I’m not qualified to work at Wal-Mart.

That’s right. Sounds a little ridiculous, no? It’s Wal-Mart. How hard could it possibly be? What exactly are the skills required of working at Wal-Mart that I am lacking? Or am I just a really shitty person and that’s why they won’t hire me?

Throughout this job-hunting process, one of the things that I wanted to do was apply for a cashier/retail position. I wanted something that I could work in the mean-time, until I find my next career position. And, I thought if I were so lucky enough, this mean-time job – being a cashier in a store, might be able to be my ‘side-hustle’ so to speak… once I landed my 9-5 again.

I thought this plan might have been coming to fruition when I landed an interview for a role as a cashier at Wal-Mart. I thought ‘This will be perfect. I can work it full-time now (or part time, whatever hours they provide me) and then when I land my full-time job I can scale back to part time’. I thought being a part-time employee at Wal-Mart was a good thing. After all, don’t they like that? They don’t have to pay employees as much, or offer as many breaks, etc… if they’re part-time.

I’m somewhat-not-stupid in the intelligence department. I can count. I can multiply large numbers in my head and would absolutely be able to complete my job even if the power went out and the register was not working. I can scan products through the till. I have a pretty solid memory, for the most part, so remembering things like produce or bulk food codes won’t be hard for me. I tend to work well under chaos and am used to people yelling at me. My mom tells me that I have a nice smile… how could I possibly fail at this role?

Well, apparently Wal-Mart didn’t think I was the right fit for their store.

I went to the job interview – which turned into a group interview… that they did not tell any of us about ahead of time. During the hour in which the interview occurred, the only actual question the manager asked me about myself was what my name was. We proceeded to spend the next hour running through ‘what would you do if…’ scenarios with respect to the store.

I completed each of these scenarios and, after going in order of left-to-right for each candidate to present their completed findings/suggestions, myself and one other girl were quickly cut off and not provided the opportunity to present ours as the one hour of allotted time for the interview was up and they were done interviewing candidates.

The manager promptly let each of us know that he would tell us within 72 hours whether or not we were selected to work for Wal-Mart via email.

Within one hour of leaving my group interview at Wal-Mart, to which the only question I was asked about myself was what my name was, I was sent an email that read the following:

Dear Miss [Insert Last Name Here]

At Wal-Mart we receive many applications from people on a daily basis who wish to work in our store and we have to do our very best to select the most qualified candidates who will be the best additions to our team.

At this time we have found qualified, suitable candidates and will not be hiring you for the position of cashier.

Please do not get discouraged. There are still plenty of career opportunities to work with Wal-Mart, so we do recommend that you keep your account active, remember your username and password, and apply for any future positions to which you may be interested in.

Sincerely,

The Hiring Team at Wal Mart Store [Insert Wal Mart Store Location here]

Since, at this time, they’ve found qualified and suitable candidates for the role of cashier, does that mean that I am not qualified? Or does that mean that I am not suitable? Either way, what is it about my telling you my name that makes me not qualified or not suitable for your team?

This whole process was a bit of a let-down. To not even really be given the time of day in an interview was frustrating, especially considering I sat on my computer one night and completed their 30 minute personality assessment test, to which they reassured me at several points throughout the test that there were no wrong answers. Did I actually get the answers wrong?

What was it about my interview that lead you to believe I am a bad fit for your team? I wore dress clothes – it wasn’t as though I came looking like a slob. I’m an educated woman, it wasn’t as though I couldn’t string sentences together… not that I even got the opportunity to do so anyways.

I can’t be the first person in the world who’s been through the process of changing careers. And I know that I’m definitely not the first person in the world who’s considered the option of a cashier role as a ‘side-hustle’ to make money. Maybe that just doesn’t work for them. Or maybe the manager who interviewed us is telepathic so he knew what I was thinking with respect to the scenarios we were supposed to present and that’s why he didn’t provide me the opportunity to present. Yeah, that’s it. He already knew my answers.

Here’s to being unqualified, or unsuitable, or whatever… (I’m not really sure what they were thinking) to work at Wal-Mart. I’ll drink to that.

Adventures in job hunting (the saga continues)

If there’s one thing that I absolutely hate in life, it’s being lied to. Just be honest. There’s no reason not to. If you’re trying to hide something then you probably shouldn’t be doing it.

