Mission Accomplished

Where can I get me a big boat for my next press conference?

Mission accomplished. Those two words stick in my head lately, as I speak to the world from the bow of my aircraft carrier, the USS Kitchen Table. Navy SEALs, with an assist from the CIA, recently killed public enemy number one. They put a bullet through his head and dumped his body in the North Arabian Sea. A chapter in the ongoing war against terrorism ends. Many many more remain. In other national news, this once-unemployed blogger announces his full-time employment—the death of his own biggest enemy. It remains unclear what the revelers in Times Square were celebrating that night a few weeks back.

It’s been a wild and wacky ride. I lost my last full-time job on October 31, 2008. I started Jobless and Less a few weeks later and blogged my way into the hearts and minds, or at least the bowels, of a nation. Many of my loyal readers were also unemployed, or identified with the condition of unemployment. It was—and still is—a common problem; the country’s current unemployment rate hovers around 9%. I hope that I helped a few of these readers, not to find a job (though I tried that too in a few cases), but to get through another soul-sucking, mind-numbing, gut-wrenching day. Finding work is a thankless job, without the benefit of a paycheck or even a pat on the back. It’s a grind. But the occasional chuckle or smile can brighten an afternoon just a little. And I benefited more than anyone.

On a personal level, the site gave me a reason to get up and go through it all, again and again and again. It was a way of rewarding myself for enduring another day of disappointment… a cookie for the unemployed soul. What better way to overcome being ignored than to make people pay attention? The site gave me some control in a situation where I seemed to have none. It gave me an outlet to express my frustrations, big and small. And it gave me voice.

On a professional level, the site helped me become more employable. It served as a tool to teach myself new skills and refine old skills, from Search Engine Marketing to Social Media to website and project management. I grew as a marketer, and I grew as a writer. A website about being unemployed, ironically enough, made me a better employee.

Having a full-time job is a lot harder than I remember it. The days can be long. The work is often taxing, particularly as I dust off the little-used parts of my brain. But I enjoy being engaged. And my bank account enjoys receiving paychecks. And wifey enjoys having a gainfully employed husband. And the cats enjoy, well, sleeping. What did you expect? They’re cats.

I work on websites and related projects for a huge media company, also known as the man. They control TV and radio stations, not to mention web properties of all shapes and sizes. The position came out of a friendship I developed during a freelance project last year. One day I was meeting a someone for coffee. The next day I had a job. Who knows what the future will bring?

So what happens to Jobless and Less? Do I end it right here and ride off into the sunset? Do I continue to post sporadically, as the mood hits me? Do I steer the discussion off in another direction? Or do I continue to ask questions until I actually stumble upon my point? I don’t have the answer.

There’s plenty more to write about, but fewer hours to write. And I don’t own a horse, or a sunset. Maybe these are all signs that I need to keep writing. I already have the site, even if the name no longer makes sense. One mission ends, and another begins. I just need to figure out what the new mission is.

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  1. Jeff from F&M wrote:

    Congrats, man. I’ve been following your journey. Best of luck with the man. Hope he treats ya right.

    Saturday, May 28, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Permalink
  2. Underemployed wrote:

    THANK you:) THANK you:) THANK you:)

    Friday, June 3, 2011 at 9:08 am | Permalink
  3. Pat wrote:

    Hi Norm, thank you. I’ve come to visit many, many times and as of late, wondered whatever became of you. I’m glad that these are better times for you and your family. I’m still working, kind of, contract and very part-time. I’ve felt pretty much everything that you’ve felt and experienced. Even did a survival job, cost me a lot from a self-esteem point of view but it was money and it paid a few bills. So anyways, thank you for your time, posts and for hope in your messages.

    Saturday, June 4, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Permalink
  4. tina wrote:

    Congrats Norm! It must be difficult deciding whether or not to keep the blog. After all, you have full-time employment – can you really be too honest anymore?! On the other hand, your objective (or not so objective) ruminations about the current “unemployment nation” would still be an interesting read.

    For me, my contract has been extended, and during my “downtime” at work I have full permission from my boss to take all the classes I want on the company dime. Is it ideal? No. Do I miss my previous career? Yes. Am I thankful for the paycheck and using the training to my full advantage? No Doubt About It!

    All the best!


    Tuesday, June 7, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Permalink
  5. Prashanna wrote:

    I would like to thank you and wish everything is working out for you. I have been unemployed for almost 9 months now, since I lost my Job at the Marriott in Singapore. I have been separated from my wife and kid for six months as they live there. I have tried a lot but keep getting rejected by companies. Your posts steer new belief in people like us. Thank you.


    Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Permalink
  6. Peter wrote:

    Thanks for the inspiration! I’ve been unemployed for almost 8 months now. I’ve been slacking off, but I’m going full force starting today. I updated my LinkedIn for the hundreth time and I just made a profile on Uvisor.com (Google for jobs essentially).

