Unemployment

When Did I Become Unemployable?

(Source: flickr.com via @smartblue)

I’ve been keeping an eye on the clock and it’s been ten months since I haven’t worked. That time has gone by quickly and my routine of child-rearing, housekeeping and limited personal development has repeated itself day after day. In the shower (where I do some of my best thinking) I just wonder where I skipped a beat career-wise. While I feel technically competent, there are some skills where I think I didn’t quite keep pace with the market. I can point to the somewhat backwards looking environment that I worked in but also my own inability to look outside of my current situation. That is, while working, I should have viewed the market and gauged my own capabilities against what was on the up. Interviews and job ads are looking for things I should have and really this one is on me.

Also, I think I neglected building more useful connections. In the hustle of job hunting, using existing connections to find new ones seems to be the way to find roles. This use of oily recruiters isn’t getting me anywhere. Again, on me.

That said, I do have energy (most of the time) and propelled by a little smidge of disgust about my own situation just keeps me going. I know there are organizations that aren’t as smart as they could be and surely I could be useful to them. While it’s a trap to fall into bemoaning my situation, pushing to find something new has to be the main focus.

To tomorrow.

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Unemployment

The Things I Miss

(Source: flickr.com via @401(K) 2012

This extended period of non-working gets me down because of a few things that I really miss.

I miss the commute. Being able to just plug in, listen to a treasured podcast, flick through some mail, and then arrive at the station to walk to the office was a precious amount of alone time that I no longer have.

I miss the banter. That inane stuff that people yak about because they want to burn time, spark a little creativity and to just find out what’s new from another human. Right now, I’ve got a toddler substituting for that and while he understands me perfectly, he talks in babbles.

I miss shopping. I miss this one most of all. Yes, as a household, we didn’t budget too tightly when I was working and we didn’t worry about buying this or that at a whim. Nothing too extravagant but an internal wishlist, always at the top of my head, could be retrieved within seconds. I can’t even think about that without that pang of longing.

I have learnt, however, that we are an all consuming society. Unable now to satisfy that need to just buy, buy, buy, I see how that programming is so unavoidable. We are told to buy this or that (and yes, I contributed to that machine). Yes, I crave for the ability to buy those things that I want, even though I’m not so sure about why I wanted them in the first place and that I have so many other things that do exactly the same thing, only they’re older.

Am I better for knowing this? I don’t know but I can’t wait to go shopping again.

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Unemployment

“You’re the Preferred Candidate…”

(Source: flickr.com via @AlexTurton)

That is, until the client met somebody else.

Sure, this just happened today. Before Christmas I had met with a recruiter and subsequently his client. All went well. The company was in a state of flux, trying to modernize itself, just the kind of environment I’d like. There were also a few former colleagues there who vouched for me. All seemed well. Everything seemed to signal that I would be it.

Then there was another job ad for the same role. Despite assurances from the recruiter that I was their preferred, apparently they had met other candidates and while I was pencilled in for a final round interview, that has since been pulled in favor of another candidate. The recruiter then called to say that it wasn’t me it was the client. In all this, it’s hard to know who’s telling the truth. For a moment, I felt incredible rage with the amount of flexibility I’ve provided to both the recruiter and the client and this treatment just makes me think less of them.

The only thing I know is that I’ve got my drawing board to go back to and a shaving of trust has been ground into powder between me, that recruiter and that company.

For all the false claims that I aim not to make, why is it that folks on the recruiting side never feel that they could do the same?

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Unemployment

We Offered That Role Last Friday

Source: flickr.com via @id-iom

The thing about this job hunt is that the power is clearly on the recruiting side. You can point to all manner of factors: a weak economy (hence soft job supply), a recruiter looking to maximize returns so filters all responses to applicants, and maybe even my own skill set which could be deemed either too senior or too junior.

The worst aspect is the inability of recruiters to be fully truthful or to maintain an ongoing relationship (of course, there are exceptions but they’re just that, outliers). Their task (it seems to me) is to plow through as much inventory (applicants) to quickly find the right fit for the client and not care too much about how they treat said supply. The “Dear Applicant” letters are such an example – I go to the effort of being cordial and I get this impersonal response.

So, when I applied for a juicy role and met with the recruiter, I was enthused. She appeared happy with my background, even to the point of saying, this role sounds a lot like what you’ve done in the past, yes? After interviewing with the hiring manager (which I thought went swimmingly), I heard nothing from them – not the recruiter, not the company. Being accustomed to this, I sent an email a few weeks later to the recruiter asking for feedback about my technique and how I could position myself better for future roles. Surprisingly, she said that she had no update from the company and would follow up and I’d hear from her that afternoon. There was a little flit of joy but in hindsight I should know better. Delays of this sort are never good. I didn’t hear from her that afternoon. I didn’t even hear the next day. I finally received an email a day later saying that the role was offered the week before but she would call me to give some feedback. That phone call never happened.

I’ve read that people who are in my position tend to not trust people once they get back into work. After these recruiter experiences, I think there is some truth to that. Now I’ve got a few roles in the works, I know better than to put too much stock in a recruiter’s words. Such a shame.

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