“What If I Don’t Find a Job for Over 20 Months?”

I doubt if you’ve said that exact phrase in your job-search.  But you know the “what-ifs” can get to you when you are out work for an extended period of time.  “What-if I don’t find a job for months”; “What-if I don’t make as much money as I did at my last job; “What-if my unemployment runs out before I find work;”  “What-if”….you fill in the appropriate phrase here, since only you know what is most worrisome to you in this phase of your life known as  unemployment.

I’ve thought some of those “What-ifs” myself.  I was unemployed for nearly 20 months before I landed a position.  But the job I have now is such a great fit that I believe the reason it took me so long to find it is because it’s the one I was meant to have.  And that belief is made stronger by the fact that I actually accepted another position, worked there 8 days and realized it was a  mistake, called about the job I now have, it was still open and they were still wanting to hire me.  Isn’t it funny how those things seem to work themselves out?

I’ll just tell you up front, it’s not as much money as the previous “prestigious” (ha!) corporate job I had.  And I’ll also tell you it’s far more rewarding than the corporate job was.  I don’t have anything against corporations.  But after you have been out of that environment, you realize pretty quickly whether or not it’s a place you ever want to go back to.  And after about 90 days of being away, I was pretty much certain that unless it absolutely couldn’t be avoided, I had no desire to return.   I can’t believe it, but there were actually a couple of times when I went so far as to contact some friends still there to quiz them about potential openings – who’s the hiring manager?-what department is it in? – but when it came right down to it, I didn’t submit my resume or contact the hiring manager.  I just knew I did not want to go back.  I needed a less structured, more free-thinking type atmosphere.  I like an environment where you can recommend a former co-worker without worrying about violating some company policy.  I like knowing that as long as I’m performing my job in an acceptable manner, my boss will tell me, and I don’t have to spend weeks creating (at a minimum) a 6 – to – 8 page performance review document that is pretty much meaningless, other than it can be checked off the manager’s to-do list.  I like the atmosphere of the small, people-oriented, “don’t worry about tooting your own horn, but help the other guy/gal look good” office that I work in now.  And there’s incredible flexibility and such a sense of camaraderie.   And – another plus – we don’t have to have a meeting just to schedule a meeting.

I am grateful for the experience I had with a corporation.  But now, I’m at a place where I want to be – somewhere that values what I value.  And corporate America just isn’t that place.


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