Writer’s Workshop: How Not To Find A Job

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.

22 thoughts on “Writer’s Workshop: How Not To Find A Job

  1. Looking for a job is a job. Every time one of us has been in search of employment, we’ve received calls to be in insurance sales. One can say one is looking for admin or sales or finance, but once the resume is uploaded, insurance companies seem always to be the first to call.
    I take writing jobs from home. It is not consistent and it pays poorly. It does keep me connected to people, but it’s not my idea of a job. I would love a job that I could do at least partially from home. Scheduling with the kids can be hectic and there’ve been times (and will be times) we have to decide who’s in a position to leave the office.
    Of course, no one cares that I would like such a job. lol Instead, I surrender myself to the commute, and the office, and the politics and clothes that go along with it.


    1. Either insurance, or the latest one is financial planner, i.e. a stockbroker (becoming a CFP takes about a year, I think, and there are exams to pass and maybe licensing). Got a few emails from Edward Jones about that. Ever think to yourself, if I had it to do over again, I’d change a lot? Retirement does that to you….

      Liked by 1 person

    1. For certain. Guy loses his job, he’s got a family, he’ll grab almost anything. And they know it. He’d probably be better off working at Starbucks or a grocery store, even Walmart, than take some of those jobs.


      1. And, in an unfortunate sign of the times, you get people who don’t respond when you reach out, don’t call for phone interviews, don’t show up got in-person interviews and don’t apologize or explain.


  2. Yes, totally. I am working in retail after being fortunate enough to work for myself from home for the last 17 years. I started it to supplement my income so that I could postpone collecting Social Security for a few years. I’ve only been at it since September and already it has lost some of its glamor, even though I am working at Michaels, the craft store, and everyone tells me that is like working in a candy shop. However, yesterday some little kid threw up on the floor and while I didn’t have to clean up that mess, I did sweep the bathroom floor and went out in the rain to get the shopping carts people leave all over the place. Definitely not a candy store and Social Security is looking much better. Going to wait it out until March when I’ll be 63.


  3. Having to look for a new job back in 2009 when I was 58 was an eye-opener for me. I figured my experience would make things easy, but no such thing. Job search is so much different than it used to be. I also think age is a big factor though I guess it’s not supposed to be. I never found my job (though I got a number of insurance sales offers) and finally took my social security.

    Tossing It Out


    1. The trend is to hire people who are young and disposable and to bring in the older and more seasoned people as contractors for six months at a time. And even though it’s against the law to discriminate against people because of age, they can usually find other, more legitimate reasons why they hired the kid just out of college instead of the person who has been doing the required work since before the recent grad was a twinkle in his daddy’s eye…


  4. I have thought for a while that finding employment is going to be a bigger challenge for today’s young people than it was for my generation (I’m 54). I say this as the parent of a college grad who has struggled to find a job. . . .


    1. The whole notion of work is undergoing a metamorphosis, getting away from being hired as a full-time employee and moving more toward moving between projects at different companies, maybe more than one company at a time. It’s going to require a whole different set of work skills from what we grew up with. I don’t envy them one bit.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Yep, looking for a job is a job and a tedious one at that. I retired at 67 from the insurance industry and had job offers for almost a year thereafter. I’d had enough of the corporate world and I have no regrets for the years I worked and I have no regrets about enjoying my life as it is now. My aim is to stay relevant and healthy.


    1. It’s a job I should have done more of, in retrospect. The computer business is one where to get anywhere you have to change jobs frequently, and I didn’t. After twenty years with MSA and successor companies, I realized just how stagnant I had become and how much of the IT world had passed me by, and really how worthless I had become as a result, pretty much at my own hand. (I have had a lot of time for soul-searching since the stroke.)


  6. Looking for employment can be a painful process. I’m dealing with it right now after about a 12 year break from the working world. It’s amazing how you can spend almost a whole day on online job sites only to find out you applied to 3 jobs the whole day. I just went to my 2nd job fair yesterday. I hope I find something before I have to go to another one of those!


    1. For all the hype the online job sites get, they really don’t have that many opportunities. I’ve heard that most companies already have the person they want for a job on staff and list it on the boards and in the want ads more as a CYA for EEOC purposes. By far, networking is the most effective means to finding a job. It means staying in touch with people you worked with, telling everyone you know what you’re looking for, and meeting people in your field and keeping your ears open. Job fairs are good, too, and don’t just talk to the company reps, talk to the other job seekers there, trade business cards, and stay in touch with them.

      But you probably already knew that… 😼


  7. I was a part-time floral designer for 17 years but a sudden allergy to a floor cement in a new floor install and undesirable changes in management led me to quit. Now I’m self-employed part-time doing graphic designs I market via one of those big on-line printing companies. It’s took working steadily at it for several years, but finally, at the 6 year point, I have a nice little trickle of extra income plus I’ve found a wonderful community of others doing the same in G+ I enjoy. (I’m 60) Finding a non-traditional employment niche is very tough to say the least.


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