I’m Not Trying to Be a Jerk, but…

When someone starts a sentence in an email that way, you know it’s time to move on.

Here’s another: I’m not saying you’re stupid, but…

It’s happened, again. I was out of town celebrating a birthday, and I got the call that one of my two freelance gigs was “terminating my placement”. (In fairness, the last time it happened I was kicked to the curb the second day back from a two week vacation, so not identical but similar.) I can’t say I was surprised, and I also can’t say that I’m upset, but – really?

And, do you want to know why they did it when they did it? Because they saw that I was checking email while I was away. They wanted to put a stop to the work, and frankly, I did, too.

I’ll get to my role in this in a minute, but first a few thoughts on them. They were terrible. They didn’t know how to set me up in the building’s system so that I could have a key to it and my floor (I did it). They didn’t get me a phone number (I did it). They didn’t realize until my 2nd day that they didn’t have enough seats in their data room and would have to kick someone off or buy more in order for me to be able to do the work. My immediate manager was fond of saying of his internal clients “they’re fucking idiots” (Fantastic attitude for a service department. Employee of the month!), and when I mentioned that it would be helpful to have a breakdown of sorts of the company’s negotiating guidelines he said “that’s so [insert name of former company] of you”. He told me to email less and make more phone calls (fun fact: I worked remotely most of the time, so apparently my phone was to be my business phone – the cost of which they were not reimbursing). I was told “we assumed you would know more about insurance” and that I was a lazy reader. When I said that I really hadn’t been trained, I was told “we met with you once a week – what other training did you need?” My manager, unaware that his company had guaranteed my hours each week, said: “We probably should have discussed at the beginning how your hours were going to work.” No. Really? Fuckwit.

I was also told to ask more questions. This was the one valid point made in a sea of insults and condescension. On that he was right – I didn’t ask enough questions.

But, in the general scheme of things, did I want the job? No. I didn’t. I didn’t like the vibe or the mood. I didn’t like my manager who I thought of only as “bro”. I didn’t like the paralegal who loved pointing out a mistake I’d made with my manager in ‘cc’.

Why didn’t I ask questions? I wanted to get it right. I wanted to prove that I could do the work, even though each and every contract was somehow an exception to a rule. I didn’t want to appear out of my depth and lost. I wanted to show them that they hadn’t made a mistake in hiring me, even though all along the clues were there. Not only had they made a mistake, but I had, too.

My fear of losing the paycheck – and my pride – got in the way of telling my agency that the placement wasn’t the right fit for me. The work wasn’t the issue, but the people sure were.

Who works in an office of three people and doesn’t silence their phone so that every few seconds you hear “beep” upon receipt of a new text message? Who works in an office of three people and doesn’t use headphones to listen to his (extraordinarily shitty) music?

Lessons learned. Teachable moments observed and absorbed. However, that being said, I don’t mean to be a jerk, but… fuck you, ‘bro.

 

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On Second Thought…

I’m going to quit a job.

Even saying this out loud terrifies me. Who am I to voluntarily give up earning money? By what right am I able to tell an organization that is paying me that I don’t want to work with them anymore?

Here’s what happened.

Way back in December – the last week of the month – I was sitting on my couch and (once again) looking at jobs posted online. My unemployment had stopped a week or so back, and I was staring at the New Year. My entire thought process was “what the f*** am I going to do now?” and “how the hell do I survive this?”. My job search had been brutal, the disappointments piling up, and I felt like there was no way on earth this would ever turn around.

I saw the ad.

It was for a weekend manager at a small art center about 45 minutes from my apartment. I loved the town it was located in, loved the artist whose work was represented, and needed to work. Despite the stated hourly wage that was just barely above minimum and with absolutely nothing to lose, I applied.

After an initial interview that went very well, references were checked, and a second conversation was had. The executive director had concerns that I would be bored, but I convinced her that I would love the work, happy to give up my weekends, and understanding that if I really needed to I could ask for a day off.  I even negotiated an additional hour each weekend so that my take home would come slightly closer to covering most of my health insurance. We made a deal. I was hired.

