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November, 2014

  1. Unemployed but don’t qualify for unemployment

    November 25, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    I made a choice to quit my career a year and a half ago to move with my partner of 4 years, who is in the military, because the military moved us. Because we are not married I don’t qualify for unemployment. In the new place we moved to I have basically hit a brick wall with jobs. I have a master’s degree, over 10 years experience in my field, excellent references, and can’t even get hired for retail. I can’t pay my bills and my partner can’t afford to pay everything for both of us. I want to work and I need to work. I apply for so many jobs I loose track. In the past year and a half I have had exactly 2 interviews, both over the phone. Both seemed to go well but nothing happened. I am not even getting a chance to sell myself in person.

    I have signed up for 5 different temp agencies and had no jobs offered to me. I did volunteer work hoping to get hired and it never panned out because they always end up hiring entry level people over me. I have been told I am overqualified. I have received so many “we appreciate your interest but are going with a different candidate” emails that I feel like I should just give up. All I want to do is cry.


  2. 5 Interview questions that should be asked, but aren’t

    November 25, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    I’ve recently found myself on ‘that’ side of the table.  You know the one.  The side where you sit alone and face a panel of inquisitors who hold crisp, white sheets of paper with questions that require you to summarize your career in two minute intervals.

    It’s been over 10 years since I’ve had to go through the interview process and I can confidently say the interview questions I’ve been asked are nearly the same ones I answered 10 years ago.

    Questions like:

    – ‘Tell me/us about a time when you had to deal with a difficult situation and how did you handle it?’

    -‘What has been your biggest success?’

    – ‘Have you worked with a difficult coworker? How did you you manage your relationship while working with them?’

    The last one makes me want to grin and shout out, ‘Nope.  In 16 years, I’ve never worked with a single person I didn’t like!  Next question, please.’

    These questions have become so standardized that if you Google, ‘interview questions’ you’ll find hundreds of sites offering you the latest, greatest way to answer THE interview question(s) that have been around for 15-20 years.  To put that into perspective, August marked the 10th year since Google’s initial public offering (IPO).  

    Driving home from a recent interview, I wondered why we continue to recycle the same, stale questions; why we are using questions that predate the Blackberry or even the wide use of cellular phones.  Perhaps it’s a human resources best practice thing; perhaps these questions are really informative for some people, or perhaps it’s simply because we have too many emails, too many phone calls, too many everything that precludes us from rethinking the whole interview process.  So it gets pushed off.

    Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it … right?

    Well, it’s broke.

    Interviews are meant to act as the gatekeepers to your organization.  If the art, and importance, of the interview is going to remain a useful tool, then questions need to be updated for the 21st Century.  Here’s an example of what I mean: during the numerous interviews I’ve been on, not once have I been asked about my knowledge of social media and how I used it for a successful campaign (which is necessary for almost every field these days).  I was, however, asked about the jobs I held in the early aughts.

    With these experiences in mind, I thought I’d take a stab at five questions that I feel interviewers should be asking, but aren’t:

    1. Over the last few years social media has rapidly changed.  How have these changes impacted your work?
    2. Which would you rather have, XX work from home days or an extra week of vacation.  Why?
    3. Where do you see our industry going in 2-3 years?  How are you preparing for those changes?
    4. Where do see a need for improvement in our organization?
    5. What’s the next step in technology and how do you think we can get in front of it now?

    You’ll notice all of these questions focus on today’s technological world and how they are working with/in it.  The questions are also diverse enough to get a better understanding of the interviewee.  Take the work from home question.  The answer may indicate better productivity and less stress on an employee if they work from home, or someone may want an extra week of vacation to take a longer break from work to recharge.  See how easy and fun this is!

    Now, like all interviews, it’s time to wrap things up and ask you if you have any questions.  In this case, what questions do you think employers should be asking their recruits?  Is there a particularly painful question you’ve been asked that you’d like to share?

     


  3. The Continuing Saga of a Frustrated (Passive) Job Seeker-Ed Tsyitee, Jr. @GreenChileAdict

    November 22, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    I am so pleased to have this writer return to continue talking about his unemployment journey. Follow him on Twitter for more!

    In the last entry, I mentioned how difficult it was to find a great paying job in this area that was not a service sector job.

    The fact is this area-from Las Cruces to El Paso-has added just over 3,000 jobs in the past year (2013-14). Awesome. If I want a job here they are available. I just have to be willing to start at $9.00 per hour. Does it matter that I have a Master’s degree? Nope. Not at all. Does it matter if it’s in Human Resource Management? Nope. Not at all.

