Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Unemployment Line

Little did I know that earlier in the week, when I visited Colleen Fitzpatrick's great site called Forensic Genealogy, and took her weekly quiz to identify the photographer and the name of the bread line, would I see myself in such a place by the end of the week.

I've been following the decline of my current law firm, Heller Ehrman LLP which is over 119 years old and was founded by part of the Levi Strauss family in San Francisco. But having worked for "Big Law" as it is called for close to 20 years, I've weather similar storms.

This time, given the economic climate I just don't think that Heller will come through. There is lots of press in the legal industry about this and some of my colleagues have even started a support blog which lists resources and ideas as to how to handle the news and end of your job.

To be honest, I've been considering a career change over the past year, perhaps due to some mid-life crisis thing having turned 45 in December. So, in the tradition of my ancestors who often not only took lemons and made lemonade, but would also sell said lemonade for a profit, I am starting some new ventures. I guess the over-arching project is what I call Thomas 2.0.

If you go and visit one of my two new web domains ( or, you'll see what I've been up to over the past few days. I've taught myself CSS for designing web site style sheets, worked on data entry and formatting, etc. It has been a fun project and one that has kept my mind off of work.

Plus it is a way for me to hang out my shingle. So if you know of anyone who needs a "project manager, web 2.0 enthusiast, knowledge manager, technology educator, blogger, history geek, cyber-sleuth, virtual assistant" please let me know. I'm going into business for myself and I know I will enjoy it. The same quality work I love doing for my genealogy colleagues here, at Unclaimed Persons and over at Bootcamp for Genea-Bloggers is what I'd love to do for a living. Thomas 2.0 work is geared more towards legal technology but not limited strictly to that field.

I hope that I can keep up with the same quality posts my readers expect here at DAF. One feature I am suspending temporarily since it is so difficult to prepare is the One This Date post. I will be posting over the weekend on different ways of automating the report preparation but right now all the work is manual and very time consuming.

At the end of the day though, I know it could be worse. I am lucky to have low expenses and some money socked away for rainy days. And it is pouring right now. I was always taught growing up that someone always had it worse than I did and complaining and crying didn't really solve the problem. As you can see I was raised in a "no excuses" household and it is during times like these that I truly am thankful for the great job that Mom did with me.

And because I can never resist turning a post into a prompt, and I know times are tough all over - anyone want to relate a family story or two about unemployment, or perhaps winning the lottery, or even having built a successful business?

Photo courtesy of Forensic Genealogy - I don't want to reveal the photographer or name of the photo since it would undermine Colleen's quiz feature for the week!


Elizabeth said...

Oh Thomas! I'm both sorry to hear of your news, and excited to hear of your new venture.

Sometimes, when things seem to be at their worst, they're disguised as something really great. Best wishes to you on a successful "something great!"

Kathryn Doyle said...

I know that you are going to turn this into a fantastic opportunity - you already have! I have a couple of ideas I'll pass on via email. You are the best!

Sheri said...

You will come out on top of all this Thomas, I am sure of it. Be honest here - wouldn't the REAL dream job be all that you described (being self employed) and all the while music from the 80's (AKA Disco) playing in the background while you glide through the day! Ah! I can picture it in head now...


Jennifer said...

I totally think it's a sign. You are meant to, shall we say, diversify your income stream. =) Good luck with everything. I know you'll be fine. The new site looks great!

Apple said...

Good luck! I'm certain you'll build your business quickly.

Laura said...

I wish you all the good fortune in the world. I wish I had the courage to do what you are doing. This mid-life stuff really sucks sometimes.