Wednesday, January 10, 2007


. Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I'm in the process of transfering my professional engineer's license from New York (where I'm currently registered) to Virginia. I will also likely get a license in North Carolina as well as my firm does a fair amount of work in that state as well. To make the process easier, I am registering with the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surverying (NCEES). By registering with them, I can apply to be a registered PE in nearly any state by filling out a simple form and sending in the required fees. I can transfer my PE directly from one state to another, but there's a mountain of paperwork involved. I have to verify my education experience, my entire employment history, and get several references from my colleagues. That process would need to be repeated for every state I wished to be registered in. That's what makes registering with the NCEES a smart thing to do. You just go through the process once.

So where am I heading with all this and what does it have to do with unemployment? As I stated above, I have to verify my entire employment history including periods of unemplyment. Going through the process got me thinking about two of the worst moments in my life - getting laid off from work. I was working for Erdman Anthony in Rochester, NY the first time I got laid off. I had been there a little over a year and was doing well with the company. Things had slowed down quite a bit for the company as a while but I was fortunate (so I thought) to still be busy with my own project. I was helping design an updated "breathing air" system for Eastman Kodak. But cuts had to be made and I was one of the victims. I had purchased a town house only a few months prior to getting laid off. Of course, I was really worried about paying my bills and such. I think it was a Friday when I got laid off so I had to wait until Monday to go down to the unemployment office. It was really demoralizing heading down to the unemployemnt office. I couldn't figure out why they let me go. I sent out a bunch of resumes to all of the other firms in town, but no one seemed to be hiring. Fortunately, after about a month, I got hired by a small firm called WBKW (no, it's not the radio/tv station in Buffalo).

Fastforward a few years later. I'm now working for Clough, Harbour, and Associates and had been employed with them for almost three years. I was married now and my wife was almost 8 months pregnant with Boo Jr. I just got back from a site visit when my boss broke the news to me. The company wasn't doing as well as they wanted and needed to make some cuts. Again, I was one of the victims. It was deja vu all over again. It was doubly hard this time because I had a wife and a kid on the way. My wife sobbed uncontrolably when I broke the news to her when I got home. For about a month, I searched for jobs in Rochester and in upstate New York. I was even using a head hunter recommended by my former boss. There simply wasn't any work to be had in New York. My wife and I really wanted to stay in NY, but after several weeks of not even getting an interview, we came to the realization that we needed to cast our net our further and consider other states. I had much better luck getting some interviews from companies outside of NY. I had in interview with companies in Baltimore, Washington DC, and Williamsburg all within the course of a week or two and had job offers from all three. I ended up taking the Washington DC job.

Just to bring the story full circle, things didn't work out well at the DC firm and I finally ended up with my current firm here in Richmond. I'll have been here four years in July. It was a long and bumpy trip, but I'm glad I landed where I did.


Anonymous said...

That must've been tough for you and your family. I've never been laid off, or fired. Never had any problem getting a job either. Hopefully that luck will stay with me as I get older.

Sometimes though, I had too many jobs. lol I hope THAT doesn't happen again. It sucks to waste your life working 3 jobs.

Sounds like you are in the right job for you now. Sometimes you have to go through a lot of humps to get there, eh? :)

I hope to find a more satisfying job later on, right now it's not my biggest priority though.


Boo said...

If anything good came getting laid off from my second job (besides ultimately landing at my current job which I love), is that I was home every day (and all day) for the first 6 weeks of Boo Jr's life. The late night feedings and diaper changes weren't as bad because I didn't have to go to work in the morning and I could take naps during the day.

Anonymous said...

Oh that's wonderful! You were fortunate then to have been laid off. Couldn't have been a better time, even though at the time it must've been pretty worrisome. At times like that, it would be nice to have a crystal ball, eh? :)