Posts Tagged 'Job Search'

The Sky is Falling!

“And she says, ‘oooh,
I can’t take no more.’
Her tears like diamonds on the floor.
And her diamonds bring me down.
‘Cause I can’t help her now.
She’s down in it.
She’s tried her best, and now she can’t win it.
It’s hard to see them on the ground,
Her diamonds falling down.

She shuts out the night
And tries to close her eyes.
If she can find daylight she’ll be alright.
She’ll be alright.
Just not tonight.”

~Rob Thomas (Her Diamonds)

I know I sound like a goddamn broken record, but that’s what depression does to me. I cannot let it all go; it really is just one big spiral to the bottom, and then when I get there, the floor opens and the bottom is even further down than I imagined. There is no light at the end of this tunnel, and there is no way back, because all those doors have been slammed shut. And I have no support network, because nobody wants to keep listening to me complain. Sometimes I try to but on the strong front (fake it ’till you make it), but then I just cry myself to sleep when no one else is around.

My therapist doesn’t offer solutions, he just nods his head and agrees with me. What am I supposed to do? How do I stop this cycle? Why am I paying this man money I don’t have to spend, if I don’t feel better? (For anyone keeping count, this would be strike three in the therapist department.)

I got into a huge fight with my father about a week ago. I emailed him a copy of the “new and improved” resume (version 4868.7), that was vastly different than any I’ve used before, but the old ones didn’t work, so it should be revised. He didn’t even get the concept; he preferred the old unsuccessful one. He’s an engineer, perhaps he needed the more black and white presentation of the same information. Then he proceeded to spend an hour trying to convince me to go back to school and get a masters in engineering. “There are always openings in this field. You could work anywhere you want, in any industry. You already have more math and physics courses than I ever took. There are lots of great schools and programs here in Boston. If you need the money…” Etc.

DAMN IT, DAD!! YOU AREN’T LISTENING TO ME! I hated high school; I hated university. If I thought there was another path I would have taken it. The traditional education system has failed me time and time again. How would another few years of torture fix that? I’d just end up sitting here in the same place collecting my unemployment five or ten years from now wondering why I can’t get a decent job with my “great” education. I already feel like life is passing me by, I don’t want to be in the same place in life five years from now. And why on earth would I ever move back to Massachusetts? The suburban sprawl is too claustrophobic for me. I don’t want to move in New England. If I move it will be to the other coast. But somehow I cannot do that either. And it is not just about the money. I’ll never be rich; I get that. I just want to pay my bills now and maybe have a house with a yard for a dog and a garden someday. Why do you think that by offering me your money, you can make up for the love and support you have never given me? And don’t you dare use this as a ploy to break up me and my boyfriend.

Yesterday at the grocery store I ran into a former customer of mine, who first tried to tell me to quit my current job in favour of the one from which she knows me. I had to explain that the two reasons I left that job are still in effect: it is only a seasonal job, and my back still hurts just thinking about it. The she tried to convince me that what I need is a PhD in nursing (she is a nursing professor in Boston), and I should do it at her school! Her reasoning was, people in academia believe that when times are tough, and you don’t know what to do with your life, you go get more education (and rack up more debt), while you “figure things out”. “There will always be jobs available in nursing. You can work anywhere you want. Your science and customer service background will give you a good leg-up.” Sound familiar? It is so devastating to listen to the repeated advice, when deep down I know it doesn’t apply to me. How do I see myself so differently than the rest of the world sees me? And if I take in all the world’s criticism of me, and if I always follow their path, I don’t think I’ll ever learn to love myself.

Other notes:
Boyfriend is on vacation with the kids. Gone to visit Grandma (who I still haven’t met). My new assistant manager wouldn’t let me have two days off to meet up with them.

A part-time job I’d been promised just fell through, because I won’t work with the chemicals the owner is insisting upon. I could really use that money.

I screwed up at work today. Again. We got a new computer system in the middle of June and I’ve been having huge problems ever since. It’s become a joke to everyone else, but I was so determined that this month be better, that I almost had a breakdown when I discovered another problem today.

What To Do?

My new employer offers tuition reimbursement for related courses and/or required courses for a related degree. Since my paycheck is so small, I am considering taking advantage of this opportunity. I’ve learned the hard way that the degree I already have is way to obscure to help me get any sort of job, but maybe I can transfer many of my previously earned credits and be halfway to another degree. Business courses are nice and generic and may help convince someone that I am qualified to work in an office.

