Tell 'em what I took, man!

Reflections of a repatriated ex-patriot

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Thirty-Four Days and counting. . .


. . . of being unemployed.  I will say I have been doing what I can about getting re-emplyed within all these free moments.  I’ve had six interviews so far, three of which have been over the phone, with none yet yielding any fruit.  A temporary position seems to be on the horizon, but then again the staffing agencies have a penchant for sugar coating situations in which they know the position is already filled because the client has decided to choose someone internally for the job or the agency have another candidate in mind for the position and are only considering you as an alternate should said candidate become unavailable. 

I went through the process of looking up staffing agencies in the yellow pages, and making an exhaustive list.  I called each of them asking what type of industries they specialized in and put my resume forth for any that were related to IT or clerical/administrative work.  I’ve been pretty good about checking Monster, Career Builder, Hotjobs, the local newspaper, Dice, and yes, Craigslist on a daily basis for any new positions that may have become available.  Two of the positions for which I was interviewed were straight off of Craigslist, whereas the other job search sites just got me calls from some of the same staffing agencies I had already been soliciting directly.  I have another interview tomorrow.  Wish me luck.

As frustrating as the job search always seems to be, I’ve come away a huge realization that I should just accept regardless of the economic situation we happen to be in at the time.  I guess I've always had a kind of naivete in thinking it still possible to get into a business on the ground floor and reap the benefits of company loyalty and hard work as you gradually climb your way up.  This notion is well dispelled by Martin Yate in Knock 'em Dead: The Ultimate Job Search Guide:

The job security and professional growth our parents were raised to expect as the norm is a thing of the past.  [O]ver the course of a fifty-year work life, you can typically expect to change jobs about every four years, and you may well have three or more distinct and different careers in what will probably be a half-century work life.  

Gone are the days in which you could get your foot in the door of a company and simply work your way up within, not even thinking for a moment that you can be kicked out at any time because of mergers, recessions, restructuring, or obsolescence.  The reality of our great new age is that company loyalty is important to maintain your position only insomuch as your position is maintainable.  The bottom right-hand corner of the quarterly balance sheet has far more sway as to whether or not you become promoted or redundant than anything you can possibly do within your time at the company.  I don’t write this to sound bitter or resentful.  I merely mention it as an unquestionable fact.  For a business to stay in business it has to create a profit.  The less directly you are tied to bringing in that profit, the thinner the sheet of ice on which you tread. 

You have to constantly ask yourself “How important is what I do here to the life of the company?”  If it’s anything less than absolutely critical, you could very well find yourself on the chopping block the next time that figure on the balance sheet takes a hit.  In a decision to downsize, a higher-up may tell all the department heads that each of them has to choose two people in their department to get rid of.  That some of these may be heart-wrenching choices, which I don’t doubt was the case at my last job, is irrelevant.  The necessary number are going to be gone at the end of the day either way.

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