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August, 2014

  1. An Ode to the Unemployed by Michelle Baker

    August 31, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    ode to the unemployed

    Over- and under- qualified, and everything in between,
    If I enter my job history one more time, I might just break my screen.

    I’ve cleaned behind the dryer, I’ve scoured every floor,
    I’ve cleaned in places that my broom has never seen before.

    I’ve shredded stacks of paper that I no longer need,
    I’ve written snazzy cover letters that impress no one – Indeed!

    My refrigerator glistens, my plants no longer dying,
    no matter how long it takes, I will not give up trying!

    This “ode to the unemployed” is written by Michelle Baker, who lost her job after the company she worked for filed bankruptcy. After 120 applications, four interviews, and one second round interview. Despite the her degree from a major business school and seven years of experience, she is still unemployed.  Read more unemployment stories by here.


  2. Monday Morning Rant….Is BACK! #MondayBlues

    August 25, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    monday morning rant

     

    I decided to do a bit of a test on LadyUnemployed.com!

    First, I want to try to post six times a week for 30 days. I have a lot of boring downtime at work, so I may as well see where this blog can go.

    Second, I want to bring my Monday rant back! It was once called Monday Work Rant, but really, that leaves too many people out. There’s a lot more going on Monday than just work to rant about (how about the lack of work? Or the commute? Or people who act like jerks in line? And so on, and so on)

    So, let it begin! It’s the Monday morning rant – so tell me what ails you. Is it your long commute? Bad day at work? Neighbors treating you terribly? Waiting for the phone to ring? Past due on bills and sick of collection calls? Unhappy family members?

    Whatever it is, I want to know. What is your Monday morning rant?

     

     


  3. 5 Tips on How to Handle a Manipulative Coworker

    August 24, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

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    For the past two years, my “difficult coworker” has been a thorn in my side since I started. About a month into starting this job, I experienced my “difficult coworker’s” bad attitude in addition to dealing with manipulative and bitchy remarks and tactics to make me look bad in the department. After a while, despite valid complaints, I was told by my supervisor to “live and let live.”

    Ha.

    If you’ve ever worked around this type of personality that will not leave you alone and are constantly finding ways to make you look bad, you will know “live and let live” is near to impossible.

    There are tactics though that I have learned – often the hard way – to make your work life manageable. The type of office environment where this particular type of attitude is allowed makes office politics an Olympic event. You need to be smart, quick, and learn who your enemies are.

    Here are five tips I can pass along when you are working around a manipulative coworker.

    1) Know that upper management doesn’t want to hear your complaints.

    Unless your coworker violates policy or out-and-out harasses you, your boss doesn’t want to hear it. I learned this the hard way. The downside is that if you DO bring office politics issues to your boss, more than likely, YOU will soon become the difficult party (not playing well with others, etc).

    I wouldn’t recommend suffering in silence, though. It will only make the behavior worse. Sometimes simply asking your boss their opinion on how to deal with a difficult matter (concerning this person) it’s enough to spotlight the difficult personality in the room. This is also showing you are willing to deal with this person without making it a huge deal, but that you need some help or advice (i.e. willing to play with others).

    You may find that your boss DOES want to step in or that your boss will confirm that “this difficult person” is KNOWN to be difficult. You want this conversation to happen. So I wouldn’t run off and tell your boss so-and-so is being mean, but say instead that you are having a problem with how so-and-so is dealing with a certain issue and don’t know how to approach the matter.

    However…

    2) Attempt to resolve the conflict directly (in some fashion).

    In my experience, the difficult coworker isn’t just difficult with one issue. I mean, sure, everyone has their touchy areas at work or territorial attitudes about some things, but this particular type of personality is relentless. Once you feel like ONE thing is resolved, they find something else to be a pain in the butt about.

    So, while I hate being confrontational, I would recommend TRYING to have a conversation with this person about what you are having a hard time with. Sometimes clearing the air will let you know if this is just a specific scenario or if it’s really their overall personality.

