Sunday, October 17, 2010

Life Update

Life has not been easy since the end of my Asia trip in 2008. While gone the stock market too a great big dump and what is being called The Great Recession was in full swing. I lost a huge portion of my life savings in the stock market crash. I had not been paying attention to it so imagine my surprise when I checked it at home. Yikes! It was pretty heart wrenching; they say in your 20s to put most of your investments in stocks and to be aggressive, well..... the down side is you can lose a ton. The upside is, you still have the rest of your life to slave away and re-earn that. Wonderful.

I got home just before Christmas in 2008 and I wanted to enjoy the holidays with my family and still relax a bit before trying to rejoin the real world, or the matrix, or whatever you want to call it. I wanted to try and do my own thing first. Well less than three months into 2009 calamity struck my family. There was a rather serious and unfortunate family health incident that occurred. Since I wasn't employed I took it upon myself to stay at home and basically became a full time caregiver. That lasted pretty much the rest of 2009. It was a hard time for my family but things are alright now. To friends, if you're wondering why I disappeared off the face of the planet in 2009 this is why. To sum it up, basically 2009 was a lost year for me.

The new year, 2010, came along and brought about new challenges, mainly the search for a job. With The Great Recession still in full swing the job market was bleak. Unemployment nationwide was I think a little over 10%. CA, hit harder by the recession, had a higher unemployment rate, 12% I think. Of course actual unemployment was much higher both nation wide and in CA. A lot of people called the 99ers were no longer being counted. These people had been on unemployment for 99 weeks and their unemployment benefits had run out; therefore they were no longer being counted towards the unemployment numbers. It's a hard thing to swallow when you're supposed to live the land of plenty and opportunity.

Having not worked for so long my skills had become rusty. I had to study to jog my memory or just relearn things I had forgotten. This doesn't happen overnight, it took weeks and sometimes months. The tech industry has a culture of having ridiculous interviews complete with brain teasers that are rather useless and not applicable to your actual job function. I knew I'd fail any I took so I decided to get practice. I did so by interviewing first with as many dumb companies as possible that I didn't actually want to work for. I had to increase my interviewing skills quickly so I could be more comfortable with the process when it was for real. Of course I bombed a few interviews early on, and yes I knew I would, but it still feels pretty crappy. You just have to get yourself back together, use it as a learning experience and try again.

Eventually, through the help of some people I knew, I was able to get in touch with the company I work for now. The interview was tough, it took all day and yes it had a brain teaser. It's a good group though and I feel lucky to have landed with them. I was more fortunate than a lot of other people out there during desperate times for some, and hard times for most, in that I was able to get a little bump from my last salary.

So for now I'm back in the grind, working like a dog again, doing everything I rejected in the reason why I left for Asia in the first place. Well..... I did say I'd go back to work eventually didn't I? And so I did. I must say I am much happier here than at my old work place so in general things are good; well considering that I still have to work... but, hey you can't win them all.

No comments: