You would have thought that these would be bleak times indeed. However, as I sit here on my roof terrace, with the lush green gardens stretched out below me and the sun sparkling in a cloudless sky, it is hard to wipe the smile off my face. Yes I need to get back into the world of work and reinvigorate a career dampened by the upheaval that is going on around us in the financial markets, but sometimes I am reminded of the wise words of Ferris Bueller (he of day-off fame): "Life goes by pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
This doesn't mean I am giving up on the short-term prospect of getting myself back into the job market - I have a family to house and feed, so reality hasn't totally deserted me. But some things are too important to miss out on.
Two months have now passed since I was asked nicely to walk the career plank by my former employer. If anything, the backdrop has got somewhat worse and the market remains tetchy and unsettled. Numerous attempts to call the end of the turmoil seem to have proven premature and the chances of recession in the US and the UK now look like even money bets. Jobs have become ever more scarce and the number of applicants swelled by increasing numbers of victims of the credit crunch.
Undaunted, I've decided that I am going to adopt a highly organised campaign of job hunting targeted at making the most of the summer and the good weather. Efficiency will be my watchword: I shall use days that look damp and cloudy to arrange to see headhunters, head up to the City for lunches, and make e-mail and telephone contacts.
I admit this strategy sounds like I'm already compromising on the promises I made to myself to be diligent and rigorous in my pursuit of employment, but in reality there are simply not enough opportunities out there to justify five days a week, eight hours a day of searching. Therefore, I intend to allow my new efficient strategy and the BBC weather forecast to drive my job hunting for the rest of the summer.
The arrival of the two-month milestone was difficult, especially given the speed at which it came around; I must confess to feeling a little low as it came and went.
Luckily, the conversations I've had with close friends and colleagues over a few beers made me see that this time has its merits, and that sitting around feeling sorry for myself is not the answer.
Hence the new approach: there are days when trying to force a new job to appear will not make the process any easier; and on those days it helps to see this episode for what it is - a wonderful opportunity to enjoy some freedom.
However, on the days where there is traction to be had, it's important to make the most of any opportunity.
In order to practise what I preach, I'm now off to the park with my family for a picnic. Tomorrow I head for the City for a series of meetings with headhunters and a lunch. I think that this new balance will help maintain my sanity in these difficult times and allow me to enjoy this rare opportunity to enjoy my freedom, without the guilt.