11 Things I Hate about the Job Search

Hi All,

It has been two months since I lost my job and I am still unemployed. Thankfully, I am receiving unemployment benefits to make ends meet and I am still working my online job. I have applied to many jobs and am doing interviews here and there.

I have only ever been on the job market while unemployed (after grad school and now) so my view of being a job candidate may be jaundiced, however I have compiled a list of things that irk me the most about what I’m going through right now. I still have hope that things will pick up and that i will find a good great job, although I remain generally depressed and have fallen into a deep abyss of despair a couple of times.

Because I’ve been through unemployment before, I know the damage that this does to my mental and physical health. One thing that I have now, that I didn’t have then is this blog. So writing here helps me to laugh when I feel like crying. I also read of the blogs of others to know that I am in good company.

Here are 11 things I hate about being unemployed and on the job market.

consulting

1. Employers using interviews to get free consulting

I’ve encountered this more than once already. I think it’s become more common since the recession. Applicants are being taken advantage of. After one particularly detailed interview exercise on a problem that the company was currently facing, I was close to asking the group of interviewers where I should send my consulting invoice. Ugh.

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2. Employers that never let you know the outcome after one or more interviews.

After investing hours or days into preparing for interviews, and then spending hours going through these events of torture, the recruiters don’t call you back to let you know what happened.  You are left twisting in the wind. If, after a reasonable amount of time, you call them for an update they don’t answer your call, and never call you back. They in effect are saying to you, “You figure out when the answer is no.”  THAT IS SOOO DISRESPECTFUL!!!

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3. You have to go through 3,  4, or even 5 rounds of interviews, each more difficult than the last!

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4. The hiring phase takes the employer 3 months, but firing phase 90 days after a bad hire takes 3 minutes.

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5. Unemployment discrimination

The situation is even more difficult if you are unemployed. You are damaged goods. Hiring managers and recruiters ignore you and render you invisible. Recruiters that called you when you were employed, won’t give you the time of day now.

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6. Discrimination of any Kind

Age is one. I am, at 38, and three years out of grad school, already too old to work at many tech start-ups. Sigh.

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7. Local candidates only

I’ve run into this quite a bit in my search. Even if you explain that you will relocate at your own expense, employers will not talk to you – that is,  if they even see your resume. See #9.

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8. Salary Low-balling 

Although I have not had the benefit of being offered a salary yet in my job hunt, I had this happen to me when I was unemployed after graduating from grad school. I know that the unemployed are particularly vulnerable to this. Do you think that a potential employee who feels ripped off is going to be motivated to give an employer everything they have to offer? (For the record, I ended up having to take that job, but was out of there as soon as something better came along.)

Weekly Jobless Numbers Unexpectedly Rise

9. Applicant Tracking Systems

Especially ATSs that eat your resume or screen you out because of #5 and #7. The black hole of doom awaits your carefully crafted and tailored resume, where no human eyes will ever see it. Waste of time.

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10. Being judged and rejected for insanely trivial reasons.

When you are an applicant you’re future livelihood is decided at the whim of the hiring manager.  Maybe you were qualified but they didn’t like your laugh, your accent, your lipstick or mustache, or maybe you reminded them of someone else who was mean to them in childhood. Ok, I’m exaggerating here, but you know what I mean.

grrrr

11.  Losing Out to the Dreaded Internal Candidate

You have your time wasted for three weeks interviewing with a company only to find out that they had an internal candidate that they’d already promised the job to. So this employer just wasted your time and never got back to you. (See #2). But their time wasn’t wasted because at least they got some free consulting from you. (See #1)!

Arrgh!

Hang on and hold on. That’s all I can do.

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“Debtor’s prison is real, and opportunity cost is a bitch.” (DDSW)

My Unemployment Budget

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Running the Numbers.

1. The Outgo per month

Rent:  $425   (I’m so glad* that I moved out of that expensive apartment in January!)

Phone:  $65    (Yes, I still have my iPhone. Sigh.)

Student Loan: $40    (This one is not bundled with my others so I pay on it every month.)

Food: $400    (Yes, this is way too high**. I am not cooking and still eating out a lot.)

Public Transportation: $100  (Yikes! No longer getting free bus pass from employer. )

Misc: $70  (This may go up as I incur job seeker expenses, such as buying an interview suit, etc.)

Credit Card Debt Minimum Payment:  $650  (Ouch!  Did I mention how much I HATE debt!?)

Student Loans: $0   (These are on forbearance. Whew!)

Outgo Total:  $1,750

* – However renting a room under someone else’s roof introduces another set of challenges.