This morning, I went to a job interview at ‘Company X’. Company X advertised a marketing position on their website, that, when I read the description, I thought I could do well at. My degree is in Marketing with a Minor in Economics. I’ve been working Public Relations for the past decade, so when it comes to skills, I’ve got the vast majority of the Marketing/Communications sector covered.

What a fucking waste of time this morning was for me.

Flash back to last week – When I applied for the position, I noticed that the job description was incredibly vague. That being said, I applied for it anyway, excited of the prospect of landing a marketing role.

The position title: “Marketing Executive”

The position description:

  • Work with local businesses to understand their business cycle and their advertising needs 
  • Work with local businesses and non-profits to design an advertising campaign to meet targets 
  • Provide on-going support to ensure optimal client service 
  • Ongoing awareness of our clients’ day to day challenges 
  • Receivables control 

Vague, right? But, I thought that in my current state I should apply and see what happened. A marketing role could be good for me right now, and if they selected me for an interview, I could ask them the questions I wanted at the interview to learn more about the job.

There’s one GIANT bullet point missing from the job description. The actual position description should be:

  • We are looking for a Sales Representative. This position is 100% sales based.

That’s right. The actual position has nothing to do with marketing. The actual position doesn’t have to do with businesses marketing or advertising needs. They have a team for that. They just want someone to sell companies – and bring in revenue.

The interviewer asks “What experience do yo have in sales?” None. I have no experience in sales. You know this. Why? Because you read my resume. You knew this when you called me last week and requested an interview. Why would I think I need sales experience… it’s listed nowhere in the job description or title.

Working with local business to determine advertising needs, to me, means that you sit down with the boss and find out what he/she wants their brand to be portrayed as. Working with local business to determine advertising needs does not mean cold calling all over town to beg people to purchase advertising. You know this, and you purposely left it off of the job description because you know if people knew the full truth about this position whilst it was posted online, no one would apply.

Furthermore, what I learned today: the position has no salary, it’s 100% sales commission paid. Therefore, if you sell something you get 10% of whatever sold. He says “To put that in perspective, if you sell $300,000 in revenue in a year, you’re going to make about $30,000.”

Are you fucking kidding me? Who is going to sell $300,000 in revenue in this industry… in this town? We’re not in Vancouver or Toronto. We’re in a town in the middle of nowhere with a limited customer base and even more limited audience.

You’re required to work 8-5 Monday to Friday, but you don’t get paid unless you make sales. That’s fine – then advertise this as a fucking sales position, not as a marketing position.

One other thing I learned was that they have teams to put together advertising needs and desires for clients. Yeah, all those bullet points up there about working with clients to determine their needs… they have a team for that. They literally just want someone to go out and do the sales.

My final question for them this morning was if they have a database to work off of for potential customers/people to start with. No. They don’t. Whomever takes on this role has to create the database of potential customers through cold calling. They quite literally have NOTHING set up for this position.

Why would I waste my time with this?

If you can’t even be honest on your job description you post online, why do you think anyone would want to work for you? You know you’re creating a ridiculous ask of any incumbent and that’s why you lied about the position in the job description you posted.

I won’t be speaking to Company X ever again.

In the words of Ariana Grande… thank u, next.

A day in the life of an unemployed millennial.

I’ve been unemployed since December 31, 2018. I was fired, without cause (legally speaking). It’s actually a bit of a story that I, at one point, had posted on this blog but took down. Regardless of details, here goes:

8:15 am – Wake up.

8:20 am – Drink BCAAs and cook eggs for breaky.

8:45 – 9:45 am – Some time during this period I will drive my mom to the cancer clinic. The time she begins her treatment depends entirely on what the doctor has scheduled so it is different each morning.

~ Sit with mom at cancer clinic, through appointments with Doctor and Nurse Practioners.

12:00 pm – Return home from cancer clinic. Make Lunch for myself, my mom and my dad (if he’s off work that day)

1:00 pm – Do dishes. My mom usually goes to nap at this time, so I am left with some freedom to pick up around the house, or watch Gilmore Girls. Usually it’s a bit of both.

2:00 pm – My Mom’s awake and now in her ‘cancer won’t get me down’ kind of mood, determined to go out into the world and do something. So I will take her out to run her errands, or wander around the mall. Just something to get her out into the world that doesn’t take place at the hospital.

