Those of you who have read this blog over the years, might be familiar with a constant commentator and part time sage, HikingStick.

andrew.jpgWell, HikingStick is actually Andrew James Riemer and he lost his job last month because the company decided to outsource the IT department where he worked.

I was devastated when I heard the news, but HikingStick was a rock.

Here’s the email he sent after he joined the ranks of the jobless titled: “Well, I got the axe…”:

…or, perhaps, the pruning shears. My employer decided it no longer wants its own IT department (Oh, what a difference three years makes!). I was asked to leave shortly after eight o’clock this morning. This is the first time I’ve ever been cut. I’ve had a couple of my own businesses go under over the years, but this feels different. It brings up a mix of feelings. I’m definitely bummed to be out of work, but I had been longing for a bit more vacation time. This, however, is not how I wanted to get that extra time off.

Thankfully, I did get a small bit of severance (pay through the end of the month, plus all my pending PPT). It’s not much, but every penny helps.

My first stop after dropping my box off at home? I went to the store and bought a suit for interviewing. I was overdue for one (I shrunk out of the last one–hurrah!), and figured I had better be ready before I get an interview. Then I phoned some former bosses and coworkers, and had lunch with one of them, to let them know I’m looking for work. They might not have anything available right now, but if someone they know is looking for my skills, hopefully that little call will encourage them to drop my name. One mentioned a former peer who now is in a decision maker role. I plan to call him tomorrow.

I already have my unemployment application in (we can apply online in Minnesota), and we’re already checking into other social aid programs. I guess I’ll have more time to read that book now. ;-)

I am going to take a little time for recreation and restoration, perhaps a late season canoe trip with a friend or three. We go on the cheap (between us, we own all the gear we need), so it will be a nice way for me to get some time alone with my thoughts.

So, if you don’t see my chiming in as often over these next few weeks, it’s likely because I’m not sitting in front of my PC every day. I’ll shoot you an update from time to time as things progress.

If you know anyone in the Minneapolis area with whom I can connect to pursue opportunities (business analysis, IT management, organizational development), I’d appreciate an introduction. Thanks for keeping me in mind.

Respectfully yours,

Andrew James Riemer
a.k.a. HikingStick

I’ve gotten far too many emails from people who have lost their jobs over the past few years, and this one has more dignity and positivity than most of them.

Even I was unable to muster anything positive when I was laid off. OK, I was laid off twice in my career. I remember being pretty angry and scared from the moment my boss tapped me on the shoulder and I knew I was getting the heave-ho, to almost the second I landed another job.

I asked my Twitter followers yesterday how they handled a layoff, and I was surprised and happy to read that many of you have taken it fairly well.

@seriouslymc wrote: I was relieved after the layoff, because hunting already. I hated it their and was not growing professionally.

and @coldwaterwusp wrote: I thanked God the nightmare was over & have calmly been sending resumes. Only been 1 wk so freak out may ensue!

What was your experience?

I’ll be updating HikingStick’s jobless journey in the days ahead. I think his story is one we can all learn from.

Meanwhile, HikingStick is more than his job. Turns out he’s also a great photographer. On a recent trip through the wilderness to get more in touch with himself he took a bunch of incredible photos. This one seemed apropos for this post. I call it, “Endless, Sometimes Rickety, Path”:


I can almost see Andrew with his HikingStick.

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