How to stay busy in a down economy? That Shakespeare is the real question.
2009 so far really sucks! There is hardly any work out there. When there is a job, rates are slashed 20 to 30%. The possible projects I had lined up for January went on hold. Other subsequent promising projects have fallen to the same fate. I tried like hell to get on a crappy project in Appleton, Wisconsin. Tons of consultants applied for it. There were several recruiters vying for candidates for the same jobs. I hooked up with a recruiter local to Appleton hoping that there would be a local edge. They submitted ~7 candidates to the client who was looking to fill 5 spots. After a couple of weeks of following up, I find out that the local recruiter did not place one. Oh well.
Why do clients use so many recruiters? It's very frustrating when I review the dice job listings and they show 100 jobs but there are really only 5 because each job is advertised 20 times. Earlier in the year there was an egregious example for a project in Sacramento. Literally all of the projects on dice were the same job in Sacramento. How can this be efficient?
Down time really sucks? You spend all day applying to 4 jobs (on a good day) and then try to follow up with past submittals. You try contacting colleagues and ERP managers to see if they have any work. You troll linkedin looking for SAP contacts. You attend presentations at the university hoping to make some contacts (tonight there is a guy from AIG - not holding my breath, but hey they did receive some bailout money). You have conversations with fellow consultants, bitching about how shitty the market is. You do a little work around the house, but not to much because that's boring. You try to figure out how to create the perfect downtime job - something with low committment and decent pay - that is something you can leave in an instant if a real project comes up without alienating them for when you need them for the next downtime cycle. You fantasize about going on a 3 month vacation to anywhere (Alaska/Canada, Europe, Asia, etc.) and then come back to work when it's all sorted out.
Oh and you spend time updating your stupid blog.