Shortly after the New Year, I was laid off from my job. It was rough adjusting to the change. I needed to find a new job, and I also had a whole lot of time to bike, but unfortunately winter set in. I was only able to squeeze in a few rides before Chicago became a frozen hellhole. The cold and the snow added to the misery as I couldn’t bike and was trapped indoors. I had a one-week membership trial at the gym, but it wasn’t the same as biking. When the weather was “nice” and I wanted to take a break from my job search, I took a quick ride to the library or around the block.
Finding the next job
One of the criteria for my next job was that it would be with a company that would value my skills and was bikeable. I’d researched companies I want to work for, and if the job description seemed right, the very next thing I did was to map out a bike route and determine if it was accessible and then I submit my resume. 20 miles is really the ideal radius of “bikeable” distance. Otherwise, I would have to rely on public transportation to help me get there.
I had some interviews but was too scared to bike commute to an interview. I look professional on paper, and didn’t want to jeopardize or give people the wrong impression that I wasn’t “serious”. Also, being in a suit with no knowledge of where the bathrooms were to clean up would have added too much stress as I do like to look presentable.
I only included this blog on my resume if I thought it would be relevant. I interviewed for a job in the Sears Tower – which has a bike valet, but was not offered the position. Some people looked on LinkedIn and found out more about me and found my blog. Bicycling turned out to be a good conversation piece and I think some interviewers thought I was some sort of novelty.
The job search was frustrating at times, but like anything else, I had to persevere and focus on finding a new opportunity. Resilience and adaptability were two things I am familiar with, especially being able to bike 20 miles to and from work. I eventually accepted a job offer that was in line with my skills and career goals. This new position is closer and near a bike trail (still 20+ miles round trip). I have some time off before I actually start work, so I am enjoying myself now.
Being laid off made me appreciate the benefits of bicycling, including saving money and managing stress.
Being laid off meant that I had to be very conservative financially. That meant biking when it was safe enough to visit the local grocery stores to purchase food. That also meant biking to the library to pick up reading or entertainment materials to keep myself occupied. Biking also meant I didn’t have to pay for public transportation and let me get in some exercise.
To clear my mind and to give myself a break from my job search, I would hop on my bike and go for a daytime ride. Biking around in the daytime is certainly fun because of less traffic. It also distracted me from dwelling on the fact that I didn’t have a job. On super cold days I’d just go down to the bike room and wipe off my bike and relube the chain and pump up the tires. I didn’t go biking, but I did prep my bike to be ready.
Although I didn’t get in as much biking as I could have this winter, I am employed again and look forward to bicycle commuting to my new job when the weather is warmer.