At sunset, a man in siloquette is kicking a foot up so it looks like he’s booting the sun.
Photo by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash

My Forced Sabbatical /Job Search Has a Happy Ending

Nine months ago, deep in the middle of the pandemic, I lost my job — despite the constant virus threat, it’s been the most productive time in my life

Richard Medugno
4 min readApr 1, 2021


I hate cliches like “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” It isn’t so easy to make something cool out of something crappy — like losing your livelihood in the middle of a pandemic/recession. So I would like to offer this adage instead:

When life kicks you in the butt, turn the other cheek.

I’ve considered this time on unemployment insurance as one of the best and most productive times in my life. I almost can’t wait to lose my new job. JK.

In my 25-year Silicon Valley career, I’ve lost my job multiple times. Previously, when I was not earning a steady paycheck for months at a time, it was pretty scary — especially when I had a young family and needed to buy health insurance for basic care (unlike the rest of the civilized world!).

Cover of “Deaf Politician” — a painting of Gary Malkowski in a suit and tie

This time I wasn’t scared, though it was uncomfortable at times. My goal was to stay healthy and optimistic. I was able to keep anxiety at bay — and just focus on applying for jobs and working on my own personal projects like completing a book I’d been working on and off for over 25 years: Deaf Politician: The Gary Malkowski Story.

Job search data

If you like data, here’s some for you:

  • I applied for 80 jobs.
  • I was ghosted by 3 recruiters.
  • I was offered contract work by 3 former colleagues. (I accepted 1 assignment.)
  • I interviewed with 12 companies for FTEs.
  • I was asked by 3 of the 12 companies to do “writing assignments” as part of the hiring process.
  • I refused to do “writing assignments” for all 3 companies. (Richie, don’t work for free!)

Not going to jump through every hoop



Richard Medugno

Richard is an author and scriptwriter. His latest book is Deaf Politician — The Gary Malkowski Story. His latest script is The Mulligan Marriage.