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The Surprising Benefits of Being Unemployed 1053

SimuAndy writes "David Dvorkin, a programmer and writer of some repute, has published an essay on The Surprising Benefits of Being Unemployed. Well worth the reading time as a small break in a busy day."
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The Surprising Benefits of Being Unemployed

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  • by ( 156602 ) * on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @11:18PM (#7100516) Homepage Journal
    Becoming a Slashdot Addict

    I have time to become intimately familiar with all of the Slashdot memes like FP!, GNAA, In Soviet Russia, and CowboyNeal. I know all of the rules for them and when they're just being faked by copy-cats. Sure, sure, I can stop any time.
    • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @11:22PM (#7100543) Journal
      I was more of a slashdot addict when I was employed. Now I have more time on my hands to do other things then sit here all day.

    • by KingRamsis ( 595828 ) <> on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @11:23PM (#7100550)
      the other day I caught myself telling a coworker "you are trolling the meeting you should be mod'ed down" ofcourse I got a blank empty void look on his face.
    • Yes... now you have all the time in the world to be a FPer. Congrats, yo, you've achieved the Amernian dream.
    • The article runs the gamut, from the mildly amusing:

      Some of those benefits are obvious, and I could have anticipated them even before a supervisor tapped me on the shoulder and said he needed to talk to me about something. ("Do you have a minute?" he asked. What would have happened if I'd said no, that I was too busy?)

      To the not at all funny but trying really hard (Snuffy Smith! Egads):

      There was a character in the Snuffy Smith cartoon strip of many years ago who retired but would still get up
      • by siskbc ( 598067 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @10:02AM (#7103085) Homepage
        And it closes with a really stupid anti-Bush link. Sigh. Bring a salt shaker if you're going to read it all.

        I agree, and I'll even say I don't understand how anyone of even lukewarm intelligence can blame the dot-bomb collapse on Bush. Don't get me wrong - I don't *like* Bush, and there's *plenty* that he directly answers for - but this isn't it.

        The economy was already heading south by the end of 2000, and the crash was, by that time, completely inevitable. Christ himself (I mean Greenspan) couldn't prevent it.

        So if you actually feel like blaming a President for the collapse, Clinton's your man.

  • by JusTyler ( 707210 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @11:24PM (#7100560) Homepage
    Well worth the reading time as a small break in a busy day

    He has no job, way to rub it in, you inconsiderate clod! ;)
  • Odd Todd (Score:5, Funny)

    by corz ( 409850 ) * on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @11:25PM (#7100567) Homepage
    The greatest of all unemployed people will always be Odd Todd [].

    This man is my idol, and anyone who has ever been unemployed should appreciate "staring at the wall for an hour after waking 'early' up at 10:17, drinking a pot of coffay." I donated a few bucks to help his cause, and you should too, after all, he is unemployed :)

  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @11:26PM (#7100576) Journal
    Yes I moved back in with my parents. :-(

    But now I have less stress, met a girlfriend online and I am going back to school.

    I feel I am working towards myself and not a greedy souless corporation.

    People work to hard today. I think the divorce rate might have something to do with people doing the work of 2-3 in order for bigcorp to boast its stock price for productivity increases.

    I love programming and want to do it. However I do not want to work more then 55 hours a week. I also want to learn and better myself. Its hard with such high demands. Also young college kids are willing to work 80 hrs a week so if you don't then they steal your job!??

    In other words its now the new norm to be underpaid and overworked where 40 hr work weeks are considered "not meeting expectations".

  • by JayBlalock ( 635935 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @11:27PM (#7100587)
    Laid off in April. The usual. Have to say, pretty much everything on this list rings really true. Although in my case, the biggest benefit was:

    Time to read up on any obscure or interesting subject that sprang to mind.

    I think I advanced my self-education more in the last few months than I had in years previously. I know a whole lot more about our legal and political systems, can tell you all sorts of fun things about Wicca and Buddhism, know more about more obscure European bands than I care to name, and I'm even getting closer to really understanding why the Middle East is the way it is.

    But things are looking up. Getting out of the cube farms seem to have freed my mind. I've been taking on odd freelance jobs. I've just gotten hired by a tutoring company which'll let me more or less make my own hours. Been doing some freelance writing. I'm not out of the woods yet, but if things keep going the way they are, I may be able to build up enough contacts and experience to make a good enough living without ever stepping foot in an office, and 3/4 of it from home.

    I feel oddly like the Campbellian hero having passed through the Cave. (Week of May 15th: Read "Hero of a Thousand Faces")

    So, just to chime in with the message of this article, if you're unemployed, take heart. Look at it as an opportunity. If you've got the money to ride on for a bit, DON'T spend all your time looking for yet another cube. Use the time to boost your knowledge or skills.

