Archive for the ‘job hunt discontent’ Tag

Crazy God Things: The Job Hunt

Oh world. God is a crazy God. Friday I thought this world was a mess and that I might not get through it at all. As I mentioned previously, Friday for that matter, the last thread that was holding together the little bit of sanity that was my unemployment broke. No hard feelings, but I did cry a bit and I stayed hunkered down inside this weekend. Friends were celebrating the remission of cancer and 25th birthdays (yeah I know…I probably should have gone out…but I didn’t. Social anxiety a bit maybe? Anyway…).

I took to oDesk on Saturday morning. I got my stuff together and by Sunday afternoon I already had an over on the table which matched, if not outdid what I was doing previously. It’s different work, kind of ghostwriting and guest posting blog entries, but nonetheless it will make a dent in that $200 a month that I will be missing. Yah! I was stoked this morning.

I also found some great jobs to apply for Sunday afternoon, a Volunteer Coordinator position and a few Admissions Advisors at a local private  university which I may have gotten an interview for.  I was ready to be an employed unemployed person.  Cover letters, resumes, blogs to write. It was a busy Monday for this unemployed lady.  So, I turned off tweetdeck, turned off the TV, put on my headphones and starting jamming out to Matt Morris (the other guy in the Justin Timberlake Hallelujah Hope For Haiti song).

I lasted about 30 minutes before I had to check my e-mail. It’s a problem. I know I’m not a rock star. I know I’m not popular.  I’m no celebrity. Hell, this blog gets no more than 39 hits a day and that’s when I write about James O’Keefe (man I still hate that guy).  So, I’m checking my e-mail.  I see some sale alerts, some stuff from facebook (no one got the memo I gave up FarmVille for lent), and then there’s an e-mail from the organization that was going to set up a second interview with me a few weeks ago but never did. They eventually called to get references from me.  I had no idea what this meant. Were they still looking at me? Did they want different references? Did they misplace the application where I put down the same references? What the heck? Anyway. I opened the e-mail.  The person I’ve been going back and forth with wants to talk to me about offering me the job.

Too bad I couldn’t do a happy dance, the dogs were asleep, so was the rest of the house. I didn’t want to wake anyone up. So, I did a virtual happy dance. I tweeted, I updated my status, I took to the blog. I did everything.

Here’s the thing. I lost the freelance gig at the perfect time. I mean, absolute perfect time. This new job, barring I have some crazy false positive enzyme problem that brings back a positive drugs test, is a big job (pee well, my friend…as a friend said). It will require full time attention and is an increase in pay.  I probably would have juggled to find the time to do my writing. And in the end, I probably would have had to quit.  This new freelance gig is weekly. I’ll finish it up this week and say “Hey, this was nice..but it’s really not for me. I cannot commit to this much writing every day…” and we’ll part ways.

This God thing is seriously crazy and mysterious. Things happen at the weirdest and the best and strangest times. Just thank God for all of it.

Should I Be Asking These Questions on My Job Interview?

Oh blog. I have missed you. It’s not that I haven’t been here. Oh, I have. My computer and I have been attached at the hip (or lap?) for the past two weeks. With Fashion Week finishing up much of my time was devoted to finding my inner Anna Wintour and channeling the Kelly Cutrone within.  I also discovered (or found my misplaced) my love for Apolo Anton Ohno as he made his run for the Winter Gold Medal record. Unlike some celebrities, I’ve decided he and I have no future. He never sleeps. I need my eight hours (or 10….). Anyway. Back to reality.

So. Back to the world that I live in today. It’s a lonely not yet desperate, but coming to the point where I may start watching SNL reruns, unemployed world that I know many others live in. Since my hot streak of a few weeks ago I haven’t heard much more than a “we’d like to schedule a second interview but we haven’t set a date for that yet….” from any of the positions.

I can always say that there is someone better than me out there. But, what if there isn’t? I saw one position reposted this weekend. Thanks but no thanks, much? There’s clearly something wrong with my interview process…am I not asking the right questions? Do I not show that I know enough about the company/organization? What the heck?

Yes, it is true that I should always have questions prepared for a job interview. My favorite thus far is, “Is this a new position or is someone leaving?” Many of my interviews have been for new funded positions while one or two positions are for recently vacant positions. But, asking that question isn’t all that needs to be asked. What are some more that I should ask? Oh dear. Now I’m lost.

Oh, not to worry! That’s where #JobHuntChat comes in.  Much like #U30Pro this group of great tweeps has come together to chat (in 140 characters or less) about how to land the next great job. And, one of the questions asked this evening as “What types of questions should you ask on a job interview?” Here’s a handful of the ones I particularly liked (probably  because I should be asking them now).

How will I be evaluated?

