Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Laid Off: Days Eleven & Twelve

Writing the same stuff every day becomes a bit tiresome, as I am sure it is tiresome to read as well. Thus, I am saving us all a bit of tiresomeness by compacting days eleven and twelve (with a little of the weekend) into one entry.

The weekend was uneventful, just football and fun, the way it is supposed to be.

Last night, I went to a support group at Church for the unemployed. It was actually very useful and could be a very good resource for finding a new job.

When I came home after the meeting, Kendra told me that the police had stopped by. Apparently, a couple of little neighborhood snots have been stealing the mail of several homes. So, they were marched to the door and had to apologize, but we will see if there is any additional steps that could be taken. We were thinking it would be nice to have them weed and maintain the common areas of the subdivision as punishment. At any rate, the parents have offered to pay for any fees or problems caused by this. I suspect we will not be seeing those kids outside for a very, very long time. :-D

Today, I was a whirlwind of productivity. I mowed the lawn, scooped the kitty litter, took out the trash and sanded the walls in the "nursery" to prepare them to be primed and painted. Yup, I am good. :)

And, that is about it.

Saturday, September 21, 2002

Laid Off: Day Ten

Karate again today at noon. The instructor is one that only teaches the noon classes, so these past two times were the first times I was in his classes. Nice guy with tough workouts. After class, I had a private lesson (which are included in the price of memebership, so I might as well.) I am pleased to report that not only was my form spectacular, but I impressed the instructor with my advanced techniques on the nunchukus. :-D

I called my recruiter and left a message. He'll probably return the call on Monday. These recuiters do a lot of driving around, so I am not shocked that he wouldn't be in the office.

Also on the job front, I received an email from the gentleman that I met in Karate yesterday; he let me know that he forwarded my resume to the managers and the HR department at his company. So, I have a couple of things going on in the job front.

Later in the evening, after Kendra and I took a nice little nappy, we watched some TV while I worked on one of the new blankets I am making ("John Doe" is as good as I expected; I would highly recommend it to everyone.) The problem with the way yarn is sold is that it comes in a standard sized skein. If the afghan I am making calls for 6 ounces of a certain color, but the yarn I am using comes in 5 ounce skeins, I will need to buy two and will end up with an extra 4 ounces when I am done. As I have made a bunch of blankets, all with different colors, I have quite a few different colors sitting around taking up space. With some of the excess Baby Sport I had left over from Elizabeth's (my Godchild's) blanket, I started a baby blanket for another friend, but ran out of the color I was using. So, until I can go get more of the needed yarn, I began another afghan with the leftover colors from the last blanket I mage; it will go in the "nursery" after we paint it (the nursery will be painted, not the blanket.)

I was up late again playing D2. I love that game. I wonder what D3 will be like. :)

I realized that I have a very diverse bunch of hobbies: crochet, Karate and video games/computers. I suppose that no one will be able to typecast me, huh? :-D

Friday, September 20, 2002

Laid Off: Day Nine

I got off the island today by going to the noon Karate class. Having to be somewhere by a specific time is sometimes a nice thing.

Speaking of islands, Kendra and I watched our first episode of Survivor tonight. It is an interesting show and I can understand the hype, but I would never be drawn in. Although, the totally wrong person was voted off tonight. ;)

I made another contact today for possible jobs. After Karate class, I was chatting with one of the other guys in the locker room and he offered to take my resume. It will be really neat if the way I get a new job is through one of these new people I am contacting. It will make the process seem even more worthwhile. Although, it already is worth it to be able to have a network of friends with common intersts and jobs in the area.

I didn't hear back from my recruiter today, so I will probably give him a call tomorrow. I am curious if his Ann Arbor contact has asked around the local area for me yet.

I completed the blanket for Kendra's and my friend. It is always with mixed feelings that I finish these; although it is always nice to be done, it is almost an empty feeling to not have the comfort of working on it that had developed over the weeks and months it takes to make it. So, to fill the void, I have begun a new one. Also, it is nice to be able to watch tv and still feel productive. :)

Thursday, September 19, 2002

Laid Off: Day Eight

The guy from Best Buy fixed the TV with a magic wire in the shape of an "O" that he plugged into the wall and waved in a ritualistic fashion over the screen. Amazing!

The key to today is not when I got up (which was at 10am for those of you keeping track,) but instead when I went to bed. I was up until 3am, meaning that I am actually writing Day Eight during Day Nine. The reason I was up so late is that I wanted to finish the blanket I am making for a friend. Since it doesn't matter what time I get up, it really doesn't matter what time I go to bed, either.

