Apr 13, 2013

Job loss, Fork in the road, Apply your metephor here

These past two weeks have been rather tough here at casa del Skydad.  My company, Cisco Systems, has gone through yet another Limited Restructuring (read layoff).  This has happened a few times in the past and they have shuffled some people around, dissolved some business units, and I have made it through.

But this one was different.  This one hit very close to home.  My two best friends that I work with, Isy and Kerry, both were laid off along with another team member.  And we found out that all of the work our group was doing is going to China and India.

Did I mention I am a technical writer?  And all of our work is going to other countries with English as a second language?  I'll pause and let that sink in for a moment...

That's right, it appears that all of the smoke up the ass blowing about our people are our greatest asset is secondary to handing our work to teams that will do it for half the cost.

You want to know the worst part about my friends getting laid off?  My buddy Isy is home on medical leave fighting stage 4 breast cancer.  Yep, that is a classy move right there.  They can't legally lay her off while on medical leave, but they can call her and tell her when she comes back she is gone.  Because of this, I am feeling like pure hell with what I can only seem to equate as survivors guilt.  Isy and Kerry were my rocks, my sounding board, and wonderful friends.  I feel crappy that I made it through and they didn't.

Of course making it through is probably only a temporary respite at best, because it seems that this just isn't going to stop.  I received a call from a friend who is pretty highly placed in Cisco seeing if I was OK.  They were happy that I made it, but told me flat out it is time to look.  I appreciated the heads up.

So now, the search begins.

I can look for another tech writer job, and I was a systems admin in a previous life but those skills are rusty.  I had a friend call and ask if I would be interested in being a project manager, but I have done very little of that in my life.

And then in the back of my head is the nagging thought that I really don't want to do this anymore.  There is no passion whatsoever in this job, or in high tech any more.  It all seems like drugery to me.  But it is where the pay is and the good benefits.  And the benefits are important to me for Skyler.

So I don't really know what to do.  If we make significant life style changes we could get by on less money, we live pretty fugally as it is.  I even had a chat with a guy I always talk to at Lowes this morning.  Turns out that would be about 1/3 of what I make now.

Too big of a cut.

So what do my friends out here think?  What can a middle aged dude look for in this tight job market?

I am open to any ideas.  In the meantime, I just want to stop waking up at 3AM and throwing up from the stress.

That would be a great start...

26 comments:

  1. For what it's worth, you're always in my thoughts and prayers. I've been where you are and can totally sympathize. I won't bore you with my story. I wish I had a suggestion, but I haven't been plugged into the job market in quite some time. I will put my tentacles out there for you, though. Hang in there.

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    1. Thanks Allen, I appreciate it.

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  2. Anonymous1:14 PM

    Oh, shit. I'll be thinking more, but off the top of my head...

    1. Have you thought about going back to school? You can get Professional Certifications/Continuing Education certs in all kinds of crap without having to go through the full-on get-a-degree method of study. If you wanted to try Project Management, you could look at courses that may take a year or less to get certified in it. Or look for other certs in subjects you are actually interested in that relate to the experience you already have and won't be drudgery. While you're in school you could also look for another job, something easy that would allow for you to spend your brain cells on learning new skills. If you're sure now that you could live on less income, you can fork over some of that income towards school??
    2. It's always easier to find another job when you already have one. Because you're still technically among the employed, you have the option of saying "no" to anything that isn't 150% perfect. Meaning, why not apply for everything under the sun and see what comes your way and then comparing what you're offered to what you have?
    3. Networking! (See, now I'm in full thinking-mode.) Not sure if you already do that, but if not, why not start? Attend professional associations/organization meeting and see what bones get tossed in your direction?
    4. Would you consider relocating? It would open up a bunch more options for you, but may not be the best course of action for your family. If you do decide to relocate, I think you should move halfway between Cleveland and Canton so me, Spooky, Flannery, Doc and Scotland all have access to you.
    Just sayin'. :)

    Gennifer with a G



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    1. I thought about school, but it takes too much time. I will look into certs for project management, and I am networking like crazy! Thanks Genn!

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  3. I am so sorry for your friends, and for the stress you are going through. I have no brilliant ideas for you. Just sympathy :(

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    1. Thanks a lot Connie, I appreciate it!