    What to do? I’m pretty much exhausted from job searching. I have submitted at least 20 different applications to 20 different companies that use the same ATS platform-Taleo. You know what would be great? If Taleo was a single use platform. Build my profile, upload the resume, and BAM! done. Then I could apply using that profile.
    But, that’s not the case. I wouldn’t be frustrated and annoyed if that happened.
    I’ve eased up on the gas job searching. I’ve decided to reach out to my network more instead of spending 5-6 hours job researching. Those public administration applications I submitted? Never heard back. Should I have reached out? Yes. That’s on me. Mea culpa.

    I did find out though that I need just 6 courses and I’ll have a graduate certificate in Project Management. 9 classes and I’ll have a Masters in Project Management. Guess what I signed up for? Yup, grad student round two.

    I’m still job searching. Just passively now. I’ll follow up on what I have out there. But, I’m done chasing the job rabbit around the track. I’ll just focus on networking and school now.
    And, if I see something that I can qualify for-you bet I’m gonna reach out first before subjecting my resume to the ATS Darkness.


  4. The Definition of Corporate Insanity (And High Turnover Troubles)

    November 6, 2014 by Lady Unemployed


    I work in a company where there is a vicious cycle of turnover. This year I think I can count about six people who have left my department alone. This is just a department of about 12 to 15 people too. So each time someone leaves, you really feel the loss and now it’s getting ridiculous. I can FEEL the low morale after this latest loss (two people – one turned out to be the charismatic con I wrote about several months ago and another is a woman who had been with the company a long time).

    There comes a point when I think, as a company, you need to find out and really face why people leave. To their credit, the company I work at does try. They’ve done personal interviews in my department to find out how we feel, regular anonymous company-wide surveys, and even a third party consultant to examine work processes.

    But what went wrong? The problem is still there.

    The thing is nothing is being done. They attempt all of these things and I never know what comes of it or what they do to address these problems. Now two more people are gone and the hiring will begin again. We’ll repeat the cycle of training and the discontent will grow.

    At what point will they change anything?


  5. Mature Unemploymentista Finally Gets Job – An Unemployment Success Story!

    November 5, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    Last week it finally happened. After being a “professional un-employee” for way too long – maybe 18 months? – a past employer telephoned me and offered me a job. Wow!  And, even though, as a  lady “of a certain age”  I’m somewhat disillusioned and war-torn – after job seeking for such a long time (my survival was my blog “50 Shades of Unemployment”),  the job offer has given me a confidence boost …And I suddenly feel like I’m part of the human race again …. make that, “rat-race”.

    I worked at the same organization, three years ago, when I was taken on to fill in for someone going on extended holidays in Europe. Back then, the boss had said she’d  like to keep me on, after my colleague returned. However, as is the usual case, funding ran out, and so my joblessness began.

    When I returned to the organization this week, it was like Ground Hog Day. And sadly, only three familiar faces remain, from my initial 2010 stint. They are the lucky employees who survived the staffing cuts, and associated stresses. They’re also the ones with the healthy bank balances. And, they also know where the bodies are buried. Of course, I know not to mention these, and not to get caught up in the office politics.

    So I’m not going to jump for joy – even though I feel like doing that – as I know things could change there any day, and I live with the reality that I could be given the flick at any moment. Meantime, my period of joblessness, has shown me that I can survive without a job, and that I’ m still a valuable part of the community ….even when some politicians suggest otherwise.

    Make sure to stop by 50 Shades of Unemployment to check out Carmen’s amazing blog. Congrats to Carmen! Signed, Lady Unemployed


  6. Why is she unemployed? She did nothing wrong. [An Unemployment Story]

    November 1, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    Just a short story and personal experience of a client of mine. Client A as I will refer to her as, was a customer service rep. for a large non-profit organization in Md. She was a 7 year employee with an excellent work history. In late May of 2014 she slipped on a wet step while walking in her house. The next day she was unable to walk, due to a ruptured disc in her back. She called off of work, saw her doctor who put her out of work for two weeks and then was released by her doctor with sitting and standing restrictions. The doctor’s note was given to her employer and the employer was unable to meet the restrictions. Since she was unwilling to go against her doctors orders, she didn’t return to work after her employer refused to abide by her doctors orders.

    Two weeks later client A is getting ready to return to work and she receives a certified letter from her employer. The letter said that client A was terminated for job abandonment, the employer alleges client A never called off or showed for work for two weeks. Client A is completely distraught and can’t believe she is fired. She did nothing wrong, she saw a doctor, got a doctors note, gave the note to her job and told the job she couldn’t return unless the job followed her doctors orders.

    So now she is unemployed and struggling to get her unemployment, luckily for her we have agreed to represent her for free.

    Wish us luck as this is crazy, but not the first time we have seen this.