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IT Layoff "Damage Control?"

By AnalogBoy in Internet
Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 08:56:38 PM EST
Tags: Help! (Ask Kuro5hin) (all tags)
Help! (Ask Kuro5hin)

Okay, I have a feeling this has been asked before.. But a series of recent events has put me in quite a situation - that I don't know how i'm going to get out of. The cap of the issue was i was part of a "Downsizing". I'm sure others here have had the same experience - so I have to ask.. no plead - Help. Perhaps i'll build a geek unemployment FAQ..

How they justified laying off arguably their best admin (I'm not being full of myself.. you would need to see the context), I don't know. But, they did. This is the 3rd time in as many jobs as this has happened to me. The DSL company I worked for bit it, the national company I worked for had a serious financial situation, and now this. But, enough of the background.

Fortunately, i have no dependents. I'm in a massive amount of debt - and i'm only 21. I'm a pretty good admin, having dedicated myself for the last 4 years to reading every bit of literature I can get my hands on, purchasing systems, learning all I can about them. From a technical standpoint, i'm able and experienced, to a point beyond my years. But, still being more or less a kid, i'm scared. I have a house, a car, and loans. I've contemplated starting anew - but, i'm not sure how to go about it with minimum impact on my credit, and other figures that follow me around. I want another job in the IT field, of course.. But i may have to move. The prospect of selling my house scares me. Unemployment will only get me so far. I'm close to completing a certification, which in this industry, won't hurt. I already have 4 major certifications behind my name (3 from sun, 1 from MS). I have no college education. Recent events have sapped my savings clean.

I've spent the last 48 hours contemplating how best to control the damage this event will cause - so anyone here who has had experience in this, please offer any advice?

My questions, in short..

1: Should I just give up, let them foreclose, take my car, etc.. and ruin my credit life? Declare chapter whatever?

2: Should I complete my certification?

3: How should I deal with my creditors?

4: Aside from the globally known job boards.. What else is good..


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


The IT Market is..
o Recovering 41%
o Not Recovering 31%
o Falling 10%
o Dead 2%
o Buried 10%
o Resurrected 2%

Votes: 67
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Also by AnalogBoy

Display: Sort:
IT Layoff "Damage Control?" | 66 comments (56 topical, 10 editorial, 0 hidden)
To All Employees (4.20 / 10) (#2)
by zephc on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 01:57:32 AM EST


Because of the economic downturn, and budget cuts, all system administrators will be replaced by a five line shell script.

Good day,
The Boss
Penetrobe Systems, Inc.

question: (none / 0) (#59)
by kstop on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 01:32:02 PM EST

what does the fifth line do?

K. -

[ Parent ]

It starts with 'rm'... (none / 0) (#60)
by nstenz on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 06:50:24 PM EST

...and you can probably figure out the ending.

Yeah, one of the parting admins wrote it. It's beautiful.

[ Parent ]

Get some professional financial help (4.85 / 14) (#4)
by FattMattP on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 02:02:12 AM EST

You should seek out professional financial help. I know that in the United States that there is an organization called Consumer Credit Counseling. I had a friend in Atlanta who worked there for some time and, if memory serves correct, they do not charge for their services. I believe they are funded by the credit card companies. They do more than tell you what you should already know about managing your money. They can negotiate with your creditors on your behalf to help you to receive lower interest rates and put a plan together to pay your bills until you are on more solid ground.

Do not allow your bank to foreclose on your house or take your car if you can help it. You will ruin your credit for quite some time doing that. You can always sell your house and your car. You should concentrate on getting some income somehow. Don't allow working at a department store or flipping burgers be beneath you. You can always quit one job (burgers) to move up to a better paying one (dept. store) until you get the job you want (IT). Having some type of job will also help your credibility when you talk to your creditors. Even if you aren't able to make the full payments, they will at least see that you are trying. Depending on the creditor, that can go a long way.

I know how depressed you must feel. I, too, was out of work for several months just as some here on K5 have been and still are. I had to resort to odd jobs like lawn and handyman work to make ends meet even with unemployment checks. It's depressing to be swinging a hammer putting up kitchen cabinets when you'd rather be writing code. But I made an effort to talk about my skills to people I came in contact with. This is a good way to find a job. In fact, it's how I found mine. Even if you don't find a full-time job that way, you're likely to encounter people who need help with their computers. I did make some money showing a couple of people how to use their computers and answer their questions. This type of networking is still a good way to find jobs.

a few things: (5.00 / 7) (#10)
by labradore on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 03:52:59 AM EST

Make a budget and cut it. If your car is worth more than the debt you owe on it or if it is worth more than $12,000 then you should probably trade it in or sell it and either use public transportation (if you can) or buy a cheaper (but reliable!) vehicle ($5,000 range where I live). Make a budget and cut it. Talk to your creditors, especially if you have a bank loan. Ask to only pay interest on the loans or mortgages for a year or 6 months. Make a budget and cut it. Talk to your credit card companies and negotiate your rate lower--this often works. Pay the minimum payments on time. You definately need to get a job. It doesn't matter what but get at least a part-time job while you are searching for the new job that you want and get all the unemployment benefits that you can. Get a roommate. Make a budget and cut it. Selling your house should be of last resort.

