A little more than 15 months have passed since my last day as a full-time employee, and the pattern continues: Every time I receive a little bit of positive news, it immediately gets gang-tackled by a linebacker unit of negative news. Nothing surprises me anymore.
The trickle of positive news came in the form of two phone interviews (for two different positions) that I felt really good about. Of course, as anyone who has ever looked for a job knows, feeling good about a phone interview or an in-person interview means nothing, and by no means am I counting on either of these coming to fruition, although it certainly wouldn’t suck if one of them did. But it’s good to know I can still interview for a job and sell myself without sounding like Stuttering John.
However, as I said, bad news always seems to follow good news, usually in triplicate.
Top of mind, for several reasons: Just in case you’ve been nowhere near a television, computer, radio, cellular phone or human, AOL is undergoing massive layoffs. This affects me in a couple of ways. First off, I have a few friends at AOL. As far as I know, everyone survived the purge, but it’s still tough. I’ve been through layoffs at a much smaller company and on a much smaller scale, and even when I’ve survived, I felt like I was sitting through a funeral. The atmosphere at AOL the past few days must have been thick with sadness. Second, the thousands of people cut by AOL will likely mean hundreds more people looking for the same types of jobs I’ve been seeking, and the last thing I (or anyone else in my situation) need right now is more competition. Think of it this way: Would you rather fight 50 people or 1,000?
Another sign of the apocalypse: While scanning job listings last night, I saw an ad for an editor in chief position, and the salary was listed as “under $55,000.” Seriously? For an editor in chief? To be honest, if someone offered me a full-time position for $55,000 per year right now, I’d have to seriously consider it, despite the fact that it would represent a huge pay cut from what I was making at my last job. But $55,000 for an editor in chief — a position I never came close to — is very sobering and frightening.
Finally, while the new year brought with it a decent flurry of positions worth applying to, that flurry has ground to a screeching halt this week. I think I’ve applied for one job in four days, which isn’t quite the pace I’m comfortable with.
For anyone who reads this and hates his or her job, take a deep breath: It’s a scary time to be swimming in the pool of the unemployed, and right now, I see no reason to be optimistic.