** – My goal is to start cooking more, but so far I haven’t encountered the copious amounts of free time that I am supposed to have at this point. Another part of it has to do with my living situation.

2. The Income per month

Unemployment Benefits:  $1790 (est.)    (After years of working myself into burnout and paying taxes through the nose.)

Second job: $640   (This income is NOT steady. It is ‘as needed’ work only. So I may not earn all of this in a month. Where I live you can earn up to a certain percentage of your unemployment income without it reducing your benefits.

Side hustles:  $0 to $100    (I haven’t started any of these yet, but I’m hoping for pocket money. Rest assured everything is legal and on the books, LoL.)
Total Income:  $1790 (+ $0 – $700)
TOTAL BUDGET BALANCE = +$40  (+$0 – $700)

What Does This Mean?

Well, the good news is that for the foreseeable future (5 months), I will be able to pay my bills while I look for work. This is of course, barring any unforeseen expenses. I don’t plan to remain unemployed for 5 months, but you never know. This is a lesson learned for me, to keep my living expenses low. I have learned that no job is secure and that I need to be out of debt more than anything.

I did not intend for this blog to become an unemployment blog, so while I am working at getting  work, I’ll start writing about other things as well.

Until next time!

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“Debtor’s prison is real, and opportunity cost is a bitch.” (DDSW)

Post-Job Loss Euphoria

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Thank you to those of you who sent me well-wishes after I lost my job a week ago.

I thought that would be devastated by losing my job. I was shocked by the swiftness and finality of it, but I was not surprised.  They say that job loss is one of those things that everyone will go through at least once in their lifetime. Well, I guess I can cross that off my bucket list.  I did spend one day feeling depressed about my lot in life. And not one former co-worker has contacted me to say anything. It’s like I never existed. But I was only down for that one day. I’ve found that another emotion has taken over.

Enjoying the sun

Relief! I really was not happy there. And now I’m happy that I don’t have to put up with some things that I had to deal with all the time. I should have made moves to get out sooner, but I felt trapped by my debt. So they made the move for me. Now, I feel like I have a chance to make a fresh start.  When I say fresh start, I mean finding a career that is better suited to me.  And I would do that, except that I don’t have the time or money to start over. I have debt that is accruing interest daily. I do want to get my side projects off the ground, but those take  upfront money to make happen. So, right now I’m in a holding pattern. I have tons of ideas and the time, but not the money. I am in emergency finance mode until I line up another job.

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On that front, I have spent the last week applying online for jobs. I have submitted about 15 applications. That may not sound like a lot to some people, but in my small niche industry, that’s a large number. Most job postings in my specialization are for senior level positions.  I’ve applied for all decent jobs at junior/mid-level that I can find that are here on the West Coast.

Here is another issue. I like the small city where I live, but it is rather provincial and not diverse at all. My dating life has been nil. I’d like to move to a place that is more cosmopolitan and multi-cultural and where my dating prospects will hopefully be better as a single woman. I don’t want to move to the middle of nowhere just to have a job. No offense if you happen to live in the middle of nowhere. But it is another thing that I will have to keep in mind depending on how long I am out of work. Hopefully, I won’t have to make that decision. I will see what happens.

Good news!

I have an interview. This was a job that I applied for before I was let go. I’ve gone through two rounds of interviews with them by phone. The second one I was sure I bombed. I was in a tricky situation because during the first interview I had a job and right before the second interview, I no longer had a job. I had to explain that I was no longer employed and why, etc. The interviewer did not seem very interested, and the interview only lasted 30 minutes instead of  1 hour. I was shocked when I was notified that they want to fly me out there for a third round, all-day, face-to-face interview. When I saw the email, I thought it was a mistake.  No mistake.  I’m guessing that the first interviewer liked me and overruled the second one.

interview

It is a senior position. I must have applied while in a state of delirium, because the job is too senior for me, but who knows. In my field, our interviews are  4 to 8 hour gauntlets, complete with a project exercise, a portfolio presentation, and back to back interviews. This interview will be an 8 hour one.  I do frazzle easily, so I’m not getting my hopes high on this one. However, it does give me something to hang on to for right now. I haven’t heard back from any of the other places I’ve applied to. If I can make it out of this interview without embarrassing myself, I will consider it a success!

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On the personal front, I still have not told my family. My parents will flip out and overreact. They will do this because I “don’t have a man to take care of [me].” My siblings will be concerned but more steady.  I will have to have “the talk” this weekend.

In my next post, I’ll give a run-down of my finances and what my emergency budget and strategy will be for the foreseeable future.

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“Debtor’s prison is real, and opportunity cost is a bitch.” (DDSW)