In the worst case you probably will end up in a job that you don't like and you will have to sell your house and ride the bus. If you take control of your situation meticulously and stay in contact with your creditors then most of the time losing your job won't be a good reason to bankrupt you.

[ Parent ]
I just had to go through the same thing... (4.30 / 10) (#6)
by freddie on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 02:07:42 AM EST

You've been doing amazingly well for a 21-year old, you even have bought a house!

I guess you may have to sell the house, and sell the car. Avoid defaulting if you can, I'm not sure how it works but they might try to collect it from you later on. Even bankrupcy may mean that you still have to keep making some payments.

Next time you land a job, just be very careful not to spend much money, at least until you have at least year's worth of salary saved up.

If you have any kind of niche skills where there isn't a heck of a lot of competition, that might be your best bet for landing a job, right now.

Imagination is more important than knowledge. -- Albert Einstein
Yeah, but.. (none / 0) (#49)
by AnalogBoy on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 10:37:57 PM EST

I'm doing good for a 21 year old. I know. I've heard that a lot. I pushed myself very hard to learn what I did. I won't give a complete biography, but due to part of my nature, i'm pretty introverted. I also spent a good deal of my adolescent years in a pretty rural area - and i went to a school that was populated by rednecks, clique-of-the-week mansonites, and of course the ubiquitous pseudogangs that roam the halls.

I also got really lucky, entering the workforce a week after graduating highschool (with a pretty unimpressive GPA.. I didn't try in scholastic academics very hard, as here in Tennessee, your generic comprehensive high school isn't. ) Within 1/2 a year i was working in IT as a lan tech and, then, a helpdesk guy, then, a Jr. Unix Admin. I spent my nights studying, break/fixing things in various ways. (Enter the windows registry, purposefully corrupt.. that kind of thing.) I've done some pretty spectacular things for a 21 year old. But having 4 years experience in the industry is a bit misleading. Counting all the 14-16 hour days, weekends, and those annoying interdimensional extra days i've put in, i'd like to think its more like 5 or 5 1/2. I've been exposed to enough different environments and read enough "Best Practices" guides that I can safely say im better than average, on the Jr. Admin scale. The only thing holding be back, or was, is the fact that my previous employer had a policy of making you feel quite.. little. Bad pay, worse hours, 24/7 on-call. Benefits which, at the onset, we were told not to use (because the company pays for them). Strict rules about physical security (in a place which really shouldn't have had any). Perhaps getting laid off from there was the best thing that has happened to me - it will be a long time before I know.
Save the environment, plant a Bush back in Texas.
Religous Tolerance (And click a banner while you're there)
[ Parent ]
Yeah, but.. (none / 0) (#61)
by PD on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 09:18:21 PM EST

You would think that the experience you've already gained should help you in your quest for your next job. As said above, talk to your creditors & work out a deal. IF they want to squeeze you, dump the house, and spread the cash out to last you 'till your next job.

[ Parent ]
Go to college (3.80 / 5) (#7)
by Neuromancer on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 02:15:02 AM EST

In times like these, it is the college education that will give you the edge. Not only that, but you can live pretty well off of scholarships and the like. Sell the house, enroll in school, and you'll be a much happier man.

agreed (4.00 / 1) (#9)
by zephc on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 02:25:15 AM EST

I got out of IT around august 2000, just as the economy was beginning to move towards a slump. I had lots of $$ saved, and went back to school full time, now I'm about a year from graduating (full time even during the summers shaved a lot of time off). When I get out with my BS in CS, I will have a lot more to offer a potential employer, and the degree which bosses seem to like =] (engineers like to see them too, but they want to see you PROVE your skills)

[ Parent ]
Why I disagree (4.66 / 3) (#20)
by localroger on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 11:07:47 AM EST

A college degree does not give you an edge if there are no jobs at all open in your field. All you will be is a newbie in a field full of more experienced people. Been there, did that, got the T-shirt back in 1984.

It looks to me like things are going in that direction again, so the last thing I'd advise anyone to do is go into massive debt to get a degree. You have no guarantee that that degree will be worth the paper it's printed on 4 or 5 years from now.

Since the author is already in deep shit I have advised him to seek a more secure, lower-paying job and get his financial house in order. The degrees, certifications, and whatnot can be taken care of once the overall situation has stabilized.

Going into debt and staying out of the job market for 4 years is enough of a risk when you're starting out in life. When you're already massively in debt it's not a very good reaction to an already bad situation.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

I totally disagree with you... (4.33 / 3) (#21)
by yankeehack on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 11:40:39 AM EST

My degree, even though it "only" a liberal arts degree, has served me extremely well in the IT world. I'm not an uber-coder-developer type, so much of the work I have done is either in support or training, but still, at least those are bread and butter positions. To put it simply, people are always going to need help with their computers.

