Job Update: The Axe Fell Today…

At work, the axe fell today on our little satellite office…but I was spared.

Now that it’s all over, only about 5 of us are left on our little team. It was a bloodbath. All the people who sat near me for the last 1.75 years are gone. As people arrived and checked their emails for the morning, they announced to the rest of us that they had the dreaded meeting invite to meet with one of the visiting executives (and unbeknownst to them, an HR representative who had secretly flown in).

The handful of us who remain stood-by while, Read More

Working and Waiting… and Worrying – Dealing with Job Insecurity

new cubicles
Image credit: joo-ks.com

As I’ve discussed here (1) and here (2), my employment situation has become precarious over recent weeks. This past week there were off-site closed door meetings for higher ups from my division to discuss ‘efficiency’. We (those of us in my division) suspect there will soon be a major re-organization WITHIN our division.

Those of us within our division who work in my satellite office are especially nervous, as signs continue to point to our office space going away. What will happen to our little group in this suspected re-org? We guesstimate that we should be hearing something official at the end of the month. This will likely give HR time to get paperwork together. It also coincides with a planned visit from our new director.  From what I’ve heard, executives here often Read More

I Got a Job!!!

new job

[Photocredit: Anitah@Flickr]

I just got a job offer! It was the job I discussed earlier. So I called the recruiter last week. Surprisingly, he answered his phone and was pleasant. (I had a bad experience two months ago with a recruiter affiliated with another company who would not answer my phone calls or return them. Companies should really be careful with hiring poor external recruiters.) Anyway, that was not the case this time. He told me that discussions were ongoing, that I was the top candidate, and to wait. So I waited, and waited – until today!  That’s the good news!

The not so good news..

Hand, pen and blank document

The salary presented is lower than I was expecting – about $7k below the floor of my pay bracket based on comparable salaries for similar positions in the area. I mentioned this to the recruiter. He gave me a standard line about this being a fair offer based on my background and experience. His demeanor gave the impression that he was testing my reaction and that there was no room for negotiation.

I feel that I am being low-balled, but I have no leverage to negotiate. I’m unemployed and have no competing offers on the table from other companies. They know this. Undoubtedly, the company has a backup candidate who will take this job if I don’t. Granted they do offer good benefits and the “potential” for bonuses. (We all know that “potential” means that there probably won’t be any bonuses. Analogy:  Think of the “potential bonus” as the mechanical rabbit that slides along the rail at dog track races.  It’s a moving target that none of the poor dogs ever gets to catch.)  So, I’m over a barrel.  “Them’s the breaks.”

Once I see the full offer in writing and get more clarification over benefits, I’ll try to negotiate anyway. As long as my demeanor is appropriate, there should be no harm in asking.

success

In the meantime, I’m excited for this ordeal to be over. It’s only been three months for me, but I can’t bear the thought of sitting through one more interview. The pay may not be what I want, but it pays much better than unemployment. Once I have started the job (~2 weeks from now), I’ll post up a revised debt pay down budget. My part-time online job is still going along as well and bringing in some extra dollars.  I can’t wait to get back on track with killing this debt.

I have to pack and move within the next week. As a part of the process, I will be shedding even more stuff in order to be more mobile. I have temporary accommodations arranged in the new city while I look for a new room to rent.

Happy Dance!

happy dance

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

Down but not Out: A Non-Update, Update

depressed+2

So, I’m still here.

A couple of weeks ago, I thought my job search might be coming to an end, at long last. I applied for a job in the field with a big company that I initially wasn’t that crazy about. They called me back the next day after I submitted my application. The next day! The recruiter gave me a short phone screen and wanted to schedule me to interview with the hiring manager that same day. The same day! This is unheard of. I pushed it back to the next day so I could have more time to prepare. Fast forward a week. Within five days I’d had three interviews with the company (not including the recruiter phone screen). The last interview was with a director. They all loved my advanced education and experience and were selling me on the job. They made me feel as though I were the only candidate.  The recruiter was very attentive and called me after the last interview to ask about background checks and salary, etc.  He told me that the hiring team was very excited, and that  I would hear back in a couple of days. I was ecstatic. I was sure I had the job. By this point, I really wanted the job. It also didn’t hurt to find out that they pay well and have crazy benefits. I told my family and my roommate that I was expecting a job offer any day now. I kept the phone attached to me. I started researching where i was going to live in the new city, etc.

Over a week and a half has passed how. The very communicative recruiter has gone silent. As the days pass, I’m left wondering what happened. I’m feeling strung along and think that I was the backup candidate for the job. Either that or they found something in the background/reference check that they didn’t like. Instead of just telling you the decision, they leave your hope to die a little more with each passing day. I should have known that it was too good to be true.  They say to not let yourself get emotionally invested in a job, but it’s easier said than done.

I’m going to call the recruiter tomorrow when I get back home from my morning appointment. He has shown himself to be super responsive when the company was into me, it seems. If he doesn’t answer or call me back within 24 hours, I will have my final answer. This is so hard to deal with. I don’t have any other interviews going on right now except for one place I applied to a couple of days ago. This other job is with a company I’ve never heard of. The scope of the job isn’t the best fit for me, and the pay won’t be as good, but I’m getting desperate. I have to soldier on.

I only have two months left of unemployment. I thought I would be employed by now. Reality is setting in.

So far I’ve been limiting my search to one large city with occasional applications to jobs in two other large cities. I will have to consider eliminating my geographic preferences. Iowa City, here I come!  (Again, no offense to anyone from or living in Iowa 🙂  I just know I won’t last long (mental-health wise) if I have to live/work in a small city/town. I’m depressed enough as it is.  Over the next few weeks I will put a plan into place for the scenario that I don’t get a job before my unemployment benefits run out. I will gather applications for teaching English abroad. (Thanks Sparksaninterest.)  I will also look into the criteria for filing bankruptcy. I know it won’t touch my student loans, but it could reduce/erase this 25k of credit card debt.
That’s all for now. I’ll let you know if I hear anything from the recruiter.

I’m down, but not out.

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

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.

phone

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!!!

interviewing hoops

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

GFI264-Calendar

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

UnemployedNeedNotApply

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.

too old

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.

Hand, pen and blank document

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.

interviewing

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)