Monday, December 21, 2009 12 comments ++[ CLICK TO COMMENT ]++

There is a reason this blog has been dead for a while... I was laid off recently :(

(This post has nothing to do with investing. It's mostly to do with my personal life.)


I remember posting a pic recently pointing out how Dubai was fading to black. Well, my life faded to black slightly. It's flikering like crazy. A few crazy weeks for sure.

I was just let go by my employer last week (due to lack of work and not because of anything bad.) Never a pretty sight knowing that you may never walk into that office ever again. Management telegraphed the situation a while ago so it wasn't a shock. Nevertheless, it's dissapointing for it to occur (especially when I don't have another job :( )

I am not as disgruntled as I otherwise would have been since it was inevitable. I work in market research—job is data/statistical analysis—and half of our clients are in the tourism industry (mostly US state governments and public-private partnerships.) Anyone following the economic environment would be aware how badly the state governments are doing, and how the tourism sector has fallen off a cliff (if you are a traveler it has been a great year though, with Las Vegas and Carribean destinations almost literally giving away everything for free.) My former employer is very small, with only 10 to 15 employees, and it had to downsize. My productivity wasn't that great since I hit my peak and got bored a while ago (nowhere to move since the company is small.) So the decision was inevitable. I made one of my biggest mistakes of my life by not leaving earlier on my own.

There is good and bad to this...


It's Always Bad...

The bad news is that I am out of a job. I started looking for a job a few months ago but never found one. I almost had a job lined up but I don't know what happened in the end. I may have been rejected at the last stage or something. I'm dissapointed that I didn't get that particular job because it would have been a perfect transition, with me leaving before I was let go. I also made a newbie mistake and ratched down my job hunting when it looked like I was close to getting that job. This was totally dumb and I think one should always assume that prospective employers don't care about you regardless of what they say or how close to the final stage you are. I guess I'm too naive.

Another bad thing is that—I hate to say it—I'm not career-oriented and I have too many diverse interests. I hope no Human Resources person reading this will hold that against me but that's the reality. Some people out there know exactly where they want to work. Others, even if they don't know where they would like to be, are driven by money and hence target high-paying jobs. Some also know what they want based on their need for fame or power. I really don't belong anywhere. I'm a jack of all trades and employers, particularly human resource professionals, completely hate people like me :( Oh well, that's me and I just have to deal with it.

A big negative about searching for a job without having one is that you are almost forced to accept the first decent job that you get (this is essentially true if you don't have a high-end job, aren't rich, or don't have a big severance--all pretty much describe me.) I wish I was searching for a job one or two years ago when I had one and was in a stable situation because I could have skipped jobs that didn't fit me well or I didn't like. In contrast, right now, I'm really forced to seek out almost anything that is remotely connected. By being laid off, I have lost my "skip" card, that lets me skip situations I don't like.

Finally, I don't really have good social networking skills—too much of a loner—and the most painful statistic for me is to always hear that, something like 70% of jobs are through contacts. It was always like that and there is nothing wrong with it—for instance, many new jobs are created by small and medium businesses and they just don't have HR budgets to advertise, filter through resumes, etc—and I just have to deal with it.


...But There is Always Something Good

Glass is always half full, right?

I need to move on to a more challenging job, that is more aligned with my interests and skills. So, now I am forced to leave my current job. I was going nowhere in my current job—company is too small and wasn't growing even during the best of times—and, hopefully, I can get a job that is better suited to me and will be more challenging. I am actually excited to have the opportunity to pursue new opportunities elsewhere. It was time to go. I am pretty flexible, still single, and don't care about money so I can pursue many things; hopefully I get something that I like rather than taking a job for the sake of a job.

I also got bored of the environment I was at and am looking forward to different companies. Unless you have a senior position and/or are in it for the money, a 10-employee firm can get boring really quickly (imagine the Christmas parties!) I also want to join a company that is more dynamic, or at least has youtful enthusiasm. If I'm not getting paid much, which was the case at my prior job, at least I want to work on something fun, or have the opportunity to accomplish something.

I might be the biggest loser on earth since I still live with my parents but at least this is a good thing in the current situation. It's not as painful as if I was all alone out there. So the job loss isn't as bad as it appears.

Depending on where I end up, it will alter my life forever. I am actually looking forward to it. In fact, some possibilities are exciting. I was thinking that I might need to buy a car if I get a job in a suburb. Unlike most men, I am not into cars and can see myself living without one for my whole life. But if I need it for a job, I think it's kind of fun to have one. But it's very expensive for a cheap guy like me. Anyway, I have been researching cars and it's kind of exciting to think about owning a car. It'll be my first car—kind of late for someone my age; I'm 32—so it's kind of neat if I do end up with a job in the suburb.