Even though those awesome bleeding edge high tech development jobs are seemingly evaporating, which is why you coder types are having problems finding new positions (and I've noticed it, since I'm starting to look for another job), but Technology isn't going away, the emphasis is just shifting to a more conservative stance.

All I know is that my degree has made me more flexible. I'd say that spending $30K on a college degree (in whatever) is going to get the author farther in life than spending $12K on certs that expire when a new OS or new product is released.

Thousands of reasons why we are fighting a just war.
[ Parent ]

Degrees and flexibility (4.75 / 4) (#31)
by localroger on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 01:40:34 PM EST

All I know is that my degree has made me more flexible. I'd say that spending $30K on a college degree (in whatever) is going to get the author farther in life than spending $12K on certs that expire when a new OS or new product is released.

I'd definitely agree with this. However, neither is as worthwhile as $50,000 earned while you spend a couple of years working in an entry-level position with the actual hardware and actual end users.

The ability to work with people in an actual work environment is worth more than any college degree, and a lot of HR personnel will tell you that. Service industries in particular are likely to value experience over sheepskin, since the one lesson college can't teach you is that life isn't school.

If you envision yourself coding really efficient beta-spline rendering algorithms, you'll need at least a BS degree in engineering or hard science just to expose you to the math. But for working with people, the best training comes from actually working with people. You don't get that in college. You get it on the job.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

I totally disagree (4.00 / 1) (#37)
by Neuromancer on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 04:02:07 PM EST

I'm a computer programmer who recently graduated from college. It took a couple of months for me to find a job, but TRUST me, without a degree my company would not have even looked at me for a job as a programmer.

[ Parent ]
Needs to be amended (none / 0) (#66)
by epepke on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 01:19:59 PM EST

You're right. The advice needs to be amended.

If you're smart and you have a college degree and you did more in those four years than just smoke dope and read Cliff notes then you will always do OK.

People who do that don't have a field. They have fields.

The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett

[ Parent ]
Missing poll option: Who cares? (3.00 / 2) (#11)
by goatse on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 03:53:54 AM EST

I have a number of friends who work in the IT sector and I did some part time work in collage, but I have a hard time carring about how it is doing as a job market now.

My dad once said, "If your smart and have a collage degree, you will never have trouble finding work." This seems pretty much true. When I look at my close friends from undergrad who are now doing IT work, the least qualified has gone through three IT jobs this year (one faild start up, one job he hated for personal reasons, and one that was next door to the world trade center). He has a decent job that he likes now. I don't think he was ever out of work for very long.

What cave did your dad live in during the 80's? (4.83 / 6) (#18)
by localroger on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 10:38:19 AM EST

My dad once said, "If your smart and have a collage degree, you will never have trouble finding work."

This is true in a strong economy. It most certainly was not true during the 80's and shows every sign of not being true again Real Soon Now. You poor kids who got out of school post-1990 have no idea what you're in for.

BTW the place you go to show what hoops you're willing to jump through for potential future employers is college. Collage is an artwork made from numerous smaller individually complete pieces. Not to mention the contraction of you are is spelled you're.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Collage opportunities (5.00 / 5) (#22)
by pmacko on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 11:41:31 AM EST

Do you have a collage degree? Do you know for sure that there is not a worldwide shortage of collage experts? Maybe this guy's father is right and if you are an expert in gluing stuff together, you will never lack for work!

[ Parent ]
Likely true in any economy (4.00 / 3) (#23)
by goatse on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 11:42:34 AM EST

"Smart" was a part of that statment. If your one of the average brainless slobs then your fate is essentually based on luck. If youy smarter then 80% of the population then you can always go relearn a new skill in a short period of time (worst come to worst). You know, every time there is a serious economic downturn there is this waive of really smart and educated people who end up doing things like teaching high school. Come to think of it I know one girl teaching high school who is smarter then any of my high school teachers (even the one high school teacher I had with a PhD.) I'm not really shure why she is doing it instead of going back to grad school, but there you go.

[ Parent ]
"Smart" doesn't cut it (4.62 / 8) (#30)
by localroger on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 01:33:44 PM EST

When there are more applicants than jobs, you do not get selected based on smarts. It's true that the sheepskin will put you ahead of others at some companies (just as it will count against you if you need work, any work, and apply for a job flipping burgers or working in an oilfield).

After that, though, it's not about what you know, it's about who you know. When the economy tightens old employees come back looking for lost or abandoned jobs; they usually get preference over new hires. (We know what Frank can do; who's this Roger guy?) The guy whose Dad plays golf with the HR manager has an advantage over the guy who merely got 1490 on his SAT and graduated with a 3.9 average. The guy who belonged to the same Yale fraternity as the VP of the division gets the nod over some poor sap who merely knows how to do the job blindfolded.

It's that way everywhere. Companies that have allegedly objective criteria (such as that degree requirement, or skill tests) have ways around them for those who "belong."

