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March, 2013

  1. How to Make Advice to College Graduates Suck Less

    March 31, 2013 by Lady Unemployed

    Some things just fall into your lap, don’t they?

    On this beautiful Easter day, I found myself with the lack of something to write about. I thought about writing a post about Cracker Jacks or arguments I remembered having as a little kid or yet another post bemoaning my bad job.

    And then yet another message to female college graduates became popular and I thought…hey, I’ll write about that.

    If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I stumbled upon an article Yahoo! just published about Susan Patton, who is a 1977 Princeton graduate, and one of the first women to graduate from the Elite college. She caused a stir with her comments about how women should “find a husband before they graduate.” Here’s the complete letter.

    Aside from the fact that the letter overall is pretty boring, I’d say the only difference between her advice and the other advice you end up hearing when you sit through graduation speeches is that it’s memorable. She is basically telling women to marry your intellectual equal. I’d say the reason she suggests to marry a guy before you graduate is that you are surrounded by more single guys in college than you are when you enter the work force (aka daily grind). I’m not saying I agree, but I’m just attempting to be the Devil’s advocate here.

    The problem with this speech –  and the other speech that about women leaning in that caused a stir –  is that it’s pretty much the same advice I hear in any other college speech – forgettable with same lofty symbolism that goes above our heads.  These two just added a twist to it of two people who decided to reach for that button called “hot” that most of us know how to avoid.

    To be honest, I barely remember my college’s graduation speaker, except I do remember the woman up on the podium referenced Wikipedia as a reliable source. This did cause some laughter. At my high school graduation, I ended up hearing three of my peers give speeches referencing advice from the great Dr. Seuss.

    Yet,  the best college advice I’ve ever heard? That poem (turned song) Wear Sunscreen (written by Mary Schmich; song record by Baz Luhrmann). This wasn’t ever delivered to a graduating class directly, but it contains the best advice I ever heard.

    If I could make any suggestion to colleges about finding people to deliver speeches, have a bunch of adults at any stage in their life…20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, etc. and have them go up on stage one at a time and talk about their regrets.

    Have them be people who work at the local grocery store to the person who owns the nearby Fortune 500. Have them be people living pay check to pay check to a person living in a two story house. Have them be a student who graduated college the previous year to the 80 year old who never went to college at all. A woman with three kids to a woman who never had kids at all. A 30 year old who still lives in his parent’s house to a guy who never really had any family at all. 

    Ask these people to talk about their regrets and what they wished they had done differently.

    And then, and only then, will the advice we give to college graduates be interesting, inspiring, and not really, really stupid.


  2. Monday Rant – Monday Sucks, So Let’s Gripe Together!

    March 25, 2013 by Lady Unemployed

    Head in Hands

    A representation of me today

    Wow, so much has changed in my life since last week. While I’m usually an open book, I will just tell you that my week ended in a way that I did not expect. I didn’t go on those interviews I blogged about this past week – for one of the interviews, the location was horrid; for the second interview, they wanted me to do a Skype interview when they were only 5 miles away and the manager was in the office, which didn’t make sense.

    I’m lucky for Monday lately because my difficult coworker works from home Monday (no, I have no idea why either; no she isn’t pregnant, and doesn’t have kids).

    I’m writing this the night before, so I can have this ready on the Monday up and coming.

    Tell me your Monday rants – did you wake up with a cold? Is it snowing where you are? Was someone rude? Do you hate being at work right now? If you have a rant today, I want to hear it.

    Let’s rant together!


  3. Monday Rant – What’s Your Gripe Today?

    March 18, 2013 by Lady Unemployed

    It’s Monday everyone!

    So I decided not to go on one of the interviews I have scheduled this week. It actually has a lot to do with its location and how much the building it’s in looks like it’s ready to fall apart. Plus, the job itself isn’t in my field.

    I do have an interview Thursday, though. So my fingers are crossed!

    My biggest complaint today? Not sure yet except I think I am just troubled by the sameness of everything lately. I am wishing a bit for some excitement I think.

    Anyways…

    Enough about me, how is Monday treating you? What’s your complaint today?


  4. Are You Telling Your Job You Want to Quit (Without Saying a Word)?

    March 15, 2013 by Lady Unemployed

    It goes without saying I’m unhappy at my present job. Lately, it’s gotten worst. I feel like I’m being told about “mistakes” that aren’t really mistakes, but me doing my job.  As in, I’m doing things that I’m suddenly not allowed to do, and I’m being told by people who never had a problem with me before.

