Making the Switch – Week 1

Day 1

As someone who cannot stand the idea of staying at home for one whole day, I was shocked to find out that I did not go crazy at all. I was also shocked that I did not binge eat since now snacks and food are easily accessible. I did find that I spent a lot of time on my phone and the internet. So I decided to either turn the airplane mode on or leave it in a different room while I “worked”.

Following the initial shock of unemployment, some things became clear to me.

  1. I forgot how fortunate I was (when I still had the job): having a job allowed me to be self-reliant and it introduced me to a wonderful network of coworkers. When my feelings towards my job shifted, I forgot about all these things I should be grateful for. While I don’t wish to have my old job back, I really wished that I was more grateful when I had it. Having a job also gave me a fixed schedule and I find having a set routine makes me productive and makes “play” (ie. gym, shopping, cooking, hobbies) seem more enjoyable.
  2. I am grateful for this “push”: I was too comfortable to take actions to switch and this push is what I needed. I was more lazy than unhappy to do something about my career so I kept putting it off. I am very grateful to be knocked back to reality. Now I have no option but to figure my way out of this.
  3. I also realized how lucky I am to be able to daydream about work again. When I was still working, it was difficult to see myself working in a different role/industry. But now that I am unemployed, I feel much more free to consider other possibilities. It almost feels like I just graduated from school and I have so many options to choose from. However, it is also scary and extremely confusing. I feel unqualified to go into a different field because I am practically starting over. But I know if I go back I would be very miserable.
  4. I am not alone: it didn’t hit me until now that so many people have gone through the same thing and I am not the only one. I received so many encouragements and advices from my friends and old coworkers. My friends offered me advices while my old coworkers told me which companies that might have opportunities available for me. I am eternally grateful for the support I received.

Besides feeling thankful (and scared) for all the things I have and had, I spent about 1-2 hours today figuring out what I want to do next. Here is what I did:

  1. I listed my definition of “success” in terms of career and life
  2. I came up with a list of people that I think are successful and I analyzed why
  3. I listed the things I enjoyed doing from my previous jobs and in personal life

There were more things I wanted to think about, but I ran out of time (had to head to the gym) so I decided to take a break and continue later.

Day 2

I decided to come up with some sort of a schedule to keep myself sane. As I mentioned before, having a fixed schedule makes me happy and productive. I will spend 4 days a week on job hunting and take a break for the rest of the week. I’ve always thought working 4 days a week would be an idea schedule for me, and I see this as an opportunity to test things out. I don’t know if I will like it or if this is enough time spent on job hunting per week. I will find out.

I’ve also decided to use down time productively, instead of browsing on my phone like I used to. These are the things I will do, in no particular order:

  • Read books I’ve always wanted to read (I have a bunch sitting on my bookshelf and in my Audible collection)
  • Hobbies like arts and crafts
  • Afternoon tea (this is one of my favorite things to do)
  • Clean up and donate things
  • Explore the neighborhood on feet
  • Try workout outdoor or at home instead of at a gym
  • Do some volunteer work
  • Take a 15 min walk at least 3 times a week

I previously wrote about the importance of “play” (from my June favorites post) and I think I will try to schedule at least one of these things everyday.

Day 3

I didn’t get much done today, but I decided for tomorrow I will find 5 companies that I might want to work for that either have products or services that I like (based on my reflection from Day 1) and see if I can find someone in those companies to talk to.

Day 4

I spent most of the day on LinkedIn and Google looking for jobs that I might be interested in, based on my reflection on Day 1. The search took longer than I imagined, because I didn’t know what job titles to search for. I also got frustrated when LinkedIn told me that I am reaching some kind of search limit and that I would have to pay to view more profiles. But eventually I found some keywords I can use in my searches and people I wanted to connect with to learn about their careers.

I set up a very simple home office to work. In a spare bedroom I moved a chair and used an old table as a desk. I decided to work here in isolation and leave my phone out of sight so I don’t get distracted.

Day 5

Today I discovered a few more keywords I can use in my job search. I feel like my search is finally leading me somewhere. I am finding job postings and companies that do things that are similar to what I naturally gravitate towards. I reached out to two people I found on LinkedIn with job titles or descriptions I’m interested in and I am now patiently waiting for response.

I realized that my body is unhappy from sitting for long periods of time, I felt very sluggish towards the end of day and my body just doesn’t feel right. So I stacked some boxes on my desk to work as a temporary standing desk. This helped me stand more and move around more. Also I noticed my eyes got quite tired from staring at the computer screen so much, at my previous jobs I did not work on the computer all the time so this is definitely a change for me. I took an hour break mid day to read a book instead.

This also made me wonder whether my limit for intense focus work is 2 hours?

Day 6

I read the websites I saved from yesterday and continued to learn about the area I might be interested in. Also contacted two companies that I found to be interesting, however, they are located 1000+ miles away from me.

My old manager contacted me today to see how I am doing and see if he can help me with any job search and network. He mentioned this company to me and asked me to forward him my updated resume and he can help me if there is anything I am interested in.

Day 7

Updating the resume took much longer than I thought. In fact, it took 7 hours just to add my last job and update format and the summary section. It didn’t help that I was hungry and tired the entire time. But, it was done and my resumes were sent out at early hours in the morning and I felt pretty good about having updated resumes.

Besides updating resume, today was a busy day with some errands I had to take care of so I did not spend time on any other career related agenda.

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