Friday, March 21, 2014

Light at the End of the Tunnel

I had never thought I would lose my job until four months ago. So it happened and I started staying at home, while trying to make the best of it. I was searching for jobs and catching up on household chores. I had the confidence I would soon be back working. I tried to see the best outcome of the current situation and treated it as an early experiment for testing out early retirement.

Unfortunately, the emotional stress did catch on after a series of rejections. The days became long. There was only so much you can do around the house during the day. Of course, with the weather being so miserable this winter, it did not help to cheer up my mood either. Eventually, I started doubting myself. I started to doubt my abilities and questioned whether I was asking too much from the companies I interviewed at. Some companies I received rejections, some just disappeared after the interviews, including some  fairly reputable, large sized companies. A year ago, I had two offers and one internal promotion in hand, and I chose to pick the one where I was later laid off from. I regretted the mistake I made, but it was the right thing to do at the time.

I fell from confident to almost desperate, wanting to be back at work again. Sure, money was a factor. Going from a dual income to a single income did not change things too much. But it made me more conscious on what I spent and made me think twice if a purchase was 100% necessary. It also delayed some  big purchases.

The thought of being unwanted in my career field was horrifying. I can't say I was the best performer, but I knew I was being valued and was somewhat in demand. Reality sometimes can be cruel. It is also through all the rejections I that I realized something. Many companies are not looking for the best people for the job, but instead prefer average people with lower pay. With economical pressure, being lean and mean in the short term became more important.

I struggled to go through phone screens, personality tests, and on site interviews for months. But no offer. None. Nothing at all. The holiday season is never the best time to look for a job. As the gap on my resume became longer and the winter continued to go through its deep freeze, I stayed at home and huddled by the space heater, waiting for something good to happen.

Because of one of the my interviews I had, I picked up a book called "Delivering Happiness". It helped me to not lose hope and gain back confidence. It also made me take some time to think about what happiness really means to me. We are experiencing an extra cold and long winter this year. As the days grew longer with more sunlight, my search went on and eventually the light at the end of the tunnel became closer.



After all, I have been very lucky. I have family and friends who have been supportive throughout the process. I also have great business associates who helped me eventually find the position where I will start shortly. The Y household will shortly become dual income again, and marching towards our goal of financial independence at a more steady pace.

The past four months were stressful but a great learning experience for me. Of course, I now understand how it feels like to be laid off. I also understand the pains of the long term unemployed, and how hard it can be for them.

I have to always remember that the rainbow will show after the devastating storm, and always remain hopeful for what might come next for me in life.

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