Down but not Out: A Non-Update, Update

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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.

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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.

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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)