one girl’s guide to surviving unemployment

free meds

Was browsing the GSK site the other day for coupons or discounts on one of my meds.  Even with the amazing Together Rx Access plan, it’s still about $300/month. (Don’t get me started on why prescriptions are cost-prohibitive for those of us on the dole, but you get a massive discount when you’re making the bucks . . .)

The lovely folks at GlaxoSmithKline have a pretty rockin’ program called Bridges to Access.  It gives an amazing discount on your GSK meds, plus free refills by mail.

The catch is that it’s a pile of paperwork, both for you and for your “advocate.”  Your advocate can be a doctor, social worker, registered nurse; any one who helps you with the meds that you take.  According to the GSK site, the reason for the advocate is two-fold:

Recognizing the important role that healthcare professionals play in the overall healthcare of patients, Bridges to Access uses “Advocates” to help patients enroll in our program.

For the purpose of Bridges to Access, an Advocate is any non-family member who:

  • has a relationship in the delivery of healthcare services to the patient, and
  • agrees to help the patient enroll and manage ongoing participation in Bridges to Access

You’ll need to identify an advocate, get them to register and fill out some paperwork, and you will need to do the same.  While again, this is a fair amount of hoops to go through, if you’re on the ball, you can get same-day coverage.  There is a small co-pay for the first 60 days of medication ($10ish, depending) and then refills are free via mail.

As with most services, there are income and residency restrictions, so do some digging on the site to see the criteria for yourself.


put down the donut and get off the couch

For the first three weeks of my unemployment, I was a complete and total couch potato.  It was when I put on my interview suit — and pooked out of the top of my pants — that I knew that my lethargy and comfort eating was starting to catch up with me.  So I got off the couch, got on the bike and didn’t look back.

Look, this isn’t an exercise blog.  And I’m the *last* person to preach about health and fitness.  My point is that unemployment isn’t an excuse to let yourself go.  From a purely economic perspective, now is not the time to invest in a new wardrobe for those important interviews.  

The good news here is that you also don’t need to invest in a fancy gym to stay fit.  Here are some cheap — or free! — strategies that are working to keep my energy up and my size stable.

  1. Go for a walk.  Set aside 30 minutes a day and get outside.  Go around the block a dozen times if that’s what works for you.  If you’re feeling more adventurous, check out some great walking resources online.  Many cities and regions offer local walking maps online.  Better yet?  Find an unemployed friend, family member or neighbor to go with you.  Start a walking group at your church, temple or school.  Post a flyer at your library.  Keeping a date with someone else will help you to stay on track.
  2. The same goes for riding a bike, if you have one.  If not, ask friends and family if you can borrow theirs.  Keep your eyes out for one at a garage sale.  Similar to walking maps, there are awesome trail maps and local routes online that show bike-friendly paths.
  3. Too cold, hot, polleny, unsafe, whatever to go outside?  Pick up a fitness DVD at your local library or garage sale and borrow some from friends.  If you’ve always wanted to try yoga, kickboxing, salsa aerobics?  This is a low investment way to keep you entertained and challenged.
  4. Free gym in your apartment or condo building?  Use it.  Do your friends have a free gym in their building (either at home or work)?  Ask to tag along.  Two benefits here – you’re getting some exercise AND hanging out with your friends for free.
  5. Check your local TV listings.  There are still some darn good fitness programs on television.  If you have cable, there are a ton of options.  If not,  your public TV station usually runs one or two exercise shows a day.
  6. Blast some loud, fun music of your choice and boogie around your house.  No one is watching, so don’t worry about the moves. Just have fun!
  7. Do you or your kids have a jump rope?  Jumping rope is a great, cheap, heart-pounding workout.  Combine it with some crunches and arm work (lift cans, dead weigh lifts with a chair, push ups, tricep dips on your couch . . . you get it).
  8. Grab an exercise book at the library.  Some good ones?  Bottom’s Up by  Joyce Vedral,  Making the Cut by Jillian Michaels   or  The Real Age Workout by Dr. Roizen.  There are many, many more out there.      
  9. If you’re in good enough financial circumstances to get a gym membership, make sure you’re getting your money’s worth and go.  Check out your local Y or JCC; they’re often cheaper alternatives to traditional gyms.  In addition, many Ys, JCCs and gym chains run off-peak memberships at a discount.  Sure, you can’t go at 6:00 in the evening.  But as you likely have some time on your hands, this shouldn’t be an issue.
  10. Into tennis, soccer or outdoor sports?  Go to your local park and play.  Whether it’s a pick-up game, playing with a friend or simply doing drills by yourself, it’s a good — and free — chance to get moving.

