T minus 18 days

20 07 2009

I seriously cannot believe I’m already starting my 3rd week of unemployment.  Nor can I believe that I’ve only got another 18 days before making the big move to Evanston.  I’m starting to feel some stress over it too, between the condo sale, the actual move itself, leaving friends/family behind, school/recruiting, etc.  I think to some extent, while I was still working my mind was somewhat distracted by the routine of working – if not the work itself – but now that I don’t have work I have a lot more time to think about things, and probably overthink them too.  So it was pretty good timing for a long weekend down the shore.  One of my closest friends and I spent last Friday thru Sunday in Wildwood and Cape May, and it was great to just get away, relax, sit on the beach and not think about anything school or move related.  I really love being down the shore in general, but Wildwood has a special place in my heart.  Growing up, my family would head down to Wildwood for a week each summer, so it’s very comfortable and almost feels like a home away from home when I’m there.

Unfortunately, like all good things, the weekend came to an end and now I’m back and working on the move to-do list again.  The couple who are buying my condo are doing the home inspection later this morning, which hopefully will be the last major hurdle before closing.  I can’t say just how glad I’ll be once this is over and we’re all set for the closing.  Packing and cleaning out the condo is progessing slowly but surely.  I’ve picked my fall classes (I chose Marketing Management in addition to the 3 courses we have to take).  My application for health insurance (I chose not to use the Northwestern student plan) was approved and is effective Aug. 1.  Next up on the to-do list for this week: make an appointment to see my dentist for a cleaning/checkup before I leave, bring my car in for periodic maintenance before the 800 mile drive to Chi-town, and continue to clean/pack.  And of course, spend as much time with friends and family as I can.  As the move date gets closer, I’m realizing just how much I underestimated how hard it would be to leave them when I move.


Day 1 of unemployment

7 07 2009

For the first time since September 30, 2001, I woke up this morning and don’t have a job to go to.  I still don’t think it’s entirely sunk in yet – it just sorta feels like a weekend at this point.  Yesterday I felt strange all day.  Even though I had wrapped up all my work, I got to the office pretty early in the morning.  I went through my email and forwarded a bunch to my personal account so I’d have people’s contact info.  Then I basically spent the day visiting with people in the office, rehashing some of the good times we’d shared and saying my goodbyes.  After turning in my laptop, I went to HR for my exit interview.  It started out normal enough, talking about what my plans were for after I left, talking about any feedback I had on my company and how it could be better (I was pretty candid here and shared the good and bad points I had experienced), and handling the administrative paperwork.  Then it took a bit of a weird turn.  Apparently the HR guy is interested in the job I had, and started asking me about the job and what he should do if he’s interested in pursuing it.  In total, the interview lasted about 30 mins, and at the end he took my corporate AMEX and my building access cards.  I think it started to hit home as I walked through the turnstiles in the lobby, and realized that even if I wanted to I couldn’t get back in the office without having someone let me in.  I know it sounds like such a small thing, but for some reason it made it more real.

So what now?  Well, I can turn my attention to starting to get ready to move and to enjoying my last month in NJ with my friends and family.  My next few weekends are already booked up with family events and going down the shore with friends.  I’m sure these next few weeks will go by pretty quickly, and before I know it I’ll be packing up my car for the drive to Evanston.

3 weeks to go

12 06 2009

It’s hard to believe that I only have another 3 weeks at work.  As much as I’ve been looking forward to resigning and starting school, now that it’s getting close it’s also starting to feel a little weird.  The last time I was unemployed was September 2001 – the summer after I graduated college.  For the last 8 years, a large portion of the time I’ve been awake has been spent working.  It’s the only company I’ve ever had a real adult job at, so I’m sure it’ll be a little weird leaving the office for the last time, knowing that this part of my life and career is behind me.  Looking back, there were some definite highs and lows, as I think all jobs have, but overall I wouldn’t change anything.  I’ve learned a lot, worked with some really incredibly talented and fun people, and gotten to experience things I’d have never imagined.  I will definitely miss my colleagues – many of whom I now count as friends – and really hope to keep in touch in the future.

My school to-do list is getting shorter by the day.  I’ve finished all the pre-enrollment courses, submitted my 360 degree self-assessment and sent out requests for others to assess me, accepted financial aid and started the loan application process, figured out plans for my drive to Evanston and made hotel reservations for my mid-way overnight stop (yay Toledo!) and this weekend am going to my doctor to deal with the medical records.  I’ve been procrastinating a bit on this one.  The last few weekends have been so nice I could think of many better things to do than sit in a doctor’s waiting room.  One other bit of good news: I may be close to reaching a deal on selling my condo!  I say “may” because I haven’t actually received the offer yet, but my realtor tells me it should come today.  It’ll be real nice to have that monkey off my back.  KWEST trips were also announced and I got one of my top choices!  I’m very excited, and very much looking forward to it.  I’m sure the way time has been going by that before I know it I’ll be on the way to O’Hare with 20 new friends .

