Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Laid Off: The Aftermath

The seemingly impossible task of finding a job has finally come to an end, however, it really just marks the beginning of my new adventure. Because my position at SPX is in Portage (around 105 miles away,) Kendra and I decided that it would make more sense to find an apartment in the Kalamazoo area for use during the week than it would to commute the four hour round trip daily. So, tomorrow, I am going to go get my new apartment set up.

As I only need it for myself, and only during the week, I figure an efficiency will suffice. Kendra and I loaded the car tonight with a bunch of stuff that I will need. Not much furniture, just a short rocking type seat, a TV with a TV stand, and an inflatable bed. I wonder if the bed will be comfortable enough to spend 6-7 months sleeping on it?

Tonight, prior to packing, Kendra and I went to dinner and a movie. Red Robin is one of our favorite restaurants and it is right next to our house. The movie, Jackass the movie, was hilarious. I have to wonder what is wrong with those people, though.

Earlier, I took a trip to Sterling Heights to eat lunch with my ex-co-workers at La Shish. It felt as though I had just returned from a long vacation. We all joked and chatted and had a good time. I got caught up on the details involving my old employer. Apparently, Nexiq is in a restructuring period since declaring bankruptcy. There is a meeting tomorrow between the CRO (Chief Restructuring Officer) and Sunshine Investors (the investment group that Nexiq is in debt to). As I recall, my layoff took place the same day as one such meeting, so hopefully that will not be the case for others. Unfortunately, there was already a temporary layoff of one week for forty Nexiq employees. Maybe they will be able to turn it around, but whether or not they do, my destiny, at least, lies elsewhere.

Afterwords, I visited my mom for a little while. It was nice working in the Sterling Heights area so I could see her and the rest of my family so often. Now that I am going to be working so far away, I doubt that I will even see them as much as I had been while working in Ann Arbor. I suspect that I will be less interested in making the drive to the Heights after my long trips to and from the office.

My job begins this Thursday, October 31st. I will meet Scott, my contact from Tek Systems, at 8:00am for coffee and we will drive over to the SPX around 9:00am. I am excited to be working again. Even though it means that I will no longer be able to sleep until noon, at least I will be close enough that I won't need to get up by 7 to get to work by 9.

And, so the grand adventure begins...

Friday, October 25, 2002

Laid Off: The Final Chapter

I have not been writing much as little has changed during the days. Eventually, each day begins to feel like the last. It could be a very depressing place, if you let yourself go there. For the most part, I have been pretty good about being optimistic while looking for jobs. A good way to do this is to spend time doing stuff that you would not normally have time during the day to do. Examples include going to noon karate classes, watching TV, playing games online, going to the store/mall and, most importantly, staying up really late and also getting up really late. All of these are things that help me to appreciate the state of unemployment.

However, I am pleased to announce that there is a very positive reason for the title of this entry. I have been employed by Tek Systems (formerly the Maxim Group) at a place called SPX. It is a contract position that will last 6-7 months. At the end of that time, it is likely that I will be offered a full time position there. The only problem with this position is that it is located in Kalamazoo. So, I will have to look for a little apartment for the week and only make the trip home for the weekends. Fortunately, I am to be given an additional sum of money per hour that will be tax free that will more than make up for the apartment and any gas spent on the trip. So, although the location is far from ideal, the additional sum should make up for it.

SPX is a company that has been around for a long time and does many different things. If you are interested, I suggest that you look at the website. What I will be specifically doing is writing diagnostic applications to be used on Harley-Davidson motorcycles as well as Mercury-Marine boats. Essentially, I will be doing what I was doing at Nexiq, just for different vehicles. In fact, when I was speaking to one of the other contractors there, I determined that I would be completely shocked if I was not selected for this position. While talking with my recruiter afterwords, he commented that he told his co-worker that he wouldn't attempt to do further business with SPX if they didn't hire me; I was that good of a fit.

