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Unemployment-good, bad and UGLY

plantlust's picture

Kai suggested this(always give credit where it's due) as there are several of us unemployed folks out there(contrary to The Shrub's vigorous denials).  I will start with mine - comments and suggestions always appreciated:


My previous job was technical in nature, official title?  Analyst - Mainframe Coverage.  I worked on the IBM side of the house, tho I do have Unimatic experience.  Was laid off officially on Nov 1st, tho before that was ANP(authorized no pay-essentially you don't show up for work and they don't have to pay you, but you still have benees).  I've sent out 98 resumes at last count, having a friend look over the cover letter and resume - slight tweaking nothing major, and had 2 interviews.  One was for my old job, didn't get it.  Found out in a round about way that they had approx 200 resumes to slog thru.  My old job went to an ex programmer.  This last interview was on the phone?!?!  Luckily I had had insomnia after coming home to the brief phone msg.  Stayed up and checked out the company website, jotted down some questions I wanted to ask and responses to just in case questions they might have(I have a file folder of jobs that I've sent resumes to w/copies of the coverletter I sent stapled either to the ad from the paper or a printout of the online ad).


Returned the initial phone call to the Human Resource person.  Nobody there, left msg on voicemail.  Called back alot later in the afternoon and got a real live person, which startled me slightly.  I introduced myself and then waited while he got my paperwork.  He then asked me what I did at my previous job, my familiarity w/assorted office equipment, to describe my exboss and how my exboss would describe me and what my salary at United was.  I told him what my monthly salary was and then had to convert that to dollars an hour.  He said, "Well, there's no way we can match THAT."  To which I replied, "I worked for United for 15 years, I wouldn't expect anyone to match that salary immediately."   Was this an appropriate response?  I know everyone says not to disclose your previous salary until they actually offer you a position, but alot of companies request salary history, along w/a cover letter and resume.  I'm also not certain I like this phone interview stuff.  I'll go along if the company is located very far away(I'm talking another state or country) but when it's only 2 towns down......  Perhaps a real live Human Resources person can explain the inner workings to me.  Next?


Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good w/ketchup, cheese - especially applewood smoked gouda, a decent sized kosher/garlic pickle and let's not forget the 70% bittersweet Scharfenberger.

Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with parsley sauce, goat cheese garlic mashed potatoes, Galena Cellars Niagra grape wine & Pie Boss's apple crumble topped with Ruth & Phil's sour cream/cinnamon ice cream.

kai230's picture

(post #40239, reply #1 of 747)

Hmm, I thought you started it and just wanted suggestions re where to post :-)


This took a long time to load today (modem), and no longer has a link to the Best Companies for Women (based on the link titles, at least), which was there Friday, but it's worth exploring:


http://www.fortune.com/lists/F500/index.html


Most of my other ideas are centric to what I do, can do, want to do, and are local, but I'll pass them along anyway. Once I start thinking out of my tech writing box, I'll have other suggestions--again, they may or may not apply.


Years ago, What Color is Your Parachute was extremely helpful for me, but the later editions do not (last I read) include that comprehensive self-evaluation from the earlier books which is so uplifting. If I can find the year that was last produced, I'll let you know so you can search on half.com. I have an inquiry in now.


What I'm hearing is that, in this neck of the woods and many places elsewhere, we will be lucky to match half our salary until our s u c k y industries pick up again or we try a diff industry.


Here's another killer: not only is my employer prohibited from giving more info than job title and dates of employment, but disallows ltrs of recommendation, and CHARGES for the empl info (anywhere from $9-12, I've heard) which is now completely automated, and not accurate either. Sheesh. 


 


 


 

ashleydbrit's picture

(post #40239, reply #4 of 747)

Here's another killer: not only is my employer prohibited from giving more info than job title and dates of employment, but disallows ltrs of recommendation


That's pretty common, I work for a US major and that's our policy too. The salary thing is also pretty common, many people with IT/Technical skills (usually contract staff) over here in the UK have been forced to take cuts in their existing pay, that's how bad it is. Normally when that has happened before there is a rush to the US from here, but of course it's even worse over there. You have my greatest sympathy. Even those with what used to be thought of as "secure" jobs are under threat from outsourcing, restructuring or relocation of process. It's tough out there.


"I don't like gourmet cooking or 'this' cooking or 'that' cooking. I like 'good cooking.'"
James Beard

Adele's picture

(post #40239, reply #2 of 747)

Hi Plantlust & Kai-

I've sent out over 70 resumes via mail, email and a couple in person at a job fair. I've had 2 interviews. The first wanted and welcomed the experience, but it only paid 20$ more than what I am getting in unemployment. Of course, bennies were included, but I need more $ than they were offering. The other place was a small, dirty office in a dirty building, the $ wasn't there and I didn't click with the person interviewing, who I would have to work closely with.

