Tag Archives: unemployment

The Career Path Epiphany

11 Jun

 

courtesy of sangrea.net

courtesy of sangrea.net

 

Keeping up with a blog is hard. It’s been nearly a month and a half since I’ve taken the time to update my posts. Seriously, I can’t believe July will be here by tomorrow.

So what’s been going on? A lot of work madness that’s for sure. I’m really getting tired of the 10E to West 5 days a week drive. Once again, the everlasting “I’m ready to get out of this career” job has taken over my life.  Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad that I have a stable income again.  However, I continue to play catch up monetarily while realizing each and everyday that I low-balled my salary. And….I’m ready to move on to a new career.

Four years ago I was in the same rut. Lost in the shuffle of spreadsheets, I had an itch for that next career step but felt stuck.  Fast forward 4 years later with a 1.5 year stint of unemployment, I realize that I am definitely ready to take those first baby steps into a career transition. 2011-13 will forever go down as my “the universe is teaching you a lesson” period.

 When a job starts sucking the life out of you and you are too tired to enjoy your normal routines on a daily basis, it’s a problem. I need that healthy mind and life balance back into my life again.  And, it’s time for change.

 

Reflections on 2011 – 2012 Employment

16 Dec

**courtesy of pscvideomusic** – Donald Byrd, Stepping Into Tomorrow (ummm, why has WP changed the media features?!????)

“When I think about my mental state in December 2011 compared to now, it’s such a huge difference!”, I exclaimed to a few people a week ago.

In December 2011, I felt that there would be no light waiting at the end of the tunnel.  At the time I was battling it out for the third time in one year with EDD.  I swallowed my pride and asked my dad for rent money. EDD put my check on hold for  nearly a month and I had $200 in my name. It was then, how I realized that the unemployment system can help you in hard times (to a certain extent) but also work against you in a major way.  If you work a PT job and make $100 for the week, you have to claim that money (especially if you filled out a W2).  

That money is then subtracted from your weekly EDD  payment. Once the government takes their share, they will also, stop your payment for a few weeks until you have an “interview” to discuss your “new” job. Overall, the general consensus was that it was better not to work a temp or PT job, otherwise EDD would put you in a bind.  Have rent due? Need to pay bills? Oh well, you will have to wait until you have  an interview.

Eventually, 6 months later, I got a job offer that ended up a bust.  The cycle of 2011 overlapped into 2012 and once again, I was in another dire situation.  Perhaps that was my fate.  The rough patch was pushing me  to start taking steps to move forward and out of something that was never fulfilling.

Since the 2012 job experience has been an interesting adventure, I’m taking  the next 15 days, to post what I encountered with new job #1.  Seriously, there’s a short story a-brewing somewhere. 

10 Commandments of Job Hunting

1 Jun

Landing a new gig last month was somewhat anti-climatic for me.   When I got the offer, I wasn’t exactly as elated as I thought I would be.

There were some tough choices that I had to make.  I repeatedly asked myself if I should hold out for better offers or continue to depend on EDD until I got better/decent offers?

Since my phone wasn’t ringing off the hook, I decided to bite the bullet and join the thousands (millions) of underemployed.

Here’s a list of my own job hunting commandments in a down market.

1. Be Your Own Devil’s Advocate.

  • Are you in a position (savings, freelance work) where you can hold out longer?
  • Have you received multi-offers or are you drowning in thanks, but no thanks post interview (or no interview).

2. Education – Keeping Up with Your Industry

  • If you want to find work in the same industry, make sure that you are keeping up with trends and utilizing free online services such as webinars or tutorials if possible.
  • Keep your eyes open for industry events.

3. Volunteering

  • Try to find an organization related to your field or an organization that you care about.  You never know when your skills could be helpful to that organization.
  • By volunteering, perhaps you might end up in a new career!

4.   Keep Your Ego in Check – Soul Crushing Rejections

  • Don’t argue with a hiring manager or HR about why you think they made the wrong choice.
  • If an interviewer or recruiter is being condescending or rude, kill them with the right kind of kindness.
  • Leave the cockiness at the door.  There are other job seekers that are just as good and/or have more advanced skills than you do.

5. Remain Confident About Your Skills

  • See statement B in number 4.

6. Network

  • Networking can vary from person to person.  In my experience, the gigs that I got through networking were mostly non-paid.

7. Always Do Your Research 

  • Check out GlassDoor.com for employee reviews.
  • Contact former employees for their POV.
  • Research the business online – official sites or LinkedIn.
  • Ask questions. Always ask questions.

8. Know That It’s Okay To Get Angry and Frustrated

  • This is a tough economy and getting a job has become much harder than it should.  Let the anger out in constructive ways when you feel it.

