From Then To Now, In 50 Blog Posts


I started my first blog post with a picture of the statue called "Business Man". It's only fitting my last blog post comes full circle with this statue. Picture by David Alan Gay, with permission to use provided credit is given to the author.
Yes, it was THAT cold outside when I took this picture. I started my first blog post with a picture of the statue called “Business Man”. It’s only fitting my last blog post comes full circle with this statue. Picture by David Alan Gay, with permission to use provided credit is given to the author. 

There comes a time when you are faced with a moment that signals a major turning point in your life. Sometimes that moment heralds brighter days ahead, and other times it serves as a harbinger of stormy weather and trials to come. I wish I can say my “moment” is an example of the former, but unfortunately it is of the latter. My moment came when I could no longer remove the red appearing on a spreadsheet.

I have a spreadsheet that keeps track of my expenses and how many months of money I have left to spend. This spreadsheet also has macros programmed into the columns to make the text bright red and the columns dark red to show at what point I will run out of money. It’s a valuable tool to have as a job seeker because, after all, you have to watch what you spend if you have no income.

Each time that red appeared, I take an hour or so to go over what I spend to see what expenses can be trimmed or cut out entirely. I cancelled my cable a while back, so that’s $50 Canadian per month back into the budget. I re-negotiated my land line and Internet costs a year ago last fall, so that’s $38 per month saved. Whenever there was a McDonald’s or Burger King coupon that offered a meal for only $3.00, I rationalized one day a week of junk food for dinner was not going to give me a heart attack and saved a few dollars a week there as well. Instead of going into a regular clothing store for shoes, jeans, or shirts, I tried Goodwill and saved money on a good deal. Once my analysis was done, the red would disappear.

Not this time, however. The red did not go away. I have cut all I could, and pulled my last rabbit of the fiscal hat. This is my moment I am talking about. By my calculations, I only have a few months left before I run out of cash and am forced to move out of my home.

This is the nightmare scenario job seekers have to prepare for in case it does happen. This is the day everything around you comes crashing down and you better have a plan to land on your feet when the floor gives out from under you. As a job seeker, I have considered and prepared for the possibility that day, that moment, would come. For the past year I’ve been going through my home and either selling, putting into storage, or outright pitching things that I needed to get rid of to lighten my load. I refer to it in my discussions with my employment assistance centre contacts as the Plan Z or “Oh S-” scenario. Most people have a Plan A or B in how to deal with things. I’m a planner’s planner in both my professional and personal life. My plan letters run from A to Z.

Despite the planning, my life is still going to undergo a very significant change. If I move out of my home, I either have to stay in temporary residence with a friend, a family member, social housing if I qualify, or a men’s shelter. Either of the choices means I lose my independence and become a person of no fixed address. There’s also the consideration of my retirement that I have painstakingly built up over time. Do I cash it now to give myself breathing room but at the cost of a tax hit and living in poverty during my retirement years, or hope that I get through the rough patch now so I can enjoy my golden years in financial comfort?

I now face decisions to be made that make my past job search planning seem like child’s play in comparison. I need to reallocate a bulk of my time to prepare for what will come and what steps I will take to handle it. This will affect my job search. This certainly affects this blog’s future.

I loved doing this blog. When I started the blog in March 2012, it began as a “thing-to-do” as part of a massive job search machine. It never was selected as a “Freshly Pressed” by WordPress, but that’s okay: that’s not what I was shooting for. It was not the most popular blog around, but again, that wasn’t what this blog was about.

The purpose of this blog was to draw attention to my job search, to help me return to employment. For the past 50 posts, I shared with those who followed my efforts what it was like to be a job-seeker in this jobless recovery. In those posts, I wrote about the catch-22’s of experience, the failure of employment centres, government, and business to recognize the serious nature of unemployment and its impact on our society. I showed how I stepped out of my comfort zone as a shy person by embracing social media as part of my job search that showcased my willingnes to work. I stressed that being unemployed does not mean you are lazy or should be treated like some sort of social misfit. I shared with the reader my good and bad job search moments, my depression,  and my rock bottom moments that made me wonder if it was even worth carrying on, yet in the end I found a way, thanks to supportive comments from people, some even coming from fellow bloggers. I touched on the personal introspection the job search gave me and my willingness to adapt and consider new alternatives . I also discovered, despite being out of work for so long,  that I have reason to be grateful for the things I have while still being humble enough to admit my failings. Most importantly, I shared all of this under the uncompromising glare of public scrutiny.

It’s only fitting that I end the blog the way it started, with the picture of the “Business Man” statue near the St. Clair subway station. No matter what happens to me, I still want to be like this statue. I want to go to work, and by thunder I’m somehow going to find a way to do it!

