The worst things about unemployment.

Photo from motherjones.com

Anyone who has found themself unemployed for any period of time can absolutely understand the struggle that it takes to just get through each day. It almost feels like you’re in a downward spiral staring down the choices of a lose-lose situation and there’s no possible way to dig yourself out.

There’s a lot of shitty things about being unemployed. The following being some of those things that I find to be the worst:

Family and friends who don’t know what really happened assume that it’s your fault. They believe that whatever lead to your unemployment was your own doing… that you’re the one who’s difficult to deal with, because if you weren’t, you would still have a job. Having signed an NDA means that only the people you trust most in this world get to really know what happened… and that, well that’s a very small pool of people. I can count those on less than five fingers.

Potential employers hold your lack of employment against you. There are A LOT, not all, but a lot of potential employers who form judgments about your unemployment and use that against you. Without ever asking why, they’ll simply breeze over your lack of employment and move on to the next candidate. Or, if they go so far as to ask, they won’t accept your reasoning as you’ve provided it and say something like ‘Yeah, but…’.

People think that you’re lazy and entitled if you cannot find work. With an Bachelor’s degree and nearly a decade of experience working in professional circles, when I take my resume to places like Wal-Mart and McDonalds, they ignore it. They presume that I’m just going to leave right away so I’m not a worthwhile investment in hiring. Because of this, I continue trying to apply for professional, career positions and continue making it to the last round of interviews to not be selected. People don’t see that, though. They don’t see the behind the scenes. All people see is that I’m not going to work each day and they judge me for it.

It wears you down. It’s extremely disheartening. Rejection after rejection after rejection is hard to take. The fact that you never actually get a legitimate reason for the rejection only makes it harder because you never actually get to know what you did wrong. I would really love to know what I’m doing wrong. If for nothing else but to improve my chances at the next round of interviews for the next job.

Everyone has a different opinion of what makes a good resume a good resume. As much as I love and appreciate help, everyone seems to say something different. With so many people having so many different opinions of what makes something good, how do I know what format I’m supposed to go with?

It becomes really easy to think that you’re the problem. Because, if I wasn’t the problem, I would have been hired by now, right?

I want to work. I want to contribute. I want to succeed. I know that bring a lot to the table. So I find myself feeling as though my talents are being wasted away with each passing day that I’m playing the ‘Will you please hire me?’ game.

Adventures in job hunting: the fastest rejection I’ve ever received.

I applied for a position of Marketing Coordinator with this company on Monday, September 9th at around 8:30 pm via online submission.

The following is an email chain that went on between myself and this company yesterday, September 10th.

Email from potential employer: Tuesday, September 10th @ 9:00 am.

Good Morning Vee (my full name was used),

We have reviewed your application and are impressed with your qualifications and experience. We would like to know if you could come for an interview at our office [insert Calgary address here] on either Tuesday, Sept 17th or Wednesday Sept 18.

Please get back to me as soon as possible.

Thanks, G (full name was used)

Response email that I sent: Tuesday, September 10th @ 12:00 pm.

Good Afternoon G,

My apologies for the slow response.

Given the distance it would take for me to get to this initial interview, I am wondering if there is there a possibility that I could do my initial interview over the telephone or Skype?

Please let me know.

Thank you, Vee

Email from potential employer: Tuesday, September 10th @ 1:00 pm

Hi Vee,

Please kindly note that this job is located in Calgary.

Is that what you are looking for?

Response email that I sent: Tuesday, September 10th @ 1:11 pm

Hi G,

I am most definitely looking for a position in Calgary. I would like to relocate to Calgary to both work and live.

Thanks, Vee

Email from potential employer: Tuesday, September 10th @ 1:30 pm

Thank you for your response, Vee.

If you would like to relocate to Calgary then why are you unwilling to come to Calgary for an interview?

Thanks, G

Response that I sent: Tuesday September 10th @ 1:35 pm

Good Afternoon G,

Please note that I am not unwilling to come for an interview. I am simply asking if, for the first round of interviews, I might be able to do mine over the telephone or skype.

Then, if selected as one of the candidates you most like, I’d be happy to come to Calgary for an interview once the candidate pool has been whittled down to your final candidates.

Thanks, Vee

Email from potential employer: Tuesday, September 10th @ 4:55 pm

Good Afternoon Vee,

Thank you for clarifying.