If I had stayed in college (I left with a 3.49 average and 96 hours toward an EE degree) I would have graduated in 1984. In 1984 it didn't matter who you knew or what college you went to or what your grades or skills were; the economy was in a tailspin and there were no jobs for new EE's. The very few job openings all went to Frank or the friend once removed of the HR admin. By the time there were new jobs, a few from '87 onward and finally plenty in the 90's, that degree from 1984 would have been worthless. I'd have had no engineering experience but be competing with people whose degrees were fresher and more up to date.

Sometimes college simply isn't a good idea. And I think that, in the computer industry, this is one of those times.

The flipside of your Dad's comment is that if you are that smart, you don't (or shouldn't) need the degree anyway. I don't miss having my degree, but I resent the hell out of the 2 years I spent chasing Horatio Alger fairy tales instead of getting on with my life. It's might not be such a bad idea if you know how it will come out and you can spare the time, but there are no guarantees. And I'd consider it too much of a commitment when the outcome is as uncertain as it is today.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Omission can be good (5.00 / 1) (#36)
by gauze on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 03:53:51 PM EST

When there are more applicants than jobs, you do not get selected based on smarts. It's true that the sheepskin will put you ahead of others at some companies (just as it will count against you if you need work, any work, and apply for a job flipping burgers or working in an oilfield).

Which is why you don't mention your college degree when you apply for these types of jobs.

It's not like those types of places want a resume, you are filling out an application.

There's nothing wrong with a PC that a little UNIX won't cure.
[ Parent ]
A good idea (5.00 / 3) (#50)
by quartz on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 10:38:53 PM EST

Sometimes college simply isn't a good idea. And I think that, in the computer industry, this is one of those times.

Oh yes it is. An excellent idea, actually. Nothing more relaxing than to spend the recession away from the crazy world of stressful jobs, sheltered within the cozy confines of academia. With what money, you ask? Why, with all the money you made working highly-paid IT jobs during the boom, of course.

Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke, and fuck 'em even if they can.
[ Parent ]
You're [sic] in for a rude awakening. (none / 0) (#40)
by vambo rool on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 06:08:02 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Thus (none / 0) (#41)
by medham on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 06:47:41 PM EST

I noted that the parent didn't get it right; but if you correct it yourself, I think the sic is superfluous.

An example:

I want to go wiv [sic] Jesus,
I want to go wiv
[sic] Cris [sic],
I can go wiv [sic] Jesus,
If I ac
[sic] real nice.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
[ Parent ]

Here. (none / 0) (#42)
by vambo rool on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 07:07:03 PM EST


[ Parent ]
That reminds me (none / 0) (#44)
by medham on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 07:30:04 PM EST

Of when I was taking my sixth-grade annular fusion circular without studying for it at all; and, when Mr. Cheesy asked me why I had completely futzed the DT-lithiumization questions, I told him I was being "ironic."

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
[ Parent ]

To quote a motivational guru (ughh =) (4.50 / 6) (#13)
by Jel on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 05:08:38 AM EST

Tony Robbins had some great advice on this subject, which I'll paraphrase, since I didn't take it to heart enough to remember =)

Don't just choose what to do as individual decisions. In fact, take the opposite approach. Decide what you REALLY want (as in, deep, deep down -- your ideal lifestyle). Then imagine you already had it. Now, imagine, since you have everything you want, how you got it all. What steps did you take to get there?

Seriously, this might sound like total crap, but it's a great way to "think outside the box". Give it a shot. It can't hurt.

Oh, and... all the best =^)

well yeah (none / 0) (#14)
by zephc on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 06:59:13 AM EST

a great way to think about thinsg is in reverse =] Doing a maze is usually MUCH easier backwards than forwards, because the path is clearer, and there are fewer branches =]

It Q (from ST:TNG) who said "... how little do you mortals understand time. Must you be so linear, Jean Luc?"

Like ya said, think outside the box =]

[ Parent ]
Dealing with hard times (4.92 / 27) (#19)
by localroger on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 10:59:25 AM EST

ObScold: I hope you've taken a lesson from this. You've made a common mistake. If you get out of it with your credit rating intact, please don't make it again, OK? Credit is a double-edged tool that can get you into trouble even faster than it can save your ass in an emergency.

1: Should I just give up, let them foreclose, take my car, etc.. and ruin my credit life? Declare chapter whatever?

You've got separate problems. Let's deal with them separately.

  • Car: Definitely get rid of the car. Sell it if you can; if you're upside-down on it this becomes part of "should I let them foreclose." You do need a car, but you do not need a new car. A '92 Toyota Corolla is just as reliable as a 2002 Beemer.
  • House: Contact your mortgage company and let them know what has happened. Some companies will work with you to avoid foreclosure; they don't want to foreclose, since they never get all the money. They may be willing to give you some breathing space if you are actively seeking another job.
  • Unsecured credit: See if you can get your bills consolidated. If you're running a balance at typical CC interest rates you're getting screwed. Try to shift balances around to low-interest cards. Usually if you're up to your a$$ in CC debt you're getting new card offers all the time; take advantage of those introductory rates and shift balances around.
2: Should I complete my certification?