Being unemployed is like being on a deserted island; you may have a watch, but the time is meaningless. And, although there are others around, you really are alone on the island. While everyone else goes off into the real world, you are stuck on the island, hunting and fishing for food and weaving leaves into huts. Well, maybe the similarity ends there. :)

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Laid Off: Day Seven

At 9:30am, I was already busy on the phone. I called Best Buy to see if the repair guy was coming, but apparently the service for the TV is scheduled for tomorrow. Nothing too serious, just a little screen burn in the lower right corner. Since we have a warranty, it is no problem at all.

After the Best Buy call, while still in bed, I received a call from my recruiter. He apologized for not returning my call yesterday; apparently, he has a bit of a head cold and was distracted. His plans for tomorrow include contacting his Ann Arbor recruiter and having him try to peddle me to the local companies. I would love it if I can get a local job. Driving two hours a day just for work gets old really quick.

I moved some stuff around the house. We are planning on painting the "nursery" (called that only because of its function to the previous owners) and I needed to get some of my junk out of that room. My old computer, which might be fun to have added to our little home network, needed to be moved. So, first I needed to clear space in our current study for the table to hold it, then I needed to move the table and remove the legs to fit it into the spot in the study. Then I needed to squeeze under the table to reassemble it. Finally, I got to move the computer onto it. So, the computer is moved, but the task took a lot longer and a lot more effort than expected. I still was able to clear most of the other junk out of the room, but I will need to finish that up tomorrow.

Kendra came home for lunch today. It was nice to have her company during lunchy. We even ate out on the deck; it was a beautiful day.

Later in the day, I got an email from good ol' Chuck. He passed my resume on to a coworker who works at another contracting company and told me I should expect to hear from them. That Chuck is a good guy.

Later on, after taking out the trash and recycling, Ryan and I had an opportunity to play a little D2. Not a ton, but enough to socialize with a pal. Killing stuff is always more fun with a friend. :-D

Laid Off: Day Six

Today was not as productful as I had hoped, but I did get some good things done.

Most notably, I went to the local job fair. Granted, since it was for all types of work, my options were pretty limited. However, I did give my resume to a couple of places that seemed to be worthwhile. It was disappointing, though, that I really didn't get an opportunity to really talk with anyone. I could have just sent my resume via email and saved myself some time.

I also took care of a couple things around the house, like having the pest control guy come spray for wasps. That's a good thing, right?

I called my recruiter, but I did not hear from him yet. He'll probably give me a call tomorrow (Tuesday.)

I received my letter of referral from Nexiq today. It is very flattering and I am pleased. Hopefully, it will assist in getting me hired elsewhere.

Monday, September 16, 2002

Laid Off: The Weekend

The good part about weekends, aside from the nice break they lend from the work week, is that they tend to be the same regardless of what is going on at work. In my case, there is no work, but the weekend remains the same. It was nice relaxing this weekend as I would any other, with my only concern being the poor play of the football teams around here.

Now that I am relaxed, I am looking forward to the coming week. There are a lot of potential opportunities to find a job and I am going to pursue them all with enthusiasm.

Monday, a local job fair is being run from 3-8pm. I just finished printing off a bunch of resumes and am excited about handing them out. Several of the places listed in the advertisement for the fair looked likely to be good matches for me. I suspect that additional places not mentioned will also be included.

I will also be giving a call to my recruiter to see what the status of his job hunt for me is. Hopefully he will have at least a couple of prospective places to discuss.

There are a lot of things I want to get done tomorrow. If I can finish them all, it will have been a very productive day.

Saturday, September 14, 2002

Laid Off: Day Five

Today I was up and out of bed right at 10. I had woken up at 8, but kept going back to sleepy-land. I dealt with some things that needed to be taken care of at home via the phone and was doing fairly well. However, I hit a block when it came to going out to run a couple of chores. Although they were not complicated, I had a hard time getting myself to go do them. Hopefully it is just because I don't want to do them and not that I am becoming a psychotic shut-in. Hmmm...since I have not been having a problem leaving the house to do fun things (like going to Karate, I suspect that I just need to get motivated and do them. We shall see what happens on Monday.

It seems that my initial fear is proving to be correct; Jerry Springer was still not on at the regular time. :(

Not a whole lot on the job front, although I was pleased to get an email about my resume. My dad passed my resume along to his friend at work who gave it to a guy who does recruiting for a company in Southfield. I replied to his email and should hear back from him Monday. I'll also give my recruiter another call on Monday. Seems like a lot is going to be happening on Monday...