    • I've gotten to the point where I wonder if I couldn't make something really cool happen on my own. Except of course I'm on salary so I end up working around 2 times what I should for the job. Add to that significant travel expectations and I just have no time to advance any ideas or any side ventures on my own.

      Given my skill sets I'm sitting down and telling myself I need to leave the corporate world and go my own way. I even have a large cushion of cash to fall back on. Plus my significant hours have

      • by cbdavis ( 114685 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @03:08AM (#7101502)
        If I had 5 years cash I'd be gone in an instant.
        Ive worked in computers since 1969 and have only
        a heart attack to show for it. I can never retire and will probably die at my desk.

        Dont do this to yourself. Take off for a long time, learn photography, go to culinary college, volunteer as a computer mentor at a local school, etc.

        I'd give anything to have trained as a plumber growing up. But no, I had to be the geek and go into computer shit.

    • I went through this last year, and it changed the way I look at work completely. I'm back in a relatively "normal" IT consulting job, but I did some time contracting and enjoyed it.

      The downside of course, and the underlying message in this guys website is that it's not easy being unemployed. He hints at the downsides, like not eating the things you used to, not having the option of going out or buying new things. Of course, he wrote that page simply to cheer himself (and maybe others) up. Pity 'bout th

    • I completely agree. I've recently graduated (BS in Comp Sci/BA in Philosophy), and have been unemployed since then. I've been learning how to play guitar better (something I've always wanted to do) and reading. Speaking of which, I'm currently reading Campell's The Power of Myth and I really enjoy it. I'd be very interested in any good material you've read on Buddhism. I've read a couple books as coursework and found them fascinating (though the neatest single thing I've found is the Jainist theory of
  • Yeah right. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sakusha ( 441986 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @11:27PM (#7100591)
    I try to convince myself I've gotten out of the rat race of Upward Mobility, and it's morally superior to have Downward Nobility. But I just want a fucken job. I helped build this industry in the early 1970s, now I'm supposed to be in the peak earning years of my career, but I'm locked out due to the bad economy. It sucks. There is nothing good about being unemployed.
    • Re:Yeah right. (Score:3, Interesting)

      Christ tell me about it ... There's also a LEGION of college students out there who are terminally screwed as well.

      Almost all of the people I graduated college with in 2001 are unemployed or severly underemployed (the lucky ones). The *lucky* folks are selling motorcylces, the less lucky are delivering pizzas etc... but most are just unemployable. Ever try to get a minimum wage job when you have a BS degree? I have a BS in CSIf you lie you have to explain why you haven't been working for the last 4 yea

      • Re:Yeah right. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Triv ( 181010 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @03:13AM (#7101527) Journal

        Ever try to get a minimum wage job when you have a BS degree?

        Have you tried working at a bookstore? They crave people like that because they're smart and desperate. Sounds like a joke; it's not - I used to work with a guy at Shakespeare and Company who had a masters in english lit and was making 6.25 an hour like the rest of us. :)


      • Re:Yeah right. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by squaretorus ( 459130 )
        The market may be totally different in the US, but here in the UK my advice to the IT grads in unemployment hell is to apply for a fasttrack management position with a retailer.

        These guys are desperate for talent which can feed through to more senior management, and even for 'talent' that won't forget to order the bread and wine for the weekend rush. They'll start you on a decent salary and put you in a position of relative power, pensions and healthcare should all be in there too if its a big company.

  • by JusTyler ( 707210 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @11:31PM (#7100605) Homepage
    Speaking of things you don't need, what about that tub of buttered popcorn

    Popcorn is actually an ideal foodstuff if you're on a very tight budget. It's SO cheap!

    I bought myself a popcorn making machine for $20. Basically it's a big "hot air generating machine". You throw your popcorn kernels in, they get heated up and blown around for five minutes, then they all pop and out tumbles the popcorn.

    You can buy a bag with two lbs of kernels for about a dollar. Lasts me about 15 gigantic bowls of popcorn. Keeps your regular too. High in fibre.

    So you pay about 7 cents a bowl, which is a good stomach filler in the evening, and a cent or two for the electricity needed. Popcorn is a bargain, particularly if you like it plain, or with some salt thrown over it (as I do). Just make it YOURSELF.
  • by watchful.babbler ( 621535 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @11:31PM (#7100608) Homepage Journal
    Surely I'm not the only one who finds a dark amusement in seeing both "The benefits of being unemployed" and "Where do I find an honest headhunter?" showing up simultaneously on the Slashdot front page.
  • by puppetman ( 131489 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @11:32PM (#7100614) Homepage
    What about,

    - working on that interesting open-source software project. Good for the resume as well

    - do some volunteering (hey - just go to the park and pick up garbage for an hour or two, till the unionized city employees chase you off)

    - get in shape (running is cheap, and so are push-ups)

    - eat better; too broke to eat out, so buy lots of veggies; kick the coffee and beer habit (too expensive)

    - go to the library and get out all the "classics" (whatever your definition of a classic might be) and read them. No essay at the end required, unless you really want to.

