I haven't talked about it much here, but I have been, at least mostly, unemployed for the last three months. The technical writing contract on which I was working ended August 31, and the subsequent contract I'd expected to come through did not. While I still had some freelance grant projects, my main work (and main income stream) was gone. So, I started a local job hunt.
The job hunt went remarkably well at first. I was interviewed and then informally offered a job at a small technical consulting firm in mid-September. Then, a few days later, that job disappeared. I was told that they had decided not to hire anybody after all. Discouraged, but not yet worried, I went back to the drawing board. More interviews. During the first week of October, I was one of two finalists for a non-profit grant writing position that seemed perfect. The other candidate was chosen. Then, only a few days later, I was offered a technical writing position on a big federal government contract with a very large international technical consulting firm. We negotiated and agreed on salary. I filled out tons of paperwork, got finger printed, and began the federal security clearance process. It all looked to be going great. Two weeks after receiving my offer letter, I received an email from the HR department, un-hiring me. The client, I was told, had decided I was not a good for for the position.
At that point, I was intensely discouraged, and starting to get a little bit scared. What if I couldn't find anything? My savings was running down, and I was getting really bored. I sent out more resumes. I considered prayer. Then I had a couple of phone interviews followed by the single most nerve wracking in person interview of my life (it's a long story, and one I don't think I should share here, given the outcome). And I (finally!) landed a job. I'm 99% sure it's going to stick.
For the sake of privacy and professionalism, I'm not going to say much here about the job itself. It's a professional writing job, doing a different type of writing than I've been doing for the past few years, for a small but growing company. It's an easy commute from my house, but I will be working in a professional office. I am extremely excited about it. I start the Monday after Thanksgiving. I'm currently freaking out about what I'm going to wear, since I've let my professional wardrobe slide quite a lot in the past year of working from home and the previous couple of years of casual work environments. We're going to need to buy a second car now, since Mark and I will both be commuting (and in opposite directions). Hopefully we're going to do that this weekend.
This is the longest period of time I've ever been unemployed. I know I got off easy--I had savings, some income stream, and a lot of decent prospects. Still, it was really horrible, and I ended up questioning myself on everything--my value as a professional, even as a human being. I don't think I've been properly sympathetic in the past to those who can't find work, and it's a mistake I won't make again.