Unemployment Trials and Tribulations

In my experience, being unemployed is a roller-coaster of emotions driven by an interesting pattern that I've seen both times that I've been unemployed. Almost a year ago exactly, I was laid off from gamerDNA, and now I'm unemployed after ending a two month contract with Electronic Arts.  I thought I'd write a blog post about the pattern I've observed and share some updates from my latest brush with unemployment.

When I found out my contract at EA wasn't going to be renewed (due to a lack of internal projects for me to work on), I started reaching out to people and publicly letting people know via Twitter/Linkedin/Facebook.  This time, just like last time, I was lucky enough to receive a great bit of support via retweets, introductions, emails, and general "Good Luck!" messages from friends and contacts in the industry.  The first couple weeks of this were great and things were looking up, as there was a time where I literally had at least one phone interview, if not multiple phone interviews a day with various game companies across the country.

The future was looking bright..but then the opportunities start to fall apart.  Some jobs aren't a good fit for me so I drop them, or maybe I'm not a good fit for the company, or maybe the company just takes a long time to go through the hiring process.  In some cases, I've been talking to the same companies for 2-4 months because timing just isn't/wasn't right at the time.  Just as fast the leads come in, they go away or die down, which can be pretty frustrating.

After this initial rush, I go right into the first month of being unemployed, which is arguably one of the most depressing periods of life that I've had to go through.  It's a time of constantly second guessing myself, my job history, if people like to work with me, if I deserve this, etc.  From what I gather from my friends, this is normal…but it still can be pretty hard.  It also doesn't help that this is also a time where hardly any jobs are posted, no one is getting back to you, and the number in your checking account is rapidly dropping every week as you buy groceries and have to pay rent.  This is exactly what it was like last time around, and this time it was the same..yet worse because I was going through some tough situations in my personal life.  If I never got back to your emails or was a total flake last month (September), I'm sorry. Shit was rough.

Then just as things seem to be getting worse and worse, you hear back from a bunch of people or a bunch of new opportunities come up.  This started a few weeks ago, and since then I've gone from no interviews, to sometimes multiple interviews a day with different companies.  There are still disappointments, like when someone doesn't get back to you/seemingly falls off the face of the earth, even when you feel like you hit it off really well and did a great job…but luckily other job prospects and general progress help make up for those lost opportunities.

And now we're where I am now…more and more job opportunities are coming up, including some jobs that I'm really really excited about, and some that I'm not so excited about.  My general policy is I talk to anyone (because who knows, right?), so there are several well qualified job leads that I'm in talks with right now, each one at its own stage.  Times are exciting, but also very frustrating…because by this time, I've been unemployed for long enough to drain a lot of my cash.  My checking account is like a fuse burning very, very quickly, and I need to find a job so that I can put the burning fuse out…or at least make it a longer fuse :).

This situation is the worst part of unemployment: Compromising for something that may not be the best fit/the job that you really want, but you still do it because you don't have any time left.  Some companies move frustratingly slow in the interview/hiring process, and some employers move very very quickly. It's frustrating to compromise and not take the right job for you, because I feel a job is one of those things you shouldn't compromise on, considering the amount of time and hard work that I put into a job…but I'm afraid that I might have to do just that.

But, who knows..jobs that might not seem like a great fit can turn into something awesome.  GamerDNA brought me in as an entry-level marketing position that wasn't a great fit, and it turned into an awesome Community Manager job at a company full of awesome people that changed my life.  Hopefully I can stick it out over the next few weeks (month?) and go through the proper hiring process with the people I'm excited about and land a great gig.  I'm trying to stay pretty optimistic…it's just a matter of time until I land something.

The good news is I'm talking to some really great companies that I'd be very excited to work at, and I've received tons of awesome support from friends and family. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!  I feel fairly confident that I'll have accepted a job offer by December.

Somehow I'm going to get through this (financially and emotionally), as I believe everything works out in the end for the best.  I just might go crazy in the process 🙂


Comments Closed

  • By Trapper Markelz, October 13, 2010 @ 8:57 am

    I think your main problem is something like gamerDNA was your first job. I had to work for over 10 years until I landed at a place like gamerDNA. That place and those people are the exception, not the norm. So don't feel bad about settling for a job. The reality is that at every job you will meet people and learn new things and that will prepare you for the next job. In the grand scheme of things, a year or two at a less than ideal place can still teach you a lot and more your career forward even if it isn't the best fit. 

  • By Zack Hiwiller, October 13, 2010 @ 4:49 pm

    There are always times where we feel like phonies, that we don't deserve what we had, that we were fake and that the really skilled people deserve the jobs. This is an actual psychological term called Impostor Phenomenon. 
    Don't compromise. I did and I ended up in a place that was miserable for me for a whole year.

  • By Russ Kern "DJ Artagus", October 13, 2010 @ 6:35 pm

    Hello old friend,
    Experience can be a real bitch.
    It's a volatile world you're in, this gaming industry. A world that is coveted even in the worst of times. I can understand the turmoil/anxiety/stress, however you want to describe it. 
    It's like getting tossed in the air and wanting to choose the best place to grab hold, of course necessity and self-preservation is the decision maker.
    I always felt that you were very good about weighing options and using available resources for sound decisions. 
    The emotional roller coaster is the side effects we have all gone through, unfortunately no magic verse there. Just get in a game and blow shit up, not a cure but sure is therapeutic.
    I have faith in ya brother, besides..one of these days I'll be able to say..”Hey, I know that guy. Surely he will give me an interview.”
    Your old buddy, Artagus
    P.S hit me up an e-mail, you can vent in “Arts Closet”

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