    Time like that should be used in a positive way. The silver lining around the dark cloud. And when you go for interviews, let them know what you've been doing - makes you look like a well rounded person who knows how to organize his/her time.
    • by Yaztromo ( 655250 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @12:12AM (#7100842) Homepage Journal
      What about, ...

      Hey -- are you the one spying on me from the adjacent building? :).

      I lost my job (with a company often associated with the properties "blue" and "big", not necessarily in that order) nearly two years ago, back in January 2002. Since then, I've Open Sourced my PalmOS data synchronization project [] (v3.0 final is due out in the next two weeks, so go download it!!!), run about 20km per week, and do about 60 push-ups, 80 sit-ups, and 12 chin-ups a day. I completely kicked the caffiene habbit (switched from regular Coca Cola to caffiene free Coca Cola... :) ), and am eating quite a bit better (and a whole lot cheaper!).

      The only things in your list I haven't done is any volunteering (unless you consider administrating and leading development on a large Open Source project every day to be volunteer work ;) ), or going to the library (I already have three bookshelves of books here, so I've been re-reading them all).

      Oh, and I haven't kicked the beer habit -- having never picked it up in the first place, I haven't really seen the point of starting, just so I can quit.

      Yup -- unemployment is the best thing that ever happened to me. More time to work on important projects, read, eat right, and get more excercise. If only I had an un-exhaustible source of money, things would be perfect (or, barring that, a decent job would do...).


    • Pretty odd really, his entire set of "benefits" were almost entirely negative, or at least presented negatively: for example, not needing to wake up to the alarm clock, yet waking up anyway at the crack of dawn owing to a sense of dread. That seems to stem from a less than positive outlook on life, and it isn't really all that consistent with the title of the essay.

      As a freelancer, I go through long periods between contracts as part of normal operation, and yes, one does turn down the spending knob to it
  • by Unominous Coward ( 651680 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @11:36PM (#7100645)
    The boss told me that if I'm late for work again tomorrow, I shouldn't bother turning up on Monday.

    Woohoo! Four day weekend!!

  • by goodbye_kitty ( 692309 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @11:36PM (#7100646)
    For all the perks of being unemployed without the guilt, frustration and lack of income that it brings with it...Do a PhD! ......back to the grind, another day of back-breaking research ahead...ooops...dont feel like working, i think ill go home and sleep instead....better tell the boss...wait...there is no paper is not due till next month, ill just do it the night before.
  • by tmark ( 230091 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @11:38PM (#7100649)
    After all, they're smart enough to realize that articles about being unemployed are likely to be of great interest to a large proportion of those people spending the most time reading Slashdot.

    Way to go after your core readership guys !
  • "simple living" (Score:5, Informative)

    by penguin7of9 ( 697383 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @11:40PM (#7100660)
    There is actually an entire movement of people that have discovered this. Look for "simple living" on Google. "The Simple Living Guide" by Luhrs is pretty nice reading, too.

    Even if you don't want to adopt frugality and simple living right now, just knowing that you could can make you worry a lot less about the future.
    • by Nice2Cats ( 557310 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @06:20AM (#7102055)
      (I realize that my subject line might sound cynical to those out of work; sorry for that.)

      There is actually an entire movement of people that have discovered this.

      There is at least an entire continent that has discovered this: Europe. Industrialized nations all of them, the top nations on all quality of life rankings, little violence, though a bit crowded. Now check the hours they work. Now realize that, by law, they have weeks and weeks of vacation time -- if I remember correctly, it is 20 days by federal law for Germany. You have 35 hour work weeks in a lot of places. You have paid maternity leave and sick leave. You can't be fired at the drop of a hat.

      Why does this work? You don't buy every piece of crap that some ad throws in your face. Consumer spending is two-thirds of the U.S. economy. In Germany (to stick with the example), it is about one third. You don't pay your CEOs so much money that a company's pay chart has to have a logarithmic scale: Read up on what the Daimler managers at DaimlerChrysler get and what the Chrysler managers get. Try to explain -- with a straight face -- why some Chrysler manager who couldn't keep his company from being de facto swallowed gets more money than they guy who is now his boss.

      It used to be that the U.S. economists pointed to all of this and said, yeah, sure, you have universal medical care while we have children who can't get antibiotics, you are home with your families while we are putting in more hours than the Japanese, and you are getting tan on Spain's beaches five weeks out of every year while we don't dare take those pitiful few days of vacation we have. But your unemployment is high and not coming down.