While I would very much like to offer interviews to candidates from other cities and locations and offer the opportunity to do interviews over Skype and the telephone, we have already offered this position to another candidate and they have accepted.

Best of luck in your career search.

Thanks, G

Though it notes in several places on my resume that I presently have a BC address, what I’ve learned from this email chain is that they really didn’t read much of my resume.

I do not believe that they’ve hired someone for the position. I just think once they actually realized that I do not live in Calgary they stopped considering me for the job. And when they stopped considering me for the job, they needed to come up with a reason to explain why I was no longer being considered.

I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am.

As a hiring manager, to offer someone an interview on Tuesday morning for seven days in the future, how on earth could you then have hired someone for the position less than twelve hours later?

Also, if you’ve hired someone for the position, wouldn’t you take the posting off of LinkedIn and Indeed?

To conclude: It appears as though this company is not looking to hire the best candidate for the position, they’re main priority of importance is to hire someone that already lives in Calgary.

“You’re just so nice.” (A rant)

I believe that I’ve reached a point in my career in which one of my tragic flaws is that I come across as too nice. It’s something that I hear a lot, actually. From recruiters, from strangers, from hiring managers, from interviewers, from uber drivers, from coworkers, from anyone on the planet that doesn’t actually know me. I guess that’s just how I come across to the world.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe there’s anything bad about being too nice. I like being nice. I like being reliable, dependable and approachable. I like that people feel they can come to me. I like my calm voice and my quiet demeanor.

Somewhere along the superficial exercise that has become job hunting in 2019, being nice has become a flaw. People don’t see being nice as something they need in their business. People don’t believe that I can stand up for myself, and therefore, that I can stand up for them and their business.

The catch 22 in all of this? In reality, I’m not all that nice. If someone were to speak with any of my family or friends, they’d learn really quickly that I’m an ornery human being. But, when someone takes all of 1.5 minutes to read your resume and that’s the conclusions they draw about you, that’s what you get. That’s all you get.

I received an email last night that was really thoughtful and filled with helpful advice for my in my career search. It was an email that contained some really great, helpful advice that I’m definitely going to look into and try and try to incorporate. And, while I really appreciated the email and thought that it was very kind of said person to write it to me, one of the things that was said in the email was a reminder of how people are so quick to judge.

“You seem like a nice candidate, not a need candidate.”

I’m nice and people don’t need nice. That’s what I keep hearing.

If people believe me to be nice and nothing more, then I need to do some restructuring of my resume and cover letter again to come across as less-nice. Again, I see nothing wrong with being nice. But, that’s apparently not what companies want anymore.

I have no problem standing up for myself. Actually, one of the reasons why I am no longer with my previous employer was because of my standing up for myself. But, perhaps the soft voice and calm demeanor doesn’t convey that. Perhaps the friendly cover letter doesn’t showcase what it is that I’m capable of because people are to busy thinking ‘she seems nice’.

It’s funny, you know, trying to navigate what it is that people want. The majority of the hiring managers I’ve dealt with this year are men. And men, I’ve come to find, really don’t like strong women. In my 30 years on this earth, I’ve met very few men who actually like strong, opinionated, powerful women. They prefer women to be calm, cool, easy going. So, I convey a version of calm, cool and easy going in job hunting as a mean of appealing to said stereotype and all I get is ‘you’re so nice’.and ‘you just seem so nice’ and ‘you’re too nice’.

Where’s the balance? There doesn’t seem to be one. There doesn’t seem to be a way to win. You are either wrong, or you’re wrong.

And that fucking sucks.

I’d be curious to see what they’d say if they met the real, ornery, put-you-in-your-place, no qualms about me. I’d be curious to see what they’d think of me then.

I realize that you have to ‘play-their-game’ in order to get hired. But I just happen to be someone who thinks their game is fucking stupid.

#HorribleBosses

There’s a gentleman that I follow on twitter that I knew from my previous life, prior to 2019. This gentleman is extremely intelligent and an entrepreneur. He claims to be self-made, though I don’t believe that to be true. In my own opinion, you cannot be self-made if your parents hand you over the business. I’m making it a point to share this fact because I believe that everyone starts from somewhere. Some have more advantages than others starting out (and I see nothing wrong with taking advantage of that) but everyone starts from somewhere.