    Not to mention, I’ve gotten in trouble recently, and I have a suspicion about which people (i.e. my difficult coworker) are involved.

    Anyways…

    The funny thing is I am ready to go. My mom commented to me recently, “You know, you aren’t having an easy time at this job, but you don’t act stressed.”  And my mom is right. I’m not stressed. Sure, I rant on here, but this is mostly virtual therapy for me.

    Finally this morning, I figured out why.

    It’s because I’m not willing to fight for this job.  And oddly, now I have even better reason not to.

    Ladies and gentleman, I have two interviews next week – for two different jobs. The odds are in my favor that yes, I am getting out of this job.

    Celebrations of Light Finale 2007

    Mini Celebration About My Interviews

    But I had a thought…

    …is it possible to give off signals to your employer that you are ready to quit, before you even quit?

    I did a little research and apparently there are signs you may be giving off that shows you are getting ready (or really really want) to leave.

    1) You’re making mistakes.

    Since I started, I’ve been told about the earth shattering mistakes I’ve been making, so it’s not a new thing for me to hear about mistakes. But maybe I’m making more than usual because I’m mentally already gone. Or maybe my coworkers are assh*les?

    Either way, be wary of the mistakes you are making, because according to FastUpFront.com, you may be giving off signals to your coworkers that you are losing your focus on your job.

    2) Coming in late/leaving early.

    I don’t leave early, but I admittedly come in late on occasion. Recently, though, it’s been a lot more common. Apparently, this is a sign that you are either preparing to leave or want to leave. Not to mention, I’m fully aware this is a problem for a lot of employers and could get me fired by coming in late all the time. So, I know, fix it up Lady (Un)Employed.

    3) You get the Sunday night blues/depression.

    This happens to me really regularly. In fact, I have a heavy feeling of dread at around 9:00 pm Sunday, and even earlier if my week before has been really bad. In fact, Monday through Thursday, I pretty much wake up each morning with a sick dread feeling.  While I know every job has its problems, I want to wake up in the morning without that feeling. Which may or may not have something do with problem # 2  I mentioned before.

    But if you feel dread when you go in, each day every day you have to work, you may have a problem on your hands.

    4) You start taking away personal items.

    Okay, I haven’t done this at my present job (yet), but I have been at a job before, where things were going really, really badly and I started to prepare myself by taking home some of my personal items. Well, if that sounds like what you’ve done, you may try to leave a personal photograph or two, otherwise you’re telling your boss that you don’t plan on staying long.

    5) You’ve added (a lot) new LinkedIn contacts.

    Okay, in my defense, I’ve only added new LinkedIn contacts because I’m trying to help my brother (and my mom actually) find work. I figure if I can get a job lead or two via a direct contact, I’d send it their way. But if you happen to be connected to a coworker (like I am), be careful about who (and how many) you connect to, because you may be telling them, you are getting ready to leave.

    Although, I will admit that I reason this all out by telling myself that the coworker I’m connected to, never seems to show recent activity on LinkedIn anyways.

    So, if you are unhappy at your job and you’ve already taken steps to try and get out of that job, make sure you cover your ass, because that last thing you want is to get fired before you can quit.

    Have you ever given signals that you want to leave your job? What were they? 


  5. The Age Old Interview Question – Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?

    March 12, 2013 by Lady Unemployed


    Sorry for the long title everyone.

    As you may or may not know, today was day one of two phone interviews I have scheduled this week. I snuck away for my half hour lunch break and sat in front of a fairly busy bakery near my job to conduct today’s interview.

    One question the woman on the phone asked stopped me in my tracks. It single handedly made me wonder if I really wanted the job.

    The question?

    Where do you see yourself in five years?

    Five years ago, I would have said that I wanted to have graduated from college (done!) and have a start on my career (ummm…). I also not-so-secretly would have thought I wanted to be published by now (not yet, sigh).

    Where do I see myself five years from now?

    By then, I’ll be 31. Career-wise, I would like to think I am pursuing or about to pursue my Masters in Creative Writing. I also wish to be published by then, of course.

    Yet, this is an interview and the answer I said above screams flight risk, so instead I tell her…

    …um….

    ….hang on a second I almost had it….

