The Promoter’s Guide to Unemployment Survival (Part #1)

This article is a geared to inform millennials, students, graduates alike that the spectre of unemployment can darken anyone’s doorstep. And when it does, a period of significant lifestyle adjustment must be undertaken. However, the Promoter found that the key to survival of unemployment is to be creative, stay motivated and remain positive. Let’s get straight to it, shall we?

In April 2014, SolarPrint Ltd closed its doors, with minimum notice to the staff (perhaps a couple of hours). It’s true to say there were ‘rumblings in the boardroom’ but optimism remained that the funding-round would be successful. It wasn’t and the small band of remaining employees did what any self-respecting Irish workers would do in such circumstance… they went to the pub! By the time the Promoter reached the pub, he had cancelled all his (what has since transpired to be) the many, unnecessary direct debits.

Lesson #1: Don’t waste your time and money on frivolous direct debits. You don’t need them.
Shortly after receiving the aforementioned notice, the Promoter got word that there was a position vacant in an ‘academic cleanroom’ which would see him ‘bounce’ from the impending choppy waters, straight back into the calming seas of employment, with the richly inflated life-jacket of some statutory redundancy tightly secured around him. Nice. Sure what could possibly go wrong? The Promoter is a confident, out-going sort, assured he would breeze it. (Typical traits of cappuccino drinkers, but not his dominant traits: he’s an Americano drinker, all shall be revealed in a future ‘Personal-a-Teas’ campaign).

The interview was a disaster, which saw the Promoter ‘torn to shreds’. Throughout the questioning, the Promoter fielded the enquiries honestly. It was evident from an early stage however, that the Promoter and the vacancy were incompatible. There was even an insult thrown at the Promoter to emphasise this incompatibility! ‘Kapow!’ The life jacket remained inflated, but the Promoter’s ego (we all have one, folks!) took a hit.

Lesson #2: Over-confidence is a trick. Don’t be fooled. Keep grounded.

Lesson #3: People will kick you when you are down. Where it hurts.
And so, the search for meaningful employment began in earnest. This involved getting the resume updated. Optimised. Developing a cover-letter template. The Promoter being a scientist (predominantly), took a systematic approach to his job search. Every Thursday, he would outline the jobs he would apply for (throughout the forthcoming week) and by the following Thursday, if he had not heard from the agency / company he would call them back directly, to follow up. What ensued was a system of frustration. No responses. No feedback. Agents who hadn’t read through the applications sent in (when eventually speaking to them). Jobs which had been previously filled. Yadda yadda yadda. This article is NOT a ‘poor me’, this is the experience, witnessed first-hand by the Promoter. The system of tailoring resumes and cover-letters to particular job specs (potentially took two hours per application) yielded minimum reward / response. This proved to be soul destroying.

Lesson #4: Tailoring CV’s / cover-letters to particular job specs is DAMN hard. There must be a better way!
Eventually, after an indeterminate time spent on the ‘Resume Route’ the Promoter determined to go a different path. He came across an Erasmus opportunity (Marie Sklodowska-Curie (MSC) Research Fellowship). The premise: You research. You develop. You disseminate. YOUR idea. The funding was excellent. The opportunity for career development huge. The trade-off: you must conduct your research project in a European country for two years. Having a young family to care for, the Promoter considered the opportunity, and despite being away from home (not too far, actually; the UK was the chosen destination) it made sense on many levels. That summer, the Promoter composed a research proposal combining the research technologies (with additional ingenuity) he had worked on at NTERA Ltd. and SolarPrint Ltd.
Ultimately, the proposal was unsuccessful (79% overall mark. A successful application required 92% overall mark). More importantly, the Promoter had discovered his ‘creative’ spark. In truth, he has always been creative, but this time he was creating for himself (and his family).

Lesson #5: Test yourself. You’ll be surprised what you can achieve and learn about yourself.

Lesson #6: Try things. Doors will open.
After the summer, and the ‘unsuccessful’ MSC research application, the Promoter continued to seek a path. He just didn’t know where it was, couldn’t see it. He began to look into the premise of starting his own business. There was a caveat however: he had no idea / concept / technology / around which to focus the business. The Research Fellowship application had taken ‘piece’ of mind (pun intended!); science would have to take a back seat. The Promoter continued to use his savings (and there wasn’t much!) as the financial support for his family. Then at a business convention, an idea fluttered past his mind….and the journey towards Je Suis Personality began.

Lesson #7: Look after your health, listen to what your body is telling you.
An Inspiration #1: ‘Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter – tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further… And one fine morning –‘
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

An Inspiration #2: ‘If you never moved, you’d never make a sound…’
Oasis, All Around the World