Also, it goes without saying, but eat good food and drink plenty of water.  

Your interview suits will thank you!

everything old is new again

The first economy was based on bartering: I’ll trade you something of mine for something of yours.  This is a perfectly applicable framework for getting the services that you need when you’re facing unemployment.

Talk to your service providers, whether they’re your hairdresser, doctor, babysitter, massage therapist, gym, whatever. Before you give up the services that you need in order to remain happy and sane through this time, see if you can’t strike a bargain.  

A few samples from my own life:

  • I’m doing some Web work for my acupuncturist in exchange for discounted treatments.
  • I have a friend who owes me money.  There is no way that he can pay me back right now as his economic circumstances are not great.  However, he just finished cooking schools, so is working with me to prepare some healthy, reheatable meals so that I’m not subsisting on cereal or frozen dinners.

Need some ideas as to what you can offer?  Check the list below.  Chances are you can do AT LEAST one of them.

  • Cleaning / laundry
  • Errand running (dry cleaning, grocery shopping, etc.)
  • Transportation
  • Babysitting
  • Pet sitting / dog walking
  • House sitting
  • Yard work
  • Cooking
  • Filing, organizing and office work
  • Data entry
  • Tutoring

It never hurts to ask whether your service providers can work with you on a reduced scale.  Bartering services shows that you value the time it takes them to do what they do, and illustrates that you’re willing to meet them half way.

staying hungry, staying foolish and finding what you love

I was going through old boxes this week and found one that I had never unpacked from a previous job.  In it was a copy of Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford commencement speech.  

An excerpt:

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

Say what you want about Apple, Pixar, the cult of Mac, whatever.  It’s amazing advice — from someone, who like you and me — has been there.  (Jobs’ entire commencement speech: “You’ve got to find what you love.”)

Similarly, I’ve been doing some thinking about the Susan Boyle phenomenon. A cheesy meme?  Sure.  But it applies to the search for doing what you love.  You can (and should) go out there and give it your all.  Remain focused and don’t let anyone — other than yourself — define you.  

You will surprise yourself with what you’re capable of doing.

Today’s touchy-feely brought to you by the letters U and H . . .

helping your unemployed friends

Many friends and family members have asked what they can do to help me get through this period in my life.  Here are answers to that question.

