Redneck Summer

Appalachian_Trail_Heading_to_Double_Springs_Gap_From_Clingman's_Dome

My job hunt continues, and it’s a tedious slog  — another application to submit, another interview to prepare for, another rejection email.   For inspiration I’ve been reading blogs written by people thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, which can also be a tedious slog, contending with bad weather, equipment issues, and sore feet.  It’s still amazing to me that it’s possible to blog without electricity and while transporting all of your belongings by foot.

This talk of the outdoors leads me to the silver lining of not having a job: I don’t have a job!  As in IT’S SUMMER!  The kids are at the perfect age – old enough to be able to do things, and young enough that they still want to hang out with mom.    We’re doing a mid-week camping trip to the beach next week (before it gets too stinkin’ hot to sleep in a tent around here), and have more trips planned.

I even ordered some inner tubes so we can spend some time floating down local streams, many of which are at least partially navigable for most of the summer.  The husband said something to the effect of “how redneck are you planning to get, anyway?”   Maybe I should get a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon for good measure.  What I really want are kayaks, but that’s another project entirely.

tubing

It promises to be a fun summer, as we have plenty of places to go and things to see within an easy drive.   Easy on the pocketbook, too, since we don’t mind sleeping in a tent.

And yes, I am still looking for a job.  Really, I am!

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K is for Kick in the Pants

Last year, my husband was laid off from a well-paid position with a company where he had worked for almost 20 years.   Six months later, he landed another position, which he loves.  The only downside is that this new position is in the non-profit sector, which meant he took a substantial pay cut.  This brings me to the kick in the pants part.  As I have been a stay-at-home parent for many years (albeit with a variety of part-time gigs now and then), this was the kick in the pants I needed to really start looking for a job, as there’s no way we can live on his current salary long-term without making substantial lifestyle changes that we don’t care to make.

For several years, I’d mulled the idea of getting back into the workforce, but the logistics of a full-time position with kids and a spouse who works long hours aren’t pretty, especially when you have no extended family in the area.   So, the husband’s job switch was the kick in the pants I needed to take a hard, cold, look at our finances, the job market, and my skill set, and jump into the employment waters.  The logistics of working full-time still won’t be pretty, but at least the kids at old enough that we don’t need to have a heart attack if we’re not home before the bus comes each day, and presumably the husband has a bit more job flexibility.

J is for Job

J is for Job, which I am in need of.  This letter in the A to Z Challenge is obvious, since my blog is about my job search experience.  I am also happy to report that yesterday I was jolted out of my job-hunting lull, and am back, full-speed.

In the past few weeks, I’d become a bit discouraged by the interviews that came to naught, and was busy in any case with spring break, out-of-town trips, doing our taxes, refinancing the mortgage (to get a lower rate – can’t believe rates are so low!), and so on.  All important stuff, but I hadn’t been devoting as much time as I should to the job search, and to be honest, the pipeline is pretty empty right now.

The jolt was a call from a recruiter.  He was recruiting for a position at a company I’d already done a phone interview with, but it turns out this new position could be a decent fit, and I know someone who just started there, so I’m back to the internal intelligence gathering. They are obviously doing a lot of hiring.

I also sent out what I called an “interim thank you” note to all of the people who’ve helped me in my job search thus far, letting them know that their help had not gone unappreciated, even though I was still in search mode.  That resulted in another potential lead.

So J is for the ongoing job hunt, I’m back to business now!

A to Z Challenge [2013]

G is for Gratitude

A short post today for the A to Z Challenge:  in my job hunt and in my life in general, I’ve resolved to continue to express gratitude to the many people who’ve helped me. In my job search this includes people who’ve given me advice, helped me improve my resume, given me tips about job openings, providing networking comments, or just provided emotional support.  Some of these people I see every day, and some I’ve never met.  I’m very grateful, and resolve to say thanks when I can, and also to repay the favor by trying to be helpful to others.

This applies outside of the job search too, of course.  Many people go the extra mile, and should be thanked for their efforts.  I will try to remember to thank people, not take their actions for granted, and to also show my gratitude in action to others.

I’m also grateful for the positive interaction I’ve been receiving via this blog. Thank you!

C is for Crossing My Fingers

It’s always frustrating being in limbo after an interview, especially when you’ve been told that a few other candidates are also being interviewed.   What are they looking for?  Am I still in the running?  What are the other candidates like?  Do any of them have an inside track?  Did the required Caliper personality assessment test (required in this case) work for or against me?   How can I follow up without being a pest?

With this particular company, my only inside contact works in another division, in another location, and was not someone I know personally, so I’m not likely to get any intelligence there.   Now that it has been almost two weeks since my interview, maybe the “C” should stand for closure.  I’m guessing that if I was their leading candidate, I would at least have received a response to my follow-up email saying they were still looking or telling me where they were.  Silence often means they have a leading candidate, and just don’t want to formally notify other candidates until that person has accepted.  Still, it would be nice to receive notification of that decision so I’d have closure.

So, we’ll say C is for closure, and move on!Image

Status Update

ImageNo, I’ve not given up on the job search, or the blogging.  But it’s spring break for the kids, coming right after an out-of-town funeral for a beloved grandmother.  Accomplishments for the week thus far include:

  • dyeing Easter eggs (finished product pictured)
  • making Neiman Marcus cookies (yes, I know the story behind the recipe is an urban legend, but they are amazing cookies nevertheless, and are always welcome at family gatherings) 
  • a scavenger hunt at a local arboretum (while I was helping in the office, no less)
  • a closet cleared of outgrown clothes, duly donated to a friend
  • a trip to bang on ringing rocks with hammers (not my video, but you get the idea: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SGM7yJqXj0)
  • three movies
  • a birding excursion
  • a trip to the library
  • a lunch at our favorite Indian restaurant

Happy Easter, to those of you who celebrate it!

Resilience

Looking back on the past couple of months, one of the things that stands out is that I’m more resilient than I was in an earlier stage of my life.  Yes, it’s true I didn’t get a job that I really wanted.  But I don’t take that as a personal rejection, nor do I have a grudge against the company or interviewer for not picking me.  Had this happened when I was interviewing at 22, I think I might have reacted differently, and viewed it more as a personal negation of my worth or skills.

The reality in this job market is even if I had eight or nine of the qualities and skills they were looking for, another candidate probably had all ten. I’m encouraged by the fact that I got to a third (two- hour-plus) interview, and the first two interviews (one with an HR person, another with the hiring manager) were far from perfunctory.  So I know that I was carefully considered, and was within the top three or four out of hundreds who might have applied for the position.  When I got the call telling me the bad news, I asked and received feedback that they were looking at an internal candidate, and one who had worked with that specific product. (Thus, the ten out of ten.)

Another thing to keep in mind: I don’t have to convince every company that I’m the best person for their job, I only need to convince one.  So it’s just a matter of plugging away until I find that one.