And, now I’m going to resign.

There are many reasons why I’m doing this, some more significant than others. But, ultimately, the decision is the right one. Why? Because I stayed in two other jobs that became the wrong fit and found myself starting over again. I stayed at those two dances far too long, negotiating my unhappiness, and trying to survive. I put myself behind the 8 ball, didn’t trust myself enough and was too frightened to embrace the unknown. However, now that I live in the unknown, what’s stopping me?

It will be the first time that I’m doing this, and while I hate the idea of disappointing someone else and making someone else’s life harder, this is such an important step for me to take. While I do believe that you sometimes have to say “no” to make room for “yes” and that in most cases the hard thing to do is the right thing to do, more importantly, part of job hunting is knowing when to take a step back and trust your gut.

Wish me luck.

 

 

 

What?

I haven’t been here of late because I haven’t had that much to say vis-à-vis job searching and frankly all of it is a bit too kvetchy. I decided to launch my own business at the end of last year after the straw that broke this camel’s back came down, and I am starting the new year with a renewed determination to make it work.

That being said, I have to earn some money so the job search continues. I vacillate between focusing on a full-time high paying gig and the Container Store. Although, truth be told, the only jobs available at the Container Store near me are for the 5 am shift unloading boxes from trucks, and put quite simply … I don’t want to do that (and, to be fair, I’m not quite desperate enough to have to do that).

My unemployment insurance has officially ended, and they make quite clear that there are no extensions allowed. This is good for the state, I suspect, because it means I, along with others, come off their labor roles as “unemployed” and their stats improve. Cynical, perhaps, but that’s how it works.

So, I got an email from the department of labor telling me that because I hadn’t accessed their JobZone website it would become inactive. Well, I don’t want to be inactive, so I logged on and did a search for jobs that matched my resume. Wanna know what types of jobs? Editor. Hundreds of jobs for the position of editor, some posted 6 months ago. What? Is there any confusion about why I hadn’t accessed the website? Not to mention the fact that my profession is clearly listed as “lawyer”, I mean… what?

When one is job searching, you are reluctant to say “no” to anything. You feel like your last interview was your last chance. You feel like every word out of your mouth is a mistake and every hope is futile. You read every article about everything having to do with job searching, but frankly if another person says “networking” to me I may scream. I KNOW! The energy it takes to keep yourself motivated while it feels like everything is working against you is astonishing. It’s all exhausting.

That being said, the next time JobZone tells me that my account is expiring, I’m just gonna let it. Like other sites it is a job aggregator, and I have enough of those to keep me occupied for hours.  Tell me something I don’t know, JobZone… like, who is going to hire me and when, and then we’ll talk.

By the way, I picked a word to guide me through 2017. The word is “courage”.

“Read what my medal says: “Courage”. Ain’t it the truth? Ain’t it the truth?” – The Cowardly Lion, The Wizard of Oz

Well, That Sucks.

I had a second interview scheduled for today for which I was one of two candidates being considered. I was excited. I bought new shoes and a necklace. It is raining today so I was ready to leave early and drive there so that I didn’t have to schlepp. I prepared for the interview, reading a very long document over the holiday weekend, and running through what I would say to wow the president and CFO of the company. I was nervous but thrilled for the opportunity, and I didn’t tell anyone about the interview, not in the way I’ve talked about others. The job, if won, would have meant two things: my nightmare would be over, and I’d be moving into a field that I would love to work in.

The interview was just cancelled.

The job is no longer available.

The president of the company wants to go in a different direction.

Fuck.

 

Third Time’s a Charm?

I did it. I went to my final mandatory meeting at the NYS Department of Labor. I brought in my spreadsheets, my resume, and my desire never to grace those halls ever again, for as long as I live.

