Is My Life Better Now than 4 Years Ago?

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I’m not necessarily talking about the economy here, just my own life. My personal experiences of life within the past four years. In short: yes

Unemployment

In 2008, I was working as a software developer in New Jersey. In mid-January of 2010 I was laid off from that job. I spent every single day job hunting, there were many openings in the web design/development sector around New Jersey/New York City.

I had several interviews within my second week of unemployment that did not go anywhere. I continued to apply for jobs every day. During the first week of February, I had two interviews and was offered a position by both companies, which turned into a bidding war over salary. While that was going on, I also received two callbacks from companies in NJ but was already set on one of the offers. In the end, I went with the position I thought I would enjoy more and by February 22nd I was working again, full-time as a Web Design/Marketing Admin in Manhattan.

In my time of being laid-off during the last 4 years, I was officially unemployed for 33 days. In that time I had five interviews and when I accepted the new position I was taking on new responsibilities and increasing my salary by $5K/year.

The Second Job Hunt

In November of 2011, after almost two years working for the position I accepted after unemployment, I began enjoying my job less and thought I could be making more money elsewhere. Since I already had a job this time, my hunt was fairly casual. I spent my weekends applying for jobs instead of daily. I was also very picky about the position. Salary, duties, and location (within Manhattan) were my top priorities. There were many job opportunities that I did not even apply to because they were located in Midtown Manhattan or mentioned certain requirements I did not like.

I was finally offered a job during mid-February 2012. I had first interviewed with this company, my current company, in December. I interviewed with a total of three companies but became pretty set on this one. After two more in-person interviews and three phone interviews I was finally offered the position in February (3 months after the first interview). By then I had let up on job hunting since I was sure I wanted this position.

This casual, high-standards job hunt lasted three months. In that time I had three interviews and when I accepted the new position I was hired as a Web Analyst and increased my salary this time by $10K/year.

Financially I am earning $15K/year more than I was four years ago.

Living Expenses

Everything else is difficult to compare. Four years ago I was living in the suburbs of New Jersey. Since then I moved to Manhattan then Brooklyn, in NYC. The costs of living here, in general, are considerably higher than NJ. I am spending more on food and rent but that is because I now live in a very expensive place.

Life Improvements

As a whole, my life has improved over the past four years. Earning more money means I can go to therapy as another way to help organize my life and grow in terms of social interactions and relationships. During that period of unemployment, I finally had time to train for a race and I have ran quite a few half marathons and other races since then. I continue to have time for running, hobbies, and friends now that my current job consists of 8 hours days, instead of working 11 hours like at the last one.

Readers, in what ways has your life changed or improved over the past four years?

6 Comments

  1. Michelle says:

    My life has definitely improved, but that’s just what normally happens when you go from the age of 19 to the age of 23. I’m done with school, have my masters, a good job, etc.

  2. Daniel says:

    My life has improved pretty significantly, but like Michelle said, it does for most people our age. I was 21, in college, about to graduate in the midst of the recession. I had no job prospects and was starting to worry. I was living in an apartment with 3 other people, like a college kid.

    Fast forward 4 years and I graduated, got a job I stayed at for 2 years, then moved out to California and married my wife. I started a super sweet blog and now have a great job I’m much happier with. I now rent a 2 bedroom apartment with more space than the 4 person-apartment I was sharing.

    Doesn’t get much better than that, does it?

    • leslie beslie says:

      For some reason I thought you were older. Take that as a compliment! And I’m very glad to hear of your successful four years.

  3. Abigail says:

    My life is definitely better. Four years ago we were living in Washington where my husband’s condition was so bad he could barely go anywhere. Now, in Arizona, he is far better. It’s still iffy some days but… And two and a half years ago I got a job when I thought I’d never work full-time again thanks to my own health problems. I’m able to work from home and am paid a good salary. So in all I’d say it’s nearly night and day. And not just because there is so much sun in AZ.

  4. Squinte says:

    Leslie, I’m so happy that you are happy! You deserve the good things that have come your way.

    In the last 4 years, well, my life is better but it’s also different. I got so stressed during the downturn that I became obsessed with work. In 2008, I moved to a West Coast city for my new boyfriend, lost my job, had trouble making friends, and had trouble getting a new job and that’s where my work addiction got out-of-control. I was very healthy. In 2012, I am again on the West Coast (but an area that I like much more) for the same guy (who is my now-husband), just took the first steps to quit my (now at least well-paying) stressful job, don’t have many friends here but have amazing friends on both coasts and many places in between, and am planning to spend 2013 trying to take better care of myself. I’m so lucky to get to make the choices that I have, and I am happy and grateful — but I lost a lot of wonder and energy and gained a lot of stress and weight getting to this safe place.

    As giddy as I get in good times, my graph has been all over the place. As long as I’m not in debt and funding my savings, my instinct is to spend the rest toward zero. This is what I’m anticipating for my earnings post graduating in 2005, it’s been a wild path:
    http://www.anony.ws/i/2012/11/30/hEg9f.gif

    <3

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