      Well, guess what: This is basically going to be a jobless recovery. Maybe some of Europe's prices can't compete with the U.S., but nobody can compete with India, and even India can't compete with China, or government-sponsored slave labor in Burma. Your job is ending up in Asia just like everybody else's. And do you really think that it is going to come back in our lifetime? Fool.

      Tell me again why you are spending all that time at work while those Europeans are at home after 35 hours and playing with their children. What is the justification? More to the point, what is wrong with you? Why are you supporting, maybe even defending this system instead of trying to change it?

      Remember when Tyler Durden told you that you are not your job?

      Advertising has these people chasing cars and clothes they don't need. Generations have been working in jobs they hate, just so they can buy what they really don't need.
      Fight Club, book (which this quote is from) and film, are so hated by the establishment not because of the violence, but because the CEOs and such ilk are deathly afraid that the American middle class will figure out that it isn't worth it -- that the Europeans (though politically they might be loathsome cowards), might have the right idea here. That you don't need to by the latest gadget, follow the newest fad, buy the newest gizmo. They might decide that quality of life is more important than blowing their paycheck on crap just to keep the GDP up by one more decimal point. They might decide they don't want to be bombarded with ads morning, noon, and night.

      They might not want to make their carreers the center of their lives anymore. They might not want to define themselves by the job they have. They might not be content anymore to start living only after they have stopped working.

      It's you choice, really. The U.S. is just about the only real democracy on the planet (ironically, all of those Europeans are living in republics). You can change the system, and get this country's priorities straight -- once you have gotten yours straight.

      • by alexhmit01 ( 104757 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @08:49AM (#7102568)
        Look, you want a simple life, go get it. You want a short week, go for it. You want a 35 hour job and can't get one, start your own business and see if you can provide one.

        It's not enough that 46 cents of every dollar my company produces goes into a government coffer before hitting one of the employees bank acounts?

        How many chains do you want to put on us.

        Without excessive government interference, we'd be twice the size we are now (read that as "creating more jobs" for those of you that believe in our Marxist/Fascist economy).

        The middle class is getting squeezed by your policies. The government bails out/subsizes the biggest businesses to keep the stop market rising, which shifts tax money to the richest Americans (because they own stocks). Then the tax code hits people generating income.

        So: produce wealth, get it taxed away. Simply own wealth, and much of that money comes back to you.

        The government taxes productive businesses to give it to unproductive ones to "keep existing jobs."

        Sure, the Steel Tariffs saved jobs in the steel industry. For every job saved, how many jobs were lost/not created in the automotive industry because of higher steel prices. How many jobs were not created in corporate America because the company car-fleet costs more than it should? How many jobs were lost in the computer industry because consumers had less discretionary spending because their car lease costs an extra $10-$20/month.

        All this meddling destroys economic growth, and is killing those of us willing to work 60-100 hours/week greating the economic engine that the rest of you live off of.

        • Hear, hear. Alex, if I had mod points, you'd get them.

          I couldn't stand the corporate rat race, so I got out and started my own small business, and I love it. I work more for about the same amount of money, but I'm my own boss and I make my own hours.

          However, I never realized quite how much the government squeezes little guys like me until I got out on my own. The stupid taxes I have to pay for no good reason just boggle my mind. The worst ones are the "fees." See, I know, they're "fees" because it sa
  • A real benefit (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tmark ( 230091 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @11:44PM (#7100686)
    Most of his "benefits" seem to have been writing with a smirk. One friend of mine who has been unemployed for about 9 months has been catching all hell from his wife. However, even she has to admit that his being unemployed and his consequent stays at home with their 2-y old son has made them much closer. For instance, before the son never ran to his father for comfort (only ever his mother), now he does. I think my friend has become a much better father largely because he is unemployed. (Of course, that doesn't stop him from wanting to leave the kid alone while he's sleeping so he can go checking out the satellite dish store down the street, because he thinks the baby monitor will reach halfway to the store, but don't tell his wife).
  • Bitter much? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by The Tyro ( 247333 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @11:45PM (#7100689)
    Sheesh... a few of flashes of insight in there, but it's mostly bitter, sarcastic, angst-ridden despair... quite depressing read, actually.

    Notice how he blames it on everyone else, as if some puppetmaster controls his destiny? (evil corporations, GW Bush, supervisors and managers). Sheesh, guy... I hate to sound like your dad, but that's life. Lots of people have been screwed out of jobs before, and lots of peolpe have had jobs that frankly sucked, but there's always work out there if you are willing to swallow some pride, and make some sacrifices. Go back to school for god's sake.

