Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Quiet Days and Budget Issues

The experts say, spend 40 hours a week searching for a job.

But, what is one to do when there ARE no jobs that match your goals and skills? Or, you've already applied to all the ones that exist? Cold calls? But folks in the high tech business don't want them. Lots of ads are very clear about not taking phone calls. I'm going to sign up for the outplacement service after all (my former employee gave me month's worth of their service...better than nothing, but still, rather stingy). I need some direction in how to make my job search more effective. Or at least a way to make it take more of my time!

Networking...well, that only goes so far. At some point, you run out of people to contact or you're waiting for someone to get back to you (and you don't want to seem desperate, so you do wait after making a reasonable effort to connect). Or you ask someone for an introduction to someone else and they never come through.

I'm expecting some type of phone interview from a company that has an opening. Looks like an interesting company. A LinkedIn contact got me that far (I guess networking CAN help). I responded to the email about my availability and then never heard back. I hate that...if you're interested, great, let's get things scheduled. If not, well, let me know.

I'll probably call about the phone interview (hey, the HR rep. DID include his phone number on the email). It would be nice to get the interview although I'm a bit doubtful about the job. I suspect they want someone with more in-depth programming knowledge than I have. But, a practice interview would be good anyway.

And when I don't spend hours and hours on the computer searching, I feel guilty. I don't want to be an "unemployment queen" who just collects her money and doesn't bother with a job search. I know people like that and it just boggles my mind. But, what does one do in a job market that is so incredibly moribund? Go where the jobs are? A lot of good jobs are in India, these days. Sheesh. India!?

As part of any stimulus package, I'd like to see our government give tax breaks to companies that DON'T ship their jobs over to India. If a company like Cisco would stop doing this, we'd have a lot more software developers and technical writers who are gainfully employed. These companies are sending jobs overseas while here at home, we have over 7% unemployment. Shareholders, are you really happy about that? In the long run, your company won't do better if people in this country can no longer purchase products because they're unemployed.

In the meantime, I've been watching my spending to see if the budget I set up makes sense. So far, circumstances have conspired to ensure that keeping to this month's budget is almost impossible. I had to get a new water heater which cost over $1,000 to replace (and don't get me started about the plumber who was supposed to replace one part, replaced them all without asking me, and then broke the toilet tank). Outside of this unexpected expense, I'm doing OK in most other areas of spending. But, I'm starting to keep an eye on that daily newspaper delivery charge. I can do without it, but I feel bad about cutting back because I think it will affect what the paper delivery person makes and the newspaper industry. Although, maybe if I go back to Sunday delivery only, they'll give me one of those 6 months deals where I can get the daily paper for a discount.

It's so weird to be watching the money so closely. Haven't had to do that in years. I suppose it's a good thing. If I hadn't been so free with spending during the last couple of years, I'd have more in savings. Perhaps, should I get back to my previous earning power, I'll remain vigilant about spending (vigilant? I think the word will be paranoid).

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