I met with an adviser at the local office of our statewide university system about a week ago to discuss these thoughts with her. Courses start this week and I was thinking about signing up for something (anything?). I didn’t particularly care for higher education my first go around or my second (which was with this university). I really really don’t want to be trapped in a crappy no-respect low paying job for my entire working career, but that truly seems to be the direction I’m headed.

The adviser did her best to talk me out of taking more courses. She thinks I need to figure out what exactly I really want to do (yeah, like the current job market affords anyone that luxury), revamp my resume (again?…*eye roll*) and be applying to different sorts of things. Um, hello? What exactly does she think I’ve spent the last few months doing? I’ve given up on that road; I’m looking for a new one. She also thinks that with a little searching, I could find a great secretarial job, because nothing says successful career like secretary. I don’t know what I want to be “when I grow up”, but I’m pretty certain my life’s ambition is not to be a secretary; I want to have a secretary.

I haven’t signed up for anything. I think what I really need to sign up for is little white padded room.

The New Job Started Today

It’s not having what you want
It’s wanting what you’ve got

~Sheryl Crow (Soak Up the Sun)

My primary method of applying to jobs has been through online applications. Most of them disappeared into the computer and never generated a response. Eventually, I tried something different and tried going directly to HR at the places I knew were hiring. Most of these people said, ‘nice to meet you, but you’ll need to fill out the online application’.

Of all the applications I filled out, only one generated a response, and it was one I wasn’t particularly excited about. I had my interview at the office in the town north of here for the part-time position (afternoons only – as if that could possibly work in conjunction with any other part-time job) which I had applied for. The manager who interviewed me also said we should discuss the supervisory position because of my previous managerial experience (in a completely unrelated industry). He got my hopes up, then took it back because I don’t have previous experience in this industry. Well, duh, but he was looking at my resume when he said it the first time.

The interview went well, and as I was leaving, the manager introduced me to everyone else in the office, as though it was assumed that I would be getting the job. I spent the next several days frantically trying to follow up on all my other applications in attempt to find something better. It didn’t work. I was torn: should I say yes, and although perhaps unethical, keep quietly looking for something? Should I say no, on the basis that I have over five months left before my unemployment benefits run out, and I’m sure I could find work in May when tourist season starts?

The manager was so impressed with my interview that he decided to offer me an unadvertised full-time position in the office around the corner from where I live. Work’s, work, right? I took the job.

On the positive side, this job gets me in the door into the office world, which is part of the reason none of my other applications generated interest. It also gives me a reason to get out of bed in the morning. The company (a large international organization which will remain unnamed) offers benefits including health/dental/life insurance, more than two weeks annual vacation, a 401K plan, and tuition reimbursement for related education (business courses). Supposedly there is also room for quick advancements for anyone eager enough.

On the negative side we have two issues. First, everyone I talk to thinks I will be bored out of my friggin’ mind. I’ve been trying to put that thought aside, but it has really been drilled in there now. Second, the pay (to put it nicely) sucks.

The weekly pay amounts to just slightly more than an unemployment check (or just over half my old salary). I cannot pay for rent, bills, and food on what this company is paying me, never mind an appropriate wardrobe. But work’s work, right? I’m still hanging on to the side work I’m doing for my friend, and that may generate additional similar projects. I expect to be working at least sixty hours a week for the foreseeable future. That’s why I don’t really have time to discuss this.

I’m irritated and insulted. I have 10 years of customer service experience. I have a degree from an internationally acclaimed university. At bear minimum, I should be making $12 an hour. Have the last 10 years of my life meant nothing? I could have had this job at this pay as a high school dropout. Of the seven other people I now work with, not one has a higher degree, and six work at least two jobs to make ends meet. And I’m really fucking sick of hearing about how it’s all because of the “economy”. OK?

Where is my Fairy Godmother?

Edited to add lyrics!

Its a pretty good crowd for a Saturday
And the manager gives me a smile
cause he knows that its me they’ve been comin’ to see
To forget about life for a while

And the piano, it sounds like a carnival
And the microphone smells like a beer
And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar
And say, man, what are you doin’ here?

Oh, la la la, de de da
La la, de de da da da

Sing us a song, you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well, were all in the mood for a melody
And you’ve got us feelin’ alright

~Billy Joel (Piano Man)

I must have watched one too many Disney movies as a kid. I really, honestly, and truly thought this life would turn out better.

Every little girl has dreams, and I doubt she dreams of one day becoming me. I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up, but this isn’t it either. I thought I’d be someone. I thought I’d matter. I thought I’d have something useful to contribute to society. It thought I’d do something(s) noticeable. At the very least, I thought I’d be happy.

