Really? Month 13? Welcome back to my job search. For those late to the series step back to last month’s report. This is getting ridiculous. No. It isn’t getting ridiculous. It is ridiculous. For more than a year I’ve been looking for work. No, someone said. I should say I am looking for a job. No, someone said. I should say I am looking for money. I’ve got more than enough work, and I have more than enough jobs; what I don’t have is enough money. But the work and jobs I have are self-created. They may eventually create enough money, but until they or some other source does, I’ll apply for jobs so paychecks can take pay my bills and debts, and maybe restore a financial cushion. Something good is going to happen, but I don’t know what it is.
Something good almost happened. Last month’s interview for a sweet job went well. I heard lots of encouraging words before, during, and after. And then I heard that I didn’t get the job. In the job market, second place is the same as last. That was my most encouraging lead and it was for a half time job. So far I’ve only had one interview for a full time job, and that was partly because he wanted to meet the guy with the incredible resume. But, I lacked two skills they required, so he thanked me for my time.
A few other good things are in various stages of progress. Most of them are not full time either, but maybe enough of them will add up to enough. A suite of jobs is a occupational version of the diversity I champion in investing.
I’ve finally found at least a couple of sources for contract engineering work. One speculation has been that, despite my resume, no company wants to hire someone in their mid-fifties because they probably won’t be there for more than a decade. Company plans assume such stability even if they rarely experience it. But contract engineers fill the gaps, take the jobs no one else wants, and live with the expectation of a temporary situation. That’s one reason they also get paid better. That works for me. The problem has been finding the right firm. Feel free to add to my list. There are some jobs that make full time engineers moan. Wind tunnel tests are remote sites can mean working long shifts for weeks or months far away from home. Travel? Wind tunnel testing? Watching the reality of data contradict the expectations of theory? Sign me up!
A few of my earlier contacts have also re-affirmed that they are keeping me in mind for other part-time or non-engineering contract work. Diversity, even career diversity, produces many paths. Diversity is valuable because it means more doors can open. Here I stand, waiting for those that have the keys.
Yet, I don’t stand and only wait on others. I make my own keys, doors, and paths. If I can act and move, I do. My art has kept me busy, and even made some money. Twelve Months at Double Bluff is finishing its premiere exhibition at Raven Rocks Gallery in Greenbank. Next week is the Whidbey Island Open Studio Tour (#WOST2012), so whatever doesn’t sell at the gallery comes home to join the previous years’ work. The Tour will be the first, and possibly only, time all five years of photographs will be on exhibit in the same place at the same time. Yesterday the first copy of the book for Twelve Months at Double Bluff was delivered. (The quickest, cheapest, and easiest way to get a copy is to buy online.) That makes 11 books produced since I self-published my first, Just Keep Pedaling, in 2002. Last month I held my first Social Media class. Next month I may teach my last Modern Self-Publishing class, at least for a while. Amidst all of that I had my best and most enjoyable month for consulting. People and ideas are my passion – and it’s because they are fun! And because it is so much fun to help. (Are you a person? Do you have ideas? I’ll be happy to help. Check my rates.)
There’s other good news too. I know very few people who are unemployed with no source of income. I continue to encourage people to interview for my Find A Friend A Job (#FAFAJ) part of this blog, and am not finding many takers. People are getting jobs. Well, not everyone.
I spend a lot less time watching the stock market. I continue to prefer the strategy I described in the book behind this blog, Dream. Invest. Live. Long Term Buy and Hold (LTBH), worked for many years, and continues to work for others. I feel that my situation is partly produced by extraordinary bad luck. My lack of interest in the market is based on my lack of funds in the market. Each day that goes by without a source of income means dozens of shares have to be sold. I partly attribute my portfolio’s poor performance on the psychology of fear within the market. In such an environment, small companies suffer. Big companies are sitting on over $1,000,000,000,000 in cash and liquid assets. That’s enough to boost GDP, hire millions, upgrade, innovate, and expand. They eventually will, but unless I find a source of money soon, it will all be moot to me.
Let’s not forget about my collaborations. Maybe it is because of the uncertain economy, or because people no longer trust regular corporate employment, but my list of collaborations continues and progresses. People are becoming more entrepreneurial. Unmet needs are creating opportunities and people are pursuing them as second jobs or backup plans. I’ve been building my backup plans for years, and I’m glad I did even if they haven’t gained sufficient traction yet. Imagine the situation I’d be in if I hadn’t produced a book a year, started a five year photo essay when I didn’t need to, or started teaching classes because it was fun and I wanted to help other creatives. All of that work has led to greater exposure, an impressive network (which may find me a job independently), larger workshops, and an expanding consulting business. If two or three of those collaborations succeed I’ll have found jobs by creating them. Considering the list, some of them could succeed so well that they’d create hundreds of jobs. As usual, funding is the key. (As I gaze longingly at the $1,000,000,000,000 described above . . . )
I don’t know where this is all heading. Does anyone know exactly how their life will play out? Each day a path is before me. I follow along as best I can.
If you have a map, feel free to pass it along. If you’re up around the next corner, holler back so I know you’re there. If you think you’re the only walking through the wild places, come join me. We’ll get there, where ever there is.