This week a Chicago Photo store institution, Calumet Photographic shut it’s doors in the United States after having an incredible seventy-five year run. For me my four decade journey ended on New Years Eve, 2011. It was not the way I wanted to begin my 2012, but I knew I had no choice,
I was sixty five years old and I was petty scared that I suddenly found myself being a Has Been,
and perhaps had to come to the realization that I wasted my time in college majoring in my hobby.
As I looked at my cup of coffee(many more to come), I knew I needed more than another job, but a new journey that would make all of my past experiences a reason why I should go on and be proud of myself. I finally realized that I had a brand new life ahead of me and I have so much to give of myself. Wow, it’s like being born again. Nobody forced me to work at one place for nineteen years, I met many photographers, be with great co-workers, and who knows, maybe my path might cross Calumet again, so here goes, I wish somebody would had given me a list of what I needed to help me for my new journey, (I cannot be responsible if this list does not work for you).
1. I can’t change what happened, be grateful that I had good heath and dental insurance, started a 401k, brought a house, many cars, took a lot of vacations, something I now regret, brought too much photographic equipment.
2. Respect your co-workers. They feel terrible about my plight, but they have to worry about their situation, It’s like getting “Unemploymentitis”, Who is going to be the next one to get fired?
3. Get a good computer, it made my life a lot easier, whether it’s new or used, it has made a big difference in my journey. Never realized that I would be spending so much time on my my computer, oh yeah, wish I knew how to type.
4. I was very grateful that I have a new boss, my wife. She has been my main supporter and she has a lot more pressure now that I am not working. Making the bed correctly and washing the dishes will certainly make a big difference in my marriage, believe there were plenty of times I was glad I was using paper plates. Be prepared to have many periods of frustrations, and I had to keep my mouth SHUT.
5. Money,money and money. Not having the income I had be fore I was canned, I never gave it any thought what would this day mean. I never exactly knew how much money I needed each month, I hate to say this, I wish I never had a credit card card, yet alone some fifteen cards. I am glad that I got an equity line of credit on my house to lower my credit card bills. I wouldn’t of been able to do this now after losing my job.
6. Tell the world who you are and how to get a hold of you. There many times I wanted to get a hold of my former co-workers and their phone numbers were unlisted.
7. It’s been a long time since I went to the unemployment office. Be prepared to be with some very pissed off people. I must say that the people working there are just doing there jobs and don’t expect them to cry on your shoulders. Just bring a copy of your social security number(w-2) and a good pen.
8. Don’t spend a lot of money or time on your resume, just go to as many interviews, job fairs, church job support groups as you can, and after awhile a few prayers might help.
9. Once you are on unemployment benefits, you have to keep a record of all the jobs you have visited. This is where having a good computer is needed. I found myself with 10,000 job emails.Thank you monster, indeed, snagajob, and ziprecruiter.com.
10 I discovered the world of LINKEDIN. It was my opportunity to tell the world that I am now unemployed, retired or in my case I was fortunate to be a volunteer for Dennis Manarchy in helping him get awareness and funds for his now www.butterfliesandbuffalo.com photography project, Dennis just finished building his 35′ film camera that will be using a six foot film negative.
11 Linkedin discussion groups and inMails. I learned that it’s not what you know but who you know that might get you the right job. Upgrading my Linkedin to a business account gave more inMails to send, and I was able to see who was looking at my profile. The 1000 connections and the fifty discussion groups I belong to also made me the proud owner of over 20,000 emails. At least I had something to show the state of Illinois that I was trying to find a job.
12 Health insurance and staying in good health. Why do so many people put them selves at risk by thinking that they have to celebrate and over eat to have a good time. Sickness can be worst than being unemployed, I tried to take care of myself, but now that I am unemployed it’s a must to be in the best of shape. I am lucky to be on my wife’s insurance, but for those who find themselves without insurance, be glad that there is Obama Care.
13 Know how much money you need each month and start figuring out what you can start giving up. Don’t need to go out to eat as much, and start using the car less. Go to thrift shops and stay away from the malls. Oh yeah, I hate to say this one, all those 99cnts I spent playing Candy Saga has to stop. This is a big one, the bomb, I played the lotto for over thirty years, and wish I repeat the $15000.00 I pissed away.
14 Don’t be ashamed that you are unemployed, let people people help you. The best customer is when you are someone else customer. In fact there has been many times I found myself calling my fellow unemployed friends that I found a great job posting.
15 In the old days baby sitting and having a newspaper route were some of our first jobs, now we have eBay, Uber, and trying to get a job at Walmart, Cosco, or Aldis. Don’t be picky.
16 Don’t be ashamed to get help from your parents, or even better, just like your parents helped you with everything, maybe you can have mom or dad live with you.
17 Alumni associations, or paternal organizations, and going to church or synagogue. The more people you meet and network the better chance you will have finding a job. Going to a few baseball games might be another way of getting the word out.
18 Be aware of those so call schools that will soon follow you. For me I thought it might be a good idea to go back to school and be a medical coder. Going to school for just ten months at night seemed cool, but the $14,000.00 tuition was certainly a lot more I could afford. Besides I was not allowed to go back to school and still be able to collect unemployment.
19 Telephone calls, be prepared to make hours of them, if you don’t have unlimited calls on your cell phone, having a Skype phone can save you a fortune.
20 Make a calling card like a business card to give people. The more people you talk to the better chance you have landing a job. Like I said before, recruiters have seen thousand of resumes, they are trying to find the right person for their company, one who looks and sounds good. Always be yourself. Don’t get discouraged.