  1. Keep in contact with words of encouragement.  I love getting e-mails, texts, Facebook wall posts or calls from friends, telling me that they’re thinking of me.  It doesn’t have to be every day, or even every week.  A little love now and again helps.
  2. Let me know if you run across any leads.  I appreciate leads very, very much, and even if I’m not qualified or right for the role, I can likely pass it along to one of the seven other friends that are in my boat.
  3. Link me in. If I’m not already in your LinkedIn network, let’s make that happen. Introduce me to key contacts in my industry, even if their company doesn’t have any open jobs.
  4. Proofread my resume and cover letter, and if you’re feeling really adventurous, practice interviews with me.  I could use all the direct feedback I can get.  
  5. Hang out with me and invite me to do stuff with you.  Keep it on the cheap or free side. Going to parties, bbqs, happy hours and the like is good for me.  I can meet new friends, do a bit of networking and remain socially active.
  6. If you invite me out for food and/or drinks, you don’t have to pay.  Just make sure to pick a place that’s nominal. 
  7. Don’t tell me that “everything happens for a reason,” that there is a “silver lining” on this cloud or that I’m “better off.”  I know they give people something kind to say when they don’t have better words. Instead, ask me how I’m feeling and be an open listener. Understand that what’s going through my head is a complex maze of emotions.  One day I may agree that yep, it’s been one of the more insightful and peaceful times in my life, and the next I may be angry and upset.  
  8. Little gifts and favors are AMAZING.  I’ve had friends and family lend me a computer, offer me a ride to run errands, cook for me, send me home with leftovers, get me a gift card to the grocery store, bring me that great book that they just finished, loan me DVDs, offer me guest passes to their gym and much more.  These favors have saved me money and time, and I am so, so thankful.
  9. If I’m getting annoying on the “poor me, I’m unemployed” tip, please tell me.  Be gentle, but let me know if it’s becoming too much of a pity party to hang out with me.
  10. Learn to say “you’re welcome.” 

I hope this helps give a bit of insight.  

Any other tips or thoughts from people on either side of the table?

the (former) insider’s guide to staffing agencies

Disclosure: I used to work at a staffing agency.  

Temping, freelancing, consulting: call it what you want, but agencies rock!  They’re a great supplement to your search and can keep money coming in while you look for full-time work.  In addition, most (if not nearly all) agencies also provide temp-to-perm or full-time opportunities.

Picture this: Sicily, 1940. OK, it’s Washington D.C., circa 1998.  My friend Renee* had graduated from college.  She registered with a staffing agency and was placed in a temporary job at a company.  She went in, kicked some serious ass and they hired her permanently.  Renee has been with the company ever since.  Moral of the story is that what may seem like a temporary solution (pun intended) can turn into one of the best career moves you ever make.

So go in, meet with the staffing agent and get prepared to work.  

Things you need to know to make the most of working with a staffing agency.

1. Nearly 100% of agencies get paid when they put you to work. They want to put you in a job — a good one so that you will stay, and they can continue to make money or better yet, transition you into a full time role.  (It’s generally a larger fee when they do a permanent hire.)  They’re working for you.

2. By the same token, you have to hold up the end of your bargain.  If they set you up on interviews, it’s the real deal.  It’s not a foregone conclusion that you have the job. Dress professionally, act professionally, be on time, bring extra copies of your resume, all the usual ins and outs of a “regular” interview.  Nothing is more frustrating, from the staffing agent’s perspective, to work so hard to sell a candidate only to have the candidate show up late, not show at all, or act like a jerk.

3. Ask all the questions that you have about the staffing agency relationship up-front.  How many jobs do they get in your field?  How frequently do they place people? What should you expect for an hourly rate?  Will you be working on a W-2 or a 1099 agreement (this is uber important from a tax perspective)?  Will you be paid weekly, biweekly or monthly? Does the staffing agency offer benefits?  

4. If a staffing agency wants YOU to pay them, walk out.  The exception to this is with very niche market, high-profile headhunters.  Unless you’re looking for CEO-type roles, this shouldn’t be the case.

5. Be 100% honest about your skills.  Many agencies will test you for proficiency, require a portfolio, ask to see work samples.  This is not an insult to you or your experience, I promise.  It’s to ascertain what role and level works best for you and helps the staffing agency to sell you to a client.

6. You will need to sign paperwork, so be prepared.  Often this is a confidentiality agreement.  Again, I am not a lawyer, but generally speaking, this is a document that says that you won’t apply on your own for jobs they submit you for.  While most people are ethical, it does protect the staffing agency from the 1% of job seekers who may take advantage of that relationship.  Read it carefully and understand what you’re signing.

7. If you do get a job via a staffing company, it’s like any other job.  You need to show up on time, all the time, do the work and be professional.  You can get fired from temp roles, and if you’ve been a jerk, it doesn’t make the temp agency to want to work with you again.