    Monday, June 20, 2011 at 10:47 am | Permalink
  7. Job Search wrote:

    Way to go man..Kudos to you…

    Monday, July 4, 2011 at 6:07 am | Permalink
  8. Heather wrote:

    Congrats!! I am glad to hear that there is hope for us unemployed. I am glad your unemployment mission has been accomplished! It is amazing how we have all survived this difficult time. I hope some of you luck could come our way. 3 years without a job and we are still looking. I am so excited for you and your new job! Good Luck!

    Monday, July 11, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Permalink
  9. Connie wrote:

    Congrats Norm! Good luck in your new job. Your blog kept me entertained during those down days. Thank you! I recently got a new job too. Like you said, who knows what the future holds? But I sure hope it’s lots of good things!

    Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Permalink
  10. Joe Johnson wrote:

    Good luck working for the man! Your site has served as an inspiration for my own website and I want to thank you for sharing all you have to help others, such as myself, who have been in need. It has been a pleasure and I hope this is not the last that we hear from you. If you get a chance it would be great if you checked out my site NoJobJoe.com.

    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Permalink
  11. Josh wrote:

    Congrats! But I have you one better. I’m unemployed AND homeless! And I have an engineering degree. WTF…

    oh well, check out

    if you’re interested in the daily life of the homeless

    Thursday, July 28, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Permalink
  12. Brenda wrote:

    I’ve been unemployed (for the 3rd time in 7 years) since January but just found your site today. Congratulations!

    Monday, August 8, 2011 at 10:10 am | Permalink
  13. Norm wrote:

    I’m sorry to hear that Brenda. It isn’t easy, as I know all too well. The best advice I can give is to keep a sense of humor.

    Monday, August 8, 2011 at 11:50 am | Permalink
  14. Kevin Quinn wrote:

    I have decided that being unemployed is way better than job hunting in this economy… Here is how I stay sane during the long boring days at home: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mCQTCPAMUg

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Permalink
  15. I hope you will come back and update the web site. Still plenty of unemployed people needing some TLC musing.

    I started a blog myself – to get out from the unemployment routine.


    Saturday, September 3, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Permalink
  16. Bravo! Bravo! You stayed in my thoughts and I’m glad things have turned around for you.

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Permalink
  17. KT wrote:

    I am now unemployed for 6 months and decided to group stories of the unemployed on my blog. Makes use of my down time.


    Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Permalink
  18. Steve R wrote:

    I see you decided not to post again. Probably for the best I think.

    I have just started an unemployment blog of my own – http://www.JoblessandBored.co.uk/ (shameless plug) and have been wondering what to do when I do get another job. I think your final post is the way to go and I will probably do something similar.

    Anyway, congrats on the job and I hope it is still going well. Good luck to any other job hunters out there, I know there are millions of us at the moment, don’t give up!

    Saturday, October 8, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Permalink
  19. Congrats on the new job, and I’m sorry I did not discover this place until after you were done writing about your own unemployed experiences.

    Blogging seems to be a great way to stay engaged. I’m writing about my own unemployment experience (and other things) at http://www.4thandgoals.com .

    Hope things are working out well in your new venture!

    Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Permalink
  20. Tom Coleman wrote:

    Hi,Norm! Can we get an update on where you are now? We miss you! Are you still employed? How is your job working out, and has your working experienced changed how you view joblessness? (And are you afraid of losing this job?)

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Permalink
  21. Doug Vernon wrote:

