Employment

Thinking About the Future

(Source: flickr.com via @Randall)

What this awful job has made me realize is that I’ve meandered for too long. While there have been creaking door openings for some ideal corporations, either I wasn’t quite the right person for them or that I just didn’t press my case as well as I could.

So, I’m annoyed that I can’t quite realize something that I’ve always wanted to do. A future where I’m just another guy with unfulfilled dreams looms large. That pains me because I’ve always felt that I could do something meaningful. Now, it’s looking more likely that I’ll just be ordinary. While that isn’t such a bad thing, wouldn’t it be nicer to make a big change, be a bit of a difference somehow?

Of course, time moves and sitting still won’t change things.

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Unemployment

On Rejection

(Source : flickr.com via @RickMandel

The thing I hate most about this job search is the rejection. More than the tedium of trawling through job ads, scraping through worn networks for a potential connection and the unnoticed customization of CV and cover letters, being told that you’re not wanted is the worst.

My first interview of 2015 happened last week. That was quickly followed by a presentation to the whole team yesterday. The pace of discussion was a fillip for my confidence. Yes, I’m wanted.

Then there was some feedback from the contact who instigated the opportunity. She said that I maybe talked too much and should have been more succinct. There were questions about my ability to deal with ambiguity (really?). Yes, it annoys me that the virtual singing and dancing that has to be done to impress people boils down to the proverbial sequins on your outfit but I guess they’re the people with the power. Maybe it’s just my interview technique.

Today, I’m waiting and stewing. It seems like the decision is on the edge and I’d be continuing this search a little longer. The worst part is that the more it draws on, the less you feel like you have any ability at all. Perhaps it’s time to look for a way to take the decision-making and power in my own hands? Not sure. I’m a little lost and really which way is up.

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Unemployment

Re-thinking

(Source: deathtothestockphoto.com)

(Source: deathtothestockphoto.com)

I’ve got a lot of time. Well, sort of. Being Mr Mom means getting kids ready for school or naps, preparing three meals a day (yeah, think about that), perpetually picking up toys from the floor, grocery shopping, and so on. I feel like I need to do a few of those things before I can really settle into this seemingly endless job search. Well, endless isn’t true – it just feels that way.

I need focus to apply for a job. I put in effort. I customize my materials as all the advice says. For a given job, there’s a little research on the company needed. That becomes a small (but enjoyable) rabbit hole.

For all this effort, I haven’t come close to a job offer. Final interviews, yes. Something that says I’d be employed, no. And so, after a heated discussion with my significant other, I need to do a bit of thinking. Again. The questions are about:

  • What is it that I’m good at?
  • Where can I apply this?
  • Can I be open to being in other industries?
  • Can I view my past experiences into something applicable for a different industry?
  • Can I join at a level lower than I am used to?

Essentially, it all boils to re-framing what’s possible. The last few months of effort hasn’t really worked, so an adjustment has to be made. Yes, I’m open to different things because I know that I can apply what I know to other circumstances. The tough part is being able to think in an uncomfortable new way. I like it to the awkwardness of a new class, a new environment, a new hobby. That bit has been harder than I expected.

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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

So, That’s Six Months

Source: flickr.com via @KellyPuffs

The clock has ticked quickly and it’s been six months of unemployment, ceaseless job search and rejection.

That’s half a year of no paychecks.

That’s half a year of missing office banter that provides the proverbial cherry on top to working in an office.

Perhaps most importantly for me, that’s half a year of not able to hone my thinking – no questioning, solving and just twisting over a puzzle.

Then again, there’s the Mr Mom thing. I had half a year of seeing a little one grow big and really, I couldn’t have had that with a corporate job. At least, not in the current climate. Yes, it’s my silver lining to the situation. And really, I think it’s half a year well spent.

 

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Unemployment

Getting Back In The Saddle

Source: flickr.com via @jimmedia

Looking for new work has been, for me at least, about dealing with the disappointments. Missing out on a role because of a gap in capability, or not gelling with the hiring manager or even just being an outright embarrassment in a case interview. Couple that with the pressure of money, the building sense of desperation (will I be working by Christmas?), and the feeling that perhaps I’m not any good, the mental tornadoes get quite awful. Doubt creeps in and that becomes quite a debilitating combination. You just want to wake up and blast bad guys on the Playstation all day.

But… there is always responsibility and duties to fulfil. If anything, wallowing in this isn’t productive. And with a great struggle, I blast out more applications this week and try to forget the things I said, pasting it over with the imagined things I should have said. That only helps if it happens again.

So, back in the saddle. Thankfully, I got a few bites this week. They don’t pay as much and aren’t in my target industries. However, it’s work. Right now, I just need to feel wanted and to do something with myself. That freelance career won’t just happen and a day job helps.

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Unemployment

“From a person with your seniority, we expected more structure”

(Source: flickr.com via @londondesigner)

I’ve fumbled a few second (and perhaps final?) interviews in the last two weeks. There was a case study this week and while I addressed it fairly, the wrap-up and discussion wasn’t quite what the company wanted. They needed something more high quality, high grade, ordered.

That hurts because I rated myself somewhat in my ability (and that it’s another job I could have had but didn’t). Then when you come to be tested and found short, it hurts. A lot. In the end, it means that I haven’t really advanced terribly much and the outside recruiting world was different in standard from what I was accustomed to.

I was in the doldrums about this but then I figure it’s something that I need to adjust. Stuck in the same job for too long makes you dull and this job search has forced me to think about being better. This drive to be not average is pushing me a bit harder and it’s a shame that I only realized it now.

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