Later, when Kendra came home, we ran off to Sam's Club. I am always amazed at how so many mentally challenged individuals come together to annoy me at that store. How is it that everyone shopping there has a problem understanding that no one can get by if they stop their cart in the middle of the aisle? Well, at least we got some good deals on cheap food to make up for it. But, just be warned that you may have to deal with extreme pain and suffering for your good deals when you shop there.

Ryan and I played a little D2 after Kendra went to bed. It is nice to be able to do things that are normal to my routine since the whole job thing isn't there right now. It should be fun to go to the Tiger's game on Sunday with my brother and some of my friends, even though the Tiger's really suck. Social things are always good.

I'm not sure if I am going to include the weekend as part of my Laid Off count. So, Monday will likely be Day Six.

Friday, September 13, 2002

Laid Off: Day Four

This morning was a slight improvement over the past couple of days; I was able to get up around 10. Granted, I did stay in bed until 10:45 looking for Jerry Springer (I wonder if he is off the air in our area?) but at least I was conscious.

It is funny; I still feel that I will be going back to work at Nexiq any day, as if the lay off was only temporary. I suspect that it might be because I had just come back from vacation when I was laid off. It feels as if the vacation was just extended.

I didn't spend as much time as I would have liked applying for jobs today. It is hard to constantly focus on the same task all day, every day, especially when it is as mundane as searching for a job and sending out resumes. Although, it was nice to relax a little bit. I was able to watch some TV (G4, the video game network, is the coolest channel I have ever seen), fool around on the computer (Diablo 2 has been around for several years now, but is still a bunch of fun), and work on the blanket I am making for a friend. I also was able to feel useful by setting up a couple of appointments and calling people and such. Tomorrow, I should be refreshed and ready to devote myself to the job hunt again.

Tomorrow, I am thinking about running off to karate for either the noon or 3:30 class, just to see what the classes are like during the middle of the day. Actually, I could do all kinds of good stuff tomorrow if I time things right. If I get a decent start (around 8am,) I should be able to do job stuff until 11:25 am. Then, karate from 12:00 to 12:45. I could then stop by Lowe's to get the shades re-cut for the windows and also stop by Meijer to drop off cans/bottles and pick up milk and whatever else we need. There should still be time left to get another couple of hours in searching for a new job. That might be the best strategy, since it will get me out of the house and also break up the monotony of the job hunt.

I think I will check in with my recruiter again tomorrow to see if he is any closer to finding me a position.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

Laid Off: Day Three

Had a hard time getting out of bed again today. Again, I was up around 11am. I think it has something to do with the changing seasons; as I recall, I always have a hard time getting out of bed around this time of year. To hopefully get more done, I am going to get up with Kendra tomorrow for some coffee. Later on, if I really need to, I can take a nap, but I think it is important to maintain some sort of schedule.

I filled out the forms needed to apply for jobs at U of M only to discover that I really didn't see any online that looked like they were a fit. What a frustrating waste of time. >:o

But, the good news was that I heard back from my recruiter. Tek Systems (formerly the Maxim Group) is a great company that finds both contracting and permanent positions. They are the ones who found me my last job and I suspect that they will be the ones to find me my next one. They guy I work with, Dave, is pleasant and professional. And, now that the Maxim Group has merged with their sister company, Tek Systems, the potential of finding a job closer to home is greatly improved. Yay! :-D

Not a whole lot to report today. Hopefully I will start hearing about potential jobs soon. I'll continue sending out resumes, as well. Tomorrow will be a good day.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Laid Off: Day Two

Well, my ambitious plan of getting up early today fell through. Although I didn't go to bed very late, I had a hard time getting my butt out of bed. Finally, I was able to get myself over to the shower around quarter to eleven. So, my plans of updating the resume before meeting with my friend for lunch had to be modified.

Lunch was at 11:45am at Damon's with an old friend from my first job at Cabletron Systems. Dave has actually moved on as well and now works for ProQuest, the same company where my wife works. Dave brought Kevin, another old Cabletron buddy, and we had a nice lunch. Apparently, Kevin is also looking for a new job, since he was laid off from Avail Networks (the local branch which was formerly owned by Cabletron.) It was fun seeing the old gang and talking about old times.

Then, it was back home to work on the resume. After reading through parts of the "Complete Idiot's" guide, I realized that I was doing many things incorrectly with my resume. I have completely updated it and I feel much more comfortable about it. After finishing the updates, a copy was sent to my friends, my recruiter and another friend who left Nexiq a while back who has a couple of contacts.