Another Monday

1 06 2009

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly the weekends go by.  This past one was pretty quiet, which was nice after a very busy Memorial Day weekend.  On the MBA to-do list this week: find out what’s going on with my financial aid package (I got sidetracked last week and didn’t get a chance to call), and deal with getting my immunization records to Northwestern – either by getting them sent from my undergrad university or by a trip to the doctor’s office.

It’s a pretty big Monday in the business world.  As has been expected for a little while now, GM has declared bankruptcy.  Quite a hard fall for a company that at one time was the largest corporation in the US, and one of the largest employers in the world.  I won’t get too far into how I feel about the US government emerging with a majority ownership stake in GM (Hint: I’m not a big fan).  However, this shows that the market works: if your company produces products that people don’t want to buy, or pays costs (for whatever reason) exceed what people are willing to pay for your product, your company will fail.  It’s just unfortunate that tens of billions of taxpayer money was sunk into GM to end up in the same place it would’ve been had the government not gotten involved.

An interesting side note, Dow Jones announced this morning that GM and Citi are being removed from the Dow Jones Industrial Average, to be replaced by Cisco and Travelers Group.  DJ explained that it was removing GM and Citi, in part, because of the level of government involvement in those companies, which places them on an inequal playing field with privately owned enterprises, and that it was keeping an eye on Bank of America and may remove it from the index for similar reasons if it appears that the government begins exercising greater influence on BofA’s operations.

Weekend update

23 05 2009

Well I’ve received the first offer on my condo, but I’m not sure if the buyer is actually serious about it since he offered about 13% below asking price. To put that in perspective, other similar condos in the area are selling for about 4-6% below asking price. So while it’s nice to finally get an offer, I don’t think this is going anywhere. I’ve made a counter offer at 2% below asking price, so we’ll see what the reaction is to that. Otherwise, a few more realtors have come to show the place. I think there have been 3-4 this week, so still not time to panic.

I’m looking forward to the 3 day weekend. Today is a birthday party for my nephew, who is turning 3. I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone by, it doesn’t at all seem like it’s been 3 years already. He’s a really cool kid, and I’m definitely going to miss seeing him as much when I move to Evanston. Other than that, I just have a relaxing weekend planned, spending time with friends and enjoying the nice weather we’re supposed to have.

I hope everyone has a great Memorial Day weekend. Please take a moment to remember the meaning of the holiday, and honor those who have served and sacrificed for our country. May God bless our troops and their families, and may they all return home safely.

Memorial Day

Are you not stimulated?

17 05 2009

Saw this posted this morning over at Greg Mankiw’s blog:

Stimulus chart

As Prof. Mankiw points out, it doesn’t necessarily mean the stimulus has been ineffective since the baseline could have been worse than originally thought. However, I can’t help but note the irony/coincidence that the actual unemployment figures so far have pretty well tracked the forecast of what would have happened if we hadn’t spent an extra $787 billion to stimulate the economy.

Update from Starbucks

16 05 2009

Probably the biggest pain of selling my condo, other than having to constantly keep my place in showroom condition, is having to be out whenever realtors want to come show the place to prospective buyers, or during open houses.  Some realtors are pretty cool about it and give a 30 minute window when they’re planning to stop by, but some give a much bigger window (e.g. between 1pm-3pm) – requiring me to vacate my apartment for long stretches of time.  Today, I basically have to be out of my apartment all day, since there will be a procession of realtors showing the apartment throughout the day until about 4pm.  It’s sort of bittersweet, on the one hand it’s a pain being temporarily homeless, but on the other hand it’s good to have so much interest in my apartment.  I can only hope to get an acceptable offer soon so this part of the selling process will end.  That reminds me, I need to add “Call my lawyer” to the to-do list so he’s all set once I do accept an offer and we start dealing with the sales contract.

So while I’m sitting in Starbucks I decided to work on putting together a detailed budget for next year.  Once I get my final financial aid letter from Kellogg I’ll need to decide exactly how much loans I’ll be accepting, and other than a few back of the napkins calculations I hadn’t yet thought about how much exactly I plan to spend.  It actually wasn’t too hard to put the budget together, but somewhat shocking how quickly the number got to be very big.  My budget ended up being a little higher than the school’s budget, since I’ll still be making car payments (which aren’t contemplated in the student budget) and I included costs for KWEST, ski trip, and Evanston rent during the summer months since I don’t think my internship salary will be enough to cover 2 rent payments.  Let me say, while many of the items on the to-do list help to build the excitement of going to school, dealing with the details of exactly how much this little adventure costs isn’t one of those items.