No. Experience is more important than certifications or degrees; employers who don't see it that way aren't worth working for (trust me). Look outside of IT. You may be able to find a position as a network admin for a smaller company whose primary business is not IT where your experience will be appreciated, and you will be seen as a "bargain" precisely because you don't have that certification. You will not find a job paying $100K this way but you may find one paying $40K and job security will be infinite. In hard times, this is important.

3: How should I deal with my creditors?

Don't let the situation drag out. If you can't make payments write them and explain why. (If you use the phone, ALWAYS back up in writing, phone calls are convenient but do not preserve your rights.) Many will negotiate to give you breathing room. If you are already too deep in, look into declaring chapter 11. This is not the end of the world. You will, in fact, get credit offers out the yinyang because you can't do it again for 7 years. There will be negative repercussions, but they are better than living in a cardboard box. That's why bankruptcy laws exist.

4: Aside from the globally known job boards.. What else is good..

See #2. I personally think we are entering another 80's-style recession and job security will be much more important than salary. Look outside of IT, at smaller local companies who will appreciate what you can do instead of looking for sheepskin. And if you do lose your car and house, when you recover (fingers crossed) live more modestly until you are secure. Just because they are willing to sell you a house with a $1,400 mortgage does not mean it's a good idea to buy one.

I can haz blog!

excellent advice! (3.66 / 3) (#26)
by Signal 11 on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 12:16:53 PM EST

That is perhaps the best practical advice post I have ever seen posted to Kuro5hin. I would give you a +500 if I could.

~ Siggy

Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

Fiscal Irresponsibility (1.66 / 3) (#25)
by truth versus death on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 12:10:16 PM EST

Or, how to to make the economy even worse by doing something.

I have one question on the topic of the current economical downturn: Did George Bush's tax cut help you?

"any erection implies consent"-fae
[ Trim your Bush ]
Factless politicizing (none / 0) (#27)
by theElectron on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 12:25:13 PM EST

Did George Bush's tax cut help you?

Because if it didn't, feel free to put your $200 in an envelope and mail it back to the IRS. Problem solved, eh?

Join the NRA!
[ Parent ]

Facts (none / 0) (#29)
by truth versus death on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 01:24:11 PM EST

Problem is, lots of people didn't get that $200. Or $100. Or even $50. But they did lose out since the economy went South. Trying to bankrupt the government by selling off its surplus to potential voters (especially the rich) is not the way to cure the economy. Neither is limiting government funding for certain types of research since part of your voting block is zealous.

"any erection implies consent"-fae
[ Trim your Bush ]
[ Parent ]
We all know your agenda. (none / 0) (#39)
by vambo rool on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 05:59:31 PM EST

But this helps in what way, exactly?

If someone were lying maimed in the middle of a highway having been hit by a car, would you lecture him on the evils of the automotive industry or would you get him to a hospital?

Nevermind, I think I know the answer.

[ Parent ]
Re:We all know your agenda. (none / 0) (#55)
by truth versus death on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 03:39:30 AM EST

Did I personally attack you?

"any erection implies consent"-fae
[ Trim your Bush ]
[ Parent ]
Re:We all know your agenda. (none / 0) (#56)
by truth versus death on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 03:43:33 AM EST

We all know your agenda.

Thought about it some more.

Who and what are you talking about?

"any erection implies consent"-fae
[ Trim your Bush ]
[ Parent ]
My Advice: (5.00 / 8) (#28)
by agent on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 12:28:24 PM EST

1: Should I just give up, let them foreclose, take my car, etc.. and ruin my credit life? Declare chapter whatever?

Sell your car if possible and buy a used one. Unless, of course, the used car payments will be more than your current payments (which is sometimes the case). Depending on where you live, you may be able to get by without a car. Also, I would not foreclose on the house. Selling the house might be a better idea (especially if it has appreciated in value). Declare Chapter 11 only as a last resort.

2: Should I complete my certification?

No. Certifications are rarely the deciding factor on hiring and firing. I've noticed that the biggest factor seems to be college degree, atlease among my clique.

3: How should I deal with my creditors?

As it was said above, call AND write them. Most places are more than willing to help you out if you are sincere in not wanting to rip them off. Consolidation is another option.

4: Aside from the globally known job boards.. What else is good..

Look into Universities that are seeking help. Alot of the time, you can negotiate room and board (campus housing, but still it's less expense) and get free classes on top of your salary (which won't be nearly as high as it would be in other jobs... but the perks at Universities can be worth alot of $$$). Also, make sure you put 'Willing to relocate' on the resume... it can help you land jobs that otherwise you might not be considered for.
ROT13 my email address to contact me
AIM: TheAgen7
wait.... (2.00 / 4) (#34)
by /dev/trash on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 03:20:28 PM EST

You're the best admin but you have no degree????