So this particular gentleman, he started out by having his business handed to him. He didn’t buy it. It was given to him. And he’s taken it and turned it into an even more successful business. One that has a large social media presence and that garners a lot of referrals for employees through his social media platforms.

Personally, he has several thousand followers on his own accounts and his own accounts are heavily intertwined to his business accounts.

This gentleman, when he receives emails from job hunters that have spelling or grammar mistakes in them, he likes to blur out the email address of who it’s from and post screenshots of the email to his twitter account to make fun of the person without naming them.

The thing is, because he has several thousand followers on his personal account, and his personal twitter is heavily intertwined to his business twitter, and his business twitter brings in a great deal of attention to his business, there’s every chance that prospective candidates who have been emailing him are seeing him making fun of them and their application on twitter.

We all have to start somewhere. I mentioned that in the first paragraph for a reason. He may have started farther ahead than others so he doesn’t understand these honest, naive mistakes from youngins just starting out.

I’ve personally never applied for a job with this company, only because it’s completely in an unrelated industry to any skill that I bring to the table so it’s not worth trying. That being said, I’m not really sure how I’d feel if I logged into twitter and saw the head of a company posting an email from me to twitter, making fun of my application. Likely, I’d be very upset and disheartened. The names might not be there, but I’d still know he was making fun of me, specifically.

So think how these potential candidates must feel.

I feel like, as a boss, your role should be a leader. Your role should be to empower people. And these people may not be your employee now, but they can certainly be empowered by the choices you make and the way you go about responding to them with constructive information rather than making fun of them on twitter.

Powerful people empower people.

So how about, instead of posting these emails to social media in an attempt to belittle these people (where they can likely see it and feel bad about themselves because of it) you offer some genuine helpful feedback? How about you take the time to be a real leader and tell these prospective employees how they can improve upon their first impressions? How about you take that entrepreneurial title you hold so dearly and be a good boss. A boss that cares about people whether they’re your employee, prospective employees or complete strangers.

All I am saying is… there’s two ways to go about this situation and the route this gentleman is taking, I think it’s the wrong route.

People screw up. They make spelling mistakes. They naively use the wrong words and they can do things that can be embarrassing at times. Shaming them over social media, being named or not, is not an acceptable response to those situations.

Everyone’s got to start somewhere. And these prospective employees emailing you, they’re starting right now. Be the guy that helps them. Be the guy that teaches them. Be the guy that provides positive, constructive feedback that will contribute to them being more successful in the future. You don’t have to hire them to help them. You can help them with guidance.

Don’t be the guy who makes fun of them on social media.

Dear Calgary, I want a job.

Dear Calgary,

I want a job. A full-time job.

I’m a 30 year old Marketing/Communications/PR professional with a decade of industry experience working for provincial and national organizations. I have a degree in Marketing/General Business and keen insights on the changing economy, culture and societal norms in Alberta and all of Canada.

Here’s a snapshot of what I bring to the table:

  • First-hand experience creating and implementing best-class brand strategy and marketing plans from the ground up
  • Demonstrated skills in multidisciplinary relations, storytelling and presentation
  • The ability to develop and oversee complex digital media (national scale) and social media strategies (audience of 90,000+), which include:
    • Managing the planning, communication and implementation of all strategies
    • Execution and management of paid social media advertising campaigns
    • Tracking defined KPIs and analytics to support digital integration
  • In-depth experience coordinating successful email marketing campaigns to grow audience, readership and specifically meet ROI
  • Expertise in Adobe Creative Suite with specialization in graphic design
  • Website management and HTML coding expertise
  • An analytical mind
  • A likability and relatable nature that allows me to effectively understand and appeal to diverse markets and build relationships within said markets
  • An inherent ability to make my boss LOOK GOOD

I am a proactive team player, proven leader and go-to guidance provider with respect to all things public domain. ¬†I thrive under chaos and I have the creative ability to think outside the box in a way you’ve yet to experience.

I want a job. I want the opportunity to make you look good. I want to grow your presences within the industry and the Canadian marketplace (and international if applicable). I want a chance to show you how much more is possible with the right person at the helm of your Marketing strategies. I guarantee that you’ll be able to look back and think ‘Damn, I sure am glad that I hired her”.