9. Talk to Empathetic Friends and Family

  • When you think you are alone, there will be friends and family that really care and want to know how you are feeling .

10. Put A Filter On Unemployment Discussions

  • If you don’t want to discuss your job hunt and being unemployed, then don’t.  Realize that you will become aware of who can truly understand your situation.
  • Talk about other topics that interest you when meeting with friends that are still employed.

Happy hunting!

Talking Unemployment – Podcast 3

27 Apr

Back with another sharing is caring podcast!  Two weeks ago I recorded a session about discussing unemployment with friends and family.  Although I’m a private person to a certain extent, I came to the conclusion that I needed to put a filter on discussing unemployment with employed friends.

I was getting tired of my blood pressure rising any time someone in my circle would pipe in their advice.  Trust us employed people, whatever advice you dish out, believe me that your unemployed pal has probably already tried it.

If  a group of 10 people were asked how good or bad their experience has been since being unemployed, 9 out of 10 would probably have a sob story to tell you.  Rude hiring managers, incompetent hiring managers, great interviews and no call backs, discrimination, low-balled salaries – the list could go on.   These are the situations that millions are facing everyday.

Unemployment is not funemployment!  Believe me, it’s hard to live high on the hog with an unemployment check in Los Angeles. Fuck Republicans, Neo-Cons and Tea Partiers.

A week after recording this podcast, I got a job offer. More on that later.

Take a listen, comment, share and try a little tenderness with that unemployed mate of yours.

Happy job hunting!

Salary Questions – Make It Rain

28 Mar

courtesy of telegraph.co.uk

How much did you make at your last employer? What was your former salary?

You got a call from someone in the depths of hell (Human Resources) that most likely asked you one of the questions above.  Discussing salary is usually number 5 or 6 on their criteria lists.

I tried avoiding this question for  months.  Slowly I moved on to saying, “I made XXX, but I am flexible,”.   Then it progressed into flat out telling them what I used to make.  I kick myself in the brain every time.

It’s really none of their business.  Plus, it’s an easy, instant rejection on their end -  it’s their job.  I’ve X’ed myself out of the running quite a few times by sharing my former salary.  Employers in LA that need my type of skill set are seriously low-balling applicants.

I like to compare the salary question to asking someone on a date.  For example, say that you have someone interested in you. They meet you, chat you up and like what they see.  They decide to ask you out on a date for a get-to-know-you test drive. Your response is, “How much do you make?”.  Excuse me?  “How much do you make? I need to know how much you make before you can wine and dine me,”.  Why so shallow?  However, in the employers market HR is searching for cheap gold.

courtesy of live-pure.org

There are ways to get around disclosing your salary.  Last month, I applied for an entry-level type gig.  I knew it was entry-level, but I wanted to hear what they were offering.   Who was going to give a number first? Not me.  Instead of giving her an answer I asked, “Can you tell me how much the company is offering for this position?”.  Once I got my answer, I declined to interview.  Why waste the hiring manager’s time.

Other diversions I like are:

1. Salary is important, but I would like to know more about the position and hiring manager. Once there is a mutual interest, I will be more than willing to discuss salary.

2. The market shows that salaries range between XX and XX (based on your field) for my experience. Is your company offering within that range?

It’s a good idea to ask about the type workload or hours they expect too.  Do they expect you to come in on weekends, work overtime or do the work of two people for a lower XX salary?

Lately, salary has been my number 1 issue.  It’s going on 1.5 years of unemployment.  I’m beginning to have those 3 am wake up questions of anxiety.   Will I resort to taking a much lower salary just to work full time again? Will I have to work two part-time jobs?  Will I make the decision to break up with my boyfriend and move back home to stay with family? Hefty decisions.

In the meantime, I continue to send out more resumes while waiting for the right employer to wine and dine me with a happy meal.

Worthy Reads:

http://corcodilos.com/blog/3686/salary-history-can-you-afford-to-say-no

http://www.askamanager.org/category/salary

Blog Comments – Lay Off Humor

23 Mar

Comment: “Great. More unemployed people competing for the three real open jobs in LA,”.

Commenter: Tits McGee

Source:  AgencySpy, Feb. 21, 2012

Tits, you couldn’t have summed up any better!

Happy Friday!

Related Article: http://www.mediabistro.com/agencyspy/we-hear-mendelsohn-zien-done_b29603#disqus_thread

Bad Recruiter – Lazy Online Recruitment

7 Mar

courtesy of Glasbergen.com

One of my peeves about being unemployed is getting spammed by job recruiters. That peeve is the bad recruiter who likes to spam about a phantom gig all over LinkedIn.  I consider this lazy recruitment. If recruiters are truly serious about recruiting perfect candidates for awesome clients, they should really stop recruiting this way.

