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April, 2014

  1. Speaking Up At Work – The Fine Art of Getting Ahead

    April 29, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    speaking up at work

    I’ve often blogged about getting ahead at work being a little like merging into bad traffic.

    Well, recently I came to find even MORE proof that getting ahead at work is a little like merging into bad traffic.

    Last week, I met with my bosses to talk about my goals for the company and what I see for my career. I mentioned for the fourth time in six months – yes, fourth – that I would like to learn more about the creative side of the company (specifically writing).

    Finally, my boss followed through and reached out to someone in the creative department and asked them if they would be willing to have me shadow them a couple of days to find out more about what they do.

    And today I spoke with the manager of the creative department and gave him a run down of my modest experience. He actually told me I could start helping out the other writers in the department during downtime.

    Although he has to check with my boss as well as someone in human resources about this, I find myself actually hopeful about my role in this company. I really didn’t think I would get to this point (my disgruntled posts have obviously reflected this) and although it’s one step at a time, I have a lot of hope for what’s ahead.

    The takeaway from this is speaking up at work is extremely important and you must talk about your needs. You may just work for a shit heel company that will ignore your requests, but make sure you are clear and vocal and you must repeat yourself. I had to say my needs to work in the creative department many times. I’m lucky that they DID ask me about my career goals and checked in with me about how things were going, though.

    If you aren’t getting what you want at work, set up a time to speak with your boss and talk about what is missing for you and your career. That way if they ignore you still, you will know for sure this time that it may be time for you to leave.


  2. Careeranista – The Woman’s Guide to Success After College [Review + Giveaway Ends 5/10]

    April 21, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    Careeranista-book-FINAL-v4

    I had the opportunity to read the book Careeranista – The Woman’s Guide to Success After College. I alwys hesitate with books like these because I’m afraid I will read about the things I have heard before or know about already. And I know a lot of my readers are already in the workforce and probably have already gotten their feet wet with job searching, getting laid off, finding a new job, rinse and repeat. But after seeing a few experiences shared by friends I used to know from high school and people I knew from college, I realized how necessary this type of guide was for graduates – or anyone starting out in their career, really – to own.

    And then I heard from a friend of mine from high school, who returned to the states after lengthy travels. I don’t know him well, but I started seeing posts on Facebook from him about job searching, what to do on his resume, how to look for jobs, which companies to apply to, etc. I realized that while this book says the “woman’s guide,” this book could be useful to him.

    I also happened to join the Her Campus Bloggers Network and found myself interacting more with the newly graduated or about-to-be graduated crowd.

    After these two experiences, this became a perfect book to introduce to my readers. And I realized how necessary this guide really was. 

    I think most of us know or interact with people just on the very first steps of their career. These are the people asking the questions like how to job search, interview, adapt to the office environment, navigate office politics. These are important questions I may think you know a lot about, but that doesn’t mean I have all the answers. I think this blog is proof of that.

    Also, this book says “success after college” but even if you don’t have a degree and need help with navigating the job hunt and need help navigating your career, this will be a great guide for you.

    It provides tips for everything from negotiating salary (which I’m awful at and I ended up highlighting many of the tips I found in the book) to what to expect when you start work to working the ins and outs of office politics (an extremely important section for anyone just entering the work force). 

    Overall, this is the best gift you can give a college graduate or anyone wanting to jump start their career. This is a detailed guide that will introduce them to everything you need to know. Even though I’m pretty clear headed in terms of what to expect when going into a job and finding a job, I did learn a few things from this book.

    If you would like to buy your own copy, visit the Careeranista website.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

     


  3. Why can’t companies treat candidates with respect? [An Anonymous Interview Story]

    April 17, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    I love hearing about the experiences people have with unemployment and job searching. I couldn’t wait to share this with you and I especially love what happens in the end. How often can I say that? The rest of this post was written by an anonymous submitter.

    I’ve been job hunting for a few months. (I stepped away from a job that just wasn’t a fit – not normally the best idea, I know, but my husband was supportive and it was the right thing in this case.)

