Sunday, January 27, 2008

On the dole

Well, a lot has happened since I last wrote... I got laid off a few days before Christmas. I guess that's the biggest thing. I've been skiing a ton, working out 8-10 hours a week as per our "training plan" and I bought new curtains.

Being laid off is actually somewhat traumatizing, maybe not for the reasons you would imagine (or maybe they are?). Our company was really small - 15 people in the US and 5 in France. Maybe even less after they fired 5 sales people who sucked up salaries and sold all of NOTHING. This was the kind of company where we were all friends, got along well (some more so than others of course) and had company meetings twice a month - yes, twice. As if once weren't enough. Somehow they neglected to mention the company wasn't doing well. Seems like there was ample opportunity to slip that into one of the meetings - no? Quite the contrary, the meetings were always really positive, and when asked how the latest round of funding was going, we were told it was going well! Hmmm. That was about one week before we were laid off. I was really mad - not to lose my job, because I was planning on looking for work in the Spring anyway - but because I felt so betrayed. Did they not have the courtesy to give us a warning? Even a 2 week warning? What were we just going to walk out and leave if they had prepared us even in the most vague way? How ridiculous. Maybe I was just lucky to have had the last two companies I worked for give us a warning, but honestly, that is just common courtesy. Especially when they are going to lay you off two days before the company is closed for a week and a half over the holidays. and give you 2 weeks severance. Um - excuse me but isn't that really like 2 days severance since we were supposed to be on holiday most of that time? And exactly who is going to be hiring between Christmas and New Year's Day? Just checking.

The real kicker was that I had been on vacation at ski camp (see previous post) until just 2 days before and they had called me with emergencies that I had to work on there! I was up until 1am the day before ski camp started and we had to be up at the crack of dawn to ski that next morning just to fix some bugs for work. The next day I spent at least 5 hours working as well. So they KNOW they are laying me off in a few days and have me work through my vacation? Talk about being taken advantage of.

But the reality of unemployed life is pretty good overall. I need to get a job by March for financial reasons, but am not stressing about that yet. I'm taking this opportunity to move up the ladder a bit, no more programming for me! My wrist will thank me for sure. I'm looking at primarily product and program management, some engineering management positions as well. It's going well! Last week was a good week - I got 4 calls for interviews for positions that sound good so far. So, we'll see how that goes.

Have you ever had to deal with the unemployment insurance office? The EDD? GOOD GRIEF. They don't even pretend they're going to answer your call. "Due to an unusually high call volume we can not answer your call at this time. Please try again later." . This for the two weeks I have been trying to contact them. I mean, are you kidding me? How can you call this a business? I missed my career counseling appointment so they haven't even paid me. Because I'm sure they are going to be helpful for my career. Sigh.

I will say that not working has left me plenty of time to go up to Tahoe and it's been great. I am skiing much better than last year - I came in first in our time trials if you don't count staff members (third if you do). I just feel really good about my skiing and am really psyched for the race this year. I can't believe how soon it is and I'm nervous already! 5 more weeks and counting... but if I ever even mention doing another TnT event someone please kick me.