My 'old' co-workers, the girl at the drugstore, practically everyone I meet is keeping an eye out for a job for me.

I had one really, really nice rejection letter from a local TV station, and noted on my calendar to re-submit with a new cover letter at the end of September.

As to phone interviews, I wouldn't mind getting basic info from them and to them, such as where they are located (many ads don't have addys & the phone prefix's no longer assure a certain area), how large the co is (some ads don't put the name), and perhaps from me to expound on computer info, and hearing my cheery, upbeat voice! LOL

I decided that the lay off IS a good thing. I am no longer depressed about it and am having no problem keeping myself busy. I've started sewing and making Christmas crafts again.(I even have my latest CT recipes now laying on the floor on top of the binders I will put them in). I do make it a point to have somewhere to go each day (I think TracyK recommended this), even if it's just to window shop, as you know, money isn't exactly flowing right now.

I'm not going to stress for at least another month. (Yeah, right!)

But, but, its SUPPOSED to taste like that!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

KitchenWitch's picture

(post #40239, reply #3 of 747)

Hey, Adele- I've sent you two emails, but haven't heard back from you. Did they get lost in the ether?

~RuthAnn
Always Smell It First.

~RuthAnn

CookiM0nster's picture

(post #40239, reply #5 of 747)

DH is going on a year more or less unemployed (He worked for $5 an hour as a hotel night watchman for part of the summer, but the 1 1/2 hour commute got to be too much rather fast). He left a good IT job in Germany to come to Canada at exactly the wrong time in the job market. He's been sending resumes all over the country (there is nothing at all in the town we live in now), but so far nothing. He's currently exploring other career options. When he finds something, wherever it is, we'll move. I'm not to excited by my job and will be happy to leave it, especially once the baby arrives. In the mean time, though, it pays the mortgage and puts food on the table.

He was just hired by the Physics department at the university to teach a bunch of labs for the coming academic year, which is a good, if neither long-term nor well-paying thing. I think he'll get slightly less than $20,000 CAD for his efforts.

plantlust's picture

(post #40239, reply #6 of 747)

You should check out the Chicago area, tho I've heard that Minnesota's market is rather hot at the moment.  The Naperville area has alot of international companies and I've observed alot of French, Swedish and Germans shopping at Whole Foods in Wheaton.  Your DH(and you) should have no problems finding jobs.  My problem is compounded by not having a Bachelor's.  But I can't get a Bachelor's until I've got money to pay for it and round it goes.

Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good w/ketchup, cheese - especially applewood smoked gouda, a decent sized kosher/garlic pickle and let's not forget the 70% bittersweet Scharfenberger.

Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with parsley sauce, goat cheese garlic mashed potatoes, Galena Cellars Niagra grape wine & Pie Boss's apple crumble topped with Ruth & Phil's sour cream/cinnamon ice cream.

KitchenWitch's picture

(post #40239, reply #7 of 747)

maybe you should move to California and we can open up a Soap 'N Chocolates shop?


;)


~RuthAnn
Always Smell It First.

~RuthAnn

plantlust's picture

(post #40239, reply #8 of 747)

You can't have her, she's supposed to move closer THIS WAY!! (Do y'think we only luv her for her chocolates?)  And I think I've already seen chocolate and coffee soaps.

Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good w/ketchup, cheese - especially applewood smoked gouda, a decent sized kosher/garlic pickle and let's not forget the 70% bittersweet Scharfenberger.

Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with parsley sauce, goat cheese garlic mashed potatoes, Galena Cellars Niagra grape wine & Pie Boss's apple crumble topped with Ruth & Phil's sour cream/cinnamon ice cream.

CookiM0nster's picture

(post #40239, reply #9 of 747)

LOL, you guys are too funny.

KitchenWitch's picture

(post #40239, reply #10 of 747)

oh yeah? well she had a dream that she and her DH were doing inventory for me in my soap shop, so neener neener neener.


I meant a shop that sells soaps and chocolates. separately.
I don't do chocolate or coffee scented soap, unless it's a special request.


~RuthAnn
Always Smell It First.

~RuthAnn

LoveFood's picture

(post #40239, reply #11 of 747)

>>DH is going on a year more or less unemployed (He worked for $5 an hour as a hotel night watchman


Poor COOKIMONSTER.  I feel for you, especially at this time with your pregnancy and all.  How much is $20,000 CAD when converted to American? 