I actually haven’t ever thought of this one…as many of the jobs I am applying for aren’t performance or sales driven..they’re people driven…if it gets done and documented you’re good

What is a typical day in the life of _____ position?

For many of the positions I have applied for the job is flexible and changes day to day….but for others it is not. Knowing what you are responsible for right off the bat is super important).

What type of developmental training dos your organization over (training, conferences, mentors, etc)?

For many organizations it is a learn as you go type of job that is indicual to the organization. If you don’t get the right training or if you are left out on your own it won’t be fun. Letting the organization know that you are willing to train will show them that you are interested in growing professionally.

What are some immediate concerns that your organizations needs addressed?

You are willing to take the iniative and are a go getter.  You are planning to get the things done that they need done. Do it!

How do you define success?

Some companies define it with sales, others define it by finished files. You need to know!

Where do you see your company in the next 5 years and how will this position help you get there?

This shows you that you are willing to stay with the organization for quite sometime (even if you aren’t!) and are not a job hopper. If they are willing to grow with you then you are a great professional position.

What is the company culture? Business casual or professional?

This gives you an idea of how everyone works. The organization already knows how they work (and how you can or cannot fit in). See if you can picture yourself at that empty desk after they say they dance on tables on Fridays or have Beach Day every other month.

Well. Now that I have some great questions to ask for my next job interview I have to get it! On to working on the cover letter, resume, networking, volunteering, never ending world that is the job hunt!

For more info on #JobHuntChat check out @CornOnTheJob‘s blog.

Working for the State: A Requirement?

Here’s the current conundrum. It’s an unspoken requirement that you have Child Protective Service experience in the state of Texas to get a Case Manager position. But, how do you get that experience if they won’t hire you either?

Many independent foster care and adoption agencies only require a Bachelor’s degree for their entry level case management positions. A new position, due to funding, turnover, expansion, etc. will appear every few weeks on a number of websites. In their educational requirements they usually list a BA with no experience necessary. I have a great cover letter and resume put together for these jobs. 4 out of 5 times I will get the interview. But, is it even worth it these days without experience with the state? I will get that interview because I have worked with at risk youth and have worked with the community.

Score! I get super excited and walk in confident and even score 41/45 on their personality tests. I get a second interview. They love me. They compliment my domineer. I am very calm. I speak Spanish.  I can work with the bilingual families. They start thinking about how they can use me in their agency.  And then…two or three interviews later someone comes in who has 2-3 years experience with the Department of Health and Human Services and Child Protective Services…on top of all the other things I have. Of course they get the job over me. I’m not upset. They deserve it.  They have case management experience; they won’t need to be trained. Their investment is close the nothing to train the person who has case management experience. But for me? Someone will obviously have to train me (right?).

Had you spoken to me 2 months ago I wouldn’t have considered applying to work for the state, again. The things I hear about the work and the things the Investigative workers see is not necessarily scary, but just something that I would like to avoid. It’s kind of like working in the mail room to get that PR gig you really want. Everyone talks about that one really bad entry level job.

Now, nearly 4 months into this job search I’ve finally broken down and decided that maybe I should consider working for the state-because it is damn near a requirement. Nevermind that the last time I thought that working for the state was the best route for me to take I applied for at least 20 positions within a year and received one interview.

You may be asking why I didn’t continue with the application process last time. Well, I had an interview for two positions –a Conservationship worker and an Investigative Worker just day before I was asked to join ACORN Housing. It was easier said than done to say “I’ll take the job that I know I will love,” than to even worry about proceeding with a job I wasn’t even sure I would get.  Now, here I am…almost a year after I started the ACORN Housing job wishing I had taken the job with the state. Ugh. As is life.

When Will My Hot Streak Turn into a J-O-B?!

When does a hot streak turn in to a job? I mean seriously.  After the massive disappointment of the research position that I did not get a few weeks (or was it last week?) ago I kept my head up, as I said I would, and applied, e-mailed, and faxed.

That work has paid off, as I have had five interviews scheduled within the last two weeks. That’s exciting! Is it because I started off a new year or is it just that it’s my time? Whatever it is I am not overly excited, because we have seen where that has gotten me.

I have read plenty of blogs and have attended plenty of webinars throughout my unemployment and know plenty of skills, points, and questions to ask to make me stand-out in the interview process for example:

Dress Well: Dress appropriately for the business (organization) you are interviewing with. I’m not going to wear a three piece suite to interview with a small Christian based non-profit- maybe black pants and a nice sweater and heels.  Now, if I do go to interview with a corporation then the suite is good.

Bring Copies: Copies of resumes, writing samples, reports, references, etc. The latest interview I had was with three people. I had three extra copies just in case. The director had a copy, but the other two prospective bosses did not have copies. Bazinga! They had copies.  Interview before this one I brought reports to show a prospective research position even though they didn’t ask me to bring them.