I don’t want my resume overlooked. I don’t want to be written off for nonsensical reasons. I don’t want more excuses and I definitely don’t want any more of the bullshit that is commonplace in job hunting.

I am not a run-of-the-mill candidate. I am ONE-OF-A-KIND. Meet with me and you’ll understand why.

Sincerely,

Vee

***A friend of mine recently told me that if Calgary is where I really want to be, I need to think outside of the box. Well, this is me thinking outside of the box.

If a man can stand on a street corner in Phoenix with a “Need Job” sign and get 3,000 job offers, consider this my ‘Need Job’ sign. Perhaps there’s a company out there that hasn’t yet considered the idea that they need someone like me in their office. Perhaps word of mouth could work better for me than the current route I’ve been taking. Either way, I’ve got to try.

Had a good job interview… for a change.

Oy!

I thought I was the only person who added ‘Batman’ on the end of a statement when I was trying to accentuate the statement.

I had a job interview over Skype this afternoon. It was with an Architectural Design firm and I think that it went really well.

It started off on a bit of a funny note. I’ve been dealing with a woman at the firm who has been arranging the interviews for the CEO. When she called me on skype prior to the CEO walking in she was immediately startled and said ‘Holy Blue Eyes Batman!’

I laughed. I also said ‘Sorry’. I’m not sure why I said that. I just chalk it up to being Canadian. I’ve gotten reactions from people about my eyes for my entire life. It’s not really anything new for me. And I genuinely do think I startled her. I can’t imagine what it’s like to see my face as big as a wall.

She said ‘Are you wearing contacts?’

‘Nope, this is my natural eye colour,’ I said.

She apologized to me several times for commenting on my eyes (I think she felt really awful about her reaction), and then she told me she needed to dim the brightness of screen. (She seems like a good person. I bet if I did work there we’d be friends.)

The CEO came in, the interview went really well. I genuinely think they quite liked me. The CEO was laughing and told me that my qualifications were impressive on a few different occasions.

I don’t want to get my hopes up only to get disappointed, but my hopes are up with this one.

Cross your fingers for me, please!

Day by day my soul strips away.

Okay, that’s a little dramatic, I’ll admit. But when I get upset, that seems to be how I feel.

I went to a job interview today for an office assistant position. The position title was “Office Assistant”, I did not misread it. Thinking I’m more than capable of doing that, I applied.

Upon getting to the interview today, I learned that they weren’t wanting an office assistant, they already had one. They were wanting a collections agent.

The company is 1.6 million dollars in debt, due to the lack of collecting payment for services rendered over the past several years. As they sat there explaining to me the position requirements that were, and I quote: “making calls all day every day to collect payment”, I couldn’t help but think I was wasting my time.

When I was asked if I had any questions for him, I only asked one question. I said: “Why did you advertise for an office assistant if you’re looking for a collections agent?”

The boss was dumbfounded that I would ask such a blunt question in an interview.

His response? “I’ll be straight with you, doll. I really didn’t think that I would attract the right type of candidates if I posted the job was for collections.”

I can’t even begin to explain how much it made my skin crawl to hear a 65 year old lying creep refer to me as ‘Doll’ in a job interview. But hey, at least he was straight up willing to admit he lied through his teeth because he knows the job he’s offering is shit. A LOT of employers won’t do that.

When he asked if it was a job I was interested in I told him that I’d need to think about because I have no experience with collections and that’s a definite worry of mine.

His response? “Don’t worry doll. With that sweet and sultry voice of yours I’m sure you can convince anyone you talk to of anything. Getting money from them will be a piece of cake.”

Excuse me while I hold back my vomit.

I said ‘thanks for your time’ and then went on my way.

I’m really not sure what to do. On the one hand, I need a job. On the other, if he’s talking to me like that in an interview, I can’t imagine what he’d talk like if I was actually his employee. Also, if he can flat-out lie on the job posting, how do I know what he says is truth or not?

Ugh.

Unemployment.

Can Wal-Mart just hire me already? It seems like it’d be nice to just stand at the cash register and scan items through for eight hours. It’s mindless. I could do that. I could do that well. Seems like a much better way to make minimum wage than working for a creepy boss trying to collect more than 1.6 million dollars in unpaid funds.