    Also, this is important to figure out, because your boss will want to know you have tried. And when you discuss this with your boss, you can use OTHER scenarios where you’ve tried to handle it directly with this difficult coworker and the results of those attempts. This will further prove why you need your boss’ input on “how” to deal with this personality.

    For my situation, I learned pretty quickly that direct confrontation only made the matter worse. And I also couldn’t go directly to my boss after figuring THAT out the hardway.

    This leads me to # 3…

    3) Observe their interactions with other people, but don’t gossip.

    This person will have friends in the office. I promise. I am a bit of a blabbermouth in terms of needing to vent difficult situations to SOMEONE, ANYONE at times. I learned not everyone wants to hear it and (gasp) someone may actually LIKE the very person giving you a hard time. ALSO, fellow coworkers will want to use your difficult situations as a way to boost their relations with the difficult coworker (if you are the black sheep in the department, that means THEY are not the black sheep).

    Be smart. Observe their interactions with others. You can usually spot in your department the person who avoids chatting with your difficult coworker. Also, take advantage of moments when you DO see someone having a hard time. Be THEIR listening ear. I know this sounds awful, but by using their hard time, you will get someone on your side.

    4) Choose your battles.

    It can be very easy to sucked into their game and get you very competitive and ruthless in your attempts to supercede their status in the department. Don’t do it, because this can blind you from your own career goals. Don’t work 10 hour days for a promotion you ONLY want, because this difficult coworker does too.

    Sure this person may shoot you dirty looks across the room when you meet their eye, but you don’t have to confront every instance of it.

    5) Don’t let them silent your voice.

    I’ve had experiences where my difficult coworker ended up taking an idea that I had first shared with her. That was a bad mistake. I’ve also had situations where my coworker shot down ideas for no other reason but to disagree with me. It’s a manipulation tactic to silence your opinion. It’s never completely obvious but you will know when it happens to you.

    I’ve learned the hard way to speak up first to the entire department OR implement the idea without including this coworker at all. No, they won’t like it. Yes, they’ll try to find ways to get back at you. But it’s important you don’t hide away your voice at work just because this person doesn’t like you. The second they realize they can silent you, it will only get worse.

    I’m still learning of course, but the best thing I’ve learned from this job is how to deal with a manipulative, difficult coworker.

    What are your experiences dealing with a manipulative coworker? Do you have any tips on how to handle a manipulative coworker? Any lessons learned the hard way?


  4. Finding a Job, Like Winning the Lottery – An Unemployment Story

    August 23, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    I was humbled to receive this email from someone who named themselves “Peace.” This is an unemployment story from somewhere all the way across the globe from me. To know this blog reaches such far distances and speaks to people as far as Turkey means so much to me. I have not altered the language in the post as these are Peace’s words.

    unemployment story

     

    I want to tell my unemployment story.

    I live in Turkey. I have been searching a job for 1 year. Unfortunately, I can not find. Turkey has a bad economic situation.

    Unemployment rate is getting grow everyday. When you looking on young peoples, you can see that they have not a job. When I was a student at university, I have lots of hopes. However, I lost them currently.

    I want to clarify situation of Turkey. If you don’t have any reference, you cannot find a job. Although you graduate reputable university, you can not find. Because of you don’t have reference. If you have a reference, it is not important that which university you graduate or your experience.

    I lost my imagines. I am getting lost my hopes everyday. It is biggest obscure. I don’t know that what will be I am, I don’t know my future. If you live in Turkey, finding a job like a win lottery.

    This is my little story. Yes, I live very bad experience, but when I tell more, I feel bad.

    No matter where you are from,  I want to hear your story. If you have an unemployment story to tell, please write to lady_unemployed@ladyunemployed.com.


  5. It’s Monday Again… An Anonymous Unemployment Story

    August 16, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    unemployment story

     

    I think so many of you who are unemployed can relate to this unemployment story. The rest of this post will be anonymous and I thank the contributor for sharing their story.