4:00 – 5:00 pm – This is my sacred hour. During this hour I’ll look at/update my blog or head out on my own and just wander, decompress and calm myself.

5:00 pm – Start cooking dinner. Eat Dinner. Clean up Dinner. Do dishes.

6:30 pm – Help my Mom with various things.

7:30 pm – My Mom usually crawls into bed. I’ll take the dog for a walk, or watch Jeopardy. Or both.

8:30 pm – Sit down at computer and start looking for jobs online. Send my resume off for positions that don’t sound sucky or shitty. A lot of times I’ll send my resume off for positions that do sound suck or shitty as well. I’ll also respond to emails at this time, browse wordpress a little more and, play Clash Royale, watch TV or do something mindless and easy.

12:30 am – Go to bed.

Of course, not every day is the same. But, it’s a lot of just helping my mom at this time. She needs all the help she can get, lately. And, luckily for her, she has a lot of support from myself, my brother and my father. Cancer will do that to a family, though. I admire anyone who’s been through cancer with someone in their family. It’s a lot of hard work both for the person suffering and for the person looking after them.

Hopefully, if all goes according to plan, she should have a status of being in remission in just a few short weeks. I’m looking forward to her being healthy again, because I know she wants to go back to enjoying life and not feeling so sick all of the time.

I also think that soon enough, when she’s healthy and starts enjoying life again, perhaps things will change for me, too. I’m looking forward to going back to work. I’m looking forward to not having to worry so much. I’m just looking forward to life calming down a little bit.

This became a lot longer than I wanted too. People say that I’m the ultimate cliche because I am an unemployed millennial. I think, though, that’s what happens when you judge a book by it’s cover. Or perhaps I am normal and this is normal. Either way, the most important thing to me at this point in time is that my mom gets healthy again.

That’s all.

Adventures in job hunting, continued.

Oh, job hunting, how I hate thou.

Is it just me, or do companies really not give a shit about the people they’re supposedly trying to hire? They lack consideration, basic manners and the ability to properly communicate… all together.

On Friday I received an email from a man proclaiming that he was the Hiring Manager for a certain company that I applied with. He asked, by email, at 12:20 pm, if I was free to do a half hour phone interview at 2:00 pm. Knowing this was going to be a huge pain in the ass, I agreed to it anyways and ended up pawning off my babysitting onto someone else knowing I couldn’t take this call with children running through the background.

2:00 pm rolled around, no call.

2:05 pm, no call.

2:15 pm, no call. I emailed him to ask ‘What’s up?’ in a very polite, professional manner.

2:45 pm, I am at this point already moved onto something else with my afternoon when the phone rings. As I did not have this individuals phone number, I couldn’t phone him. I presumed he forgot, or got busy, and I went on with my day.

3:11 pm, my phone rings with a number I do not recognize. I answer the phone and I hear ‘Hi, this is so-in-so calling from ‘x’ company’. It’s him. The man who scheduled the call for 2 is calling me at 3:11.

I started to chat with him anyway, trying to be extremely professional and not let it bother me that he called over an hour late. As I was talking to him though, I got an iffy feeling. Things didn’t seem on the up-and-up. This man claimed in his email that he was the Hiring Manager for the company, so I thought I was speaking directly to someone who was involved with the hiring process. As he continued talking, though, he didn’t seem much like a hiring manager at all. He stumbled on his words, on his thoughts, on the basic ability to maintain a conversation on the phone. He seemed to be struggling in a big way, and he wasn’t comprehending the industry lingo that I was providing, consistently asking me to explain – though they were things he should already know.

Nevertheless, I continued on. When you’re unemployed, you kind of need to go with the flow, no matter what happens with respect to job prospects, because you don’t get to pick and choose. I think that employers definitely take advantage of that. It shows in how they treat their potential employees… not well.

At around 3:30 this call was wrapping up and ‘so-in-so’ said “Thank you for speaking with me today.” I returned the comment, thanking him for his time. Then he said “I will give this to the hiring manager.”

This confused me. As he said he was the hiring manager. I responded with “Oh, you’re not hiring for this position? I thought your email had said you were the hiring manager”.

His response: “I’m not the hiring manager. The hiring manager doesn’t conduct preliminary interviews like this. He’s far too busy.”

