I got quite a lot of experience looking for work at the end of 2013, after being laid off from my job. Actually, Mary wanted me to apply for Disability right away, but the lawyer we talked to said it might be a good idea to try and find a job first. If I found one, great, if not, it would make my case for Disability stronger.
I had been lucky that my last two jobs to that point had been work-from-home situations. I had my equipment and a steady Internet connection, was familiar with Windows, Mac and Linux as well as Microsoft Office, I had programming, customer support and training experience, and had written and rewritten training materials and documentation. I had heard the trend was toward people telecommuting, working from home and staying in touch with the office by email, telephone and Skype.
I figured the best way to find a job that met my requirements would be to use the Internet job boards, i.e. Monster, CareerBuilder, Indeed, and a few others whose names escape me now. I would put in “IT telecommute” in the search box and see what jobs appeared. And, there were plenty of IT jobs, just not ones that were full-time telecommute opportunities. They would list as one of their benefits “telecommute one day a week” or would make it clear “this is NOT a telecommute job.” The jobs that said I could telecommute and not come into an office indicated that I could do so when I wasn’t on the road at client sites, which would be anywhere from 75 to 90 percent of the time.
Nevertheless, the conditions for unemployment compensation said that I had to apply to at least five companies each week, so when I found a job opportunity that looked like it had possibilities, I applied for it, modifying my resume as needed to make myself appear as qualified and eager as possible to fill the position. I applied for jobs for which I wasn’t exactly qualified, but could bring myself up to speed quickly. I applied for jobs that weren’t in the Atlanta area, figuring if I was going to telecommute it didn’t much matter where I was.
I was contacted by several recruiters with job opportunities, and when I told them that I needed a full-time telecommute position, they politely told me that they would check with their client, but they were pretty sure the answer would be “no,” and promise to keep my resume on file if such a job crossed their desk. Then I’d never hear from them again, or I heard from them after I had been on Disability for a couple of years. Even then, the positions did not allow for a person to work from home full-time.
There were two calls that I got that were very interested in speaking with me. One was from an insurance agency that saw my background in training and wanted to speak to me right away. Mary ended up driving me to a location almost fifty miles away for the interview, which was conducted by a woman who was reading the questions off a sheet. They of course were looking for warm bodies they could turn into insurance agents. I was invited to a presentation that evening; I told the woman I’d think about it, left the office, got in the car, and told Mary “take me home, and let’s never speak of this place again.” I was also contacted by an executive recruiting service who insisted that I be joined by my spouse, which was a good thing, because Mary’s first question to the guy was “how much will all of this cost?” The company wanted $5,000 to market me. We told the man we would think about it and get back to him, then emailed him from the parking lot and told him, in no uncertain terms, to stick it where the sun didn’t shine. I still get emails from people wanting me to either be an insurance agent or to participate in schemes that are quite obviously intended to separate me from my money. I file them in the spam folder.
No doubt there are many people who have successfully found employment through the online job search sites. I wasn’t one of them.