Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Unemployment Files (#4)

Greetings, friends and neighbors, fellow bloggers, readers, and everyone here from the Wide World of Water Sports.  This is the next in the Unemployment series, otherwise known as Episode 4 (or Why Am I Still Typing This Shit?).

As you know by now, I remain without work, unless you count the constant drone of the wife, barking out orders for me to do menial tasks like carrying stuff, cleaning stuff and mowing. I'm a knowledge worker - this kinda stuff is beneath me.


You have been privy to all of the interesting search results I've gotten as well as all of the lovely recruiters who have called and emailed.  This installment's Best Of would have to include the offers for work in Houston, New York, four counties over, and of course, the three month consulting arrangement in Arkansas.  Come to Arkansas, work three months is their new state slogan.

A friend suggested a new game: collect all the coins for the states for which we're invited to work. The one with the most coins wins.  No, I don't know what.

In my own searches online, I have come across a few winners also. Business to Business insurance sales, wound nurse and my absolute favorite: lactation consultant.  I have to tell you that the last one had me considering a career change.  I'm somewhat of a subject matter expert in that general area anyway, going pro wouldn't be that difficult.  I can already properly size a bra and check for lumps, so I know wherefrom I speak.  Ok, I am a bit lacking in lactation - it's simply a fetish better left for others.


The dog has been enjoying the hell out of having me home full time, according to my wife.  As I type this, he's sitting next to me, putting his nose under my arm and insisting on all attention being provided to him and him alone.  Unfortunately all the attention has spawned more of a little monster... when we go somewhere, he becomes Spaniel Detective and hunts down anything edible, no matter where it is.  He used to be such a good dog when we left.  Last week he got half a bag of my Reese's Pieces (the bastard).  This was doubly evil, as my wife was supposed to get me Peanut Butter M&Ms, not Reese's Pieces.

He's defintely acting out.  Yesterday he ate half a loaf of wheat bread... the kind with all that sawdust on the top.  Wheat bread.  No matter how bad chocolate is for dogs, he will consume whatever he can reach.  Fortunately it doesn't bother him (it bothers me though).  My wife, who is sometimes forgetful (like it's sometimes humid in PA), left a whole bag of trail mix on the floor.  Strangely, the dog has left it there.  Yes, we've finally found the single substance that the dog won't touch. Remember - this is the guy who has eaten raw brussels sprouts.  Just not trail mix, please, Dad.

Meanwhile, the cat is also enjoying more attention.  The fastest way to get one of them to come is to call the other one.  Sibling rivalry at its finest.

Speaking of the cat, he has developed a new talent.  If you remember, the dog has trained the (good) neighbor to come out and feed him upon his command (bark).  The cat, no slouch himself, saw what was going on and figured he needed to get in on the action. So he, the cat who makes no noise at all, now sits on the fence and goes meow...Meow... MEOW and the neighbor comes out and feeds him too. We have unleashed two beggars upon the neighbor.


The neighbor with the good intentions, who last time asked if the house was going up for sheriff's sale had another piece of wisdom the other day.  He saw my wife smoking on the front step and lectured that she must stop smoking; it's costing us too much money.  Of course the guy is one hundred percent correct; he's just lucky he didn't get a Subaru through his thorax.  The wife is a little jumpy where ciggies are concerned.

Armed with this great information, my wife decided to save us some money on cigarettes.  Whenever I hear 'save us money', I start to shake.  This usually means that she has purchased two of something 'because it was on sale' or 'because it was cheaper'.  When she gets home, she tells me how much money she has saved us.  I volunteer to save us even more money.... Guitar Center is having a sale and I can get two guitars for just a bit more than one.  Think of the hundreds I can save us!  Oddly enough, it is at that exact point that her math fails her (as well as her sense of humor).

Where was I?  Oh yeah, cigarettes.  She saved us loads of money by buying.... are you ready?  can you guess?  wait for it...  Roll Your Own cigarette parts.  We now have a tray table dedicated entirely to assembling cigarettes. Or rather, a tray table dedicated entirely to holding all the paraphernalia required to assmeble cigarettes.  I figure this is a practice best done when she has enough ciggies already. The moment she's out, she'll run shaking to the tray table, try putting together a single cancer stick, fail miserably, and run screaming to the store to buy a carton of regular old cigarettes (for $77 plus taxes).  In fact, it turns out that the tobacco companies are the ones that started the Roll Your Own movement.


Hey, I haven't spent the entire week sitting on my ass.  I've spent the entire week looking for jobs, while sitting on my ass, thank you very much.  I have to admit I've had a decent amout of 'hits' on my resume lately, some from actual caucasians (who aren't Indian and trying to pound me into any job they can fit me into).

