Friday evening I attended the Apple Store's rollout of "Jaguar", Mac OS 10.2. As usual Apple's logic is a little mystifying: this really should have been called version 10.5, to show how significant the differences are. Most of the changes are good, although there's been definite casualties: some of the applications that depend on the Unix underpinnings of OS X broke. As it turned out, the Unix shell I use (zsh 4.0) could be repaired simply by switching to the copy of zsh that OS X came with--previous versions came with zsh 3.0--and my MUCK client came back to life from a simple recompile. My closed-source, commercial text editor, Pepper, is likely to stay dead, though: two weeks ago Pepper's quirky developer decided to pull the plug, before making it Jaguar-compatible.
I've told myself I'm on a "working vacation," and objectively I can look around and point to specific things that are getting worked on. But my story collection is still waiting, I haven't worked on In Our Image in months, and I've added nothing to my "portfolio" other than the XML résumé. And I'm not sure I like the look of my portfolio index page, anyway--maybe I should make it look more corporate. And and and.
My first unemployment check came yesterday. Doing the math, my actual "pay" is 34.5% of my previous net pay. Philosophically I agree with the argument "if unemployment paid enough to be comfortable, that'd be a disincentive to work," but that couldn't pay for both my rent and car payment--and my rent is a much smaller percentage of my income than is usually the case. I'm not sure that actually calculating a value based on the person's real circumstances, not their most recent income, would be such a disincentive, particularly since you have to be looking for work to get the money in the first place.
Even so, my budget won't collapse yet, which is a plus.
My "Monster-free" job hunting approach has so far been neutral. I'm still finding places to send résumés to, and still not getting return responses, although I'm getting better at sending out followups. I continue to see jobs in places other than Tampa that I'm qualified for, although I know they're places with greater competition. I'm not getting any solicitations from recruiters currently, either, but that's not much of a change.
I'm going to try to find "networking" groups like the ones I've found in Tampa (that I wrote about last entry) in San Jose. If you're one of my Silicon Valley friends, let me know if you know of any such groups. It's still likely I'll head that way--the only nibble I've gotten here is that contract position I still haven't heard back on. I know of people in the SF Bay Area who've been out of work for many months, but I'm either optimistic or arrogant enough to think I could manage something. I'd enjoy working for a low-paying non-profit for a while, as long as it could generate more money than I'd make from unemployment checks. (There are many more environmental non-profits in California than there are in Florida.)
Maybe that's not quite optimism or arrogance. Maybe it's just that if I'm going to be out of work, I'd like to turn it into an adventure and be out of work in a brand new place.