CookiM0nster's picture

(post #40239, reply #12 of 747)

About 30 cents (just kidding). It's about $14,000. Luckily I make considerably more than this. Still it's kind of demoralizing for him.

LoveFood's picture

(post #40239, reply #13 of 747)

That would be so hard.  Are you planning on staying home when the baby is born?

KitchenWitch's picture

(post #40239, reply #16 of 747)

CM, has your DH looked into companies like AGFA or Siemens? - seems both are companies where being a fluent German speaker would be a definite asset. My DH suggested this - He said Siemens is expanding and rolling out a new division soon. Siemens (i hope i am spelling that right) builds medical equipment, ultrasounds, CAT scans and the like. There's been rumors of Siemens buying Toshiba Medical, who DH works for.


 


~RuthAnn
Always Smell It First.

~RuthAnn

wamara's picture

(post #40239, reply #14 of 747)

I hadn't seen this post when I recommended the books. It has been my experience that telephone interviews are a bad sign. Sometimes the HR person is filling a requirement to interview a certain # even though the decision has already been made. This is especially true if they are trying to build up interview #s on covered classes. One long shot practical suggestion. I have a friend who works at Aegon International in Louisville and she says they are still hiring and expanding, to Ireland in the immediate future. I believe they have a website, but if a search doesn't come up with anything I will be happy to make a contact if you have interest. I also have another friend, and EE, in Louisville working for a small networking software outfit who might have some ideas. Beyond that the old IBM plant in Lexington that is now Lexmark is doing very well. Don't know anyone there though.

Wayne

plantlust's picture

(post #40239, reply #15 of 747)

Well, add another 15000 unemployed to the pot.  Consolidated Freightways(Vancouver, WA) has just gone bellyup.


And United just hired another good old boy to be CEO etc(Creighton took 2 of his bestfriends with him - Rono Dutta and Andrew Stuttart).  I've been wondering....they've gone thru X amount of white, male CEOs.  You'd think they'd get a clue and think just maybe this calls for something completely different? 


And thanks Wamara, will check into that.


Edit to add following:  CM, is your hunny checking on www.dice.com ?  This is a site geared more towards technical people.



Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good w/ketchup, cheese - especially applewood smoked gouda, a decent sized kosher/garlic pickle and let's not forget the 70% bittersweet Scharfenberger.  Still working on the liquid refreshment.


Edited 9/2/2002 9:42:40 PM ET by PLANTLUST

Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with parsley sauce, goat cheese garlic mashed potatoes, Galena Cellars Niagra grape wine & Pie Boss's apple crumble topped with Ruth & Phil's sour cream/cinnamon ice cream.

Wolvie's picture

(post #40239, reply #17 of 747)

my sis does SAP software (among many other) configs, and works as a consultant. She has, in the past, put her resume out on Monster.com, and has been inundated with job offers within hours.


CM - your SO might want to check this site out - My sis works with a lot of IT folks who use it and trust it big time!


Woe to the cook whose sauce has no sting
- Chaucer

 

CookiM0nster's picture

(post #40239, reply #18 of 747)

Monster was the first place he went to. He's got his resume up there, and checks the job listings faithfully. It's been good for him for getting in contact with headhunters, but so far no jobs.

I'll pass along the Siemens and Agfa recommendations, and the dice site, which I don't think he's seen.

Thanks for all the advice.

assibams's picture

(post #40239, reply #19 of 747)

For "peace of mind" you can tell DH that a lot of major companies are downsizing in Germany as well. Especially Siemens said they have to fire thousands of employees in their telecommunications branch. One of the newsmags ran an article about a new kind of unemployed people: well-trained, previously highly-paid younger people.


It is so sad that shareholder value seems to be all that counts nowadays. The economy will pick up again in a few months and then all those who laid off personnel will have problems finding qualified people again.


What I hate most is highpaying CEO (making millions of $ a year) stepping in front of a camera and telling the public with a straigt face that they just cannot afford to keep all of the employees. But how often do you hear of CEO's waive any of their income in order to keep their - often highly trained -  personnel? And when was the last time you heard of a CEO resgning because he made the wrong decisions and was taking responsibility for economical problems? Makes me drift to the leftwing - Michael, here I come.....


Edited to rephrase and add some more.


Edited 9/3/2002 3:18:43 PM ET by ASSIBAMS

"A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort."
Herm Albright

kai230's picture

(post #40239, reply #20 of 747)

Got my severance pkg today—7 wks plus my 1 wk vacation remaining. I will have to check the dates to be certain how it pans out; never trust HR. Hlth ins is in effect (i.e., paid by company) until the end of the last month for which I collect sev. I have a truckload of papers to read.