    It’s Monday again, only this one is different because it is 11 months to the day that I found myself unemployed. As I say goodbye to my boyfriend before he leaves for work, it dawns on me that I’m now alone for the day, trapped with my thoughts and weather I want to get up and face the day or stay in bed and hide away.

    When I’m finally ready to face the day, I begin by checking through the ‘job alerts’ on my phone, lots of great jobs out there and more so now we are over the recession. What they fail to tell you in the small print is that although you are applying for roles suited to your experience and qualifications, the likelihood of an actual person responding to you is 1 in a million. Everyday it’s the same, waiting and hoping that you will get some form of response, to what you think is an actual job advert and not a fictitious one.

    I have experienced and fought with so many emotions on this journey and the thought of giving up has entered my mind many times. Reality soon sets in and I remember that I have a mortgage and bills to pay. So I carry on and keep hoping and praying that one of the roles I have applied for is the ‘one’, that finally someone wants to give me an opportunity and get the ball rolling again, giving me some self worth and respect back. There has to be a way out and I have to believe that there is, otherwise what’s left to believe in?

    Monday draws to an end my boyfriend is home distracting me from my thoughts, telling me about his day. When asked about my day I simply reply “it was okay”.

    If you want to share your unemployment story or have advice you would like to contribute to this blog, please email me at lady_unemployed@ladyunemployed.com


  6. The Job Applicant Hierarchy – Who Really Gets the Job? [by Marc Shaeffer]

    August 9, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    who really gets the job?

     

    Overall, the job market is getting better.   Slowly getting better, that is.  Personally, I’ve been having more job interviews in the last 6 months than anytime time period since I was let go from my full-time job in 2010.   Last Friday, there were signs that more discouraged workers that were once sitting on the sidelines were now re-entering the workforce.   The competition for jobs, however, is still a concern.   As of May, there is still an average of more than 2 unemployed people per 1 open position.   If you factor in people with jobs, career fields and regional markets, that number is actually higher.   With more people entering the workforce, that ratio may not fluctuate much in the coming months.

    Anyone who’s been out of his or her career field for a long time knows how competitive the job market has been.   When you apply for an open position at a company, there’s always a hierarchy of candidates that hiring mangers have to consider:

    1. Internal candidates with similar experience
    2. External candidates with similar experience who have a job.
    3. External candidates with similar experience who have been out of work less than 3 months.
    4. External candidates with similar experience who have been out of work less than 6 months.
    5. External candidates with similar experience who have been out of work more than 6 months.

    And then somewhere at the bottom near #1000:

    External candidates with no relevant experience who might just be trying to fill a job search quota for unemployment compensation.

    Technically, I’m at #5 in this pecking order.   I’m under-employed, but I have not found any (non-volunteer) work in my career field for over 6 months.   This is something I have come to realize shortly after the completion of even the most successful interviews.   Recently, I interviewed for a full-time position at a media company involved with theatrical program distribution.   I got my interview suit dry-cleaned.   Went to the barber for a trim (and to de-emphasize my gray hair).   Did all my research regarding the company.   Prepared all kinds of questions I might be asked.   Come time for the interview, I was ready.   Spoke with confidence with the hiring manager.   After it was over, I felt I had a very good shot at the next round of interviews.

    A week later, I got an email on a Friday afternoon from the hiring manager.   He thanked me personally for coming in to talk and that I had “great qualities and a professional attitude” but he added, however, that “we will be going in a different direction and will not need your services at this time.” When I asked a follow-up question regarding what key characteristic the other favored candidates had that I may have been lacking, his reply included this cryptic sentence:

    There are a set of individuals with similar attributes and experiences similar to yours that are currently more ingrained in our industry that make for a better fit.”