    I sputtered something to her that was vague enough to make her happy with my answer. Yet, after I got off the phone and walked back to my office building, I knew one thing –

    I didn’t see a future for myself at this job. Not with the type of position and company it is.

    The thing about this question is that I’ve always assumed employers ask it because they want to hear themselves in your future. In reality, I think this question is asked so you can see yourself in their future.

    While I’m struggling with my present job, I do see a future there. It isn’t an easy one and I can guarantee deeper scowl wrinkles will appear on my forehead if I stay there much longer. But it does give me a career path to follow.

    As for the job I interviewed with today, I am certain I won’t go on the in person interview. I am lucky in that I’m not blinded by the panic of joblessness, so I can be a little picky here.

    It does leave me to wonder though…

    Considering my own five year career ideal for myself…do I see myself in any employer’s future? I’m fairly certain none of them will be good enough for me. Not with considering what I really want to do.

    But where does that leave me?

    Now tell me – where do you see yourself in five years?


  6. Monday Rant – What’s Your Gripe Today?

    March 11, 2013 by Lady Unemployed

    Monday, Rant

    It’s Monday everybody!

    Time for our weekly edition of Monday Rant. Now, if you happen to be a fan of Monday rant, make sure to grab a fancy schmancy blog button to show off on your blog. Isn’t it awesome?

    writing, writers, blogs

    Anyways…

    I’m feeling positive about this week because I have two – yes, TWO – phone interviews next week and that tells me that I may just get out of my job sometime soon. It won’t fix all my troubles but it’s one of many.

    But there is no guarantee and I’m worried about the toll this job will take on me. Oh well, it is a job though, right?

    So tell me how your day is going. I want to know the good, the bad, and the ugly. Tell me about the person who rode your bumper all along the freeway. The rude neighbor who let you have it when you walked out the door. Tell me about the coworker who got up in your face.

    What is your rant today?


  7. Is There a Bias Against the Long Term Unemployed?

    March 9, 2013 by Lady Unemployed

    Help wanted sign

    February of 2012, a week before Valentine’s Day to be exact, I got laid off. This was a month after my older brother lost his job at a company that got bought out (therefore, everyone at the corporate office lost their job).

    In August of 2012, only 6 months unemployed (the longest I’ve ever been out of work, to be honest), I found a job. It’s a job I’ve struggled with, but it was a job.

    And according to an article I found on the Daily Beast, that’s all that matters these days to future employers. The Daily Beast goes onto explain that those who are unemployed for the long term don’t find their way back to work as easy as those who find a job a lot quicker.

    This left me to wonder – is there a bias against the long term unemployed?

    My brother has not found a job yet and it has now been over a year. I’m not sure what to say and while my blog has talked a lot about job searching, working through office politics, and the ups and downs of job searching and networking – my brother’s unemployment is a subject I’ve avoided talking about. Mostly because I’m worried – and a little scared – for him. Weeks have gone by without calls. Employers who have interviewed him – and even if the interview has gone well – never call him back.

    Some time last year I was on Google Plus, and I found someone’s post that had been forwarded along to hundreds. She had requested that her profile be passed along to everyone that we knew. She said she would move anywhere and do anything as long as she could have a job. She had been unemployed over a year as well.

    NYC Council has also just this past month banned the bias against the unemployed that was happening in their city.

    Business Week is also talking about the subject. Those who have been out longer than 6 months are not getting responses to their resume. And apparently, it isn’t even illegal to look at employment status when considering a resume.

    My brother is not the only one facing this bias. Neither is this woman I saw online.

    Something is wrong with our society that employers don’t want to hire someone just because they are out of work.

    Here is one idea that I have – money talks, right? So, how about giving a tax benefit or something to employers who hire the unemployed. (Apparently, I googled this idea and the American Jobs Act matched my requested. Yet, for some reason it got shot down).

    But I’m open to ideas. I know a lot of us are. But the status quo is not acceptable.

    At least, it shouldn’t be.

    What do you think? Is there a bias against the unemployed? Do you have first hand experience with this bias?


  8. Grateful Friday – What Are You Thankful For?

    March 8, 2013 by Lady Unemployed


    Okay, in an effort to combat my inner cynic, I decided to start a new feature to my blog where I talk about what I’m grateful for this week!

    And I want you to join in!

    My top five –

    1) I’m grateful for my good health. Somehow conquering a two week flu gives me a heathy perspective on being healthy.

    2) I am grateful for a supportive and loving family. We are always there for each other and that means everything to me.