My response: “Oh, okay, thank you for letting me know. May I ask, what is your position? Your email had mentioned you were the hiring manager, so I am just curious.”

“I’m the summer student,” he said.

THE SUMMER STUDENT.

Suddenly, it all made sense. I was talking to the summer student. That’s why he struggled with speaking, with understanding what I was saying and with conducting the phone interview in general. Nothing against him, he was likely just thrown into the job and not given much of any information to go off, but HOLY FUCKING HELL.

You’re having your summer student conduct preliminary interviews for you? How? Why? On what planet is this a good idea?

Pardon me for being of the belief that a hiring manager should never be ‘too busy’ to hire people. That’s the very basic core of their job description.

You’re putting the preliminary phase of the hiring process in the hands of someone you’re not paying, who has minimal industry experience, who won’t be at the company in four months time because he’ll be going back to school and is lacking professional experience to do the task you’ve given him? Everyone has to start somewhere, I get that. But if you want to teach him, hop on these calls with him. Don’t make him conduct these calls himself.

That is a sign of a bad boss, in my opinion.

  1. If you say you’re going to call someone at a certain time, call them at that certain time. There is a small leeway for if one gets busy or if something happens at the office. That leeway is not extended beyond an hour later. Sorry, but that’s not right.
  2. If you’re going to hire someone, don’t put the summer student in charge. It’s not fair to him and it’s not fair to the people who are applying for positions within your organization. A summer student works these positions to get professional experience – to get shown the ropes, not to ‘sink or swim’.
  3. If that’s how you treat potential employees, I really have to wonder how you treat actual employees.

Adventures in Job Hunting (another rant)

This morning I’ve been on the phone with a job recruiter for a position within my industry. This is what is required for me to move onto the step of being potentially considered for an interview:

  1. Complete 35 minute personality assessment test.
  2. Provide 6 references (that’s right, 6) – including 2 former managers and at least two colleagues and cannot include personal friends
  3. In two-page written essay format, provide them answers to why I want this position and why I think I would be a good fit for their organization.

Obviously I have to jump through these hoops. Because, being unemployed, you don’t really get to decide which hoops will lead to something and which hoops are a waste of time. (Spoiler alert: for me, they all seem to be a waste of time) Nevertheless, setting aside the fact that this entire list pisses me off, I have a few questions of my own.

  • When did a generic online personality assessment test become more valuable to a hiring manager than a genuine character reading through face to face interaction?
  • Since you’re asking me job interview questions in a personality assessment test, if I make it to the interview process, what will you actually ask me in a job interview?
  • Isn’t six references a little bit overkill? It’s not like I’m applying for the Canadian Spy agency, here. Have you had that poor luck with people in this past that you require speaking to six references to ensure that I am who I say I am?
  • Why do you get the right to require references of me before you’re even willing to show an interest in interviewing me? Maybe I’m alone in this, but, the way that I see it, you should only be provided references once you’ve met and interviewed me and you’re looking to verify that my character matches that of which just sat in front of you and answered your questions proficiently.
  • Beyond teaching you that I check my spelling and grammar, what is my writing an essay going to teach you? Your company isn’t that special, nor is this job. If you’re hoping for me to beg or grovel in this essay, it’s not going to happen.
  • Do you believe that your company is special? Do you believe you’re doing something that every other company in the industry is lacking in right now? Because if so, how about you share that with me? It might make me feel like I’m selling my soul a little less when I write this, because so far as I can see, it looks like every other position on every other website listed.

I’m beginning to think maybe the best job out there for me these days is just to work at 7-11 as a cashier. Honestly, I doubt 7-11 would make me write an essay for a job.

#JustSaying

Adventures in job hunting

Shortly after I was fired from my last position I applied for a relatively large position within a relatively large company that’s head offices are in Canada but operates in 80 different countries.

In late January they contacted me to let me know they were considering me for the position and would like to have a phone interview. I know, amazing! Right?

I said Yes. We set a date for a phone interview, which happened to be the next day. I chatted with the HR Manager, and wowed him (or at least I thought that I did) so much so that he was talking about plane tickets to come for an interview and asked me if I could do a skype call with the Department head.

I said sure!

Another HR Manager contacted me one hour later. She wanted to set up a meeting via skype with the department head. I said ‘I am free, WHENEVER!’ Well, I said it with pizzazz, but without desperation. I was excited. The prospect of landing a job like this made me feel as though I’d be on an upward swing.