So, hopefully I'll be happy there. I'll miss all the fun things, including sleeping till noon, but I knew that this state would not last forever. A belief I have that makes life easier is simply that everything changes. It helps you to make the most of a bad situation when you know it will not always be that way. Additionally, it helps with accepting the loss of a good situation. I've read somewhere about a saying that I believe is attributed to some Buddhist monks (or some sort of monks.) It says that if you have a favorite cup, behave as though the cup has been smashed to pieces. Thus, every time you use your cup, it is a celebration. And, if it is to break, it is as expected and not a loss.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Laid Off: Day X

Monday October 7, 2002
When I started writing these, I suspected that I would either tire of them or get a job and no longer have a reason to update them. It appears that the first condition has been met. Although, I feel that it is beneficial to continue updating these not only to make others aware of my status, but also to act as an outlet. It is helpful to be reminded that others enjoy reading these, so, thanks Kelly.

I had a job interview today. It was for a three day assignment with Analysts International. After driving to meet with them in Auburn Hills, it was discovered that I did not have experience necessary to complete the job in question. I suspected that the position was not going to be a match, but I went to this interview because I figured I would at least be able to make them aware of my skillset for the other jobs that they encounter. Also, I really didn't have anything else going on and at least there was the opportunity of getting some work. Well, at any rate, it was frustrating. :(

After the interview, I got to drive home in rush hour traffic. It reminded me of how glad I am that I no longer have to make that drive every day.

I received a voicemail from my old boss, asking if he would mind if he used me as a reference. I'll give him a call tomorrow. I somehow suspect that this is not a good sign for my old company. I am not sure if I have mentioned this here, but of all the companies where I have worked, Nexiq is the one I feel best about, even after being laid off. Thus, it is sad to see them crumble. :'(

I went to karate tonight. It is a nice constant to have during this unstructured time. The other day, I received an award stating that I had the qualities, skill and potential to become a black belt. Even though I can't help but wonder if everyone receives this award, I am still proud of my achievements. I would love to make a living via Tae Kwon Do, but at this stage, I do not have the required experience. Also, I doubt I would be able to make as much as I could as a programmer, and that is unfortunate.

Tomorrow, I am going to try to transport an old desk from my basement to my mom's. It doesn't look like it will fit, so I will have to see if it can be disassembled. Kendra has informed me that is has been glued together, so it might be a lost cause.

This past weekend, Kendra and I ran/walked in a 5k race. We finished in about 40 minutes. It is a pretty good pace and I think we can improve on that.

Also this past weekend, I finished the baby blanket for Megan, Dr. Jen's new baby. I don't know why I enjoy crochet as much as I do, but I am pretty good at it. Heh, I wouldn't mind making a living doing this, either. So, uh, anyone want to buy a blanket? Only $10,000 each. ;)

One final comment. Opera is great alternative to IE or Netscape. It has a built in popup killer and has a nifty "mouse motion" feature that you can use to do a variety of different things that can only be done with hot-keys or button clicks in Netscape and IE. Still a couple of oddities about the way some pages and links are represented, but definately worth a look.

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

Laid Off: The Lost Days

Sometimes more is communicated when less is said. I have been been doing a mix of sending out resumes, waiting, playing games and sleeping these past days. However, I really didn't feel like logging all these activities. Hopefully, I will feel up to continuing the log, but when each day seems like the last, it can be pointless.

One of the highlights of these Lost Days comes from Saturday. Keith Hafner's Karate, the place I train, had a tournament* for its students. At the beginning, they asked for anyone who wanted to try in the weapons competition, which was completely separate from the "forms demonstration" in which everyone was to compete. Since I have been playing around with the nuchuckus for several months, I figured it might be fun to see what everyone thought of my skill. So, of course, I was to perform first. What I learned is that, apparently, I am fairly advanced with them. Even though there was only one other competing with the chucks, I was proud to win, and was really pleased by the mounds of compliments from both students and instructors. My favorite was from a friend who said it was amazing. :) Then, I went on to win the forms demonstration for my division. That's right, I'm a karate champion. :-D

Recently, I have been taking care of things around the house. Yesterday, I called several places that needed calling for appointments and such. Today, I went to several stores to get groceries; it is nice not having to fight with a crowd of people while shopping. I also sent out several resumes and need to send out some more. Although it is definately nice to be able to sleep in, I hope I hear back from some of these companies soon.

Tomorrow, I have an eye-doctor's appointment at 11:30. Again, it is nice to have a reason to get out of the house. :)

Note: the tournament is a non-sparing event in which the competitors demonstrate the form (the sequence of moves associated with belt level) for a panel of judges.