I became unemployed in March 2009. A year earlier, I was an editor for a community paper owned by News Corp. It was the first company I worked for after graduating in 2000, and after eight years at the paper, I had accomplished all I could with community news. I began thinking. Where was print media going? Was the salary worth the effort each week and weekend? Was journalism really the only career for me or was it a gateway to something more?
With all of that in mind, I took a leap of faith and accepted a temporary job as an associate manager of public relations at The New York Public Library. It turned out to be a great decision: after an amazing six months, I had a real idea of what I wanted to do with my life. But the Monday after my final day there, I woke up to Saved by the Bell reruns and no reason to even get dressed or take a shower. That's when true fear set in.
It's at this point where you need to make a decision. I deserved a week where I could just lay back and do nothing, but watch the TBS Comedy Break Room. I earned it. But I also deserved to be working again. And so, I got in that shower, I walked to the corner store and bought my paper, came home and made my own coffee and sat down for a typical work day where instead of drafting press releases and sending out pitch letters, I was drafting my resume and sending out cover letters.
I must have been to a million interviews, traveling all over New York state and beyond just for the opportunity to sing before the judges. And though I walked out of almost each interview confident that I had the job, nothing I did seemed to improve my prospects.
What can you do? Each day, I sat at home sending out resumes while my girlfriend worked to get her own business off the ground. We saw each other each day; every moment; every second. "How was your day honey?" "You were here all day...why do you even ask?" And when I started to enjoy the bickering on The View, I knew I needed to do something with my life to complement the job search. I reached out to all my sources to find out what was out there for me.
I started the ball rolling by freelancing for the paper I had left in 2008. Next, a contact I made interning at a newspaper over nine years ago asked me to write for her magazine. From there, the freelance assignments just kept rolling in. I was writing for a website, doing public relations work for a new startup company, writing advertorials, copy editing a spread for a major daily paper, and eventually I found my way here to Vault.com. Even that came as a result of networking: I had partnered up with Vault for a Career Readiness Fair while working for the Library. And it's paid off: while I started as a part-time public relations associate, I came on board as a full-time Communications Manager two weeks ago. If there's a moral to my job-seeking story it's this: you never know where your next job will come from, so keep the Rolodex handy.
Unemployment truly does suck, but being unemployed restored my faith in humanity, as former contacts became helpful aids in my job search. Being unemployed made me understand the true value of a dollar. Being unemployed forced me to take a hard look at myself - my interview skills, my efforts on the phone, my abilities to promote myself, my issues of entitlement, and the fact that, while the dollar menu at McDonalds might fit my budget, it did not fit my clothes. When all is said and done, I came out of unemployment a far better person—and with a DVR full of repeats I hope to never have time to watch again.
--Posted by Jon Minners, Communications Manager, Vault.com
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