Cheers to all who’ve followed my job search. Your monthly vigil is over, not because I got a job but, because applying for jobs through ads and applications seems to be an anachronism – at least for middle-aged guys who semi-retired over a decade ago. The good news: US unemployment is down almost a full point from last year, GDP continues to “rise”, Apple will be releasing a new gadget in September. The bad news: I haven’t found a conventional job, my growing business still only pays half of my bills, and the mortgage calendar marks off a day per day. The reason to stop posting Jobs Reports: while hundreds of thousands are finding conventional employment, I haven’t and that may be a good thing.
The US Jobs report:
- unemployment = 7.4% (July 2013), down from 8.2% (July 2012)
- part time employment = steady at 8,245,000
- discouraged workers = 988,000 (July 2013), up from 852,000 (July 2012)
My Jobs report summary:
- jobs applied for: hundreds
- interviews for part-time jobs: less than two dozen
- interviews for full-time job: one (1) uno
- jobs resulting from interviews: zero (0) nil none
- most effective job search technique (which can only be measured by interviews, not offers): personal reference and drewslist
- most time efficient job search technique (which can only be measured by interviews, not offers): personal reference and drewslist
- only successful income generator: personal reference and consultation leading to part-time employment
I’m working seven days a week (Rule of 7), making about half of what I need. No job dominates the day, though there have been three or four major contenders. It is diversification, and also opportunity. Some jobs have deadlines. Tomorrow is the last day of managing the Whidbey Open Studio Tour‘s social media campaign. Others may not be permanent, but their targets are years away. Virtual museums are not created by whim. The bigger the job, the more opportunity for the job to grow. Partial support of an hour or two can grow to half-time or full-time if there are sufficient funds. (Anyone want to preserve the era of computers’ entry into the classroom, while also upping my billable hours?)
Some folks have passed along email congratulations that I’ve made it this far and am doing this well. It is easy to become discouraged and disenfranchised when unemployment goes on for months or years. Listen to the pundits blame the poor for being poor and be amazed if the poor don’t just feel like giving up. Full-time pundits usually have incomes that put them multiples above the poverty line. If they were ever poor they may have selective amnesia, or may recall an era that no longer exists. They recall a steamship era while we live in a world of airliners. I appreciate the congratulations, but I feel like a sailor bailing out a gallon of water for every two that pour in. Such boats can’t stay afloat forever unless something changes.
Change is what I focus on. Look at my work list. Those tasks are a shifting collection of skills and talents, titles and pay scales. I’m glad I have so much to work with. I’ve been endorsed for so many things on LinkedIn that they’ve asked me to delete a few before any more can be added. My goal now, is to develop some subset that pays me more than enough, that I enjoy more than enough, and that helps the world more than enough. Follow your passions. Well, my passions are for people and ideas. That’s why I so enjoy helping people develop plans, make decisions, and spread their message. I get paid for that, and usually save them money too.
Fortunately, the definition of enough is also changing. Changes in my lifestyle can decrease expenses. Improvements in my portfolio can reduce the reliance on income. (Hey Apple, are you going to make MVIS pop by using a MicroVision component, please?) The best jobs pay well, are engaging, and aren’t expensive to keep.
Those folks sending congratulations know about the change because they know how much worse things were a year ago. I didn’t even have a bucket to bail with back then. I was busy building it.
Opportunities are arising. My work for The Tour is complete on Sunday, but I’ve been asked to help an advocate (the noun) advocate (the verb) starting Monday. Within the last few weeks I’ve been asked to become a core member of two photography endeavours. Imagine my relief when they decided to collaborate and cooperate rather than compete. My first post for WhidbeyFocus’ blog should be published tomorrow. My next class with Whidbey Island Community Education Center starts September 5th. I have to restock my books that are selling so well at a local shop (Wander on Whidbey). And there are always three or four opportunities simply waiting for the return call to schedule that first conversation.
Whether through frustration with convention or simply an entrepreneurial spirit that must be expressed, I know others who are paying less attention to the unemployment numbers and more attention to their business. Biscotti? There’s a business in that. Innovative wallets? There’s a business there, too. How about a tiny house? Buy this one and help someone launch a career in building more. If I listed every person I knew who was trying something new I’d probably be better off providing a link to the island’s phone book.
My job search will continue, until it doesn’t have to. I’m certainly not limiting myself to the want ads and yet another edit of a resume that will only be read by robots. My best job has been developing myself, and my best benefit has been helping others with their development. No wonder there are so many consultants and coaches. It is fascinating, fun, mutually beneficial, and far less dependent on increasingly anachronistic convention.
As Wynn Allen says at the end of our Anacortes video; “Who knows where that may lead us?“