A friend hired me to do some work for him. Actually, I think he took pity on me. He and a partner are working on a hobby/restoration/”investment” project and have now hired three others (all of whom would be otherwise completely unemployed) to do the dirty work. And it is very dirty. But it gives me a purpose and a reason to get out of bed in the morning. The pay is decent, and since I’m only part time, I can still be searching for something permanent.

But I hate, hate, hate the work. The best thing about getting laid off was thinking that I would never have to do this shitty work again, and for this project, I’ve got the worst of it, because the other two wouldn’t do it. But I’m so torn, because it puts food on the table. Beggars can’t be choosers, right? And I’m definitely a beggar looking for work.

I want to work in an office. I want to sit at a desk and not have to work in awkward places or contorted postures. I want to be clean; I want to feel pretty. I want to stop inhaling chemicals “known by the State of California to cause cancer”. I want to employ my mind, because someone once told me I was intelligent, instead of continually abusing my small tired body.

Unfortunately, there are also lots of qualified people looking for office work against who I must compete. I’m finding that it is simply impossible to convince a hiring manager that I am capable of switching occupations.

So, I’m sitting in my local bar (b/c they have wireless internet) and drinking whiskey, while a part inside of me dies. And tomorrow I’ll get up and do it all over again. Yeah, this really is the life.

Job Search Express

“I’m so much like you.
Restless and reckless,
I need a clue.
So show me a sign.
I feel like making a move,
Real geographic, a change in mood.
We’ll let go of everything we know.

You and I will ride tonight,
‘Till the past is out of sight.
We don’t have to look back now.
From the dark in to the light,
We can leave it all behind.
We can stand together,
We don’t have to look back now-ow-ow.”

~Puddle of Mud (We Don’t Have to Look Back Now)

This morning I attended a state-run training session for the unemployed entitled “Job Search Express”.

I expected an overview of things like where one should look to find a job, how to create an attention-grabbing resume, and tips on cover letters and interviewing. I figured I would know pretty much everything the instructor had to say but perhaps I would get some new inspiration. I was wrong; the whole thing was a joke.

First we wrote our names on cards to set in front of ourselves around a large U-shaped table set-up. Then we went around the room and introduced ourselves and mentioned what we used to do and what we were looking to do. By the time we got around all 30 of us (an hour later), there were lots of little side conversations. The instructor realised he had lost control of the group and had us take a 20 minute break. After our break, there was universal griping about how the unemployment benefits office/system is run, a debate about our “work search logs” and how frequently can you list the same employer on your log, and the handing out of three pages worth of totally useless q & a (eg, “Do I have a right to be angry? How long will I feel like this?). And that was it. We were free to go. What a waste of two hours!

However, I knew two other people in the room. LD and LT were also let go from the same company I was, and we shared hugs and a few grievances and phone numbers. LT’s doing ok; he’s never been the sharpest tool in the shed, but he’s looking for work and enjoying the extra time with his children. LD’s doing even better; she’s working to start her own business, and has found out tons of information about assistance programs and grants. They are both healthy and happy. It was good to see that and to see them.

I’ve been so lost. I was initially so scared about being unemployed that I tried to jump right in to job searching. I failed to realize that I needed time to grieve and do some soul searching. I’ve done next to nothing in the last two weeks, and being sick isn’t the only excuse. I am a procrastinator; actually that is my “biggest weakness” that interviewers ask about. If I have a mile-long to-do list or a series of deadlines, I get down to business and set the cruise control. If I have little to do, I do little.

Today I received my final check from my old employer. Next week I will receive nothing, and the week after I will begin receiving $344 /wk, before taxes. The deadline is now upon me. I’m wide awake and suddenly focusing clearly.

I am better off than most of the other people sitting in that room this morning. I have an education, and I’m not to proud to take something beneath my skill level, providing – and this is what separates new job from old job – there is room and expectation for advancement.

So what are my job prospects?

1) I’ve been communicating with an individual who works for a government office. This is potentially my long-term dream job. However, this individual is unsure that my skill set suits their available openings and is looking into it. She does expect the office to expand within the next year, creating jobs in subject matter I am educated in. Maybe I can’t work there next week or next month, but this woman is really the first person to take notice of me and seems to think that I might be a match for the organization.