Updated 02/20/2004
New Site
I didn't say that.. (3.33 / 3) (#38)
by AnalogBoy on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 05:27:50 PM EST

I said i was THE best admin THERE.. or at least, thats how I intended it to be interpreted.
Save the environment, plant a Bush back in Texas.
Religous Tolerance (And click a banner while you're there)
[ Parent ]
I think the point is... (2.80 / 5) (#43)
by Ken Pompadour on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 07:18:26 PM EST

You need to find a career.

Free hint - Sys-Admin isn't a career.

...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
[ Parent ]
yeah.. (3.00 / 1) (#47)
by AnalogBoy on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 10:07:54 PM EST

But it's certainly not burger flipping, either.
Save the environment, plant a Bush back in Texas.
Religous Tolerance (And click a banner while you're there)
[ Parent ]
Don't know any gray beards, huh? (4.00 / 2) (#62)
by hag on Tue Feb 19, 2002 at 09:01:52 AM EST

I know people that have been sysadmining for 20+ years. News to them.

[ Parent ]
hmm.. (5.00 / 1) (#64)
by AnalogBoy on Tue Feb 19, 2002 at 11:05:23 PM EST

Actually, i'd venture that sysadmin is a career. Perhaps you mistook "sysadmin" as "computer operator" or "lan tech". Systems Administrator is a broad generalization nowadays covering Sys Engineering, Sys Management, etc..
Save the environment, plant a Bush back in Texas.
Religous Tolerance (And click a banner while you're there)
[ Parent ]
On creditors (4.96 / 25) (#35)
by onyxruby on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 03:44:53 PM EST

Before I started working in IT I worked as a professional skip tracer for a few years. My job was to find people that didnt want to be found and then collect money from them. Thus having worked for creditors I can tell you what will help from their perspective. This is probably more than you wanted to know, but what the heck.

  • First, and most importantly, you need to find out exactly who you owe, and how much you owe them. This can be a bit overwhelming, but it very important that you know this. I worked with people on this and surprised most of them by showing that they could meet their minimums with their unemployment and not starve the kids.
  • Second, take your favorite spreadsheet and lay out how much you must pay for your minimum payments to each creditor each month and when you have to pay it. This will give you a visual feel and is more useful than simply adding up the minimums for each month. Congratulations, you've just made a budget.
  • Once you have your financial layout, look and see if your minimum payments exceed your unemployment. Dont forget to add food and gas to these amounts. If your unemployment exceeds these amounts than you are going to be ok. If your unemployment will not meet these amounts than look for expenses that can be put off. The first place to look for these is student loans. Call up your student loan companies and explain to them that you are out of work and want a forbearance for a few months. Most are more than happy to oblige. It is better for your credit to have a forbearance than late payments!
  • If you are not able to make minimums even after your student loans, than you need to contact your creditors. This applies even more so if you are already late and have accounts that are in collections. It will go far better for you with your creditor if you contact them vs their having to use someone like myself to contact you. If you are honest with your creditor about what is happening, they will often be more than willing to help you out. They can reduce your interest rates, late fees and minimum payments - you just have to convince them that it is in their best interst to do so. The best way to do this is to show them that this will allow you to make a payment plan that will get your account with them caught up and current.
  • The important thing is not to panic. Too many people do this and stop paying all creditors all togethor. This will only hurt you in the long run and will cost you significantly more in terms of higher interest rates and late fees. This will also cause you stress as these people call you up looking for their money. These people are annoying to deal with and it is best to avoid them all togethor. Stopping payment to all of your creditors will also hurt your employability. Right or wrong, many employers view your credit as a non biased representation of how responsible you are. Many employers demand a security clearance of all potential employees, especially those in IT that have far greater access to privelaged information. This is also a factor for a Government security clearance and can prevent you from getting neccasary clearance.

    If your unemployment has run out and you have no means to make any payments than you want to let creditors slide in this order:

  • Student Loans
  • Credit cards
  • Utilities
  • Car
  • Landlord or mortgage

    If you are able to get back to work and are having trouble with creditors than I would advise contacting the CCCS(Consumer Credit Counseling Service). They are a non-profit agency set up by large credit companies to help people like you. It is in their's and your's mutual best interest to keep yourself out of bankruptcy. They do this by helping you set up a budget and talking to your creditors. They can also get your interest rates reduced or removed altogethor. They can do the same thing for late payments - the majority of creditors will stop late payment fees for people enrolled in the CCCS. This alone can save you hundreds of dollars per month. Enrollment in the CCCS will also prevent what is called a "charge off". A charge off is legally considered a bad debt and written off by the creditors as a legal loss. This is the third worst thing that can happen to your credit(the first is a judgement, the second a bankruptcy). Whatever you do, avoid charge offs! An added benefit to being in a CCCS program is that your creditors will reinstate your accounts when you are paid up. This will also prevent your creditors from calling you!