Know the Company: Look at the website, see if they have a facebook or twitter account and see if they have any upcoming events that you can discuss.  Don’t get too gritty though, they don’t want stalkersunnless the job title is “Official Company Stalker.” They will love that you have taken interest in the company.

Ask Questions: After learning about the company you’re sure to have questions. Is the company growing? Is this a new position? What is the company culture? Casual Friday? Happy Hour? Just kidding about the Happy Hour business.

Write Thank-You Notes: Thank them for the time. Many people see hundreds of people for one position. Others are making special time for you, especially if it is for a small organization. I remember setting up interviews for my last employer for a very specific time. If the prospective employee could not make the interview they wouldn’t get the interview. It’s that simple. Time is money people! Thank them for the time!

So, when in the world will my time turn in to money? I mean, obviously someone has noticed me. My cover letter and resume are getting noticed. And I know what to do.  Just answer me this world, when will this interview hot streak turn into a job?

Happy New Year to Me!

Everyone goes through slumps. My slumpy time of the year is late September to February.  Since roughly 1995 to 2010 crappy things have happened to me during those months.

October 1, 1995 a classmate died in a car accident.  Every October 1st I make sure I wear my seat belt extra tight. The fifth grader inside me hasn’t died apparently.  In late September 1996 my maternal grandmother died. She was amazing.  I miss her even today. I love my paternal grandmother but she doesn’t make me laugh like my maternal grandmother did, even if I was 12 when she died.  In mid October 2002, around homecoming my senior year, a close friend of a friend died on her way back from a basketball game. Late October 2004 another close friend of a friend died while training for track season close to campus.

By 2008 I thought I had gotten rid of the curse that was October.  Not so much.  In late October 2008, the Voter Registration Fraud scandal broke. And I lost my job.  And then, October 31, 2009, the same thing happened again. What’s the deal with October? Seriously? Can a girl catch a break?

So, needless to say it would take a girl like me (I am 100% ENFJ) to recover from these tragedies.   The holidays never were that grand and fun for me.  Of course there are always presents and fun, but in this slump of the late year it really isn’t as fantastic as some people expect it to be. What I look forward to is my own personal new year.  My own personal new year starts on February 1st, hopefully without fireworks.

I say hopefully because 5 years ago they did. 5 years ago today something happened that I never thought would happen again. When I was little (I mean very little) I was diagnosed with pediatric epilepsy. Many people grow out of their epilepsy, and I did. It never crossed my mind to think that it could happen again. However, after a long hiatus it made an appearance at college. And it was scary. After a trip to the hospital, a bruised shoulder and a horrible clenched jaw I will remain on anticonvulsant medicine for the rest of my life to make sure that these seizures don’t make another appearance.

In 2006, a year after the seizure happened, I threw myself a New Year’s celebration including hats, cupcakes and movies. It was a new me and a new year. So, instead of starting the year on January 1 I choose to start the year on February 1st. It doesn’t matter to me. And it shouldn’t matter to you.  If you somehow seem to hit a slump every single year and hit a high note every single year at another point make that your new year.  Celebrate and celebrate big.

Please RSVP: My Jobless Pity Party

I had several great interviews for an excellent educational research position earlier this month. I trudged down to the office in inclement weather (for Texas…it was rainy and in the 50s), paid to park and curled my hair. If you know me the curling of the hair put it over the top. I believed the interviews went well. My future co-workers complimented my writing style, my data collection, and asked questions about my personal life as if I had already accepted the position. However, since it was an academic position they were taking their time to find the perfect candidate. I wasn’t too freaked out about that. I continued to look for other options with this one in my back pocket.

I woke up this morning (actually it was afternoon…it was almost noon) and checked my e-mail with fingers crossed that I may have received e-mails asking to set up interviews for resumes I had sent out earlier this week. No dice on that end. However, there was an automatically generated e-mail from my back pocket job saying the position was filled and it didn’t have my name next to it. It was a sinking feeling. I was totally bummed. It’s one of those bummed out feelings that makes you want to go to the refrigerator to get the closest thing that resembles ice cream…and finish the whole container.

And then it hit me. Now I understand why people stop looking for work. It just seems impossible some days. Just down right impossible. No matter what you do, no matter how stellar your resume, no matter how amazing your hair looks or how awesome your interview answers are, or even how genuine your thank you note is. There’s always that one person out there who is going to be better.

Now, I think I’m just throwing myself a pity party today because I really wanted that job…but it just gets me down. I will continue to send out those resumes, continue to send out genuine thank you notes and continue to network. I just now understand how people are one day part of the unemployment numbers and the next day not. Discontent, dissatisfaction and pity parties. It’s always something. Today it was the automatically generated e-mail.