Archive for the ‘Job Hunt’ Tag

Burying the Past

I might be in a bit of a slump. Saturday I put on a t-shirt to look presentable for my morning Human Behavior class. What my 4 classmates and my professor didn’t know was that I had sweatpants on throughout the class and I didn’t take them off the rest of the day. I was supposed to go to the gym Saturday too. I didn’t. Sunday wasn’t much different. Before the job loss I could count on Sunday to be very productive. Get up, go to the grocery store, do some laundry, go to the gym and go to bed. Get up and do the whole thing over again. Too bad the whole thing isn’t the same.

  Sure, cry me a river. I’m sad.  But I think I’ve found a symbolic resolution to this sadness. Much like a bad break-up I have decided to bury my past. Throughout my time with my previous organization I have amassed a few mementoes. I have three t-shirts, some papers and some training materials. The t-shirts I just haven’t had a chance to look at or throw out. The papers I pulled out in my harrumph to get out of the office and my training materials I brought home to write an organizational paper.

So, today, in this breezy sunny mild south Texas late winter day, I have decided to bury my previous employer to move on. I put on my black skirt, a black shirt and got a shovel. I went outside with the dogs following me. They were interested in my “stuff.” I had some scissors, a box to put the stuff in and nothing much else. I dug a rather large hole (the binder is a 3 inch binder), cut up the t-shirts and put them in the box with the papers.  I put all the stuff in the hole, covered it back up and said my good-byes.  I said good-bye to the mean people, the unnecessary drama, the lonely lunches, the unplanned and unexecuted fundraisers, and all the other things that just weren’t a good fit.

While I said my good-byes I also said a prayer. I said a prayer for a new beginning, a new start. Maybe the new beginning isn’t tomorrow or next week, but I asked for a new beginning.  I also asked for continued strength through this tough period because even though I know I said my good-byes, like the death of a loved one the loss of a job is not easy and I may be able to go to the grocery store and to the gym today, but maybe not tomorrow.

So I buried my past and I’m moving on to my future, whatever that may be. And I recommend that anyone who has gone through a bad job loss joins me in burying their past. It will only hold you back in the future.

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.

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.

Does it Matter Where I Fall in the Interview Game?

In a previous blog post I wrote about the recenecy effect and how I feel it effects getting a job interview. Now, I am kind of wondering the same thing about the placement of the jobseeker in the job interviewing process. Does it matter where you fall? Whether you are the first, middle or last person your future employer interviews? Or, does it matter at all?

Throughout my job hunt I have usually fallen in the top half of interviewees. Aside from my one faux-pas (discussed in Don’t Forget to Turn Your Phone On) I am steadfastly standing by waiting for the phone to ring. When it does I set up an interview as soon as possible, unless of course, there is a Spurs game that coincides with the interview (I kid!).  So, this usually puts me in the front of the line. I always ask when decisions will be made and how many more people are going to be interviewed. This usually gives me some sense of where I stand in the process.

Recently, though, I ended up as the last interview. Perhaps it was the general corporate environment, time of year (it was Christmas time), actual person interviewing, or a combination of all of the above, but I felt as though it was just a favor that I was being interviewed.  Taking my seat and answering a serious of questions that could be gathered from my resume was a waste of time.  They had already picked their new staff member, or so it seemed. This location was very close to home (within ten minutes) so I sent the decision maker a very polite and quick thank you note to ensure that she knew I was interested. I haven’t heard back though.

So, this gets me wondering…is there a recenency effect in the hiring process as well? Should I walk in wearing some sort of flashy outfit so they don’t forget me? Print my resume in rose smelling paper a la Elle Woods? I just don’t get it. Does anyone else have any insight on this?

Photo from: sxu.hu

Why I Lost My Job and (seriously) Who I Blame

This is a ballsy post. I may regret it once I hit publish. However, it’s been on my mind for some five months now and only a select few who know exactly why I am jobless know my feeling about the subject. This may not be a pretty color on me. – so, please forgive me.  The subject is one, James O’Keefe and Biggovernment.com.

I chose, in the beginning of this blog to keep tight-lipped on the topic of ACORN and the issues at hand. As the topic has died down some, except for those few at BigGovernment.com and all far right winged websites and a handful of Fox News Channel reports every few weeks, I feel a bit more comfortable approaching the topic and how I feel about the organization and the “scandal.” I will not rant or rave about their coverage. This is neither the time nor the place. And I am not the person to do that.

For a quick background on why I joined the organization you can read the Non-Profit Passion.

In early September James O’Keefe and his friend, Hannah Giles, released some pretty damning footage of some of my former co-workers. I take full ownership of the subsequent videos, and will even admit to speaking and working on several projects with a few of them. It shocks and appalls me. I hate it. But, that’s not this blog entry is about. Soon after these videos were released several members of Congress announced their support in the backing of the Defund ACORN Act. This did not directly affect my position, or my grant. However, it did affect people I knew and we ran in crisis mode for some time.