    I wish I hadn't read that depressing little piece... I'd say it was a lot higher on the despair scale than the humor scale.
    • Sheesh... a few of flashes of insight in there, but it's mostly bitter, sarcastic, angst-ridden despair... quite depressing read, actually. Notice how he blames it on everyone else, as if some puppetmaster controls his destiny? (evil corporations, GW Bush, supervisors and managers).

      I agree, and I can see why he's unemployed. Why would any company want a to hire high maintenance anti-capitalist whiner like that guy? His views kind of clash with want businesses need. He blames capitalism from idealog
      • Re:Bitter much? (Score:3, Informative)

        by ojQj ( 657924 )
        Neither of us knows his entire story, but I had a different take on his capitalism rant. Basically he was complaining about an asymetric relationship. He gave a lot to his company, and thought that he could depend on them in return. But some companies don't realize the value of employee loyalty and don't choose to foster it, instead making brutal, but (hopefully at least) economically correct decisions which don't see any practical value in intangibles such as loyalty.

        My answer to that not would be to

  • by MikeFM ( 12491 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @11:57PM (#7100756) Homepage Journal
    I like what he says about his expectations about being loyal to the company you work for. Most of us, at least deep down, expect that those days we come in sick or work a 20 hour day will show loyality to our employer that will be repaid with loyality right back. Then wouldn't fire you.. you're as good as best buds afterall. You're in it together.

    Ha ha ha! What shock when you're fired or laid off. Does it matter how much you sacrificed for your employer? Nope, not a damn bit. All those pep talks about being in it together.. they're complete bullshit. You may as well have gone home on time every day instead of missing out on quality time. Of course now there is no way I'm going to believe any employer when then make promises and ask for loyality and a little extra effort. Two words.. blow me. I'm not going to be gungho to finish projects ahead of schedule anymore.
    • by _Sprocket_ ( 42527 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @03:51AM (#7101635)
      Several years ago, someone posted an interesting observation on this site:

      Your employer owns your job. You own your career.

      Don't confuse the two. The days of corporate loyalty are long gone. Even very popular and successful business leaders of large and successful companies can not guarentee a job.

      I view my employment as a mercenary contract. My loyalty is linked to my compensation. Don't get me wrong... I am loyal to my employer. But I don't do things for free.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @11:59PM (#7100766)
    I recently had quit a job at a large fortune 500 company developing systems software for a shaky startup. I figured, I'm young, so why not give a less structured job a try where the fruits of my labor would come back and benefit me. Well, long story short, this particular startup had some issues; there wasn't a decent chemistry, and the management was somewhat capricious, fickle, inexperienced, and unaware of just what was involved in having a legitimate, organized business. (In fact, I think unemployment caused me to realize the importance of great management.) So, with legal dilemmas and financial dilemmas at hand, I decided maybe I made a mistake joining this particular venture. So, I ended up unemployed. I stopped going out because of a lack of health insurance, and COBRA didn't really cut it, because the insurance premiums were ridiculously high.

    I ended up finding another job, but I went through everything the man who wrote the featured article went through. I was dating a girl at one point; when she knew before that I had been making money, things were fine. However, as soon as she found out that I was in trouble and that I needed employment, suddenly I became a lot less attractive and we went our separate ways. (She's now dating another guy with a nicer car and presumably more money in the bank.) Everyone kept insisting that my failures were somehow my fault. Perhaps they were, but I like to think that in the grand scheme of things, this little experience of unemployment was to teach me a lesson about the value of a job.

    In college, you'll hear a lot of talk about how engineering is worthless because it only pays some petty 5 figure salary. People like to talk about how you should start a business, and how real losers become engineers. Increasingly, there's a trend for good American engineers to try and get their MBA or JD. All in all, I find the situation really disappointing and hard to cope with. I got into engineering thinking that I would be able to build cool things and be creative. Instead, I found insane market deadlines, invasive work spaces, no offices, ridiculous cubicles, no room for creativity. But, one thing is for sure, ... unemployment taught me to have more respect for having *a* job. I just am wondering how long it will be before the pendulum swings from "job is good" to "fuck it, maybe I need the fear of unemployment or business failure to drive me into a state of action again."

    Anyway, I wish the best of luck to anyone else out there in the same situation.

    • by mc6809e ( 214243 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @12:37AM (#7100951)
      In college, you'll hear a lot of talk about how engineering is worthless because it only pays some petty 5 figure salary. People like to talk about how you should start a business, and how real losers become engineers. Increasingly, there's a trend for good American engineers to try and get their MBA or JD. All in all, I find the situation really disappointing and hard to cope with. I got into engineering thinking that I would be able to build cool things and be creative.

      People that run successful businesses must be good social engineers.