8. Just like any other job, you’re going to need to provide references.  

9. If you ever see a bill from a staffing agency (for instance, if you’ve been placed in an administrative role), be aware that it’s going to be MUCH more than what they’re paying you.  This is not to screw you over.  Staffing companies — like any other business — have to cover salaries, rent, benefits, unemployment insurance, pay taxes, administrative costs, marketing, advertising, internet, phone . . . you get the picture.

10. Check in weekly, even if you don’t hear from your staffing agent.  Let them know that you’re still available and eager to work.

11. Along those lines, if you land a job on your own, let the agency know.  Don’t waste their time marketing you when you’re no longer available.  That’s time that they could spend working with one of your fellow unemployed.

12.  It is your responsibility to get a job, not the agency’s.  A staffing agency is a supplement to your own search.  Again, while the staffing agent is economically incentivised to find you work, they’re not working solely for you.  They likely have 10, 20, 30 other folks on their roster.  Keep searching for jobs on your own. Your livelihood is your responsibility.

* not her real name. but a real and true story.

don’t pay for what you don’t need

Or, more aptly titled “you don’t need to pay for a resume.”

I was browsing a great jobs Web site the other day and it heavily emphasized the site’s resume critique service.  Now, coming from a recruiting background (and playing a role in hiring for my previous company), I’d like to think that I know what does and does not work from a hiring manager’s perspective.  However, curiosity got the best of me, and I submitted my resume for a “free” critique.

Free is rarely free.

I received some feedback from the service, which was, ostensibly, a form letter with various parts of my resume cut and pasted into fields.  While some of it was interesting, it lacked any real-world understanding of not only the type of work that I’m looking to do, but the field in which I am looking to do it.  Essentially, my summary statement, success highlights and skills listing were not “up to par” with industry standards.

Whose industry, I ask?  The resume writing industry, I suppose.  And they offered to rewrite it for me . . . for $700.

$700?  That’s at least two weeks of unemployment checks spent on something that is getting me interviews already.

Look, I’m not denigrating the value of having some professional guidance on your resume.  It can be, and in many cases is, a valuable service to understand what the outside world is seeing.  But it’s not something that you need to pay $700 of your precious pennies to do.

Here’s some better ways to get the guidance and feedback you need.

1. Check into best practices for resumes.  See my previous post on the subject for places to go online.

2. If you’re working with recruiters, staffing agencies or headhunters (which I highly recommend you do – more on that later), ask them for feedback and suggestions.  They see hundreds of resumes, and are often hired by companies to weed out candidates.  It’s their job to make you look as good as possible — because when you get a job, they get paid.  They can, should, and will help you.

3. Do you have that friend that’s always getting the best interviews and jobs?  Ask to see hers.  Look, a resume is a standard template with modifications based on industry and role.  You don’t need to get creative or reinvent the wheel.  Her resume is landing her interviews? Steal formatting, structure and language ideas.

4. Ask friends, colleagues, family, HR managers, or contacts in your industry for feedback.  Ask what’s working — and more importantly what’s not.  Revise accordingly.

5. Not comfortable reaching out?  Professional organizations in your field can help take a look as well.  Most will do it for free.  Look specifically at mentor programs with these organizations.

6. While this may seem a bit contrary to my overall advice, take a workshop through a related professional organization in your field.  HOWEVER, do not pay anything anywhere near three figures for this.  Workshops should give you a top-level view.

7. Do not, under any circumstances, let anyone do a wholesale rewrite for you.  You are the one who will have to speak to every single thing on your resume.  If you don’t write it, how can you do that effectively?  

If you are having problems putting into words what you want to do (or what you have done) invest some serious time in learning how to articulate your goals, accomplishments and skills.  You’re going to be asked to speak to all of it, so your resume is a good chance to learn how to do that.

resume 201, from the former recruiter

I’m skipping the 101, as you likely already know how to do a basic resume.  

