. It turns out that all of that fun stuff happened – foreclosure, repossession, bankruptcy… And many other unpleasant things as a result of losing my job AND going through a divorce all at the same time. However, this time I feel much more calm and optimistic. Age does that to a person, I suppose, but its weird because I am still in jeopardy now of all of the same things happening as I was 15 years ago. I guess I’ just more optimistic that I may not even have to file with good ‘ole M.A.R.V.I.N this time. Who Knows?
As I mentioned in the post I made the day I received the news that I was laid off, I would have never quit my job on my own to pursue anything better or more accommodating because my learned work ethic doesn’t suggest that kind of behavior. The issues I have with my current job has nothing to do with the nature of the work but rather the organization of the group I work in. The current organization of the company I am working for is not ideal for supply chain professionals (we do not sit with our manufacturing people and are expected to schedule from a separate location – difficult) so I struggled almost daily with not being able to lay my hands and eyes on the materials I was ordering and producing.
I am optimistic that I can move in to a future role where I can re-establish those relationships with the manufacturing folks in my group. I’ve learned that being in touch with the people who make what I schedule is so very important.