    One warning though, their are many scams that are setup to look similiar to the CCCS, some even have the same initials, but the letters stand for something else. CCCS offices are scattered throughout the country, but you can find out where your local branch is by going here and calling their 800 number. They can then direct you to your local office, and this will bypass the scam companies. One hint, if they are trying to get you to take out a loan, than you have hit a scam.

    The last resort is bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is nothing more than a formal legal declaration that your income is not capable of meeting your expenses. It is generally best to avoid this if you can. This will either be on your credit seven years or ten dependant upon whether you elect to use chapter 7 or 13. If your sitation is bad enough, it is actually viewed as being resposible to declare bankruptcy. It is also possible for a creditor of yours to petition the court for a bankruptcy on your behalf against your will. If they can prove that you meet the legal definition, than the court will force you into bankruptcy. This will result in forfeiture of assets beyond what you are allowed to keep (most commonly cars worth more than $4000) at auction to meet your creditors payments. If you are going to have to declare bankruptcy, you are far better doing so on your own, for then you can at least sell your car yourself and get a far better price for it.

    Feel free to email me if you have additional questions on any of this.

    The moon is covered with the results of astronomical odds.

  • This comment (4.33 / 3) (#45)
    by wiredog on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 08:06:33 PM EST

    Turned a "-1, dump it" into a "+1, section".

    Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
    [ Parent ]
    Comment +9 (4.66 / 3) (#52)
    by mjs on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 10:46:18 PM EST

    I spent a lot of years working for financial institutions: this comment is correct. Print it out and follow the advice. It will save you much headache and lots of unpleasant phone calls.

    [ Parent ]
    I'd love to email.. (none / 0) (#63)
    by AnalogBoy on Tue Feb 19, 2002 at 11:03:52 PM EST

    but you left no address I can find. Then again im pretty tired. Great comment, thanks. I'm taking a lot of this advice, i've drafted a letter to my creditors explaining my situation. A few of them have offered forbearance.

    Hopefully I won't be unemployed very long. Unfortunately my mortgage company doesn't believe in accepting piecemeal payments - If i had $800 and my mortgage payment is $810, they would deny the payment. They're just assholes like that. They're putting me into loss mitigation now. Better that foreclosure, I guess.
    Save the environment, plant a Bush back in Texas.
    Religous Tolerance (And click a banner while you're there)
    [ Parent ]
    Sorry about that (none / 0) (#65)
    by onyxruby on Wed Feb 20, 2002 at 04:18:26 AM EST

    Sorry about that, thought my email was set to show. I fixed that and it should now show.

    The moon is covered with the results of astronomical odds.
    [ Parent ]

    In hindsight... (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Robert S Gormley on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 08:26:51 PM EST

    Though this might not help you... In Australia, and, I'm sure, other places, many insurance companies offer "involuntary unemployment insurance" precisely aimed at staving off creditors in periods where you are retrenched etc.

    Let me apologize.. (4.33 / 3) (#48)
    by AnalogBoy on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 10:23:11 PM EST

    First off, let me apologize. I had just awakened when I wrote the above comment, and, being kind of in shock, wasn't paying too much attention to grammar or style.

    The reason I posted it here, instead of in my diary, is because I figure this impacts a lot of people, especially nowadays. I think perhaps a lot of IT people are reconsidering their future.

    Let me go ahead and clarify my original post.. for one, I didn't say I was the best admin out there - by far, I'm not (But i'm not one of the worst either.) The things I would love to have under my belt include a four year (or more) degree. I love learning, and think I made a tremendous mistake by not going to college before my life got incredibly complex. I had intended to correct that, later this year. Now those plans my be scrubbed (or, they may not be.. more on that later..) The admin staff at my previous employer were all "Todays best value" when they came off the market. The place has a revolving door. There had been 6 unix admins in my position in the last 4 years. Technical staff's chief complaint in a anonymous poll of the company was substandard pay. As UNIX Administrator, I had more knowledge about UNIX and 2000, their integration and behavior, than the so-called "Senior Administrator", who looks an awful lot like Sid Dabster of UF fame, but thinks more like Stef. And I got paid 10-15 grand less than the most conservative salary poll I read said someone with my experience and certifications should be paid.

    I love computers, always have. I can't think of anything else I would be really good at. I spend a massive amount of my free time reading. Solaris Internals, The Practice of System and Network Administration, the 2000 Sever Resource Kit.. anything I can get my hands on. My only regret is not having that 4 year degree.

    I don't have any savings left. A series of personal events has happened recently, in addition to my laughable pay rate at my employer, that have completely ruined my life financially. I had to dig into what little savings I had to fix my life.

    A question I really should have asked was "What if i wanted to start over.. go to college, and start completely anew." I have way too much debt. I kind of wish I could shrug it all off, and do the traditional college thing.

    Thanks to all for your advice.

