Archives August, 2009

31 August
Chris Arends

Like I said in my last post I really have enjoyed my summer, but part of being home more means taking more of the domestic duties. I have no problem cleaning the bathrooms every week (sorry guys don’t let your wives see that part) or even dusting and vacuuming. Its part of being in a income household and I am cool with that. Today I realized several things that showed me that Mr. Mom must die.

First the grocery store. When you recognize all the stock clerks, know who the store manager is and know which checkers is the fastest you need to get a job.

Next when you are the only “room mom” who can make it on the teachers birthday, you have new incentive to get a job.

When you are the only parent in the lunch room with your kid, you know you need to get a job.

On the other hand doing these things shows my kids that I can do anything their mother can, though maybe not as well.

After I finished at the store and school I went home and reclaimed my manliness by fixing the toilet, replacing a sprinkler head and putting up two new fence boards. Nothing like a little physical labor to purge the homemaker in me at least till it is time for dinner.

31 August
Chris Arends

I have to say thanks to those who responded with their good wishes after my last post. It seems that some saw that I was not in a good place despite the fact that I have written 50 No Job Joys.

The fact is I really enjoyed my summer. Even though American Airlines isn’t happy with me, my kids, my wife and my bike are all glad I am around more. I am happy because I got a chance to slow down, get a few things done see what good kids I have and become part of my families normal routine. In fact I am now more part of the routine that my wife is a lot of times but that is because she is taking advantage of having me around to have more flexibility with work, PTA, church and friends.

As they say all good things must come to an end. Despite the fact that we are still okay financially it is time for me to re-engage in the work place. Overall I see some very positive trends both for my self and many of my new and old friends who are looking for work. More interviews, better responses from contacts and good news in the paper are all great things.

Check out my next post to see where the blog goes from here. Thanks for reading.

26 August
Chris Arends

Hard to believe that I have written 50 of these. I get surprised at least once a week by someone I had no idea of how they would have found out about the blog and say they enjoy it.

I have been writing about some of the things I have seen as positive impacts of being laid off and how to keep ones spirits up while going through one of the most stressful times most adults go through. I hope you have enjoyed my musing. They have been of great help to me and I hope to some of you as well.

The focus of the blog is going remain focused on staying positive but I will start having more open ideas not just related to being out of work. No I haven’t gotten a job yet. That is still a work in progress. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Today’s joy is the joy of writing.

24 August
Chris Arends

Animals have a simple decision to make when things are going bad- fight or flight. This isn’t to say that animals aren’t intelligent it only says they tend to work in black and white decisions. As humans we often respond the same way as animals but we do have an option. We can go against genetic programming and do something different.

Just like in our job searches we can fight and fight to where we think that there is no other option but to look somewhere else. It could be geographically or industry or function. This is still a fight or flight option.

What makes us different from animals is that we can look at how we are doing things and try to improve how we do them, We can look at our strengths and use them to our advantages to stay focused on our goals. We can work on our weaknesses and get stronger in that area through training or experience.

Today’s joy is about the possibilities of doing things different or better to change the outcome. Instead of fight or flight we have better, faster, stronger, or smarter.

21 August
Chris Arends

Growing up on a farm I remember doing a lot of projects with my Dad and older brothers. Putting a new porch on the house, fixing up the hog house, building fence and many others.

Being the tall skinny kid with long legs, when ever we were working on something and forgot a tool from the workshop guess who got to run get it? So many times I remember running like my life or that of my Dad or brothers depended on it because someone was always holding something heavy or that if they let go would cause a bigger problem. It seemed that half the time I would get back with the tool or board or what ever they asked for, gapsing for breath just to hear “Never mind we fixed it.” That used to drive me crazy. I used to thing they did it on purpose just to watch me run. But on that rare occasion I would get there just in the nick of time to save the day.

I see a lot of parallels between fetching tools and the job search. Every time we have a job lead we run as fast as we can as if our lives depend on it only to find out later that they found another candidate or the position was eliminated. Funny thing is no matter how many times we hear “never mind” we still run, expecting to be useful or save the day.

We run because we care. We run because we have to for our families. We run because some day we want to be the one who tells someone else to run. We run because we don’t want to have the regret of not running when it could have made a difference.