The other day, I received this e-mail in my Inbox and a request to join her network. Apparently I’ve done business with her before.  Untrue!

“I am looking for XXX XXXX (50-85K) for an extremely creative full service ad agency in NYC. They offer big agency benefits w/o the big agency feel. Do you know any one who might be interested in hearing more? I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”

The recruiter is on the East Coast and I like how she’s asking me, unemployed on the West Coast if I know anyone who  might be interested. Doesn’t ask me if I’m interested. Uh-uh, no way. I’m way past the expiration date.

Look, I understand that LinkedIn is social networking for business connections. So why am I complaining?  Because this recruiter decided to do a keyword search based on the client’s criteria and spammed everyone on LinkedIn that have those keywords listed in their profile. She’s spamming accounts requesting job seekers to do her job. Is the phantom gig really a gig or is she resume hoarding in order to attract clients?

If you are this type of recruiter – STOP IT! It may be an easier option, but it’s a lazy process that probably causes more harm to all parties involved than good.  My 2-cents of advice is that if recruiters want great candidates, they should do the research themselves. Take the time to look at profiles and reach out to those that are the strongest fit for a position.  Third, LEARN about the industry you are recruiting for.

If good recruiters know their industry, I think they will have better results in attracting great candidates.  It feels good to work with someone who knows what they are talking about. Know what I’m saying?

Happy job hunting!

Bad Recruiters – Interview Feedback

30 Jan

Time to finish the Bad Recruiter Series story!  The writing has slacked off due to focusing on finding employment and interning. The last post ended with my post-interview glow. I felt that I was in the top running but little did my naive self know what was to come.

Here we go….

The next day I called Cowboy to get an update. I was anxious to get feedback and start working again. By this time I was into month 8 of unemployment. “We got feedback and the client has decided to pass, ” said Cowboy. Oh. Really?  “Okay. Can you tell me why they decided to pass?”, I replied.

The recruiter “allegedly” was told that I didn’t know Excel, was unclear in regards to my tech marketing role and that I had little to no experience in a particular software platform. Come again? As he’s going through this list, it started to sound as if  two different interviews happened.  I remembered everything that I told each interviewer.  It was at this moment that I lost my cool. Yup, I lost it. It dawned on me that this whole interview process became a big. waste. of. my. fucking. TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In my field there is a “special” search engine certification that’s required by many agencies that are looking for digital experience. Regardless that I have years of experience, not having this certification is 1 strike against me.

“Did they get me confused with another candidate?”, I asked. Seriously, the feedback I was hearing did not sound like the same interview. Cowboy wondered the same thing. Remember, by the time I had my in-person interview, I had at least 3 phone interviews and everyone liked what they heard. “The manager thought you were a great fit for the team, but unfortunately, he couldn’t make the final decision over the team. It had to be a team choice, ” he replied.

Cowboy told me that he would call back the client (bullshit) to see if there was a mistake. Once I let off some steam during my workout, I e-mailed Cowboy, thanked him for his “help” and told him that if it was meant to be, it would be meant to be.  As time went on, something didn’t sit right with me. I’ve let job rejections go, but this one just did not seem right.

Researchers say that when you become unemployed, you go through 5 stages just like the grieving process.  I was at Stage 3 – Anger. For days, I let the rejection linger in my brain. That interview was a freakin’ dog and pony show. Wasted my time. I vented to close friends and fam who were hoping for a great outcome. The interview became a date gone bad without me knowing it.

I reached out to various career advice bloggers and the one who put the bullet in the gun for me was blogger Ji Hyun Lee of Politics in The Workplace.  She advised me to contact my former employer in regards to what they are allowed to say to prospective employers. Depending on your state law, companies can only confirm dates of employment. If anything negative said is untrue, that could be grounds to sue.  Read the Rumors post for more news at 11.

I am the type that’s comfortable with confrontation.  In order to move forward and get over it, I e-mailed the hiring manager to thank him for the interview but also voice a concern that was irking me – see Rumors.

Aw, shiiittttttttttttttttt!  The hiring manager responded ASAP and  stressed that what I heard in regards to – see Rumors post - was untrue and he would NEVER do something like that. He apologized for what happened and wished me the best.  At least he was honest.

**Video Courtesy of YouTuber MorriconeRocks**

Gut instinct never fails you.  If you think you smell bullshit, most likely you are smelling the stench of dung. This was the moment I decided that 3rd-party recruiters were not for me.  The experience left a bad memory and I knew I could not trust this recruitment firm.

I immediately e-mailed the firm owner and requested that they no longer keep my information in their database. I proceeded to shame them (yes I cc’ed the team) for their shadiness.  They were the ones that contacted me and they also proved my theory about recruiters.