21 Find out from your state’s unemployment office if there is a certain amount of compensation you can earn and still receive your full unemployment benefits.
22 Being a camera salesman fr some four decades, I never gave it much thought about being on the other side of the camera. Get a some photos and maybe there might be some extra money to be made in modeling, performing or comedy. No matter what I think your next job recruiter will find it refreshing having your photos on file, and it won’t hurt to offer your services to him, a family portrait, or a good head shot for his next job interview.
23 This is a tough one to swallow, and a long shot, try to find out if there is any remote chance that any other company might be able to take over your company. Just like in the case of Chicago’s Dominick’s stores, many of them are being converted to other food stores.
24 Photography is not the only visual profession in town, I wish I pursued the motion picture industry instead of photography. One of my Linkedin discussion groups talks and share ideas pertaining to The American Society of Cinematographers.
25 Make a list of the products and services you like, and see if you can get a job for them. Just like I loved selling cameras, I would love to be a salesman at a Sprint store selling cell phones.
26 When filling out a job application look for key words, experienced, friendly, and hard working are words that the computer uses to sort out job applications to the next level in your job process. USE some of these words in making a new resume. I really think with all of the applications companies receives, its the computer who makes the final decision on who the company should consider.
27 just received this from Doug Brooks along with his wife Debbie owns Van Kirk Photography. This is very important for those who found themselves without having health insurance. Howie..
It’s really sad the news about Calumet. We can only hope someone comes to the rescue and many of the employees are rehired.
Regarding health insurance: There are 2 options I can think of for them, my experience includes having lost my corporate job 2+ years ago.
1. If the coverage that they had was pretty good they should look to see if COBRA is an option. I carried COBRA for the 18 months allowed as the corp insurance I had was fabulous and what I could buy as an individual sucked.
2. The affordable healthcare act says folks need to be insured by 3/31/14. I believe there are fines if not but don’t know how losing a job a week before that deadline. They should each go to healthcare.gov
, register, and shop for insurance. Because they are unemployed today they will report zero income. This will result in them being registered as Medicaid insured. While we don’t want to be Medicaid insured there are three positive things that come of this.
1. They won’t be fined under the guidelines of the Affordable Healthcare Act.
2. They will have coverage in the event they need it.
3. This will give them time to become insured under a private plan or to find employment with coverage.
If they want to explore policies and see if they can receive a federal subsidy then here’s an important hint when answering questions on the website. One of the questions is about income. If they answer it honestly they will be placed in Medicaid. However, if they look at the last 12 full months of employment (or, if they are new hires whatever number of full months they worked,) and average their monthly income and enter that figure… they will be able to shop insurance.
They can also go to BCBS of IL and shop insurance to see what policy they like.. then go to healthcare.gov
Finally, and this is huge. If they don’t like where they get on the website and the website won’t let them delete the registration and start over.. .all they need to do is start over using a different email address… that will get them past a ‘locked’ registration that they don’t like.
I hope this helps.. feel free to share.
28 You don’t have to go out and get drunk and feel sorry for yourself, it’s simply cheaper and safer to just drink at home. Who knows what you might say at a bar, it might hurt you later.
29 After getting fired, get the hell away the company, You ain’t coming back, get out and take your 401k with you. I just found out that my 401k is now frozen. My former company filed for Chapter 7. *******Stupid, Stupid,Stupid, ME***************
30 Can’t worry about becoming a millionaire, or owning a fancy car, however it might impress that potential boss, if I just smell like a millionaire. Would cost too much a day for a a couple of squirts of C.K. or Aramis Classic or should I stick to my Jade East or Old Spice after shave.
31 I loved meeting so many cool people at The World Financial Group. They taught me that only need to go to school for just one day to be pre-licensed, and spend only $125.00 to have my own business. I wish I did this ten years ago. Something else I learned, as I get older it seems that I need to repeat WFG over and over again, I find myself sometimes forgetting my Wallet, Fon, and Glasses
32 This being the first Monday for the fired workers o Calumet Photographic(US), I cannot stress the importance of starting a daily journal for your day. Four over two years I am able to reflect on the important activities I did, jobs, appointments and ideas.
33 Stay away from Time Shares and Storage Lockers, these two money pits has cost me a small fortune that I will never be able to recover my investment.
34 PROCRASTINATE the PROCRASTINATION, time goes fast, even on the first of your new journey, there is no time to look back. Just do a little bit at a time, Just do it.
35 stop playing computer games, check out Amazon prime and get a Kindle account and try to read one book a month. It’s good ammunition during a job interview.
36 Coupons, The Entertainment Book, and restaurant.com is a great way to save money when you plan to go out. Think of every dollar you can save in term of a gallon of gas. Share and trade your coupons with others who are trying to get back into job main stream.
37 Stop worrying about not being a millionaire, maybe because I am not smelling like a millionaire. Maybe I need Christian Eau Dior Sauvage or Hermes Terrs d’Hermes instead of my old “smellsters”, Jade East and Old Spice.
38 Always have a copy of your resume on me when you travel, even if you don’t get a job right away, make sure you document handling it out so you can satisfy your state’s unemployment job search for the week, restaurant, bowling alley, and grocery stores.
Got to stop now, and I will keep adding to this list, please email me your ideas at [email protected], hoping we can get at least 50 ideas and be instrumental in helping our friends in their times of need. I found out that the people who fired you are also being fired. What comes around goes around. Good night and keep the faith.