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  4. Anonymous1:25 PM

    I'm checking with a couple of contacts seeing if they can help in any way.
    ~Aimee

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  5. Oh. Holy. Crap. That company sounds like Hell, if you ask me. Any company that is firing people left and right (including employees with stage 4 breast cancer!) and putting their remaining employees under that much stress is no place for a wonderful human being like you. Seriously. You don't need that BS. There is something better out there for you, I just know it. I think Gennifer has the right idea: apply for anything that crosses your path whether you think you're their ideal man or not and see what happens. You never know what's out there until you start looking, right? And poo-poo on Lowes for not paying more, because I can TOTALLY see you working there and being stress-free and loving all heck out of it! :-)

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    1. That is my plan Cora, look everywhere!

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  6. I've had the Lowe's / Home Depot dream before, too. Heck, there are two scratch off lottery tickets sitting on my desk, fueling all kinds of fantasies about $10,000 a week for 20 years.

    10 years ago, I worked at an 80,000 person company that went out of business. People were dropping left and right, so I can empathize. Any old co-workers find a good gig that you can help? When I spent my 54 week "sabbatical", I ended it by going to work for the same manager I had been working for before.

    I hope things turn out well. Something will work out. I have faith.

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    1. I have started buying those lotto tickets also Scope. What the heck, it is the cost of a cup of coffee, right?

      I am networking like crazy, trying to contact all of my old friends.

      Thanks buddy.

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  7. How about a job teaching English and Technical writing to the Chinese and Indians? That sucks about your friends, it's such a struggle for so many right now. All I can do is think happy thoughts for you Chris. If I win the lottery, you're on my list! :-)

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    1. Ha! You are a good man Dale, thank you.

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    2. You are so warm and bright, Chris; any organization would be lucky to have you. Why not write an inspirational book and go on a speaking tour? Makes piles of dough and be famous.

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  8. You are so warm and bright; any organization would be lucky to have you.

    Why not write an inspirational book based on your life? I can see it now: funny and poignant, honest and life-affirming. Id totally buy it and make all my friends and family do the same.

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    1. Thank you for the compliments Flannery, but the inspirational parts are way overshadowed by too many "Hold my beer and watch this" moments.

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  9. That sucks all around, especially for your friend trying to fight CANCER. OMG!

    I'm no expert but I would probably consider the offer from your friend just to give you a little more time to figure things out.

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    1. I appreciate it JJ, I am trying to figure out how to lower y stress, but it isn't working too well.

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  10. Absolute shitty fortnight, my friend. Sounds like you're doing all the right things, networking and hunting around. To many people assume everything will work itself out and then get bitten on the arse.

    Knowing nothing about your neck of the woods or your profession, I can't offer much in the way of advice, but I can offer sympathy, which is useless but nice to have. Like art!

    Best of luck mate.

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    1. Thanks Jules, speaking of art I need to find a hidden famous painting under a velvet dogs playing poker or something.

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  11. I feel you, man. No passion for the job, stress out the wazoo (what? it's a word! look it up!), and the lingering threat of having your job shipped overseas. Plus (and I'm just speaking on my account here) the constant reminder that you need to work your buns off but there's no promise of a raise (not even a cost-of-living raise) or a bonus or a promotion. Just come in, work hard, and hope that you're marginally better than China.

    No. Thanks.

    But, I'm also stuck in the "what am I to do?" bracket. Two kids and a wife on short-term disability, a mortgage and an ocean of credit card debt. Like you, I can't just go work in retail. Ugh. It's frustrating.

    Good luck, man.

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    1. I think that there are so many people in our boat now MJenks. It is a world of the haves, and the worker bees trying to hang on. The middle class is dead.

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  12. Anonymous12:08 AM

    So sorry for what you are going through. Speaking as a person that has been way up high, and fallen far too low...

    Look for the blessings. You have a home, a family, a job, friends that love you (even if you don't treat yourself to see them enough), and you live right up there near God's country. Spend some time up in the mountains -- alone. Find yourself again, or find yourself for the first time. You are in there somewhere; you haven't given all of yourself away yet. The universe has been telling you to step back and take care of yourself for a long time. It is time to listen.

    You can't control what might happen, so focus on what is in your control. Have faith that good will come. It will. It might suck for a while, but hang in there.

    Enjoy your beer, and have one for me! A family member of mine calls it "coping juice". I agree.

    Warm wishes...

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  13. Sorry to hear about this.

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  14. I'm so sorry to hear this. I wish I knew what to tell you, but I don't. But know that I am here, thinking of you and wishing all the best for you and your family.

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