Money Today's cover package in this issue is close to my heart. Simply because I was there; I was out of a job for five months last year. But I survived. In retrospect, I think I gained a lot from the experience. Today, as many people lose jobs, and others are apprehensive about theirs, this cover as well as my story should be able to help you. I proactively quit my job when I realised that my employer was thinking of sacking several top level employees. Since I took the initiative, my boss gave me a good severance package, which included a laptop. This meant that I could take three-four months to look for another job.
I decided that apart from searching for another job, which can take time during such crises, I would keep myself occupied during the interim period. I wrote one book, which had been pending for some time, and finalised contracts for two more. This kept me busy intellectually, and I earned extra money through advance payments from the publishers. The trick during such moments is to pursue some, or any, professional activity that will keep your mind off the fact that you don't have a regular job (see Finding Opportunity in Loss, page 46).
Instinctively, I tried several methods to land a good job. I used my social and professional networks, made cold calls to people I had never met, sent my resume to various places that I thought would be looking for people, and even looked at options outside journalism. Later, I learnt that this is exactly what experts recommend (see Lost a Job? Not to Worry, page 70). More importantly, never give up your search within a few weeks. Finding a satisfying job normally takes four-five-months; most people tend to get exasperated within two months.
The period of 'no job' helped me in other ways as well. It disciplined me; I became careful about my spending habits and drastically curtailed my expenses (see Adjust to the Downturn, page 40). It forced me to take a close look at my non-existent investment portfolio. On a personal level, the five months enabled me to spend time both with my family and friends. In the hectic, daily work routine, we miss out on life's small thrills-relaxing on weekends or sleeping that extra hour. When you are out of job, you figure out that life is not only about work. It's also about connecting with people-and yourself.