    I’ve been selectively applying to senior administrative jobs & while I’ve had a few nibbles (phone screens, a couple of interviews) nothing has been a real fit. Then I got a call from a fairly large company. The recruiter said they’d had trouble finding the right fit as the candidates so far just didn’t seem to ‘get it’ in terms of the importance of the EA position. (I’m an EA who had other careers previously – teaching, recruiting – and I really enjoy supporting senior executives. I know the EA role is crucial.)

    He said on paper I was a fit and liked my phone input, so he set me up to phone screen with 3 of the EAs at their HQ in San Jose. He said only if these 3 wanted to move me forward would I meet my actual supervisor (VP, Federal Sales and head of the office in the town where I live).

    The phone screens went well. I learned a lot from each EA – they are all long term employees and all 3 seemed to have a similar outlook on the EA position…it’s a partnership. With that, I was asked to visit the local office and since the VP was traveling, I would first meet with 2 of his direct reports. (I would be supporting them, too, so it made sense and I was glad to do it.)

    Both men took the entire hour allotted and each made comments regarding how my esteem for the EA position fit with what they needed. They cited the challenges they had with the previous admin – specifically an issue with being unreliable. (I was able to assure them reliability is one of my strengths and my references will agree.)

    I felt thoroughly grilled after these meetings, but also excited since it seemed like a great fit – they wanted what I was bringing and offering me what I’m looking for.

    I was scheduled to meet with the VP on his first day back in town.
    He also took the entire hour and we talked in detail about what the job requires, as well as possible start dates and projects he would want me to manage. I felt good about the meeting and we wrapped with him saying he would circle back to those I’d already spoken with and they would make a decision shortly. (I followed up with an e-mail to the recruiter – with whom I’d been chatting all along – to give my input on the meeting and to say that I would wait to hear from him regarding next steps.)

    Then, nothing.

    Not a reply from the recruiter acknowledging my last note; not a phone call for closure after they took the time to put me through seven interviews (4 phone screens and 3 meetings); not even a computer generated e-mail to say ‘thanks, but no thanks…’

    Clearly the VP felt it wasn’t a fit. (The others wouldn’t have taken up his time if they didn’t think it was.) I’m reminding myself I wouldn’t want to work for a company that handles things this way, but I’m angry that they put me through the ringer with nothing to show for it. (Guess I can say they gave me lots of interview practice.)

    Since then I’ve had an interview with another local company. It would be a steady, productive job – just not the challenging, fast paced position the other would have been. I’ll take it if I get the offer since the pay is similar and I enjoy the work.

    Update, About One Month Later:

    There’s a twist to the end…

    When they finally called they said the VP had liked me, but insisted they find one more candidate to interview before making a decision. The recruiter said they had been unable to come up with another candidate that matched my skills on paper, so until they could, he still would not make an offer. They asked if I could wait. I happily said, “No, thanks.”
    I just received an offer from a great local company – this all worked out for the best. They strung me along, but really did me a favor.


  4. Sick and Tired of Job Searching [An Unemployment Story]

    April 15, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    This story was submitted to me by a lady named Gina. I know many will be able to relate to her frustration. Please feel free to send me your unemployment story.

    I quit my crappy job two weeks ago and have never been happier.

    The place was ran by two greedy slumlords who constantly bragged about their mansions and their cars. They were doing so many illegal business practices, it was ridiculous! And one of them used to keep naked pictures of past girls who worked there on his computer!

    I have been sending out resumes left and right but nothing solid has come back. I work in IT and have been getting calls from recruiters everyday, but most jobs are two hours away or not in my field. Anyone else tired of getting sales calls when sales is not on your resume???

    It has never taken this long getting a new job before and I have not filed for unemployment in 12 years. I’m not even sure I’m going to get it.

    It looks like candidates that have Bachelor degrees are in demand and I don’t have one. Recruiters have been telling me that my resume is impressive, I am a perfect fit for the job, and I am in the right salary range, but then I never get a call back! This is driving me nuts!