In a previous life, I used to work as a recruiter.  I’ve seen hundreds of resumes, some good, some bad, and some downright ugly.  Here’s are ten things that stood out that made the difference between good and kick-ass.

  1. You don’t need an objective any more, but you do need a resume summary statement.  The summary statement is the immediate introduction to you and your experience.  Think of it as a thesis statement, a business card, or your “elevator speech.”  (I hate the term “elevator speech” but it gets my point across.)  The summary should be quick, easy to digest and offer a quick synopsis of what you’re about to hash out in detail.  Example: Clark Kent is an accomplished journalist, with over 100 years experience, at a bustling major print news outlet.  He believes in solid research, sourcing, red tights and a cape in his approach to stories. 

    Why no objective statement?  They serve little purpose.  Most people tailor them for the job for which they are applying, so they’re no longer even close to relevant any more.

  2. Unless you’re fresh out of school, or your education has some strong bearing on the job that you’re applying for, it looks a bit silly to have it up at the top.  Hiring managers want to see your experience. 
  3. There are two major types of resumes out there that tell a good story — functional resumes and chronological resumes.  Functional is great if you’ve had some disjointed experience in the jobs that you would like to have.  It lists your major (and related!) career accomplishments up front, and gives a short listing of the actual jobs after that.  The second, chronological, is more traditional, and lists your jobs from most recent to oldest.  I personally think that chronological is the way to go if you can, but the accomplishment-focused has yielded me some good results in the past. (NB: there are many other types out there, so consider Googling resumes types for your career if you’re in a specialized field, need a CV, or are applying for federal jobs.)
  4. Pay attention to verb tense.  If it happened in the past (which, assumably it did if you’re reading this blog), you should refer to your experience in the past.  Pay ultra-special attention to this if you’re simply updating an old resume.
  5. Look for consistency issues in your resume: verb tense, fonts, capitalization, italics, bolds, bullet styles, headers, punctuation.  There is no hard and fast rule for these per se, but just make sure it’s consistent across the entire resume.  This goes for how you describe your experience — if you start your bullet points with a verb, make sure they all start with a verb.  And preferably, vary your verbs. 
  6. To that end, don’t bother getting creative with fonts, colors, logos, fancy bullets and the like.  It looks sloppy, and unless you’re in a highly creative field (design, architecture, fashion, etc.) it looks strange.  Along those lines, factor that you’re going to be doing a lot of cut-and-paste into online forms, so consider making a text version of your resume for that purpose.
  7. Don’t try to cram it onto one page, especially if you have a few jobs under your belt.   Nothing is harder for a hiring manager to read than 6 pt font with .25″ margins all around.
  8. To the extent possible, discuss results and metrics for your successes.  This shows that you can drive results, and there are few things that employers love most.  Also consider a skills listing for each role or accomplishment — or how you got to that result.  (This is one of those cases where you’ll need to make some strategic decisions.  If you were using MS Word and MS Excel for everything that you did, perhaps a separate skill section will suffice.)
  9. Don’t include references or the statement “references available upon request.”  If they want your references, they will ask you for them and (should) let you know before they contact them.  It’s also a given that you have them.  (Now wouldn’t be a bad time to contact those folks . . . )
  10. Have two other people read it.  Don’t rely on your own proofing skills, as the eye reads what the mind intends, not what is written.  People have caught some amazingly silly errors in mine, as well as given me feedback on the elements that are unclear.  You don’t need to pay one of those resume “services” to do this either — friends, family and/or former coworkers will suffice.

Now get to it, and make sure that you save a copy to a few places other than your hard drive.  E-mail it to yourself, put it on a jump drive, burn it to CD.  Don’t let all the work go to waste if your computer up and dies.

Ready for Resume 301? More tips to come.

and now for this commercial interruption

Not a commercial, really, but something that I wanted to share.

