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FRIDAY THE 13TH: day I'm out of a job and looking for work

PUBLISHED: 16:34 29 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:52 07 September 2010

David Hogarth, an IT project manager from Muswell Hill, is about to find himself out of work. He will be writing occasionally about job-hunting during the credit crunch and keeping readers up to date with his progress. Today was the day. After almost two

David Hogarth, an IT project manager from Muswell Hill, is about to find himself out of work. He will be writing occasionally about job-hunting during the credit crunch and keeping readers up to date with his progress.

Today was the day. After almost two years in a contract at a leading private healthcare provider, I was given notice that my contract will come to an end on Friday, February 13 (great date!). That's two months before it was due to end, and very much against the previous run of contract extensions.

Not that it was a great surprise. Things have clearly been getting tight - after all, who wouldn't think about cutting back on private medical insurance when the going gets tough? A consolidation of projects (I work as an IT project manager) and a reduction in the number of contractors was inevitable, and I was one of the most expensive project managers. Two years is a good contract length, and there isn't any reason to be aggrieved.

I am in fact experiencing a certain feeling of pleasure, a sense of relief and freedom. I was becoming a little bored by the work but it would have been reckless to take the initiative myself and leave the contract.

And, of course, it would surely be a case of the grass being greener - until arriving on the other side. For the moment though, I have the prospect of finding something new and interesting, maybe better paid (though that's probably a forlorn hope in the current climate). Anyway, there is the prospect of a welcome change in routine.

Now I need to get busy. I still have five weeks to work and there will be no slacking. Not much, anyway. A slowdown is inevitable, but I am still running several projects which have to be handed over to someone else.

They all need to be tidied up, so that I minimise any blame I get for things going wrong after I leave. Of course that can't be avoided, but it would be nice to leave things in such a way that someone will be sticking up for my good name!

Now I need to create a pipeline of work opportunities - it always takes time to build up momentum and the time while I am still earing is precious. A financial hole opens up very quickly when the income stops, and I can ill afford that.

Why am I writing this? One of my principles when I am not in work (and I will probably come back to this) is that it is a good idea to do something every day, over and above job hunting, that makes the day worthwhile.

Job hunting has to be done, but when I am working in a new role, I want to be able to look back, ask myself what I did during that period and have more to show for it than finding another job. I have wanted to write for longer than I can remember, and although this is not the best-selling novel of my dreams, it may come more easily.

If I offer any insights, tips or hints that help anybody else, I would be delighted. Failing that, it can be satisfying just to read something recognisable and think: "Yes, I know exactly what he means, that could be me." I don't yet know how baring my soul in writing will feel but in writing about how I deal with unemployment, I hope you enjoy reading my musings.

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