    I hate staying home. I’m starting to feel like we should try to get pregnant just so I have a purpose.

    Anyone else dealing with this?


  5. A Day in the Life of the Unemployed [An Anonymous Guest Post]

    April 14, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    Here is a new and interesting take on the life of someone unemployed. I know many of you will relate. The rest of this post was written by an anonymous submitter.

    6:46- Wake up even though the alarm clock is never on anymore-later than usual and regardless of the time you went to bed.

    6:48-Lay there and decide if it was all a bad dream; then realize that unfortunately it was not. Be brought to alert state by rising concerns.

    7:00- Get up slowly, throw on whatever (it doesn’t really matter, probably workout clothes), make the bed, talk to the dogs, reviewing the sleep patterns of the night-out loud to the dogs. Realize they cannot answer.

    7:15-Check the various devices, shocked NOT to see the usual 100 + emails and issues awaiting you. Just a few ads and emails from the few people that still think your opinion matters. Touch base with your adorable daughter. Miss her. Feel proud of all that she is despite your own myriad failures.

    8:00-Take the dogs out slowly and walk them longer than usual. The dogs like this. Notice people, leaves, bugs, workers, cracks in the sidewalk, and finger marks on doors that you never noticed before. The dogs like this too. Give them each a little kiss as they lick your ankles.

    8:30-(this can be switched with 9:00) Make and eat a yummy breakfast of eggs and tomatoes, and tea. Take your time. Wash up. Read your daily intentions as you have for at least 20 years, and wonder why none of them seem to be true just now.

    9:00- Exercise (jog) for at least a half hour. Actually have time to sweat, stretch, and think, while listening to music. This part is pretty cool. Wonder why you ever let this go. Would things have turned out differently if you had stayed in shape?

    9:30-Notice the freckles and moles on arms and legs. Good God, when did so many appear?

    10:00-Shower, or not yet. Maybe surf the web for a while. Watch the Today Show. Think how cool it would be to wake up in NYC. See if adorable daughter has responded, maybe send her another text. In the shower, take your time. Open your mouth and say AHHHH as the drops gurgle into your throat. Put whatever clothes on that you want. No makeup at all.

    11:00- Look for and apply to jobs. Take several hours for this. Feel alternate rage, fear, frustration, excitement, hope, and confusion. In between, surf the web, or check in with the TV. The TV has become your greatest ally. See your life as a TV drama, and pretend it will have a happy TV ending. Realize that TV distracts, informs, amuses, and generally assures you that you are still part of the human race. Schedule any Skype or phone call interviews. Do them as scheduled, not having to dress from the waist down for Skype. Find this amusing.

    3:00- Cook. Take your time. Make the best “from scratch” tomato sauce with chicken that you have ever seen. Feel like Julia Childs. Remember that she failed many times (but always had a rich husband; you don’t).

    4:00-Shop like you have money to spend. Feel guilty because you have no money to spend. Rediscover the library. All that stuff for free. God Bless them.

    4:30-Get into the blame game. Blame your x-employer, everyone around him, your x-spouse, the government, your parents, your extended family, and your “would-be” friends who must have betrayed you, and your age and your health. They will all be sorry one day. Hate everyone and everything, and wonder what you did to deserve this terrible fate. Feel fear. Blame yourself, which is the scariest blame of all. Realize that you love to play the victim, and how that is so lame. You really are a jerk, and deserve all of this. Knock it off. Realize that blame and guilt are USELESS. Never blame the dogs.
    5:00- Walk the dogs again. They like this. Sit in the sun with them. Forget what day it is. Actually forget what day it is. This seems impossible. Is it normal or are you losing your mind?

    5:30- Enjoy your sauce. Write pages in your journal about how you feel. Clean, do a wash, read, whatever you feel like doing. Get a little bit scared. Look at the bank account. Pay bills. Calculate for the 25th time how long your money will last. Recalculate. Realize that you are OK for 6 months. Don’t believe it. Recalculate.