I’m not deleting the blog, though. The blog will stay up for as long as I maintain an account on WordPress. It needs to stay up. It tells a story that is very important to read. We have a serious unemployment problem. It is my hope someone, like a captain of industry, a member of government, or a social activist with clout will read this and do something to make things better for people like myself who who have the desire…the right…to work.

Until then, as I’ve always ended in each post, “Thanks for Reading”

David

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11 thoughts on “From Then To Now, In 50 Blog Posts

  1. David, I’m so sorry to hear about your red text… I wish you all the best with your search and truly hope you don’t have to leave your home. Thank you for your kind comments on my blog and your good wishes too. I’ve got everything crossed for you. I feel aggrieved that the state cannot offer you the help you need. This post should be mailed to whoever is in charge of employment issues in your local and national government – I’m sure you are not alone. Good luck from across the water – I’ll miss your posts!

    1. Hello Eleanor.

      Thanks for your kind comments and for being a good supporter of myself and my blog for the time it ran. I share your frustration as well regarding how Canada’s various levels of government have not taken the issue of unemployment seriously. Canada is a very rich country both in national resources and manpower, yet we have so many people of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds out of work. It’s maddening.

      David

    1. Hello Joe.

      Interesting that you sent me that link, and thank you for sharing it. There is a blog post that I wrote a while back called “I Beg To Differ” that touches on the idea of begging for work. I’ve gone one step further since this post by uploading what could be my final online video that is in essence a beg video.

      If someone does give me a job, no matter what or how, you better believe I will publically thank them for it.

      Thanks for your suggestion!

      David

  2. Decided to come back to WP and look around after what seems like an eternity, and yours is the first post I’ve read. So sorry to read about your red ink… I know that shade of red all too well.

    Still pulling for you down here in the States my friend.

    1. Hi Tuja

      I want to thank you for all your supportive comments, both public and private. It’s people like you and Eleanor and the rest that kept me going this time.

      Your absence was missed by many in the WordPress World. I hope you are doing well with your job and things have settled down in New Jersey

      We’ll keep in touch, and I’ll let you know how things are going with me. In the meantime, hope to see you writing full time again on your blog, your real-life schedule permitting

      David

  3. I am in China and cannot be of assistance, but I have been very moved by your story. I saw a comment of yours on an AOL article in which a San Diego employer bragged about not considering applicants who were unemployed. It is insanity! This is something out of a dystopian novel where people spew Orwellian bosh to justify their inexcusable behavior. I am so sorry that you have been through such an ordeal without getting hired over the past few years but keep your determination. I admire that a lot and honest employers will as well. I like that statue as well. I do not know much about art but I can appreciate that confident move to go out and get some honest work done.

    ~Courage

    1. Hello Sean

      Thank you so much for your kind words and supportive comments. It’s what keeps me going, even now in this very dark and trying time where I am about to make some very difficult decisions.

      The statue has been somewhat of a symbol of my job search. I want to be like that statue, a place to go in stride fueled by purpose and pride.

      You are very correct how how dystopian it has become. I’ve provided the link you mentioned, which does indeed have my rebuttal.

      Once again, thanks for your comments!

      David

  4. Hi David,

    I am in a similar situation as you, I am looking for jobs, however, after 18 or so months all i discovered that it is a dysfunctional system so no good can come out of it anyway. I am going to go back to school and do an IT study (I have always been good with computers, programming etc, however, never really got a degree).

    The point I am trying to make is that IT specialists such as yourself are in great demand (at least here in Europe, so probably in Canada as well), so you can look into starting an independent business or look for employment as a freelancer on project basis etc. There is absolutely no point to rely on recruiters, secretaries, HR and such to do what is best for you, they will actually make things worse. You can take matters in your own hands. It does take some getting used to but there is plethora of information on the internet on how to become successfully self employed etc. People would respect you for that and it is a rewarding experience to have that kind of freedom.

    All the best and good luck!

    -Nikola

    1. Hi Nikola. Thanks for your feedback.

      I actually touched on that with a blog post called “Even Clint Never Wrote A Program!” where I tried my hand as a contract programmer. Sadly that did not work out very well. I think one part of the problem was while I was proficient in many I.T. related skills, I was not an expert at any one. Here in North America, we call that a “Jack Of All Trades”. With an already competitive contract programmer market in Canada, I quickly learned my chances of going that route was not good. There was also the finance issue which I always had to watch out for that killed both starting my own company and going back to school. I applied for “Second Career” here in Ontario which pays for retraining but was not approved, sadly.

      I believe the I.T. boat has long since sailed in my case, but I don’t miss it too much. I’ve done my 20 year career and accomplished a great deal during that time. I’m proud of my record. Now it’s time to rebuild and to find any sort of work that will get me back into full time employment. As stated in the blog post, I have a lot of hard decisions ahead of me but I have a supportive group of family and friends behind me.

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