I’ll start off by quickly dispensing with the bad news: I am not currently gainfully employed (as covered in a prior post). This period of unemployment, albeit economically difficult, has been surprisingly educational, informative, interesting and enlightening.
You’re probably shaking your head and wondering why I would say that, apart from the obvious freedom of not having to go to work at an office every day. Some people in my situation would take advantage of the time by hitting the gym more or catching up on their reading list. Perhaps I need to do be doing a better job on both of those fronts. However, this time off has afforded me the opportunity to attend countless conferences, networking events, tweetups, lectures, panel discussions, etc. In essence, I have become a professional networker. My original goal was to become ubiquitous in order to expedite the job search process (something I believe I might be close to achieving, as evidenced by someone approaching me at an event this week and commenting, “You’re everywhere!”). In pursuit of that goal I have experienced significant personal and professional growth while meeting many interesting people along the way.
I attended the Boston Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work” event yesterday. The BBJ shared some of the results of the employee surveys they conducted to determine the winners. To the surprise of many, the data indicated that employees were more interested in being rewarded with professional development opportunities than raises or promotions. I found myself nodding in agreement. While it’s unfortunate that this extremely educational period in my life arose from being laid off, I’m thankful nonetheless and confident that it will benefit me greatly in the long run. Hopefully my next job will be working for a company smart enough to listen to the feedback from its employees and foster an environment that provides professional development.
Have a similar or otherwise interesting experience to share from a time during which you were unemployed? I’d love to hear from you.