The thing about running is that in the big picture it is good for you. It makes it easier to run the next time as you get more practice. It makes you think about different ways to prevent running as much or take different paths to make things easier.

In the end, it only takes one time getting the tool there on time to make a difference. So as we run to our next jobs we need to keep joy in the potential to make a difference and the chance to learn how to run in new ways.

18 August
Chris Arends

It has been a great summer. Spending time with my family, riding and relaxing as much as you can with out a job. It has also been a time of taking care of the kids. While we have had fun it gets hard to focus and get a rhythm going when you may or may not have to manage the kids.

So although they are not wanting to go back to school and lets face it looking for a job is not exactly fun either I am glad that they will be back in school so I can focus and do what is necessary to move forward.

17 August
Chris Arends

Our parents told us we could be anything we wanted to if we work hard enough. That is partly true, it will take a lot of work to do what ever you want to do well.

It also takes the willingness to make trade offs. In some cases what we want to do doesn’t enable us to have the kind of lifestyle we have or want. That is a trade off that has to be made. Not having a job right now may be the best thing if you want to do something you love.

Many people who are unemployed are looking at what is really important to them, To me being home and able to spend more time with family and friends is more important to me that it used to be. Others may see the opportunity to take a risk and live some where new.

What ever is important to you I would say follow it. If you say I will do that in 5 years, that is 5 years of not being as happy as you could be and you will be 5 years older when you get there.

Today’s joy is the opportunity to do something new and make yourself happy.

13 August
Chris Arends

The message today isn’t about wishing your life away. I will let your parents or grand parents take that on. I am focused what farmers refer to as making hay while the sun shines.

For those of us not working we see all our working friends on Facebook or twitter posting “Is it Friday yet?” hoping to get to the weekend so they can relax. I’m not saying that people who are working and job hunters don’t deserve a break and time to recharge.

What I am saying is Friday is a bad thing for those of us not working especially in the summer. Friday starts the weekend slow down. A time when people aren’t posting new jobs, don’t do networking meetings and don’t get back to you on whether you have made the next round of interviews. So Friday just means three more days unitl you can move your search forward.

So my joy today is that it isn’t Friday so that I have the opportunity to move closer to my next job.

11 August
Chris Arends

Today I made my son get off the couch and go for a bike ride with me. Yes he would have preferred to stay inside reading or playing video games but I made him go anyway. On our ride we managed to find the few things we have that resemble hills around Dallas. It was a struggle for him. Personally I love climbing hills/mountains on my bike. When we go to Colorado my favorite parts are climbing Lookout Mtn or Loveland Pass (11,990 ft).

Life is a lot like climbing mountains on bike. It is tough going up but the ride down is so much sweeter when you have earned it. The job search can be the same way. Every day we struggle to get our resume to the top of the pile, then overcome the tough interviews and finally the stressful struggle of negotiating an offer. If it is a job we really want the challenges we face can add to the thrill of starting a new job. The satisfaction that you came out on top, that you got what you have been striving for can make the climb so much sweeter.

It is the thrill of the down hill that we need to focus on when the climb seems too steep or too long. If we want it bad enough we will get up the hill no matter what. Even if like my son you have to get off the bike and walk up the really big ones.

7 August
Chris Arends

One challenge for job seekers is that we are often so focused on the goal we don’t realize when the goal has moved. With all the stress of finances, social stigma, and just our own self esteem we often just keep pounding away at the same goal – GET A JOB!

This can create two problems. First is we get so obsessed with getting ANY job that we take the first thing that comes along without regard to the long term consequences. A lot of companies are concerned about this which is why they are stretching out the hiring process for candidates that are not a perfect fit to make sure they are going to be satisfied. Taking just any job can have a long term impact on your career which also has to be taken into consideration. Just because you are unemployed doesn’t mean your next job can’t add to your career path. The trick is to make sure you aren’t too locked into a specific job. This leads into the second problem.

While I will be the first person to advocate patience in the job search, when we get focused on one or two requirements in a job we can limit the opportunities available to us. A friend of mine recently took a job with a major retailer in Arkansas. While he was initially skeptical, as he stepped back and looked at the possibilities for him self and his family, the opportunity he wouldn’t have considered four months ago has great potential to increase his quality of life in ways he hadn’t thought of before.

Today’s No Job Joy is keeping our selves open to the possibilities that what we are looking for is not always what we thing it is.