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Was ready to cover the Serra Mesa Community Council meeting tonight when the economy took precedence. My best friend was laid off today from a well-paying high tech job. He comes first.

He lives in Rancho Penasquitos, about 10 minutes north on the I-15 near Stonecrest, the mall with the Walmart and Vons.

We've known each other for 20 years and he was there for me when I was laid off from the paper in the summer. I know his hurt. It became my hurt. He's my friend.

I said all the things that have proven to be true for me. Nothing has changed. You're still the same person. You have this freedom now to decide your destiny and it's going to be a good one.

Unemployment is a sign of our times; it's at 12 percent in California. Best advice is to network, do freelance work to earn money and keep your name out there and upgrade your skills. i do this. My buddy knows this. He's got natural gifts for writing, marketing, a real go getter's attitude, very likeable. He'll do well. All he needed from me over beers at Island's in Mira Mesa tonight was to hear just that: everything is going to be okay.

-Leonel Sanchez-

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9

truer words have never been spoken. Whether about unemployment, a bad hair day or death, 'everything's going to be okay' is the one constant. (that and change)

Oct. 28, 2010

I also like saying there's a reason this or that happened to make sense of things.

Oct. 28, 2010

Unemployment is new to me and I find myself working harder than ever to improve my skills, network and keep my name out there; this blog has been a blessing because I'm doing it with my daughter. It's good for my mental health. I went to a career fair few weeks ago and they told me the main thing is networking; spend a lot of time with people you know and trust, not to hit them up for jobs necessarily but to ask for their advice. The other thing I've noticed is how fast time goes by without the structure of a 9 to 5. This tells me how short life really is and to enjoy the sweet moments as much as possible and turn those sad ones into positives. Remember people always need good writers and good photographers.

Oct. 29, 2010

I think networking really is the key. Unless you have stellar qualifications, I think your resume will get lost in the pile. My office recently had an advertised opening for a clerical position, and we received an avalanche of applications. A lot of people are looking for work out there.

Oct. 29, 2010

There's jobs out there believe;very competitive but you have to keep trying and stay competitive. I just bought me a suit to look more presentable for a job interview. Went to a career training workshop where they told me first impressions are very important. And you're right about the resume. There's A and B and C piles and trash piles. I'm told you're supposed to put as much information in the first half of the first page cause that's what the HR folks who do the initial screening are looking at.

Oct. 30, 2010

There's jobs out there believe;very competitive but you have to keep trying and stay competitive.

There are literally hundreds of applicants for each job opening today. Your chances of getting hired with those numbers comes down to many things beyond your own control.

A local water district had a PART TIME-20 hours per week job open up, a good job, and had 450 applicants.

That tells you how much of a problem this nation is in today.

If anyone saw the "60 Minutes" segment on unemployment last Sunday then you have an idea of how bad things are, and have been......

Oct. 31, 2010

There's a lot of us who do things in an underground economy in Encantostan. Lots of family and neighborhood networking here. People here have owned homes for generations and can afford to carry no-cash relatives for household labor... a lot of us have 3-5 part-time "careers"...

Free food lines are long, and from the cut of clothes, not all or even most in line are strictly lower class. People will work for cash AND food or other needed extras. I don't own real property, but owner got driveways, room addition, new roof, etc. at low labor costs so workers had something coming in, and everybody likes the cooking. I'm predicting that if Prop. 19 does pass, then some on the low end will actually pay to work in order to get "medicated." In some cases, that's happening already now that small-amount possession is just an infraction.

IF people believe they can write, THEN they can write plans and pitch them or go home. People hiring are either looking for top-quality at the lowest price to give a firm an edge or are filling out a roster for somebody's existing plan to get things done. White-collar types need to offer stellar skills or start looking to do their own thing: be creative and aggressive to find out what others need AND will pay for, then meet that need. I don't know anybody who's hiring people who just expect to punch in, punch out and get paid... unless somebody is running a tax-loss scam.

The days of expecting others to be nice and offer up what WE want are over. Labor is big in supply and low in demand while consumers have learned that what's being advertised is not necessarily what's needed or even desirable. Lots of nicely dressed people at the 99-cent store, a trend since 2008. Anyone looking for lots of job OFFERS to choose from is... well... somewhat delusional. Things get worse when ALL of the veterans come home.

Start thinking about the real economy and how it really works, not just what the career counselors told you back in school. And if you haven't added up-to-date skills by having been in school in the last 2-3 years, then the recent grads who do have those thought-based internet research-and-analysis skills are your competition; you may have to lower your expectations accordingly to be competitive.

My new occupation: voluntarily (meaning minimally paid with tips or not paid at all) running a rescue mission for the academically-challenged. I see the need on the street...

Oct. 31, 2010

People who would ordinarily apply to grad school for an advanced degree should forget it unless one can already afford to do it with savings or will be a teaching grad student. I have seen couples split apart from financial stress while one was in grad school and the other was not.

If one has a BA/BS degree, then one should have been exposed to research methods and writing skills. If you have time to sit in class for the next 2-3 years for your MA/MS, then fine; otherwise, start doing your own research and self-publish online, turning yourself into an amateur authority in your chosen field (knowledge being one of those Army FM 22-100 leadership traits). If you don't have that kind of initiative (another of those Army FM 22-100 leadership traits), then suffer the anxiety of traveling from interview to interview with the rest of the résumé-clutching pack.

Option that has worked for others in hard times: Pretend to be a business-journalism student and interview business leaders as if you were doing business class research (it helps to actually be a student in ANY college class if challenged). At the end of the interview, DO NOT ask about openings but DO ask about somebody else in the field (but at another firm) to interview. At THAT next interview, somehow drop the names of people you've already spoken to ("Well, according to Ms. X and Mr. Z, ..."). At a certain point, if you appear informed and worthy of it, somebody will hire you just to keep you away from being hired by competition... IF you appear worthy (typically from turning yourself into that amateur self-published authority), and that's up to you.

Oct. 31, 2010

Appreciate the comments and suggestions on self-starting. Since losing my job and becoming self employed I've been staying up late studying and writing and waking up early. Probably would sleep in but I gotta take my kids to school and I don't feel much like sleeping afteward.

Starbucks, all over the city, have become my personal offices. It's a good vibe. They play music and I love writing to music.

This episode in my life is something I worry about and it's something I romantize also. I'll look back on all this one day.

Can't help but compare it to a movie I've been watching late at night during past couple of months. It's called "Blindness" and it's a metaphor for what's happened to many people who've lost their jobs in my opinion.

Sorry if I give away the plot and the ending but this is my metaphor.

In the movie, people mysteriously go blind from a virus and are quarantined. They're isolated, the same way laid off people are initially separated from the employed.

They bond with each other the same way unemployed people do to help each other out. Their goal is survival. They can't see just like the unemployed can't see where their lives are going at first. They even turn on each other because it's all about survival of the fittest.

The ending is a hopeful one. The group that stuck together breaks out their prison. The streets are isolated. They make it to one of their leader's homes and start all over.

At the end, one of them says 'I can see." His sight is restored. The blindness is temporary. So is unemployment. Don't give up hope.

Oct. 31, 2010

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