Adjusting To Being Unemployed

I have to admit that it was a huge shock when I found out that I had lost my job in mid February, not only because I needed to be employed to ensure I had enough money to cover my living expenses, but because this was without a doubt the worst time in my working career to be looking for a job.   The recession in the USA was starting to hit hard, few companies were (and still are) hiring new people in the IT field, and so for the first week or so I was pretty much in panic mode.

For those of you who are new to my blog, I hope that you enjoy the articles that Debbie and I write and will subscribe to them, either via RSS feed or email.  We are also both on Twitter (Tony / Debbie) and you can follow us there.   Our lives are complicated, with me living in South Florida while Debbie lives in the South of England.  I am divorced with 2 young girls who live 30 miles from me, and child support for them takes a good proportion of my income every month, so obviously losing my job came as a great shock.

For the first few weeks at least, despite my alarm having been turned off, I would still wake up at 6:30am automatically, which really frustrated me as I didn’t need to.  I also wasn’t sleeping too well, waking frequently during the night, and with working to update web sites, my resume and to get my affairs in order until late every night, I was exhausted.  Finally I managed to get into a better sleeping pattern as things settled down.

With the prospect of getting another job in the field that I work in (I am a Senior Analyst/Programmer specialising in JDE World Software – an integrated system now owned by Oracle that is used by larger corporations) being slim, I decided that one thing I ought to do while unemployed is to try and do my best to make a living online.   I figured that if I can earn more money online than I have been doing, and ideally earn enough to make a living, then the future would look a lot brighter.   IT used to be a great field to work in, but in the last 10-15 years the rate of pay has actually decreased, and most companies don’t offer good benefits and definitely no job security these days.  Anything I can do, especially as I am getting older, to get out of this dying field, is a good thing.

Well after a few weeks I managed to sleep better, and right now I can guarantee to more or less wake up between 7:30am and 8am most days, sometimes even later.  The problem now of course for me is how to be productive.  I am unemployed right!  So I have all day to do what I need to do.  Well it’s really not as easy as it sounds.   Let me give you a run down of a typical day for me…

7:30am-8am – Wake up.

8am – Check email, web stats, minor web updates, shower, breakfast.

9:30am – Get some work done.

11am – Debbie comes home from work (4pm in England).  Chat on webcam for a while, work on web tasks together.

12:30pm – Feeling peckish, grab a bite to eat.

1:30pm – Take a sauna/steam and have a swim.

2:30pm – Chat with Debbie.

3pm – Get some work done.

5pm: Goodnight chat with Debbie (10pm in England).

6pm – Grab dinner.

6:30pm – Get some work done.

8pm – Take a walk.

9pm – Watch tv / get work done.

11pm – Off to bed.

As you can see, I get some work done, but in short bursts, and in reality I barely have more than an hour for each burst before I am distracted by something else, like the phone ringing, or new emails coming in.   I am determined to try to get fit and lose weight, so my daily sauna/swim is very important to me, especially as I am living in a community in South Florida where we have a nice pool and sauna, plus the weather is on my side most of the time.  So I don’t want to give that up.  I also need to chat with Debbie, as it’s important to us both, and it’s really hard to be so far apart for months at a time.

The solution is to try and do something to reorganize my days so that I can make better use of them.  I started today, not too successfully, but this is my new plan…

7am – Get up early, quick look at email etc.

7:30am – Take a walk.  I live in a community built around a golf course with several lakes, and walking around the block is 2 1/4 miles.  I also live on the 7th floor of a condo block, and walking down the stairs, around the lake, back up the stairs took 36 minutes this morning, one of my fastest times.

8:30am – Shower and breakfast.  A nice cool shower to clean off, then a healthy breakfast, either something like Raisin Bran or Oatmeal with a Banana, and Orange or Grapefruit Juice.

9am – Get some work done.

12am – Chat with Debbie.  Both of us waiting until 5pm over there in England to chat, so we both get more done.

1:30pm – Lunch, Sauna and Swim.

2:30pm – Back to work.

5pm – Goodnight chat with Debbie.

The evening I can’t do much about, since I want to take my evening walk, and I go with Tim, who I rent from.  It’s a lot nicer walking with someone, and I time the walk to fit in with his schedule.  Fortunately we now have the ability to record television shows automatically, which is wonderful as it allows me to still watch my favorite shows, but frees me from having to worry about when they are on.

The best thing about getting up early and taking a walk is that I feel really energised afterwards.  Doing this early is best in Florida as it soon warms up down here, but it also means that I have worked out by 8:30am and an ready to go and get stuck into my tasks for the day, instead of feeling sluggish having just got up and not done anything.

As far as looking for a job, these days jobs in IT are mostly advertised on the internet, and so I have various searches activated on sites like Monster.com and Careerbuilder.com which send me emails of any new jobs.  Also having my resume active on these sites, the headhunters come to me when they have any openings, but inlike other times when I have been looking for work, this time there are precious few jobs going for people with my qualifications.  In the last week I have found 3 jobs – one in Pennsylvania, one in Texas, and today one in Los Angeles, today’s being the only one that I would say I am well qualified for, and none in any location that I am happy to relocate to.   I don’t see things improving any time soon.

My working day consists of writing articles on here, The Laughline and Squidoo, plus promoting the same on Tagfoot and Stumbleupon, as well as other sites.   As well as posting links, I am actively researching for new ways to promote and cross link my sites, to improve traffic and also affiliate earnings.   Some days it’s good, but the last week traffic has really slowed down unfortunately, and I don’t know why.

If you have any comments on how to better organise my time, or on how you organise your time I would be pleased to hear from you.  Also if you have any suggestions for better marketing my blogs to get better traffic I would like to hear.  I am always open to cross linking to other related sites, and there are many other blogs out there that I would be pleased to swap links with.  Don’t forget that you can use the Share button at the end of this article to subscribe to our feed, and if you can Stumble, Digg or Twitter this I would be grateful.

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