AND, I have no idea why I cannot format paragraphs w/any given font. So, I tried.


<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


Tomorrow I’m going to the outplacement agency www.right.com (for an “orientation” w/lunch) that I will have access to for 3 mos for fax, phone, copier, resume help, mock interview sessions, classes of one sort or another, etc. Their brochure tells me they have bucks to spare :-/  Maybe they have an opening J



My boss, who still doesn’t know how long he’ll have a job, gave me some advice others might want to take, esp once you hear you’re likely to be layed off (or, in current lingo RIFd—Reduction in Force):



1.     Stop contributing to 401k, stock purchase plans, etc.—esp if you think your company is going down the tube, or its stock keeps sinking


2.     Consider adding up to 10 deductions (I guess that would be dependents?) to your W-2 (?)—might increase your pay by up to $300/paycheck. His rationale was that I would be missing some income for the year, so bigger severance paychecks might even things out; all figures will vary!



Most pathetic is that the only people who think (or say) this company has any hope are the high mucky mucks. Close to 90% of folks who have been offered to relocate have declined.



I had a brief interview w/an outplacement person today, and the only thing she said that grabbed me was that the resumes generating interviews are VERY different from those from only 2 yrs ago. For that alone, I will go to as many classes as I can fit in. She mentioned that a resume will get, at most, a 30-second glance!



Hope to have some constructive info to post tomorrow after this class, but it may have to wait for the weekend. Boss has told me I don’t need to report back (except to turn in badge), but I have a bunch of personal stuff to haul away, and a couple of lunches to attend. Had I known this, I would have packed earlier J

KitchenWitch's picture

(post #40239, reply #21 of 747)

I did the extra deductions thing when i was being laid off - when my company relocated to Florida - I was not asked to go - not that I would have. received a similar severance package and the additional deductions did increase it a quite a bit. And i don't recall it causeing me any problems, come tax time - I think I wound up having to pay some state taxes, but was okay on Federal.

~RuthAnn
Always Smell It First.

~RuthAnn

plantlust's picture

(post #40239, reply #22 of 747)

Well, got the rejection letter from the phone interview today(our postal system is VERY efficient).  I'm very surprised.  This rejection letter is more well written than the one I got from Fortnum & Mason(the one from F&M was an obvious form letter-someone slaved over this one).  Today was dayone at a temp position for FirstUSA/BankOne in the Customer Service area.  After serious thought, and checking out the jobs that I would REALLY like to have, I noticed a couple of trends.  Everybody seems to want customer service experience, preferably 2-3yrs at a callcenter type positon AND a bachelor's degree.  The FirstUSA/BankOne position has 6wks of training(paid - 3wks class, 3wks phone w/a partner), tho the pay is around half of what I was making before.  Seems like this company has their act together.  The manual for this position is enormous and very heavy.  We(there were 10 newbies) were told that the training would not be memorization but giving us the tools to know where the information is.  Windows NT, CMS.net, older Dell computers but the software is up to date....very fast response times.  Tho the pay is less, there are bonus and incentive opportunities and the company likes moving people around internally.  Our classroom trainer has only been w/the company about 4 yrs and the site manager in charge of Customer Service has only been w/the company 2 yrs(according to the trainer the Site Manager has greatly improved morale in his 2 yrs by instituting 3 tiered pay structure within the Customer Service position).  Got a tour of buildings one and 2 and we were promised a brief tour of building 3 tomorrow.  Imagine my astonishment when the trainer tells us that we are to be considered permanent employees.  I got the impression from my temp agency that the position was contract for an undetermined period of time(but 3 months at least).  Hopefully, that point will be clarified by the end of the week.  Did some discreete checking and they offer tuition assistance(this could be good) and onsite childcare(which doesn't help me unless they take dogs <g>).  I'm doing some preliminary thinking/planning and this could work out(except for the money part).  Even if I only stay for 2 yrs I will be able to add superb customer service training and call center experience to my resume and possibly even get my bachelor's(which would give me more of an edge for other jobs=more money).

Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good w/ketchup, cheese - especially applewood smoked gouda, a decent sized kosher/garlic pickle and let's not forget the 70% bittersweet Scharfenberger.  Still working on the liquid refreshment.

Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with parsley sauce, goat cheese garlic mashed potatoes, Galena Cellars Niagra grape wine & Pie Boss's apple crumble topped with Ruth & Phil's sour cream/cinnamon ice cream.