      And Social Engineering, being the most difficult kind of engineering pays the most.
  • whee... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sootman ( 158191 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @12:22AM (#7100881) Homepage Journal
    I haven't been this depressed since I read "Nickel and Dimed []." Excellent book, btw, but don't read it expecting to be cheered up. Anyone who's out of a job, I wish you well. (Been unemployed a bit before; now I've got two.)
  • Puss (Score:4, Funny)

    by HarveyBirdman ( 627248 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @12:22AM (#7100885) Journal
    I have worked steadily every single day of my life since I was four years old. That coal mine taught me to be a man, and it put hair on my chest.
  • by techno-vampire ( 666512 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @12:31AM (#7100922) Homepage
    He left out the mst important benefit of all: the grapes are sour, anyway.
  • Corporate Loyalty (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The Kow ( 184414 ) <putnamp@gmail. c o m> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @12:52AM (#7101020)
    If you contribute to your company's success and help it to advance its interests and financial health, often making sacrifices of your own time to do so, then your company will reciprocate by making sacrifices in bad times to take care of you by not depriving you of your paycheck and benefits. That's the way I thought it worked.

    Funny that, we got a nice speech today from our CTO or some guy who can walk around happily because he won't get outsourced. The speech focused on how we need to keep our performance levels "above the bar", or we'd be managed up or out. [Tangent: GOD I love that term, 'managed out' - HOW FREAKING AWESOME is that?! That's even better than right-sized!] then he goes on to tell us that no job is sacred, and that as a company who has to strive to cut a profit, if outsourcing is a more fiscal option, then they'll take it.

    I'm pretty new so I didn't even think to point out the catch-22 he had presented us with. Work hard or get fired, but even if you do work hard, you may get outsourced.

    Of course this is the truth, there's no two ways about it. Nevermind the questionable nature of a US company (enjoying US corporate laws, tariffs, quotas, et. al.) that has a majority of its workforce offshores, it's a simple fact that until something changes, be it now or thirty years from now, this is how it is. The flipside is that I have the right to work wherever the hell I want (provided they want me of course), and can leave them at any time.

    Fresh out of college, yes, but I think I'll catch on to this twisted game soon enough. The question, however, is how do you maintain a sense of optimism in spite of all this?
  • by SupahVee ( 146778 ) <superv@mischievo ... minus herbivore> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @12:58AM (#7101036) Journal
    1 - That while average Joe Worker makes 66% more salaray than he did in 1980, Joe CEO is making 1996% more than _he_ did in 1980.

    2 - that having to sell your house after 8 months of being unemployed, SUCKS, worse than anything you can imagine.

    3 - That moving a thousand miles away from a place you consider home for a job fixing Windows boxen is about as fun as it sounds.

    4 - That companies do job postings with no intention of filling them.

    5 - That of all the oddball things that helped while having a mortgage, a newborn and no job, Wife's Unionized insurance plan is at the top of the list.

    6 - that I can now be lazy at work, and get fired, or bust my ass at work, and get fired.

    7 - that startng over is as shitty as you think it is.
    • 6 - that I can now be lazy at work, and get fired, or bust my ass at work, and get fired.

      Very true -- but. External commitments and priorities aside, if you're learning a lot at your current job, and get fired, it's still better than learning nothing, and getting fired.

      If you're lazy, you don't learn as much.

  • by boatboy ( 549643 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @01:05AM (#7101068) Homepage
    To risk sounding like Seinfeld: What is the deal with anti-capitalists? Seriously. There's so much of it rampant on slashdot and elsewhere: those evil businesses, those greedy businessmen. When confronted with the alternative, though, people rarely have the gumption to be consistent in their beliefs: Don't like 'big business'? Think everybody should have equal paying jobs? Read up on Marxism and it's success this past century. If you still think 'free enterprise sucks' then at least be logical and apply that belief to your life- move to Cuba.

    Sure, I feel for anybody who doesn't have a job, but consider for a second all the people who not only have no job, but no roof over their head, no water or food- or heaven forbid- no internet access to publish essays on. Where are they? In the dictatorial, socialist, and communist countries for the most part. Clearly, if you really want to do this guy and others a favor, the right thing to do is support free enterprise.
    • by composer777 ( 175489 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:08AM (#7101286)
      Is America even "free enterprise"? Are you fucking kidding me? A country where a corrupt government regularly bails out it's richest? And gives billions of dollars to corporations, which immediately pay off corrupt CEO's. A country that doesn't give a shit about educatingg it's youth, because it's too busy gutting social programs and giving that money to Enron, Haliburton, et al. That's "freedom". Freedom means picking on the little guy. Apparently I'm supposed to understand that supporting a corrupt system is "freedom" to you. Call it what you want, I won't support it, and neither will a growing number of Americans. Let's not talk about fantasy land, I'm too busy trying to deal with the real world, I don't know what country you're talking about, but the country I'm living in is corrupt, and has problems that need fixing, and "freedeom" is the last thing that our business leaders are after. If you're too stupid to realize that, then I'm sorry for you.
  • Yeah it sucks... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Grimster ( 127581 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @01:29AM (#7101151) Homepage
    Ok unemployment sucks, but this article is.. not that good but I digress.