I had the Skype Meeting with the department head and I thought that it went really great. We chatted for quite a long time and she asked me everything under the sun. I thought I rocked it.

Given how good my chat with the HR Manager went in the morning, I thought they were, for sure, going to invite me out for an in-person interview.

The second HR Manager, the one who set up the meeting with the department head, told me ‘we’ll be in touch’.

A week went by, heard nothing. I sent a nice, polite, email asking if they wanted references. The second HR Manager said ‘we’ll be in touch’.

Another week went by. At this point I thought ‘I obviously am no longer being considered.’ I was bummed, but, the thing about job hunting is that you get used to rejection for no reason, and to companies unwilling to communicate with you about it.

Finally, three and a half weeks after my phone and skype interviews, I got an email from the second HR Manager that said ‘Thanks for your time Victoria, we’ve already hired for this position’.

I asked for some feedback of what I could do better next time around and I got nothing from her. I wasn’t surprised by this, but I had to try.

Naturally I was disappointed. This was going to be my upward swing. That being said, I needed to continue with my drawing board. For this whole three and a half week period I was applying for other jobs so I just told myself that I needed to continue that.

Last week, for shits and giggles, I submitted my resume to the “General Submission of Resume” section of their website.

I didn’t expect anything to come from it. I more-so just wanted to remind them of who they passed up.

Last night I got an email from the second HR Manager. The one who didn’t communicate with me for three weeks on end. She said ‘Thanks for applying for ‘said position I applied for in January’, we’d like to know if you’d be available for an interview next Tuesday or Wednesday.

Confused, because I’d already been passed up for this position and, this time around, submitted my resume to general submission, I immediately thought ‘They don’t remember interviewing me!’

I emailed her back and said ‘Just to clarify, because I submitted my resume to the general submision section, is this the position that I was interviewed for in late January/early February?’

I got an email back this morning that says ‘Right, Victoria! I will remind the department head that they’ve already interviewed you and ask if they’d like to do a second interview and that we can skip the first.”

THEY TOTALLY DIDN’T REMEMBER THEY’D INTERVIEWED ME.

THEY ALSO TOLD ME THEY’D HIRED FOR A POSITION THEY NEVER HIRED FOR.

WHY?

WHY?

WHY?

WHAT’S THE POINT IN LYING? You could have just told me the truth… you weren’t hiring.

Also, if I wasn’t qualified for this job (in your opinion) for you a month and a half ago, why would you consider me qualified now?

Tackling my triggers.

This month there are several things that have been giving me anxiety. And, instead of hiding from them, I have decided that I am going to tackle them. I may not get them all accomplished, but I am for darn sure going to try and work through them.

Things that are currently giving me anxiety.

  1. Applying for Employment Insurance
  2. Applying for independent health-care benefits
  3. Completing my 2018 taxes
  4. Finding a new job.

The list is not that long and doesn’t seem all that daunting. But, EI basically makes you commit to promising your first born child in exchange for EI payments. The form was very overwhelming and took a full hour to complete.

Also, due to my ongoing issues with my sinuses I am running into more medical needs. Thankfully, being Canadian, a lot of things are covered. But, there are still things that aren’t covered. I had convinced myself that I was going to apply for health-care benefits from a provider on my own, but, when I sat down to fill out the form they wanted a listing of all of the medicine I have been prescribed in the past year. I got scared they’d see all the times that I’ve been prescribed medication (that didn’t help), think that i am a risk and not provide me benefits. So, I clicked away from the form and have been hiding from it since.

Taxes are something that I have always had my mom help me with. It sounds dumb – I should do my own taxes. But, my mom always helped me with it every year, so, I always let her! This year, she’s undergoing treatment for cancer and is really more sick than anything else at the moment. The idea of completing these myself is really daunting. It shouldn’t be daunting, but it is.

And the job. Oh, the job. This is a frustrating piece to my list because of the fact that it really feels as though a university degree isn’t worth all that much anymore. Nevermind the actual experience I’ve been collecting over the past decade. I am pushing myself into this label of ‘token unemployed millennial’ that is making me feel like a deadbeat. I know that all I can do is keep going. But, it’s daunting.

Here’s to facing my fears and trying to get through this.