    In others words, I was being passed over because I wasn’t a #1 or #2 on the Job Applicant Hierarchy.   Even in this slow job recovery, being a #5 sometimes feels like being all the way down to number #1000.   The only way to improve your chances is stronger job growth or maybe finding a new career path altogether.   I’m at a point where I may have to choose the latter option.

    We’ll see.       

    What do you think of the job hierarchy? Who really gets the job you are interviewing for? 

    You can read more about Marc Shaeffer and is job searching journey by visiting his blog at http://laboringtowork.weebly.com.


  7. 5 Reasons Why Employers Repost the Same Job

    August 2, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    employers repost
    This past week my mom and older brother, who are both out of work, responded to job postings that later got reposted. In fact, after the second round of interviews, my mom found out that the job she was interviewing for was reposted!  How cruel is this?

    I find this baffling, rude, and pointless. Pointless, because I wonder who this employer thinks they will get with this new listing. The odds are that the majority of applicants from the first round might reapply to that same job again.

    Yet, aside from assuming employers are asshats and do this to be jerks, I decided to search online for an answer.

    I found 5 reasons employers repost that makes the most sense to me.

    1) There are multiple openings for the same position.

    I think this is reasonable. The company I work for regularly hires for this entry level position and over the last 6 months, they’ve had a lot of people leave, and so that means they’ve hired multiple people to replace the ones who left. The job gets reposted, because there are multiple positions (the fact that one person left inside of two months is an entirely different story).

    Source: http://www.askamanager.org/2010/08/what-does-it-mean-that-job-i.html

    2) They want to keep the candidate pool open and active until the job offer is accepted.

    I like the idea of this, although it does put a bit of a Pollyanna spin to the whole idea of job searching and applying. Somehow I wonder how picky do they think job seekers are these days that they worry one or several people may decline the position offered.

    Source: http://www.prepary.com/what-does-it-mean-if-a-job-is-reposted-while-im-interviewing/

    3) An overly obsessive perfectionist hiring manager who wants Mr. or Mrs. Perfect Job Applicant.

    I think this makes the most sense to me. Unless you fit the ideal image of what they are seeking, you may see the job you are interviewing for get reposted until they find just the right one. I think this is a sign of a bad boss and one that is never satisfied.

    Source: http://www.indeed.com/forum/gen/Job-Interviews/Employers-reposting-jobs-after-weeks-interviews/t444168

    4) The person they hired didn’t like the job.

    I remember I walked off a job that I had for just one week. When I ended my first week in tears, I knew it wasn’t the right fit. So, I am sure the job ad got reposted in no time flat. Which means someone out there saw that repost. Hopefully they re-applied and it worked out for them better than it did for me.

    So, if you have applied to something and a month later you see it posted again, you can probably assume that someone out there didn’t like the job.

    Source: http://www.cluewagon.com/2009/08/5-reasons-the-employer-re-posted-the-ad/

    5) The required number of candidates haven’t applied to the position.

    For companies that are a touch on the massive side or ones that have strict guidelines and rules about job postings, I could see this being a likely reason that a job gets reposted. If they don’t have enough people moving onto the next stage, they may repost to see if they can increase the pool of possible applicants to satisfy HR expectations.

    Source: http://www.askamanager.org/2010/08/what-does-it-mean-that-job-i.html

    6) Bonus Conspiracy Theory: The repost isn’t the employer at all, but a sneaky job candidate hoping to see what their competition is like.

    I spotted this horrible “tip” once when I was looking for job search tips. A site recommended you post a job online similar to the job you are looking to find and see who replies.

    For these reposts, especially when they are just one week within the post date (and most especially on sites like craigslist), I wonder if someone out there, just copies verbatim what the other job ad was (maybe that real one you applied to) and reposts to see what the competition is like (and even reduce the pool of applicants to the real ad).

    Obviously, this is why I described this as my conspiracy theory, but I think there may be a little truth to this.

    Bottom line is that as the job market gets worse, job searching will become more like the Hunger Games.