    I was unemployed 2 years ago on Oct 16th I knew it was coming, around March I realized (when quarterly earnings showed 1.9 million burned 4 million in the bank, can you say dot BOMB?). So I moved back to the small town I came from figuring it'd be easier to pay a $350 a month rent payment on unemployment than it would a $1300 a month payment in the Bay Area. I moved in July and telecommuted until the end.

    I immediately started planning on starting my own business I was hoping to last until about Christmas 2001 but I got axed on Oct 16th instead. Oh well. Started my company, did some consulting here and there, made ends meet, got some customers, a few more, no more consulting was scraping by on the business, more customers, and more, and then tax time comes and I realize I owe uncle sam $13,000 in taxes (YIKES!).

    Long story shorter, I get up when I want, go to bed when I want, leave when I want and stay at home with my 3 year old son (well he'll be 3 next week). I run my business from home.

    I've always been a unix geek/linux nut/internet addict so why not make a business out of it, web hosting is the perfect job :) Now I have a decent sized income bills are paid, and I get to play around with over 50 linux boxen hosting over 11,000 web sites.

    My wife also just lost her job of over 10 years, company sold out and that's that (they were dying anyway so sell out or bankruptcy they chose sell out). So she stays home draws unemployment and plays with the kid too, a kid with two stay at home parents how lucky can he be? She also is doing some volunteer work.

    When the unemployment runs out she might start her own business, she likes decorating cakes, or maybe open a daycare. Or get into real estate she likes going out and looking at nice houses, so why not sell 'em for a living. I told her don't look for another "job" do something you LIKE instead, the money isn't important the satisfaction is.

    The economy truly sucks right now and I really would hate to be trying to find a job, but sometimes you might have better luck making your own job instead of looking for one.
  • 14 steps. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Martigan80 ( 305400 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @01:34AM (#7101170) Journal
    This sounds like nothing but a 14 step program. 14 ways to look at a glum problem. Well you can look at it this way there are always jobs out there-it just depends on how much pride you have.
  • Depressing read. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zapp ( 201236 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @01:37AM (#7101184)
    This is one of the most depressing things I've read in atleast a month. This guy lives in Denver, an hour away from me.
    His resume is filled with the same buzzword bullshit as mine, only more of it and with more experience.

    I feel right now like I just lost everything in the stock market. 4 years ago when I started college (investing in a skillset), those skills were climbing in value at a good rate. I remember being told that I'd be making an easy 50-60k right out of college - as in the day I graduate.

    Now the prices on my skills have collapsed. What once went for $60/share now goes for $2.50. Everyone knows Java. Or Perl, or SQL, or blah blah blah.

    I want a real career. Without computers. Without the corporation.

    Fuck this.
    • I want a real career. Without computers. Without the corporation.
      Not focusing on your income may help. Where's the need to earn 60k if you can live correctly with 30?
      Let your job be only a little part of your life and you may be happier - there's so much more to do (you know, the "Real Life" people here often make fun of ;-)) than work for a company you don't care about .
      Of course this is not very valid for unemployed people. (I've been unemployed for a few monthes, just long enough to be able to consid
  • Company != family (Score:4, Insightful)

    by seichert ( 8292 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @01:46AM (#7101221) Homepage
    The real benefit of this recession is that more and more people are starting to realize the difference between company and family. Your family members love you and will remain loyal to you in good times and bad. They have a vested interest in your success and happiness. They want to see you succeed at work and enjoy the fruits of your labor. The company you work for does not love you and is not loyal to you. That does not mean that individuals at your company are not compassionate and loving. However, they are not your family members.

    I suggest that you look at your company in a different manner. The company can provide you and your family with opportunity. The opportunity to earn a paycheck and possibly learn something. When the company has no need for the job that you do or can find someone to do it better or cheaper you will not have a job with that company. On the flip side when the company is no longer offering you a good paycheck or opportunity you will quit. The relationship is really no more than that. The company is not a family, clan, or tribe, just an opportunity.

  • by benwaggoner ( 513209 ) <> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @03:30AM (#7101576) Homepage
    After I got laid off 2.5 years ago, I decided to go the contract route, and it has been pretty good. The key is to have existing clients, and unique skill sets. I was the lead consultant for my former company, but a lot of the potential customers for that kind of service had competing products. So once I was on my own, a lot of my initial clients made products that competed with my former employer's stuff. My billable hours actually went UP.

    Glad I never signed that non-compete!

