Today marks the anniversary of my unemployment. It was the second time in seven months the company I worked for eliminated my position. I was working for an airline in April, 2010 when my position was eliminated as the company I worked for was cut in half over the course of a year. Prior to that, I had never been on unemployment in my life. Two months seemed like forever, but then I got a job for a small HR outsourcing company in July, 2010 and thought I was “safe”. Roughly six months later, I was let go from that company, my position eliminated (again).
I immediately threw myself into a new job search. Using a strategy of targeting companies that would be a good fit for my expertise, I quickly had interviews and thought this was going to be just a bump in the road of my career path. In interview after interview, though, I ran into brick walls. After multiple interviews with several companies, they simply chose not to hire anyone. For other companies, time and again I applied for a job that appeared to be tailor-made for me (even offering to volunteer for a trial period to prove my value to them), only to hit another wall. For jobs I would have been a shoe-in for an offer (or at least an interview) in the past, I couldn’t get even get the hiring manager on the phone.
So, I did my best to maintain a positive attitude, differentiate myself from the crowd of job-seekers, and press on. In the midst of this, I must express my gratitude for my family, including my extended family, and friends who have been very supportive and have not nagged me (or my wife) about my lack of full-time employment . I have continued to work part-time delivering pizzas, even though roughly 80% of that income is deducted from my unemployment payments.
Immediately upon losing my job a year ago, I suspected that something big might be happening in my life. You see, I’ve been on a bit of a self-improvement kick for several years now – reading classic books like Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People and David Schwartz’s The Magic of Thinking Big, as well as more recently influential books like Seth Godin’s Linchpin and Gary Barkalow’s It’s Your Call. It was perhaps career coach Dan Miller’s podcasts and books (48 Days to the Work You Love and No More Mondays) that have impacted me the most in this quest for success in my career. My self-improvement quest came to a tipping point when I decided to join the Free Agent Academy (FAA), an online school and community for those seeking successful self-employment (run by Dan Miller’s son, Kevin). After long consideration, prayer, and seeking wise counsel, I joined FAA. Less than 24 hours later and with no warning whatsoever, my boss called me into the conference room and gave me my walking papers.
I chose to accept this as an opportunity. In addition to doing an intense job hunt, I threw myself into the coursework in Free Agent Academy, completing the first three courses and getting well into the fourth before prudence and my finances demanded that I suspend my membership until I could get a new full-time job. Throughout the months since then, I have continued applying and interviewing for jobs, but I have felt increasingly as though God may have shut the door on my HR past. All the while, I have continued my quest for self-improvement and self-employment. As a part of this process, I have done some extensive examination of my life and learned a lot about myself.
From my teenage years volunteering on youth retreats to being a camp counselor in college, to my years in college ministry, and later in human resources, I have always found myself helping people explore the deeper issues of life – passion, desire, calling, and purpose. Looking back, it’s obvious that this is where my strengths reside and my passions come alive. So, over the last twelve months, instead of watching endless Seinfeld and Friends reruns, I have built what I believe is my new career path, which I am officially launching today – on the anniversary of my unemployment – www.TheCallofMen.com.