2) The local hospital is advertising two positions that interest me. The first is for a histologist, and the position involves performing chemical experiments on tissues and fluids. Cool. I like chemistry. I do not have the requisite certification, but perhaps there is training available. The other position is in billing and only requires a high school diploma. I’m good with computers, good with numbers, and have a willingness to learn about the medical field. I’m going to the hospital tomorrow morning.

3) A major financial corporation has a call center near here and has advertised two positions online. I applied to one but did not receive a response, which thus far has not been unusual. I’m not going to bother with the online application for the second. Instead, I’m going to go directly to that office and show them that I can be the aggressive sales agent they need.

title?

It ain’t my last try
Just got to keep a-movin’ on
If they catch me ever
They’ll throw me back forever

I guess I should be ashamed
But I forget to be vain
Well I did the best I could I guess
But everything just bleeds
They say you’re only sad and lonely
And no one is impressed

I sent it off in a letter
I need somethin’ better”

~The Wallflowers (Bleeders)

Ok, I was somewhat encouraged by the opportunities for job seekers when I looked on Friday. And I’m a little less so now. Perhaps there aren’t really as many opportunities as I thought. I don’t meet the minimum requirements in a lot of cases, but I’m people tell me to apply anyway. Isn’t that just going to bring on a deluge of unnecessary rejection? I am trying to stay positive, and I am willing to reach for a job, but I’m getting lots of unsolicited “helping” that isn’t helping.

Issue number two. My references are now a mess. My supervisor, who would say nice things about me, no longer works for that company (yes, it has occured to me that I was seen as an appendage to him and that’s why I’m out), of the people who are there, I don’t know who to use. There is former-friend who took my supervisors job, who I now don’t trust. At all. There is my department foreman, who although we know each other well, I don’t know if he has the experience to give a great supervisors reference. There is BigBoss, who hardly knew my name. He has offered to give me a recommendation, but when asked what he would say, he hesitated. Shouldn’t he have had some sort of concept before they decided to lay me off? I suppose I could suggest that he look at my employee reviews and then ask what he would say about me. But I just sort of want to be done with all of them.

A couple of my other references work for that company, but my efforts to contact one of them to see if he is still on board have gone unanswered. Come on! How does this change your perspective of me? I didn’t do anything wrong.

I know that many job openings are never posted anywhere, so I’m doing my best to brainstorm. Here’s what I’ve got: substitute teaching. It would be part-time/sporadic, but could help bridge the gap between jobs. I don’t particuarlarly like children, but maybe I could take on high schoolers. This is of course assuming that people don’t see my youthful face as a high schooler myself. Financial services: tax season is coming up, and while I’m not licensed to do tax prep, I’m sure those busy offices could use another set of hands. I’m good with computers and have a math background. Everyone still has to file taxes, even in a crappy economy.

Off to get my teeth cleaned. Got to do this stuff before the insurance runs out.

What I Accomplished Today or How I Kept Moving Forward

1) I called Office Manager at old job to confirm the details of my remaining owed benefits and earnings. I will be receiving 4 more regularly sized paychecks over the month of February. I also have my health insurance covered through all of February.

2) I cleaned my bedroom. The laundry had been piling up. Please note, I still have not washed said laundry, but I will need to soon.

3) I went to the library. I emailed a few people to spread the word that I am very actively looking for a job. I also asked some specifics, like about substitute teaching opportunities from a local educator.

4) I wrote a list of things I need to take care of, immediately, next week, and longer term.

5) I updated my resume. Duh. It didn’t take long to change a few verbs to past tense.

6) I searched local classified listings, and a few job sites to get an overview of what exactly is out there. Actually I was encouraged by this; I can see myself doing many of these jobs.

7) I applied to one job. Yes, just one. It looks like a real good one: 4 positions at a NPS visitor center in my local NP. The deadline ends today, so that became a priority.

Tonight, I’m going to watch my DBF’s son play basketball. He’s been injured for much of the season, but he’s supposed to play tonight. Hope I don’t turn out to be bad luck. Again. Then I’m going to get some warm food and drink, and hopefully sleep more than the two hours I got yesterday.

Tomorrow, I’m going to pay my rent. I’m now the longest running tenant in my building, so I also have an obligation to my neighbors to be the one who complains about the crappy plowing lately. I also want to go to the gym. It should help me relieve some stress and maybe sleep well tomorrow night.

Sunday, I have our second band rehearsal, although I haven’t practiced a bit since the last. And I’m going to make some phone calls: to my former Operations Manager who also got the axe of unjustice, and L, the guy I was promoted to replace.

Monday, I’ll hit up the local staffing agency, and be back at this searching thing full force.

Wish me luck. Good Night