This was in mid September. By mid October ACORN Housing was tangled in a web. Were they or were they not affiliated with ACORN? I still don’t officially know the answer, nor do I really care. For this reasons all relations were cut with ACORN.  Shared spaces were not shared anymore – copiers were moved, coffeemakers weren’t shared, and even hellos were a bit strained. It was a sad time, as my location was particularly friendly. Others have strained relations and do not share spaces, so no sharing spaces was not an issue.

Now, this sharing of spaces is where my position comes in. My position was a shared position. I was the contact person for ACORN but I worked for ACORN Housing. If we didn’t communicate with ACORN why was I around? Yeah. Great. Awesome. Fabulous. Stellar. What the hell am I going to do now? I did busy work for a few weeks while I started to apply for other positions. However, at some point, there wasn’t anymore busy work. I guess I rock at busy work. Is that a transferable skill?

At this point, I would like to take some time to thank James O’Keefe and all the other contributors of my misery, my heartbreak, my sleepless nights, and my new found ability to call people on their bs for this opportunity. It’s quite an honor. You have no idea how much this means to me.  Some people lose their great temporary grant funded position due to the end of their grant terms, loss of donations, or even downsizing. But, I, on the other hand can point to one 25 year old man who I have never met in my life, but has actually had the audacity to call me soulless. So, Mr. O’Keefe, or Ms. Giles if you happen upon this entry I’d greatly appreciate your help in finding a new job. Thanks 5317.44 times because that’s how much money you’ve cost me.

The Dream Job Versus The Job

One of my best friends in the whole wide world is going off to graduate school in a few weeks. Well, not so much “going off to” since the university is about 5 minutes from our mutual stomping grounds, but she will be starting school, and I will continue my job hunt. As we were talking about her classes (they sound fun and I kind of get that itch to go back….) she asked if I had applied for jobs in areas that do not appeal to me (i.e. – telemarketing, seasonal tax preparation, administrative assistant)

This got me thinking, when is it time to give up on your “dream job”, move on and look for just “the job”? I’m going on about 10 weeks of sustained unemployment. I’ve mentioned before that the average job hunt takes 6 months, that’s 26 weeks? I haven’t even hit the halfway point. How am I supposed to start really worrying about things when I haven’t even hit the official average halfway point in the job hunt? Of course there are the days where I wonder why that interviewer didn’t call back. I rocked that interview. Or wonder why I never did get a call back about that position for which I poured my soul out in my cover letter never did call me back

Here’s the thing. I went to my local workforce office today to take a typing test for two jobs. Surprise! I wasn’t the only person there. And if I had asked how long a handful of those people have been unemployed, I’m sure that at least a few of them have been unemployed longer than I have and haven’t given up looking for the “dream job.” So, no best friend who most likely will be in my same position two years from now (with a big juicy diploma and a fancy M.A. at the end of her name), I am not giving up looking for “the dream job” just to find “the job.” Well, at least not yet.

Don’t Forget to Turn Your Phone On During the Job Hunt

I’m not a big cell phone user. Actually, I checked the AT&T website yesterday and noticed I haven’t called anyone, have texted two people and haven’t used one of my mobile to mobile minutes. Rollover minutes mean nothing to me, as I have 5,000 of them. Good thing to have in case of a zombie apocalypse of something, though.

I use my cell phone so little that if it doesn’t ring for a week or if I don’t get a text for two weeks it really doesn’t bother me.  Catch me on facebook, twitter or even the standby AOL Instant Messenger.

Enter Twilight: New Moon. I finally got around to seeing it last weekend. For that reason, I put my cell phone on vibrate. That was Saturday evening.  Since I don’t expect very many phone calls I forgot, or didn’t take it off of vibrate. It’s been in my purse for the last four days. Unanswered.

Enter the job hunt. Do you ever put your phone number down as your preferred mode of communication? As a closer, e.g. – “Please call me at (210) XXX –XXXX to discuss the possibilities of this position…” thinking that they will contact you? Yeah. That’s me. It’s on every cover letter.  But, my phone is on vibrate.  Yet, I sit by my e-mail waiting for all those responses because that’s how I communicate.  But, is that how everyone else communicates?

If that was the way everyone else communicated the telecommunication market wouldn’t be as big as it is. Ahaha! There it is. Different companies communicate differently. Some e-mail, some call, some send letters through snail mail. And we, I, us, have to adapt to their style of recruitment. If that means I have to religiously remember to turn my phone back on then I have to remember to turn my phone back on.  Or, if you are like one of my best friend’s who never checks her e-mail (Why is she like that?) then you need to remember to check your e-mail two-three times a day.

Communication. Communication is key in the job hunt.  Even if you are looking for a job that involves crunching numbers and not talking to a single person (auditor?) you need to remember that if you cannot remember to turn your phone off of vibrate to get the call to come in o interview then you’re never going to get that awesome job.

P.S.- To add to the story I had three voicemails, two from friends and one for an interview that I scheduled for tomorrow. Real moral of the story, don’t be a ditz.