Once again, the waiting. Once again, the review of the spreadsheet. But this time, the employee of this fine, gray-walled institution took her time, flipped pages back and forth. Increasingly nervous, I asked “Is there something you’re looking for but not seeing?” “No”, she replied, “but I do have to make sure that all of the dates line up.”

Are you not impressed by my yellow header? Are you not enthralled by the breakdown of the minutiae? Don’t you want to praise me for what has clearly been stellar job search reporting?

Apparently not.

Employee of said gray-walled institution went around the room, inspecting everyone’s documents. When she finished, she said that there were a number of seminars one could attend to help with his/her search. Please know one very important detail about all of this…

I have 16 days left of unemployment insurance.

16.

Days.

If you are not getting interviews, perhaps your resume needs revising. If you are not on LinkedIn you should be (there’s a seminar for that). If you are not networking, following-up, emailing and cold-calling… frankly, I think that if you aren’t slamming your head into a wall then you’re doing just fine.

I asked said employee how many interviews the NYS Department of Labor thought should be happening, and she said to me – completely straight-faced – one every two weeks. Holy fuck. When I told employee that I hadn’t gotten nearly that many she said that she’d be happy to review my resume and make any suggestions on how to revise it. I graciously accepted.

What? You don’t think she would’ve marked my record somewhere if I didn’t?

 

Ghosting Strikes Again

This is a new one, and I write about it only because it’s now happened twice in as many days.

On Wednesday last week a recruiter reached out to me asking to set up an interview for a job I’d applied to the previous week. She contacted me on LinkedIn and asked for my availability the following day. I replied, giving her a very small window as it happened to be a busy day for me.

She did not respond to my email.

I reached out on the day I thought we would be talking and told her my availability for the following day which was open but for a lunch date.

Again, no response.

Friday I applied to a job via Indeed.com using their “easy” application process. Later that afternoon I was contacted by the person to whom the position would be reporting asking for my availability today. I promptly replied telling him when I could meet.

No response.

I wrote again this morning with a very breezy email, circling back to our email exchange of Friday afternoon.

No response.

Here’s the truth about job hunting. As much as you may want to find a job or even as much as you need to find a job, what does it say about the company to which you’ve applied when the person interviewing you doesn’t respond to emails, email chains which they themselves have initiated. I grant you that you absolutely must make room for the fact that “something suddenly came up”, but don’t you at some point have to throw up your hands and let it go?

I’m flummoxed by this. Assuming nothing did come up which took them away from the conversation, what did I say that caused these contacts to ghost themselves … simply disappear from the conversation. Has the process become so impersonal that common courtesy doesn’t enter the equation even when a human is involved? How is this okay?

Perhaps I’ll hear from one or both of them, and perhaps I won’t. Needless to say if I do, it will be a really interesting decision I have to make.

~ Kelly

 

My Name Is Not Kelly

A little bit of a change from posts past…

My job hunt has been morphing of late, all for the good, but I continue to participate in the old fashioned process of (a) looking online, (b) finding something that I think I could be willing to do, and (c) applying online.

A few months ago – August to be exact – I applied online for a temporary position at a company that shall remain nameless. I even had a connection there and called upon him to get my resume to a real person.

Nothing.

Several weeks later I saw the that posting was “new” on LinkedIn so attempted to apply again online but was told by the online robot that I could not do so. Okay. I decided to take the step of finding someone on LinkedIn to reach out to directly to say … “Hey. Is this position still open?”

No reply.

My first online application was August 9. Today is November 4. I saw online again today the position listed as “NEW” on LinkedIn. What the what?! So, I went to the company’s website and yes indeed, the job was still posted. So, I decided that I would reach out to the Executive VP of HR and say “Hey. Is this position still open?”

The exec did reply and said that they were very close to making a final decision but that I could talk to the head recruiter for more information. I sent the recruiter an email and do you know what she did? In the email telling me that they really were close to making a final decision and therefore it wasn’t of use to resubmit my materials, she called me “Kelly”.

My name is not Kelly.