    6:30-Back on computer and job searching. More TV; in fact TV is on more than not.

    6:40-Fold laundry; maybe even iron. Imagine that- you have not ever ironed when employed. Maybe this doesn’t completely suck. Start to pack for some interviews that are more than a week away. Yes, I said more than a week away.

    7:00-Think about going to the very most remote village in the world and teaching war torn children, or any other career that actually means something in this world. Realize that this is a big opportunity to become NEW. EMBRACE THAT!

    8:00-Check in with the adorable daughter or wonderful sibling who has been there just like me, and keeps my head on straight. Hear from the other good sibling whose husband has been there too.

    NOTE: Of course, there are occasional social engagements interspersed; however it is quickly realized that most of your social life had something to do with the people connected to work, and seeing any of them is impossible right now…. Your life seems to have vanished into thin air….

    9:00- Walk the dogs. They like this. Stop electronic devices. Eat yogurt which works as a sleeping pill. Drink a boatload of water. More TV, more reading, more fear. Despise commercials. Feel they are numbing your brain. They are. Find new appreciation and understanding of the phrase “couch potato”.

    11:00- Go to bed because sleep is a relief from all this, although you may have bad dreams. Feel the fear; it sets in at night. Be glad the dogs are there. You are not completely alone. Wish they could talk. Talk for them.

    Somewhere realize that things could change, things must change, and things will change….soon.


  6. Getting Overlooked at Work Yet Knowing What You Want

    April 9, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    Today was the second time I’ve been overlooked in my department for a promotion. It bothers me because the person who got the promotion has been here less than three months. I started to stew a bit, but I decided that the best way to let this out is to blog about it.

    I’ve already talked about the type of career I want. I want a writing and social media job. But more than a job, I more envision having something of my own and my own way of making money. Whether it’s making money blogging, freelance writing, managing social networks via freelancing, or something along those lines. Right now I’ve been holding onto this more stable job because it’s financially necessary, but this isn’t something I see for myself long term.

    At the heart of it – I am a writer and I want a career that uses this love.

    In addition to that, I also grown more confident with the fiction I write, too and I am definitely getting better. I’m submitting stories, getting critiqued, and working on actually EDITING these stories.

    I AM growing as a writer. This is something I need to remind myself on days like this. I feel envious at this coworkers advancement, because it’s always nice to get recognition at work for doing a good job, but I don’t want the advancement. Having this type of promotion for me, would add more stress at work, and give me less energy to work on the stuff I really want.

    Do you have a day job that just pays the bills? Have you ever had days like these where you need to remind yourself why you do what you do?


  7. You look stacked!” – And Other Awkward Work Conversations

    April 3, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    I once left a work environment because sexual harrassment and pushing the boundaries on what was and what wasn’t acceptable to say to coworkers was never addressed by management. Not to mention, a creeper manager who was allowed to say inappropriate things, but nothing ever was said to him about it.

    Here I am again, although luckily, these conversations aren’t directed at me.

    But I had just gotten into work this morning when suddenly the breast sized of a female coworker was complimented by another female coworker. “Your boobs look huge lately! You’re stacked! What are you wearing? Is it because you’re husband’s in town?”

    She laughed along of course and my (female) supervisor also started to laugh.

    Maybe I’m being too strict on what I expect from coworkers. This wasn’t even a private conversation between two coworkers who were friends and maybe were comfortable with these types of conversations. This was practically shouted across the room.

    Yet, I’m not surprised and I’ve begun to tune out these types of scenarios. Once my supervisor asked an employee who had just been on a long vacation to stand up and show everyone her “brownness” because she got so tan while she was away. It may have been less awkward if she wasn’t already dark skinned to begin with.

    This is a strong part of the place I work at – an expectation that these conversations will probably go on.

    Am I being too sensitive here? Or is there major potential for disaster? I can’t imagine everyone will be okay with this, yet no one ever says anything and no warnings ever go out about being inappropriate.