Plan 7 From Cyberspace

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race” – Calvin Coolidge

Few people exemplify that quote more than Ed Wood, who didn’t let a lack of talent or training prevent him from becoming the worst movie director of all time.  This begs the question is it better to be persistent like Wood, suffer serious financial difficulties and be a complete laughingstock or is it better to pick your battles wisely and know when to move on.

Initially I wanted to stay in the insurance business and I figured the best way would be to take a course and get my broker license.  My original plan was to work first as a seasonal employee at the warehouse where my brother-in-law was a lead hand so that I could accumulate the 500 hours I needed to qualify for Unemployment Insurance.  At the outset this went as planned however the orders tapered off after Christmas and the expected Olympic business never materialized so I was laid off well short of my goal.

The next plan was to skip the insurance course and use the home study kit instead.  I successfully memorized both textbooks, passed the test and had my level 1 insurance license in two weeks.  Next I cold called every broker in a 50km radius and applied directly via all the corporate web portals.  From this effort I was rewarded with four phone calls, two of which lead to sit down interviews, but none materialized into jobs

For my next plan I sought out the advice of a professional employment councilor who had me enrolled in a series of resume and interview workshops.  This gobbled up much of April and May but I had a lot of new ideas and a much longer resume which was filled with accomplishments statements.  From my second round of applications I was rewarded with two phone calls, no face to face interviews and no job offers.

I finally got a job offer in June but only after I switched to Plan #4.  I was  cold calling non-insurance businesses out of the chamber of commerce directory and one, a P.O.S./Computer Service company was a pretty good match.  He called me back but he was really swamped so it took a while to get everything set up.  It turned out that he was a one man show and he was just looking to subcontract some of his service calls.  On my first assignment I was sent to replace a power supply but when I got to the site I discovered that several capacitors on the motherboard were blown which meant that the computer was beyond repair.  My second gig wasn’t any better. I was sent to clean a laser printer and replace a few rollers but that didn’t fix the problem (the same printer flummoxed a veteran tech the next day).  I didn’t get any more calls after that, the excuse being that he was too busy to provide any training even though my lack of experience hadn’t come into play at all.

The one thing they always tell you about finding a job is to solicit people in your extended network.  I had specific challenges with this strategy since I had previously worked from home, in a new town and had no social life beyond my two young kids.  I thought it might be a good idea to volunteer locally in the community, meet new people and do something worthwhile in the process.  This was part of plan #5 but I didn’t get very far.  When I met with a local community organizer I discovered that all the volunteer opportunities were on nights and weekends when I didn’t have a babysitter.  I submitted a resume but so far no organizations have called me back.

The bills started piling up so I migrated to Plan 6 –  survival jobs.  Despite my willingness to do just about anything I’ve had a difficult time finding any jobs that pay the bare minimum, an after tax income that will cover the cost of the kids day care.  Thus I’m presently working on Plan 7 – writing.  I have starting creating less formal and more personal cover letters.  I have also taken a lot of the dense accomplishment statements out of my resume in favour of more direct, easy to comprehend facts.  In addition I am going to try my hand at prospecting letters and seeing if I can generate any leads from that.  I don’t have a plan 8 yet, perhaps I could look at taking another course, I’m not sure what else there is left to do.  Plan 9 of course involves both aliens and zombies!


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Judith Pinch on November 13, 2010 at 11:10 am

    This blog seems to be a good, proactive thing to do. At some point you might want to consider sending some examples to a local paper to see if they would be interested in a column. Not a big money maker, of course, but you just never know where it might lead. As you say, persistance is your best chance.

    Any possibility of starting a group of WDFs (Work Deprived Fathers) to brainstorm and generally provide moral support?

    Keep putting one foot ahead of the other, Dave. Best of luck


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