Tomorrow will be a busy day. I will be running over to Wolverine Towers like I was planning on doing today to drop off the paperwork and a couple copies of my resume. There are a couple of other sources that I need to get in contact with who may be able to help. Then, the fun part; I will need to actually start posting the resume at various places as well as tailoring it and sending it directly to companies for review. That has always been a pain in the past, but I am hoping that it will not be too troublesome without having a pesky job getting in the way of my job search. :-D

Actually, I am already starting to miss my co-workers. The work was ho-hum and sometimes outright boring, but I got along fairly well with everyone and it is kinda sad that most of these people that I have seen nearly every day for the past year and a half will likely never be seen again.

Monday, September 09, 2002

Laid Off: Day One

Well, the job hunt begins. I had been contemplating looking for a new job for a while, and now I finally have the stimulus needed to get me started.

Today at work was like any other. It was the first day back from a week long vacation I had took. We had not done much during the vacation, except relax which is really the whole point of vacations, so I was ready to be back and I didn't mind being back at work too much.

Around 11:00am, the Engineering Manager (my old boss who had been promoted and was in charge of my current boss) came by my cube and asked if he could see me for a moment. I could tell he was not pleased with the information he was going to deliver, but I was not yet aware exactly what was going to happen. When I arrived at a room full of people, I wondered who had been let go this time (we had been gathered into this room before to hear the bad news about who had been let go and why.) However, I noticed that several people in the room seemed distraught and that the Engineering Manager asked if he needed to stay (he looked really uncomfortable and near tears.) When I noticed that the Director of Human Resources was there, and was also fighting back tears, it wasn't hard to figure out what was going on.

What I found disturbing is who I saw in that room with me. The people in the room with me were hardware and software engineers, with a QA guy and a technical writer. It is never a good sign when a company has to let go of the people directly responsible for the products that produce the income for the company. Also, the new project that I was working on is going to suffer greatly not only because I'm gone, but also because there were at least three others in the room with me who were also working on it. As I am no longer working there, I try not to care, but that project (remote diagnostics of vehicles either over a regular network or, even more exciting, a wireless network) was so cool and it can really turn the company around if it is successful that it is disturbing that the remaining members of the team are now going to struggle to complete it.

A total of 34 people were laid off, from both the Michigan and Iowa offices. The reasoning was because of a mandate from the investors. If only they realized what an effect it was going to potentially have on their returns, they might have reconsidered. At any rate, I cannot fault my ex-employer, as the choice of eliminating a portion of the company is much preferred to the elimination of the entire staff.

Anyways, after they gave us the document they wanted us to sign to accept our severance package, we were given boxes and sent back to our cubes to pack. Everyone else must have been in one of the meetings I described earlier, hearing about the bad news; no one was around while we were packing up our stuff.

Everyone we interacted with seemed to have a grimness about them. I wonder if it is perhaps worse for the people remaining? My end at Nexiq is really a new beginning elsewhere and this will all be forgotten. However, the people who remain behind take a huge hit to morale; each person wonders if he or she is the next to go. And, even if everyone else stays, the memory of those who have been laid off will continue to haunt the company.

First thing out in the car, I called the recruiter who found me the position at Nexiq to let him know I was currently back in the market. Then, I told K. Next, I went over to my mom's place (since she lives near work) and shared the news with her. I read the document provided, signed it and then took it back (I had also forgotten to take my lunch out of the fridge at work; funny thing is this was the first time in months that I had actually packed a lunch. Heh.) Mom and I ate at Chilli's. It was yummy.

Then, back in the car and a drive back home. I made a couple more phone calls to make friends and family aware of my new status. I stopped by Wolverine Towers to pick up the paperwork necessary to apply for jobs at U of M. I'll fill those out tomorrow morning and take them in before I meet with a friend for lunch.

After getting the paperwork, I stopped by to see Kendra on the way home. She took it very well and has been encouraging.

Back at home, I received a couple of emails and got a phone call from my ex-boss. He is a really cool guy; we would discuss GTA3 on a daily basis. I also picked up a new book from Borders, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Perfect Resume, Second Edition." I have been looking through it a bit and I have realized that my current resume is really lacking. I intend to go through it tomorrow and update my resume. Then, when I receive the letter of referral from my ex-employer, I will send that along with the resume to my friends and as many companies as I can find.

I have had a pretty upbeat attitude about this the whole time. My daily commute to Sterling Heights (over 60 miles each way) was wearing me down. This additional time at home will be nice, even if I have to spend all my time looking for a new job. And, hopefully, that new job will be much closer and perhaps even in town.