Wolvie's picture

(post #40239, reply #23 of 747)

good luck PL and kai!

Woe to the cook whose sauce has no sting
- Chaucer

 

kai230's picture

(post #40239, reply #24 of 747)

Thanks wolvie!


PL, that doesn't sound half bad at all--except for the $, of course. Having nice people w/good morale around you should ease the pain, too. Is your temp agency national? I would love the luxury of a job that left me w/energy and time for classes again. Given that I'm also looking into fields that don't pay as much, I expect to take a pay cut, and may have to start as a volunteer. Too bad most jobs in my field are located in a horridly crowded "golden triangle" of traffic.


I admit it will not break my heart if I don't find work until sev runs out because w/added deductions, no 401k contributions, etc., I will be making more than when I was working. How weird is that? Then add unemployment ins to that ($330/wk), man, and all I'll have to do is apply for jobs. Plant $ :-) already spent! In fact, the more I think abt it, why shouldn't I take a 2-3 month well-paid (by me & company) vacation and use the time to really explore employment options? Of course, I will need to bank whatever COBRA will cost in case I don't find work when sev ends, and keep in mind my health issues. 


Been up early (4am) w/a foot cramp and temperamental puter musing re chores and decided I don't have time today to go to that orientation. Too many loose threads at work to wrap up. I'll report when I finally attend.

Fledge's picture

(post #40239, reply #25 of 747)

Hope you all take some time for yourselves, sorry bout all this lay offs.  Been there.

Oh. duh, I found it.

You don't scare me

I have an African Grey

plantlust's picture

(post #40239, reply #26 of 747)

Brief unemployment update.  Still at BankOne(as my educational postings attest to) BUT went on a real live interview today.  In downtown Chicago, no less!  It was a total fluke that I checked my hotmail account (was disheartened and didn't think anything new would be in there).  Total SHOCK!  Received a very nice 20K email inviting me in for an interview.  Rearranged my schedule so that I could interview today, as they wished to finish all interviews by Wed. (apparently some sort of international banking thing is going on in Chicago tomorrow and parking for all practical purposes will be banned).  My interview was off of Ohio and Orleans in the River North area at a company called JGSullivan.


I think the interview went well but I'm not holding my breath.  I did gather my courage and asked why I was chosen.  Apparently they received 200 resumes and for the Internet Support Specialist (they've also got a programmer position open) picked 15 people to interview.  Number one reason?  No spelling errors in resume...and I quote "You would not believe some of the resumes I received."  2nd - French and German.  Apparently this indicates that I learn well and am not as narrow-minded as other candidates.  And 3rd - both of them are into gardening and noticed my community service and the fact that I speak on gardening subjects.


(Can you imagine??  Totally blows my mind!)  As added incentive I bribed them with a batch of Cheddar Cheese Poofs from the Holiday Issue of FC.... 


Edited to fix things abit....thx Gretchen.



Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good w/ketchup, cheese - especially applewood smoked gouda, a decent sized kosher/garlic pickle and let's not forget the 70% bittersweet Scharfenberger.  And a nice pitcher of strawberry daiquiri(w/real berries, of course).


Edited 11/6/2002 11:41:36 PM ET by PLANTLUST

Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with parsley sauce, goat cheese garlic mashed potatoes, Galena Cellars Niagra grape wine & Pie Boss's apple crumble topped with Ruth & Phil's sour cream/cinnamon ice cream.

KarenP's picture

(post #40239, reply #27 of 747)

I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. Best of luck!

Jean's picture

(post #40239, reply #28 of 747)

Number one reason?  No spelling errors in resume...and I quote "You would not believe some of the resumes I received." 


To all who think I'm too anal about spelling--- There!!! SEE?
Look and learn.  ^5 Plantlust!!


 


When you are over the hill, you pick up speed. .

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/
help to provide free mammograms for women in need
MadMom's picture

(post #40239, reply #31 of 747)

Jean, when I was a federal executive in my previous life, you would not believe the resumes I had to wade through...sometimes applying for senior management positions.  People couldn't spell their own names, resumes were scrawled out in pencil or written illegibly, sentences didn't make any sense...the list goes on and on.  If people cannot spell, they should at least invest in a word processor with a spell checker, or pay someone to proofread.  I'm sorry to say that my first inclination when reading one of those resumes was to toss it.  If someone doesn't care enough about the job to put their best foot forward on a resume, what can you expect once they're hired?

Country bumpkins of the world...UNITE!

Jean's picture

(post #40239, reply #32 of 747)

AMEN!

 


When you are over the hill, you pick up speed. .

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/
help to provide free mammograms for women in need