Follow the Money?

Wed. May 18: It’s time to get serious blog readers. I am back in CO after my whirlwind job exploration trip to ND. What a week! Did I really expect to find a job in my PR career field during my trek across ND? Not really. However, I did have several interviews, some extremely useful networking meetings – which resulted in  numerous leads and contacts – and gathered useful economic and company data.

Most of the time I was in ND, I felt like I was on an island or a in bubble, where the economy was still prospering and people were finding jobs. An island not as affected by the economic woes and stifling unemployment pervasive in much of the U.S. Recent news reports state that the national unemployment rate is around 9 percent. However, when the underemployed (those working part-time, but desiring full-time unemployment) and those who have simply given up looking for work are factored in, the rate is around 19 percent – a shockingly high number! On one hand it’s somewhat comforting to know I am not alone in this jobless boat. On the other hand, I would much rather be in the boat with the employed! So maybe it is time to take off in my own boat and sail to the ND island of economic prosperity!

Rattling off economic statistics is one thing, but experiencing their ramifications first-hand  is quite another. Of course being out of work means constant money worries. Many of the unemployed, including myself, do not have health insurance, and of course no money to pay for health care. High unemployment means high levels of bankruptcy and foreclosure. And there is the emotional toll. Whether you are a career driven, single person or the breadwinner for your family, being out of work does a number on your self-worth, your self-esteem and your identity. I go to many job networking groups, where so many sad stories are shared. Some of these job seekers have been laid off by companies where they had worked for 25 years! They look a little shell-shocked and are often unprepared for job hunting in the current economic climate and in a society where the art of job hunting has changed drastically in the last decade!

One thing I discovered during my job hunting sojourn to my home state is how very much I enjoyed writing a blog – my first. As I drove across ND, I often found myself grabbing a piece of paper and scribbling notes for my blog on the steering wheel (during which I once passed a billboard that said DNT TXT N DRV!). I felt like a modern-day, grown up “Harriet the Spy,” who always jotting observations in her notebook.

During my trip, I kept thinking about something a fellow job seeker said to me at a job group before I left on my ND trek. He asked me “does it still feel like home?” Well fellow job seeker, I would have to say, yes it does.


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