My computer died yesterday.  Not a total loss, but something that requires repair, and therefore, money. Thank god for friends.  Two of my nearest and dearest have lent me a laptop while I economize to get mine fixed.

The point of this is to don’t be shy or proud to ask for what you need right now.  Chances are, people are willing to help.

a girl’s gotta eat

Repeat after me: I love coupons.  I love coupons.  I love coupons!

Coupons are an amazing tool for saving money on the things that you buy.  In addition to giving you a sweet 30 cents off, most stores will double any coupons that are under $1.  Plus, coupons are easy to find.  Plunking down $1.50 on the Sunday paper is a great investment: not only do you get the little money-saving gems, but the Sunday paper also lists jobs, and is generally an interesting read. 

The Sunday paper also has the store circulars.  Which store has the best prices on most of what you need?  You will also want to check out the circs for CVS, Wal-Mart, Target and the like.  They often run specials on dry goods and medicines and they take coupons.  (Wal-Mart recently had Tide on sale.  And I had a coupon.  My bottle came out to $2 and I was way too happy about that for a few days.)  Those customer savings cards that most stores offer?  Bite the bullet and sign up.  The savings they can offer can make a major difference at the register.

Besides looking through all that paper, there are other places to acquire coupons.  Start by checking the Web sites of the brands that you usually buy.  Many major brands are now offering coupons (and samples and tips for stretching your food dollar).  Proctor and Gamble’s site offers some great deals.  Also, don’t immediately pitch your junk mail.  I used to toss those Val-Packs and Smart Shopper mailers.  I’m now a nut for those.

In addition to coupons, it’s time to give more thought to what you’re buying, as well as where you’re buying it. 

Do you do all of your shopping at Whole Foods / Wild Oats, etc.?  Perhaps it’s time to consider a standard grocery store until you’re firmly back on your feet. 

I’m going to get a TON of flack for this, but organics are EXPENSIVE (and yep, I get all the reasons why, trust me).  Can you live with the conventional alternative for a few months?  That’s a call you need to make for yourself.

Regardless of where you shop, pay a trip to your local farmer’s market. The produce still has the dirt on it (so you know it’s fresh), you’re supporting your local economy, and many items can be much, much cheaper than the grocery.  Same goes for food co-ops.

While frozen meals can be a bore (and rather unhealthy), they’re cheap.  There are some decent ones out there.  There is a great site called Heat Eat Review that offers reviews if you’re struggling with the idea of microwaving.

Cooking and eating at home is a wise idea.  Stuck on how to cook?  The library offers numerous healthy, easy cooking guides.  Cooking for one?  Your library has that. Same with vegan, gluten-free, low carb and what ever else you eat.  There are also fantastic cooking tutorials online, many with video guides.  Use those awesome coupons to get reusable plastic containers, as many recipes yield up to six servings and you don’t want to waste anything.

Also, when you’re buying ingredients — especially fresh ones, hit up the salad bar for already cut veg.  Buying the portion that you need can save you time and money.  Same goes with spices.  If your grocery store is rad enough to offer spices in bulk, a tablespoon is certainly less than purchasing the entire jar.  (Flour, sugar, etc. fall under this as well. 

In addition, ask around and see if any friends, family members or the like have a Costco / Sam’s Club / BJ’s membership.  For the things that you use frequently, bulk may be the way to go.  This is also a smart option if you have mouths to feed other than your own.

The last thing I want to discuss is the difference, in my opinion, between necessities and luxury.  Take coffee for example.  Coffee for me is an absolute necessity.  I am grumpy, mean and monosyllabic before I have my first cup.  But a venti extra shot with whip raspberry mocha?  That’s a luxury.

Am I advocating not going to Starbucks?  No.  I just needed to ask myself “Self, the first month that I can’t pay my rent am I going to regret all these little purchases?  It’s not as though I’m spending money doing something nice with my friends or family. I can make coffee at home.”

More on stretching the dollars to come.  In the meantime, you need to get rocking on your job search.