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Taking The Leap - Finding a New Job in a Bad Economy

Updated on October 11, 2011

I was laid off from my job last year. I had been working as a sales representative in the 14th floor of a 21 story building in uptown Houston, TX. I was selling a payments system to businesses across the United States. It was, and still is a great company. However, as many companies took a hit due to the economy, changing legislation and even the weather, it too went through a difficult time.

I worked there for 5 years and at the time, I was content. I had a steady job that barely helped me pay the bills. I, like many Americans knew that I needed a better job to improve the quality of my life and that of my family's. However, I had not only become complacent, but also terrified of the economic status of our country.

I watched the news along with every other person in this country. I would see the unemployment numbers go up, and the number of "now hiring" signs going down. I held on to my job for those 5 years. I did the best job possible, and I was even on the top three of the sales staff. Then I came in one morning, and it happened. The company laid off 23 people, including me.

For the next three months, I looked hard each day for a new job while receiving my unemployment benefits that were merely a 40% of my weekly pay at the job that had just let me go. Bills began to pile up, then all of a sudden, I get a phone call. A local business offering me a sales position with the promise of a no ceiling commission base with a base salary of $2,000 per month. This was not as good as my last job, but since it was more than my unemployment, I decided to settle, and so I took the job.

I stayed there for only three months after seeing no returns on my investment. Sure, I did not invest money into the company, but I did invest my time. Believe me, your time and my time is extremely important. During those three months I could have been looking for a better job if I had not settled. Now, I was stuck working a crummy job with no time to look for a better job.

It wasn't until one of my ex-coworkers contacted me on Facebook and let me know that there was a company looking to hire a sales executive that I decided to take a leap. At the time, of course, I had been submitting my resume in the evenings to countless websites to get noticed by someone who may offer employment better than the one I had.

This job paid me twice the salary of the job where I was laid off, and the commission was great too. Upon my calculations, I stood to make a good $77,000 a year. For someone with only an Associate degree in business, it is like finding gold in the attic.

After 5 months of working there, I began to notice that the company was growing, and usually that means it is a great thing for employees as well, but not in this case. You see, the "lead pool" was drying up. To a sales person, when the lead pool dries up, it is time to go. The type of business that is conducted there is very specific to only a few types of businesses and if it is that specific, then there can only be a certain number of businesses in which to sell the products and services into.

At the time I was working the 3 month job mentioned above, I had applied to a company out of Austin, TX. As of last week, they offered me a position. My base salary will be more than my current position, and so will my commission. This one is different though. The "lead pool", instead of being hundreds of opportunities, it is thousands instead.

So why the leap? What is the big deal? It's just another job right? No, it is not just another job. The job where I currently work, and I am in the midst of my two week notice by the way, is managed by two people from the last company where I was laid off. They left the company after the lay offs to seek a better life as well. Even executives are not safe in this economy it seems. So in theory, I am "safe" here. You can add an "ish" at the end of "safe" if you wish since the two people I work for were the ones that gave me my lay off notice last year.

Let me put it this way. I like working for them. They are great people, but times are getting tougher. Food is more expensive, I spend $400 per month in gas just to get to work and back home. I cannot afford health insurance for my family or myself and frankly, there is no way to the top from where I sit in this gray cubicle. Sure, I make over $50K a year here, but it is a dead end job. A dead end job is where you have traveled as far as you can, or are allowed to travel.

The company where I am going has room to grow. It has opportunity, which is something I have not had in a while. With my lack of education, it is difficult to get ahead sometimes, but where there is a will, there is a way.

So I am taking a leap and changing my life once again. I am terrified. I wonder if I made the right choice. I am about to be 38 years old and I can no longer afford to be taking these leaps. No, not really. I can do it, and so can you.

If you find yourself unemployed right now, and having to start over, then today is the best day to start over. You will have to pay your dues, especially if you do not have much of an education. I had to pay mine with $11/hour for three months until I qualified for a salary. My family and I struggled during that time, more so than we struggle now. Do remember this though, my story here applies to someone in the middle class who got their start as an immigrant (legal, so don't get all puffy on me), living in a trailer full of holes with nothing but rice and beans to eat during my growing years.

I do also have other things that I do in order to stay afloat. I have a Youtube video that went viral and I am a Scentsy Independent Consultant. Between those things, and my job, our family stays afloat. To me though, it is not just good enough to float. I want to fly. So I am taking a leap.


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