Tuesday, February 2, 2010

CYCLING: Pedaling Through the Ups and Downs of the Job Hunt

Last month my postings on this blog were very upbeat  -- so much so, that I was being told how inspirational they were for fellow unemployed job searchers. The “Silver Lining” piece received a fair amount of attention (An article about this blog and me, "PharmaView: Via the Blog, a Pharma Star is Reborn"? appeared in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Magazine) and that buoyed me for the plunge into each day’s “Hunt” activity with new energy and hope. Great!  That is what we MUST do to keep ourselves fresh. Most importantly, we MUST keep doing what it takes to preserve the healthy state of our psyches.

So, after 18 weeks of devotion to this mission, I took a week off and flew to Arkansas for a few days of photo shooting. When all is said and done, you see, it is exercising my passion for photography that keeps me sane. I had a fabulous time.

(Click on photos to enlarge; Click again to reduce to original size)
Cedar Falls Overlook
Petit Jean State Park, Arkansas

BUT…yes there’s a big “But” coming (not mine this time…giggle)!

Angus Butt

The night before flying home, I awoke at about 2 a.m. in a raging panic. My heart rate rapid  and irregular, I was filled with a feeling of deep dread. The facts were: I still had no job and no hot prospects for one, and the severance period was rapidly coming to its end. The household expenses were high and the house was still far away from being ready for the market. And two of the three calls I received while in Arkansas had been to notify me of positions for which I had already applied. The third call was one that I had been expecting to turn into an opportunity. But alas, the caller wanted to offer advice on tools to aid the search. A sincere and helpful expert he was, but his advice, frankly, felt like just another let-down at that point.

All the flights were on time and without incident, and I arrived in Philadelphia on the night of the 24th, quickly found my husband (who is prone to losing me in airports) waiting in the baggage area, and my luggage was soon popping up on the carousel! ALL GOOD!

The next day, I lumbered back behind my desk, and attempted to nudge myself slowly but directly into the pace and high spirits I had attained only weeks before. There had been two hot prospects for great positions. One had been “simmering” since October, and the other had materialized a couple of weeks before my vacation. But now, neither of the hiring managers was returning my calls or emails. I had no idea what, if anything, had happened  and still I do not. That night I went to bed exhausted and maximally down-hearted.

If you’re thinking this is leading to “Good News,” I’m sorry to say that there was more—way more BAD NEWS to be dealt with!

Tuesday morning, after showering, I went into my office and was shocked to find my computer DEAD, displaying the familiar and dreaded black screen with scary white words on it.  By midday, a Dell technician had determined that the only feasible solution entailed completely wiping out the hard drive and starting over from scratch, with a clean slate. It took most of the day and part of the evening with Dell to reload the Operating System and then install all of the original software from the CDs that had been bundled with the computer. No glitches.

At about 8 pm, drained to my last drop, I hooked up my one terrabyte external drive and began the process of restoring all the documents, photo editing software, and a year’s worth of photographs that I had backed up studiously each night since purchasing the laptop.  But WAIT…the files were NOT TO BE FOUND ON THE BACKUP DRIVE!    How could it be?  I was devastated.
What next ensued was an emotional breakdown of huge proportion.  The normally calm, collected, and resourceful  and hopeful me was hanging on my last nerve…or past it.

I spent the night hyperventilating, whimpering softly, and yes, praying for a swift life-ending blow.  I was through -- finished, and losing ground rapidly. Honestly, I could see nothing positive at all in life that night. Nothing at all.  My good fotune was that there were no 200-foot-high canyon ledges in my bedroom!  My poor husband was planning the emergency room trip for the next day. I’m SERious!

Ledge at the Palisades
Petit Jean State Park, Arkansas

But somehow I pulled myself together and, Wednesday afternoon was able to get in touch with a Data Recovery Specialist from Seagate. He connected remotely to my computer, and within several minutes of my plugging the external hard drive into a USB port, he had uncovered all of the missing files. Too easy!! And there was no charge.

While all of my other issues were still issues, the condition that had nearly sent me catapulting out a twelve-story window (good thing there wasn’t one handy), had been resolved. It took me until Friday night, however, to restore all the files, and to re-calibrate the monitor (after another session with Dell because the video adapter turned out to be broken). My mood began to lift again. But alas…I had lost FOUR MORE days of job hunting…and there had been no activity on Linked-In.  And no phone calls from recruiters.  Still, I was buoyed, and over the weekend I planned to get some very needed rest and prepare to start in again on Monday.

And now there WAS some HAPPY news: The horrid ordeal had taken FIVE POUNDS OFF my rotund little body! YIPPEE!

Utter Exuberance!
(Final dance recital of my Step Granddaughter--second high kicker from the left)


At 10 a.m. I had my first two-hour session with a remarkable Transformational Coach that I had been conversing with before the trip. What an incredible woman! I won’t go into detail here, but to cut to the chase: HOPE IS REFRESHED!

So the takeaway message is this: The HUNT is a PROCESS! Expect it to move in cycles of highs and lows, ins and outs, ups and downs. This morning, a photographer friend of mine posted the following excerpt from an anonymous poet. It’s worth repeating here: Never Quit!

Life is queer with its twists and turns,

As every one of us sometimes learns,

And many a failure turns about,

When he might have won had he stuck it out;

Don't give up though the pace seems slow--

You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,

It seems to a faint and faltering man,

Often the struggler has given up,

When he might have captured the victor's cup,

And he learned too late when the night slipped down,

How close he had been to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out--

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,

And you never can tell how close you are,

It may be near when it seems so far,

So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit--

It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

(--- to be continued)

-- All photographs ("except Never Give Up") by Michelle Alton

1 comment:

Bob Morgan said...


Nicely done. I suffered a similar experience last year when I got the blue screen of death and found that my hard drive had died. And I didn't have a backup... Fortunately, after installing a new hard drive, I was able to download some software and recover about 90% of the files from the old drive. I learned a powerful lesson, but I lost about a week learning it.