So What Have I Been Doing Since I Was Laid Off?

This question seems to keep coming up. Along with how come I haven’t been hired by somebody.  So what have I been doing?  First of all looking for work. Not just the engineering jobs, but some of the possible alternatives that might make me a viable living. Every time I end up in this situation, I look for alternatives, not because I do not like the work I do, but because experience has told me to have options in case things don’t work out right away.


The fact is that our current regulated society makes that sort of thing harder.  It’s harder just do pick up work when you are in the system. It’s also much harder for people to hire people for pick up work with all the attached forms and responsibilities.  The ACA did not help on that score.

So what do I do every day?  Well first I look at Indeed, Linkedin and the other job boards for jobs that look suitable.  Which unfortunately is, in my very long experience a waste of time as the people putting ads on job boards are not looking for creative, talented and  experienced people like myself to solve the problems that they are looking to hire somebody for.  At least they don’t want somebody like me, as the 100% rejection rate for years on end seems to indicate. The funny thing is that those jobs, in many cases never seem to get filled by anybody.  I see the same listing, month after month, sometimes for years with the jobs unfilled. Sad, really as I could have done some wonderful stuff for them, but they are too busy looking at negatives to see the positives.

Then I start writing here, on the blog.  I do this because even if I don’t make money with it right now, I’m getting writing practice.  Every day, at least 1000 words.  I’ve been doing this  for more than a year now, seven days a week.  I’m doing this because of an old piece that Jerry Pournelle did on how to get his job.

I’m trying to get my million words in.  Of course this blog does not include the 10,000 to 100,000 high pressure words that I wrote back in high school or any of the the other things I’ve written that are now lost to old data formats, dead hard drives and plain old time.  Still I’m writing a lot more than I was.  Engineers are not especially expected to be good communicators. Which is strange, because communication is a big part of the job.

Before I started the blog I shot video and fabricated, and shot video of me fabricating.  I’ve got some more of that I shot, but the video was kidnapped. I’m going to shoot more fabrication videos of stuff for the blog and me just screwing around.


I’m also exploring the maker movement and trying to understand the vast changes that are happening in manufacturing and the way business gets done.  Along with writing about them here.

The one thing I try hardest to not do is just sit around.  Sometimes though it seems so easy to give up.  Frankly I’m tired of dealing with other’s prejudices.  I’m willing to work hard  for an honest wage. There was a time that that used to be enough to get you a job. Now, the people who are hiring seem to want all sorts of rules for themselves. Yo can’t be out of work for too long.  You can’t be too old. You can’t be imperfect.  You can’t be the creative individual that you are.  Then they wonder why they are chasing purple squirrel.  I keep trying, but it’s getting harder.

Still at least I can write about what’s going on and I will, here and wherever I can. And I will keep pushing the “Let’s Build” forward, even if it’s at a slower rate than I want.  But I will keep moving forward and I WON”T give up.




  1. Joe Wooten · April 18, 2017

    Did you check out what’s open over at Westinghouse in Windsor, CT? I know we still have openings for engineers, even though we are officially in bankruptcy….


  2. Sam Greenson · April 18, 2017

    Maybe you could msnufacture a few specialty replacement parts. Connect with the enthusiast/hotrodding community for some car/boat/motorcycle/home appliance/wristwatch model you already are a fan of and invested in. Everyone in the community loves model X, except party Y is troublesome or breaks. Make and sell an improved part Y.

    Or make clones of some product line which has gone out of production for no good reason. Recently I learned of a line of pop-up lawn sprinklers which were now being cloned. New ones are otherwise identical to the beloved, discontinued model, except a few well-known flaws were fixed. And the replacements were cheaper.


    • jccarlton · April 18, 2017

      I’m looking some things along that line. Now that the weather has warmed up, I can set up my tools and do some prototyping. Which will show up here.


  3. davidhuntpe · April 18, 2017

    One of the things I add, when I say I was totally unemployed for well over a year, is that I was fortunate enough to have been home for – give or a take a few days – the entirety of my son’s first year of life. And to spend that time bonding with his older sister too. Someone so mercenary that they can’t grasp the value of that, isn’t worth working for.


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