Cowboy had to have the last word.  A long rambling message was left on my VM and then he e-mailed me repeating the same information in the voicemail.  The irony is that he provided me job board links such as Indeed.com and Monster to help with my job search. Dude, seriously? I’ve been using the Internet since 1995.  No longer wanting to engage in his verbal non-sense, I firmly requested that my information should be removed and to never contact me again.  I never had the chance to meet Cowboy in person but his Facebook picture tells me that he’s a royal touche (douchebag + tool).

After this incident, I purged every single recruiter from my contact list.  Once I purged, I no longer cared if recruiters contacted me.

What’s the moral story to the Bad Recruiters series? There’s a lesson learned behind every disappointment. Stay tuned!

10 Worst Things to Say – Job Hunting

31 Dec

Yes! 2011 is almost officially OVAH! A year of ups and down, highs and lows, I’m officially done with 2011. My last 2011 post is about the awkward conversations you have with friends and family about your job search.

After my lay off , I wasn’t too bothered about landing a job. I figured that within 6-7 months an offer would eventually come through. Well the universe and luck has not been on my side, so the latter part of the year has been fret with worry and shitacular mood swings.

If you are still unemployed or just became unemployed,  you realize that most of your friends and family are genuinely concerned. A percentage of that most may develop a little bit of schadenfreude on your behalf. Haters begone!

I’ve been through the motions with the various job advice from people. Although I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, my 2012 resolution is to respond to questions about my job search in a different tone. My answer will be “It’s going. Do you have a job lead?”.  I’ve noticed that the conversation about not having a job immediately turns into a pity party conversation. I experienced this the other night, when a friend treated me to dinner. By the time I got home I was frustrated and in a put off mood.

During our conversation, the job hunt questions came about and finally I said, “It’s so easy to say when you have a job,”.  I think the employed have two sets of thoughts going through their brain. Holding on to their job and that they would take any job just to get bills paid if they were in the same situation.

People can’t really relate to or empathize with your situation unless they’ve been through it.

Searching the Innerwebs, I came across this article 10 Worst Things to Say to Someone Who Just Got Laid Off.  I think this also applies to those that are still on the long-term ride.

10 Worst Things to Say:

1. Are You Freaked Out?

2. Do You Know What You Did to Deserve It?

3. You’re Not Unemployed, You’re Funemployed!

4. Have You Started Applying for New Jobs Yet?

5. Have You Thought About Temping?

6. Was It Just You, Or Did Others Get Laid Off Too?

7. Have You Filed for Unemployment Yet?

8. I Can Get You a New Job (Job is Totally Inappropriate)

9. When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade!

10. Everything Happens for a Reason

I relate to #2, #3, #4, #6, #9 and #10 – a statement I’m guilty of saying myself.

I will add two more of my own that I hate to hear:

1. Have you thought about re-applying at Company X?

  • Hell no. If my friends that are still employed by Company X complain about Company X, why would I want to go back?

2. Why can’t your friends get you a job? **A friend asked this after two of my former co-workers found jobs.

  • Ah, the power of networking. This is a tricky one that I don’t have the patience to explain. I’ll save this for another post.

If you’re employed, watch what you say.  Your unemployed friend or family member is trying to make it happen. Unfortunately companies are not looking at talent and what you can offer the company. They are looking for the right “fit”. The superficial. The robots.

Do you have any leads? If not, then shut up, buy me a drink and let’s discuss topics other than work. When I become FT employed again, I will definitely let you know.

Bye-Bye 2011 and the best of luck for 2012.

Message to the Employed – USAToday.com

8 Dec

courtesy of cartoonaday.com

Back in September, journalist Anita Bruzzese wrote an article titled, “Don’t Let Eloquent Recruiter Blind You to Job’s Realities”. It’s a quick and interesting read that seemed to go under the radar in my opinion.

Her POV to those that are employed and looking to bounce is to tread carefully. I absofuckinglutely agree 120%. I’m a realist. No matter how hard the media and government continue to push the unemployment has decreased happy pill, there are far too many people still unemployed and underemployed. To tread carefully is an understatement.

Her tips to those that are searching for a new gig:

  • Do some sleuthing. Use social media to get the buzz about an employer.
  • Get past the charm. A hiring manager is going to put the best face on a job opening and an organization, so try to dig a little deeper.
  • Check out the boss. Your manager is going to have a big impact on your career at a new company, so take the opportunity to find out as much as you can about this person.
  • Look around. Are workers talking with one another, meeting in groups to collaborate? Does the atmosphere seem friendly and relaxed?

It’s hard out there for us unemployed pimps. Happy job hunting!

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