I haven't done much on the investment front lately due to these issues (possibility of losing a job (actual loss now), money needed possibly for a car, possibility of moving to another town (trying to stay near Toronto as best as I can), etc.) I have been extra cautious lately. The caution isn't from the risk of losing money but, rather, from the possiblity being illiquid (i.e. I might need a lot of money really quickly.) Nearly all my money is in my investment accounts, although I'm something like 50% cash right now.

For you guys & gals, all of this probably means that I'll blog more ;) I enjoy writing stuff and am interested in this stuff so I'll be doing more of it now. It'll be a good break from job hunting and keep my spirits up... I hope...

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12 Response to There is a reason this blog has been dead for a while... I was laid off recently :(

ian
December 21, 2009 at 1:38 PM

You are a talented individual, when one door closes a bigger, brighter one will open for you!!!

John
December 21, 2009 at 1:46 PM

Siv, keep you chin up. Persistence is the key to stuff like this.

Daniel
December 21, 2009 at 5:01 PM

Siv, I feel very sorry for you but I'm sure you'll find something soon a lot better. Yours is one of the best investing blogs around and I'm sure this will help you!. Best regards from Mallorca, Spain

Jae Jun
December 21, 2009 at 11:45 PM

Hey being laid off could be the best thing that happened. All the best.

Miguel Barbosa
December 22, 2009 at 10:42 AM

Siv,

I am sorry to hear about the news of your unemployment. I have experienced a very similar situation (infact its the reason I started SimoleonSense as a means of having something to pour my heart into). My recommendation, keep pouring your heart and passion into this blog. Networking is completely misundertsood by most people...just try to attend events where you will have fun and you will be surprised (who you will meet). I went to an art gallery opening and met some finance people there.



I wish you the best of luck going forward.

happy holidays and new year.

-Miguel

sunny
December 22, 2009 at 1:02 PM

Hey Sivaram,

This is sunny. Shoot me an email at susheelkhamkar2@gmail.com. I think you are quite talented and might have some ideas to discuss.

-sunny

PlanMaestro
December 23, 2009 at 9:26 AM

<span>Amigo Sivaram, this has been a once in a lifetime difficult recession. The reason that I started a blog was </span><span>that I was also unemployed so, following Miguel's steps,  wanted channel </span><span>energy to something fun before deciding on the future. As many people here has remarked, you are a young, passionate and talented individual so it is only a matter of time before you find your next target.
</span>

MrParkerBohn
December 25, 2009 at 6:09 PM

Sounds like this is a definite crossroads in your life.

My advice is to above all else trust your own judgement.

While you look for more opportunities, remember that dead ends are not a waste of time.

A poker player makes most of their money on a few hands, but this only happens because they play many other hands.   An investor makes most of their profit on a few investments, but only because they research many other opportunities.  A man has only a few good friends in life, but must meet many more poeple in order to find them.  Job opportunities are the same way.  Dead ends and false leads are a valuable and neccessary part of the process, not a waste of time.

Good  luck, and I look forward to reading more of your blog when you get a chance to post!

Sivaram Velauthapillai
December 25, 2009 at 8:34 PM

I want to thank everyone for the encouraging words :)   I'm just concerned that I'm going to get pigeonholded into some job but we'll see. It's still too early and the economy is picking up.

As several have alluded to, I think I have met one of my major forks in the road of life. Like long-term investing, one never knows what is right and wrong until in hindsight. I'm kind of excited and we'll see how things progress.

Blog had been dead, partly because of holidays and job search, but I'll have more time to write up stuff. Unfortunately, I don't have any specific investment ideas that interest me so it'll mostly be general stuff.

Sivaram Velauthapillai
December 25, 2009 at 8:37 PM

Hi Sunny,

Thanks for the kind words. It'll still too early for me (just off work a week or so ago) and I want to see what's out here in Toronto right now. I want to wait and see how things shape up early next year before I do anything drastic. One of the problems right now is that the holidays sort of mess up the job search--I doubt many companies want to hire, let alone interview people in the thick of the holidays--and I want to see how the job environment is early next year.

Thanks again for the suggestion.

Sivaram

P. W. Dunn
January 3, 2010 at 7:07 PM

How about taking me up on my suggestion to get together for coffee to talk about investing? -- I had mentioned this in the Globe and Mail discussion that we had because you were talking about buying US treasuries notes, and I was personally wondering about how one can make money that way.  Peter

Sivaram Velauthapillai
January 3, 2010 at 8:15 PM

Sure, maybe a bit later... Life has been kind of crazy of late due to my job situation so maybe a few months from now... e-mail me later or something... Thanks...

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