    Hi, Norm, just saw your site today, as I’m finally at my wit’s end with unemployment. I’ve been out of work, more or less, since February when the gay couple that ran the company I worked for had a spat over me (one of them had the hots for me. *cringe*) and termed me for insubordination. Yeah, I know.. I got to collect unemployment and file a sexual harrassment suit and all that, but I was still out of a job. I tried a couple call centers.. sorry.. I’d rather be unemployed. What a sweatshop.. boot on your neck kind of place… both of them.. not worth it for 9 bux an hour. Then, an old friend of mine called me out of the blue last June and offered me a job up in Albuquerque. Unfortunately, they ran out of money in September, so I’m back home again looking for work. My point?
    What’s the deal with all these companies making you do the online app dance to get work. What happened to putting on a suit, grabbing a stack of resumes and applying in person.. put a face with a name.. hope for a lucky impromptu interview.. all that? And what’s with these personality profile questionairres? Who’s getting rich off of that? They’re stupid for one. “Let me ask your opinion on something” “WRONG!” employment denied. How can my opinion be ‘wrong’? This particular question in particular: I believe that everyone is basically not trustworthy.
    I don’t strongly agree or disagree with that. Lots of people are not trustworthy, but not everyone, for sure. So I would answer SOMEWHAT agree or disagree because that is the CORRECT answer for HOW I FEEL about it. But it doesn’t do anything. It’s useless. It’s nothing more than a non-discriminatory filter to reduce the workload and number of applications the HR department has to comb through. Just like places that are looking for bilingual but can’t LEGALLY say that they’re only hiring bilinguals use the ‘voluntary disclosure’ trick. If you answer that you’re white, they will not hire you, assuming you don’t speak the other desired language. If you answer “I prefer not to answer” they know you’re white answering that way to hope for a chance at getting at least an interview, and pass you up too. And the most amazing thing I found is that 90 percent of the places I apply for that use this method don’t have BLACK, PACIFIC ISLANDER or other nationalities; they just want to know if your white, hispanic or of hispanic origin, or native american descent. If that’s not racial profiling and discrimination, I’m a turnip. Of course I live in New (old) Mexico where EVERYONE is of Hispanic descent, even though when the census comes through, about 43% of them report themselves as white. Reason being is that they’re eSpanish, not Mexican… saying that they’re family comes from Spain, not Mexico. Well, they did come from Spain, to America, then to Mexico where they diluted the native american and mexican bloodlines with spanish blood.. but they’re still hispanic. I just don’t get it.
    I called up an employment agency last week, who has like 4 people in the office doing absolutely nothing most of the day, and asked when a good time to come in and get set up with them would be. I was told to go online and fill out an app there and they would ‘contact me with a time to come in and discuss skills’.. A week later.. nothing. So I went online (ugh) to try to find the phone number again, got to their website, and they don’t even list it.. they use an online comment form. I mean, COME ON! Does ANYONE actually WORK anymore? So, I write a strongly worded comment in there and submit and lo and behold, 404 error, your message could not be sent… because the system itself was trying to send the comment to the noreply@blah.com address. Jeezus! I can actually fix that, too.. given access to the domain and content, of course. So, I had to go to google and put in the company name, find their address and phone number listing that way, called them and talked to Frank and told him how much money his employment agency was throwing away every day for the last 3 years by gaffing off my applicaion. Well, when Frank realized that I was telling him that he was doing his job poorly if not incorrectly, Frank was so excited that he scheduled me an interview for TOMORROW. Now, why is it that I not only have to look for work, but I have to do my potential employer’s HR personnel’s jobs for them as well.. I might as well interview myself, set my own salary, hours and benefits too, yes? In conclusion, I have figured out what the problem with unemployment is. PEOPLE KEEP FIRING PEOPLE. Duh right? Actually, that was comedy, but true, nonetheless.. it’s actually, I believe, these impersonal online applications and personality profiles that are causing the unemployment problem. Corporations are using them now because some genius convinced them it was THE WAY to weed out the good employees from the bad, but what it really does is trashes about 80 percent of ALL applications because the “Opinion questionairre” is always ‘wrong’ and the app is rejected or labeled as ‘disqualified’ for getting too many opinion questions ‘wrong’. So, a person like me, who can do just about anything, gets passed over by a stupid computer program instead of letting a real human being meet face to face, learn a little about me, hear my skills, read my resume and decide if I’m a turd with skills, or a diamond with no brain or some happy medium of the two. Anyone feel me here? Get rid of the computer program, hire ONE person whos job it is EVERY DAY, to return phone calls on applicants, meet with applicants, make applications, file them, track them, maintain current job opening status on sites like careerbuilder and all that, and pay him for it. Didn’t we have people like that in the past? Ironically, this stupid electronic infobox is one of the major reasons for all of these problems. People got computers, learned how to use them, and then learned how to make them do 90 percent of all the busywork for us. Well, that’s so efficient, we have to let 30 people go now, since the computer is doing all of their jobs. CEO’s get rich, baseline workers get fucked. Thanks technology.

    Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Permalink
  22. Norm wrote:

    Wow, Doug, that’s quite a rant. I agree with a big chunk of what you’re saying too. Personality tests are a joke. And most online applications never actually reach a real person. It’s the world we live in unfortunately.

    Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Permalink
  23. Alina Larson wrote:

    Congrats! Remember this?

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink
  24. Ted wrote:

    Hi guys!
    Unemployed? I’ve been there. It blows! When I lost my job in the private sector it took me years to recover. But things eventually came together, thanks to a really good resume.
    Resumes are SO important, yet we all spend so little time on them. You get one shot at that dream job, don’t you want your resume to make a good impression?
    That’s why I wrote the book, RESUME POISON. It’s FREE on my website. Just come on over and sign up to receive your copy. It’s packed with information and tips on what NOT to put in your resume. I’m so lucky to have a job now, but I still remember what it was like to be unemployed. Don’t let a bad resume keep you from getting the job you deserve.
    Download RESUME POISON today!

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Permalink
  25. Rose wrote:

    Joblessness can happen to anyone – you can easily lose your job, even if you have been there for a longtime.

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 5:36 am | Permalink
  26. Joe wrote:

    This is awesome. I am proud of you! I have been able to do some writing (check out some ways I’ve done it on my blog http://ineedajobrightnow.wordpress.com/) but I haven’t had a full time job in awhile.


    Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Permalink