The prospective employers are getting smart about things, as I mentioned, and doing phone interviews (screenings) to weed out the bad prospects before calling them in physically (if not mentally).  I have had a bunch of phoners, as I call them.  Each one teaches me something, namely that I hate interviewing and that I can learn from my mistakes. And I make rather a lot of them.  And I insist upon making each one of them repeatedly.  Getting feedback helps to learn what to do next time.

So I've learned a lot, largely by failing.  Some call it Trial and Error.  I call it Error and Error.

This week I got a call from a recruiter for a job that turned out to be pretty damn local.  If there's anything I like (besides not having to mow the lawn), it's a very short commute to work. So I sat on the phone with the recruiter, very patiently, and answered questions. Very early in the process it became apparent that the technical recruiter had absolutely no concept of technical matters.  It would only make sense, you know.  I was charming and helped with technical acronyms.  Having gotten through that, I was informed that there was another phoner with their actual technical person.

A few days later, their actual technical person called, only he wasn't entirely technical either; he just knew all of the terms and acronyms. I suspect I was less charming this time but I passed muster. I know this because I was then invited to meet him in person.  In a small county, one state over. Tomorrow, if I didn't mind. For anybody keeping score, this was two phoners and an in-person, just to get past the recruiter.  The visit was pleasant, he asked great questions, we all talked about pets, kids and the coffee situation brewing (get it?) in South America, causing prices to rise exponentially.  I must have been in good form because I passed muster again.

How did I know I passed muster again? The recruiter was going to pass my resume along to his client. IF the client likes my resume, there will be... hang on..... guess what?  a PHONER!  If he likes the phoner, an in-person will be scheduled.  For anybody still keeping score, I will have gone through three phoners and two in-persons before I know if I got the job or not.  And this is for a consultant slot.  This has city government or extreme corporate obfuscation written all over it. I hope they don't take measurements when I show up. I typically disappoint.

Then there was the other phoner/screener for a large retailer.  It was being gang-interviewed, possibly by monkeys, judging from the zoo-like background noise.  It felt like home because I used to work in a zoo.  Well, not a traditional zoo, but they were really loud and sometimes smelled like animals. The secretary's husband likened calling there to a soccer riot.

And there we are - this week's installment.  Although it would break my heart, I am perfectly willing to discontinue this series and get back to the (ab)normal stuff.

1 comment:

  1. You know, Lefty, I started to snicker and laugh out loud for the first few paragraphs of this latest update, but then I reached the part where you describe your actual job search results. At that point, all the anger, frustration, and disgust with today's "modern" methods of job searching and human resources departments came flooding out of me. I nearly put my fist through my monitor.

    Of course, I'm much further along the road than you are when it comes to this shit. My LinkedIn profile says that I just celebrated my 6 year anniversary with . That's all bullshit, as most know. It's just that they (career counselors) tell you that it's better to be self-employed than unemployed when looking for a job. They also say that you should make your fantasy company reflect the job field in which you're currently searching for work. That way you can add that as experience toward the new job.

    What a travesty. What a fucking joke. What a sad state of affairs in this country these days. You know why it's that way? Because it's all about the almighty fucking $. No one cares a wit about another human being's feelings or needs these days. BIG CORP has taken control of it all. They shift their high cost labor to offshore slave factories, then import the shoddy goods back to the U.S. to appease their "service" workers here with affordable products.

    They get richer as the real people in this country sink into poverty and despair. One day, though, the downtrodden will wake up and there will be hell to pay. The plutocracy will burn hot. The streets will collapse under the weight of the fallen technocrats.

    Then, and only then, can a world where a man can do an honest day's work for an honest day's pay return. Then a man will be able to get up and go to his job and be a proud contributor to his company's well-being and profit level. The company, in turn, will treat that man as an integral cog in the machine of commerce and not just a burden to be eliminated at first opportunity in favor of "Steve in New Delhi" or Ling May in that 1.5 million square foot factory/prison somewhere in Asia.

    I long for the days when you'd just grab the "Help Wanted" sign out of the window and hand it to the manager and say, "I'm your man, Mr. So-and-so. When do you need me to start?" That world, and all the good things in it, has moved on, though.

    There. How's that for a fuckin' rant, bud?

    I'd like to thank Mr. Lefty and the folks at Google (Blogger) for allowing me this space to practice my touch typing.

    As always, Lefty, your writing skills and sense of humor leave me feeling inadequate, but greatly entertained.

    Eat the rich! They should be good for something.


    P.S. Don't even get me started on the new cyber-HR departments that rely 100% on 3rd party software to screen online applicants. That should be illegal as the day is long. I'm amazed the ACLU has not raised holy hell about this already. I'll rant more about it some other time, though

    Out again.