    Save the environment, plant a Bush back in Texas.
    Religous Tolerance (And click a banner while you're there)
    of course. (none / 0) (#51)
    by AnalogBoy on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 10:39:55 PM EST

    Grammar still not perfect. Get over it, and pass me another Mike's Lemonade. :)
    Save the environment, plant a Bush back in Texas.
    Religous Tolerance (And click a banner while you're there)
    [ Parent ]
    Advice. (5.00 / 3) (#53)
    by mindstrm on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 12:18:28 AM EST

    1) Not being harsh.. but learn a lesson about the dangers of credit and extending yourself too far withotu really looking at the future. If you have to make payments for 5 years, make sure it's realistic that you can meet said payments for 5 years. This is much harder when dealing with a 25 year morgage on a house.
    Figure out why you owe so much money at the age of 21 and avoid getting into the same situation again. I can tell you, with confidence.. NOT owing money feels really, really good.

    2) Contact all your creditors, find out what you owe, and figure out what to do. Do NOT ignore it. As with all business.. deal with it up front and straight away. Don't make them chase you. This is REALLY important. You do it right, you come out, even if you lose everything, without trashing your credit record.
    Do not refuse to pay people. Talk to them, pay them something, work something out. Most sane creditors would rather work something out with you than see you declare bankruptcy.

    3) Don't kid yourself about experience. You may have a great amount of technical knowledge about various things and systems.. but you don't have experience 'well beyond your years'. You may have more broad technical knowledge than others in the same field. for the same amount of time, I have no doubt of that. But experience is something else entirely, and is NOT directly related to how broad your knowledge of the technology is. That being said, if you are good at what you do, you are good at what you do ;)

    4) Don't get hung up on 'losing' your house or your new car. Why? Because you don't even HAVE them yet. You are only 21. Don't get discouraged by losing anything.. it's probably not realistic that you have these things in the first place.
    Furthermore.. don't think that when you were making oodles of cash and all that it was the best time you will ever have in your life. That's very unlikely.

    5) Your certification.. go with what it costs. Decide how much it will really help you get in the door.. nobody else can answer that for you. No college/university? Think about going back. I'm not saying do it.. but think about it. Take a GOOD look at what you think you really want to do in this life, and get to work on it. You are only 21!

    One thing to consider (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by skim123 on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 01:29:27 AM EST

    Before selling the house, consider that some states allow you to keep your primary residence even if you declare bankruptcy (Texas is one, I think... read it about re: the Enron/Lay hearings). I don't know what the real estate market is like where you live, but if it's anything like it is here in San Diego, the last thing you want to do is to have to forcibly sell your house in a hurry. Here houses are jumping up in value 10-20% per annum... so, it may actually be wiser to go the bankruptcy route and keep your house to increase your overall equity.

    Of course, I may be misunderstanding how the whole house-keeping thing works. As with any major financial/legal decision, check with an accountant and lawyer first! :-)

    Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
    PT Barnum

    You get to keep the equity in your house (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by Secret Coward on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 04:21:46 AM EST

    I'm not a lawyer either, but the way I understand it, you only get to keep your house if it's paid for, or if you come to an agreement with the mortgage company.

    Prior to 9/11, congress was working on a bankruptcy bill. George W. was all excited about signing it. Then the senate passed an amendment that only let you keep $125,000 of equity in your house (which George W. objected to). I haven't heard anything about that bill since.

    Basically, I think the whole house-keeping bit is a loophole so that rich people can file for bankruptcy and still be rich. It doesn't do you any good if your house has no equity.

    [ Parent ]

    be careful (5.00 / 4) (#58)
    by sfischer on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 08:32:53 AM EST

    Take every comment posted here with a large grain of salt.

    For the most part, poster's here are not professional financial advisors. I'm sure that many of them have good opinions based on their own personal experiences. What worked for them may or may not work for you. Absorb as much as you can and then get some face-to-face advice from someone (preferrable multiple someones) you trust.

    Ignore all the petty whining about lack of jobs and whether or not you need a degree. Do what you need to survive and use this time to figure out what you really want to do and then make a plan to get there. I was laid off just over a year ago and got a decent job within a month; it wasn't my dream job but it pays the bills. I'm still there but am planning my next career change.

    Above all, don't panic. Try to realize that things happen for reasons you may not understand now. I assure you, you will see the reasoning or blessing behind it 6 months or a year from now.

    Good luck.


    You're lucky. (none / 0) (#67)
    by Empty_One on Mon Feb 25, 2002 at 08:59:57 PM EST

    Yes, believe it or not, You are a lucky man. Yes, I said lucky. Try having it happen to you at 29. That's what I'm going thru now. I've decided that my only hope is going back to school and finishing that CS degree. After a year and a half, you gotta do what you gotta do.
    "Barney sucks! Best Buy sucks! Sony Sucks! Microsoft sucks, Bill Gates is the anti-Christ and John Ashcroft can kiss my ass!" Wil Wheaton
    IT Layoff "Damage Control?" | 66 comments (56 topical, 10 editorial, 0 hidden)
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