    Anyway, it's important to note that the business didn't really take off until I decided it really was a business, not just what I was doing until I found another job. Once I decided this is what I wanted to be doing for the next ten years, I was motivated to go out, take out some loans, spend the capital to get some marketing, and that kind of thing. The average service business like this isn't really profitable for the first two years. If you accept that and plan accordingly, that's not a big problem.

    The mistake I've seen others make is to blow their whole nest egg early in the process, not leaving enough to live on as things start to get rolling. What a business is evolves a lot depending on what clients you actually land, so you need to keep enough money in reserve to be able to keep adjust the plan mid-stream.
  • Well duh! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Daetrin ( 576516 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @03:47AM (#7101626)
    The _only_ disadvantage to being unemployed is that you don't have any money. (At least if you're like most of us and aren't independently wealthy)

    If you're unemployed you don't have any money, if you're employed you don't have any time.

    If you're retired, you have (some) money and time, but you're old. If you're young and independently wealthy, you suck and i hate you :)

  • Kinda sad (Score:3, Informative)

    by Headius ( 5562 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @07:49AM (#7102278) Homepage Journal
    I was out of work for a while when everything went under. Actually, I was out of work twice, once right at the end of 2000 and once in late 2001. The first time was because a major corporation decided to trim the fat and clear out an assload of consultants. I don't blame them for that, and I wasn't really sorry to go. The second time, I was working for an HMO provider, and they went belly-up because of shady accounting practices. Neither time was really related to the bubble.

    However, the first time I was only out of work for a month, and the second time for about three months. During the inbetween times I kept studying software development, cleaning up my resume, and tossing it off. In the end, I got those new jobs because I actually had the skills necessary for "senior"-level positions.

    This guy's resume is exactly the kind I walk away from. He's floated from language to language, technology to technology, and doesn't have a mastery of any of them. I won't go into specifics, but this looks exactly like a guy that doesn't learn anything he doesn't pick up from his current job. One job leads to another only by virtue of what odd jobs his former employer required him to do. A single one-off project in language X produces a marketable skill? I've been doing server-side Java development for 7 years and the market is still a tough nut to crack.

    Learn how to do something (software development or tech writing, for example) and learn how to do it really well..the jobs will follow.
  • by malice95 ( 40013 ) <> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @09:53AM (#7103026)
    Boy can I relate to this one.. When I was unemployed I lost 30 lbs. I think from just sheer worrying about getting another job, increased activity around the house, and stress. Now that I am back to work I quickly put the weight back on, but being unemployed has taught me quite a few lessons,

    1. SAVE!! (and I dont mean 50$ here and there) Hundreds of dollars or more a month if possible. You will need it if you are ever out of work for a long period of time. I just payed off my car so I am going to take every penny of that payment and put it in savings every month.

    2. Unemployment doesnt pay shit

    3. Its very easy to get used to living and eating well. Buy generic all the time if you can. Its just as good in most cases and every penny counts.

    4. In this economy its not a matter of If a rainy day is going to come, its WHEN a rainy day comes.

  • Older than I Thought (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ReadParse ( 38517 ) <`john' `at' `'> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @09:55AM (#7103036) Homepage
    While reading this article, which is really good, by the way, I clicked on the "resume" link and glanced at it. I figured he was a dot-com generation guy who had gotten out of school and started working for six-figured salaries until his various employers started showing up on f** You know, the same old story of the IT workers who didn't how much they had until they lost it. But Holy Astronauts, Batman! This guy worked on the friggin' APOLLO program. He worked at NASA from 1967-1971 (the year I was born).
  • sleep... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kidlinux ( 2550 ) <<ten.xobecaps> <ta> <ekud>> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @10:26AM (#7103264) Homepage
    As a student one of the most important things I've learned is getting up early. That is, not sleeping in. Getting up by 8am every day makes me more productive than I would have ever guessed. Any later than that, and my day is toast. It's strange.

    An even better combination is getting up bloody early and going to the gym. My gym opens at 6:30am, and I'm there when the doors open. A jog and some good stretching is a great way to get fired up for the day. Some weights too, if I have time. I did this in the summer before work too. Makes my day much better.

    I even did it when I was home from school and before I started work. You'd be surprised at how nice mornings can be.

    Whatever you do, don't sleep in! (well, maybe on the weekends once in a while ;) Seriously, getting up early makes a big difference. Even when I'm fartin around on my computer. I though hackin code was all about stayin up late - it's all about gettin up early! It's just a matter of self-control. You're workin on somethin and you just wanna keep goin - but it's that much better with a fresh mind in the early morning. Some problems I've spent hours on the night before I'll wake up the next day and solve in 5 minutes. It's crazy.

    Try it!

There are running jobs. Why don't you go chase them?