    3) I am grateful I have a job. It means a lot in an economy where jobs are hard to come by.

    4) Tax Refunds! I am able to pay off a couple of bills and that is awesome.

    5) It’s Friday! Yes!!!

    Okay, what are you grateful for? It can be big or small.


  9. The Early Birds Piss Me Off

    March 7, 2013 by Lady Unemployed


    You know that expression, “The early bird catches the worm”?

    I’m certain whoever said that expression first didn’t work around the type of people I do.

    Today was a “testing day” to test a new software at work and we were expected to out in extra hours if we needed to. You all know my growing aversion to overtime, so I politely disregarded that request. And yes, I know that isn’t very “responsible adult” of me.

    Anyways…

    My difficult coworker sent out an email to the whole company announcing the time she came in.

    Okay, I exaggerate. There was more to the email than that. But basically, that’s what it was for.

    And guess what time she came in?

    5:30 in the morning.

    Five. Thirty. In the morning.

    I’m not even awake yet.

    Now, yes. This shows how eager she is and she looks like the early starter she is supposed to.

    Here’s what pisses me off about it.

    The thing is she doesn’t want to stay late, but everyone who works there gives off the impression that staying late into the evening is a requirement. That if you aren’t staying late in the night, and working 85 hours a week, you are half-assing your job. And people need to SEE your butt in the seat. Even if you work overtime from home, it doesn’t count. If people see you leave on time, you aren’t doing enough.

    My difficult coworker knows this.

    So every time she comes in early, she announces it to everyone so they know how she isn’t a lazy ass for not staying until 10 o’clock at night. No one comes in early but her. So she has no witnesses to her overtime. Which is why these emails and announcements are made on a regular basis on what time she comes in.

    Sigh…

    Yes, I know. I need to get a hobby.


  10. Is It Bad Management Or An Employee With Low Tolerance?

    March 6, 2013 by Lady Unemployed

    I’ll always leave room for the fact that I might just be wrong (hey, quit laughing, I’m being serious). But I do believe that perception is reality. If you believe that I’ve hurt your feelings, that means that your perception is reality. I may not have intended to, but you feel that way and that is what matters. Yet, isn’t that where we go wrong as a society? Especially at work.

    45 minutes before I was set to go home, a “supervisor” that has barely spoken more than a sentence directly to me since the day I interviewed (I’m not exaggerating; this supervisor never really speaks to me during the day) asked to speak with me.

    We went into a conference room and she asked how things were going.

    As a background, yesterday I received an email from my difficult coworker about new addition to my job duties. This bothered because of the background her and I have. She has an intolerance to mistakes and while none of my coworkers may admit it – she also has desired for a long time to be a supervisor of the entry level people.  Which is awful because of how bad she would be at it. My opinion, of course.

    Anyways….

    So, when I received this email from my difficult coworker, I promptly notified the “nice girl” in the office who is supposed to be the go-between for coworker issues and requested that anything related to my job duties get emailed by her.

    Apparently this set off a shit storm of conversations between the “nice girl” and management.

    Here we are back in this meeting between me and this supervisor I never speak to.

    How are things going?

    I do explain my wariness of the email I received the other day, explaining how our history of emails have never been good.

    Then she says, “Well “the nice girl” told me you were reluctant to email “the difficult coworker” anymore.”

    STOP.

    This is a “taken out of context” comment. The reason I was reluctant to send emails to my difficult coworker? Her sudden warning that she would notify the entry level people of their mistakes in formatting (an unnecessary part of her job).

    Anyways…

    I go on to explain myself.

    STOP.

    I don’t feel comfortable in situations where I’m having to explain myself. It begins to move out of “explaining myself” and into “begging for forgiveness.”  This is my supervisor though so I try to remain as agreeable as I can without getting my back dirty from all the feet walking over me.

    Long story short – I begin to feel like I’m turning into the “difficult coworker.” I’m turning into the person with low tolerance who berates people unnecessarily. The real difficult coworker who I feel like an unwelcome f*ck up around is suddenly the wounded party. Since I have developed an intolerance to her rudeness, I am now the difficult one.

    I will always leave room the fact that I am wrong in this situation. But what I took from this meeting is that I would be better off keeping my mouth shut. If I get a nasty email, I will have to accept it.

    Have you ever been in a situation where you start out feeling like the victim and turn into feeling like the one at fault?