September 28, 2009 by
This is going to be my last unemployment summary because not much changes from week-to-week. I meet unemployed friends for drinks, I make calls, I send resumes, and I have interviews.
One thing that was reinforced this week was how much interviews are like dates. And selecting a job is like choosing a husband – you really don’t want a beater.
I had an interview with a Fortune 200 company. I had heard mixed reviews through the years from friends and acquaintances who have worked there. I accepted the interview out of curiosity. I had no idea it would be a source of material.
I realized was the last interview of the day. Not a good position to be in when you find out it was a sausage factory interview process. All my interviewers were tired. Two out of three had not seen my resume before I handed it to them.
The HR bitch set me up.
Interviewer #1 had been on staff for three weeks. He was from a similar background and took the job because he wanted a more stable environment and was tired of ad agencies. He warned me about long hours and a lack of process. He was still trying to figure out what the job was.
Interviewer #2 had a year on the first guy. He spoke of long hours and couldn’t really describe the job except that he needed a sales brochure developed.
Interviewer #3 was tired and frustrated because it appeared the HR bitch didn’t describe the position to any of the applicants. She went on to tell me there would be long hours, there were opportunities for process improvement, and there have been two people in this position in the last year. In addition, when I asked if if there was head count to bring a designer on staff, she said, “No, and it doesn’t matter. The economy is so bad that these contractors are thankful to be here.”
It took me a few years of online dating to figure out some of the code in people’s ads. Now I know when a decades-established company advertises for someone with a start-up background, that means the division is unorganized and probably in need of better operational management. In addition, when interviewers really can’t sell you on the company or the position, it probably isn’t going to be a good long-term relationship. I don’t really need that and a job with no career path. That recipe will never provide me with success and results.
I sent the HR bitch a thank you email and continued my search.
September 25, 2009 by
I didn’t realize it, but apparently gay Target in West Hollywood can be a pickup joint. Instead of winking at me over the salad sneeze guard, he caught me in the facial care aisle while I was thinking about squeezing zits.
I’m not sure if it is stress or the desire to be a teenager again, but I’ve had a pimple breakout of colossal proportions. I went to Target today to buy some Oxy10 or to figure out what the kids are using now. There are so many solutions including three different versions of “just like Proactive.” While I was comparing and contrasting, there was a middle-aged guy eyeballing me and the Clean & Clear.
“Excuse me. Do you know which one of these are good?” he asked. Obviously, with my zits, I probably looked like an authority on benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid.
“You know, I’m sure they all have some form of alcohol in there, it just depends on what you want to accomplish. Normally, I don’t bother, I make my own astringent out of water and apple cider vinegar,” I admitted.
“Wow, cool, you are into homemade solutions. My name is Tom. What do you do for a living?” he asked in that very LA way.
“Marna. I got laid off in August, so technically I don’t do anything right now,” I said.
Get this. He fist bumped me and gave me a “right on.” He got laid off last month too.
Looks like bad skin might be a side effect of unemployment. I smiled and walked away to get my other items. At checkout, I decided to pickup some candy corn. That’s not bad for your skin, is it?
September 21, 2009 by
As I continue to network and build my LinkedIn empire, there is an undercurrent of panic. I know I have about 45 days to find a job before everything stalls until 1Q10.
I had four dates with my Outtie friends this week. Three of them aren’t even looking. They are enjoying their sabbatical away from tools, underachievers, fakers, and other corporate frustrations. I understand that, but I guess I’m so used to getting laid off that I tolerate and even embrace my workplace (hello characters for writing material), no matter how awful, because odds are I won’t be there long or the business won’t last.
While checking in with a headhunter, I asked her to give me her brutal opinion of the marketplace. “Honestly, for people like you with an advertising or marcom background, it is no different than the dotcom crash or 9/11. It’s just not that bad. People are talking because what we live with all the time other industries are now experiencing,” she said. I think I have to agree with her. I’m finding jobs, even at my level, and I’m getting calls, and this week I had another phone screen. Hell, I even had an acquaintance re-emerge via LinkedIn requesting ghostwriting services.
IMHO, things are looking up. Who knows, maybe I’ll have a job by Halloween. That didn’t stop me this week from telling the bartender at the Daily Pint I’d work under the table for him. Girl’s gotta have a backup plan, even if it involves IPA.
So, while my friends continue to take it easy, I’m still operating under the assumption that looking for a job is a full-time job. I’m working hard to get out of the apartment so that Tex can resume his regularly scheduled programming: full-time, uninterrupted napping.
September 14, 2009 by
OK, where has the time gone? It has really been a month since I’ve lost my job? Really. If I were to describe this week I’d have to say “socially bananas.”
It was Labor Day week, so there were a few cookouts. In between all that, the boyfriend decided to infuse some music in my life. I can honestly say in one week’s time, I have seen Cheap Trick, Poison, Def Leppard, AC/DC, Fishbone, The Donnas, The Pricks, Shiny Toy Guns, Korn, and Nico Vega. It is the distraction from reality I need to get through the week.
Of course the week ended on 9/11. I went with a fellow Outtie to Pepperdine to see the flags they put out for all the victims. It was a spectacular site up against the Pacific Ocean. It almost felt like the rows and rows of white tombstones you see at Arlington National Cemetery. Afterwards, my friend and I recounted our downtown/Brooklyn memories and the months of aftermath. I got a sweet email request from a girlfriend who now teaches high school. She read my 9/11 account to her class as an example of personal essay. Very flattering and hopefully it puts a first person perspective on an event high school kids barely understand. We finished the day with drinks at Dukes because it seemed like the right thing to do. Early in the evening I had a PTSD-induced scare when the Space Shuttle re-entered the atmosphere and created a sonic boom. Tex barked and I was sure a plane had hit somewhere nearby.
On the professional side, I had a nice interview with a pr agency downtown. On the drive home, I got slightly depressed when I realized I’ve had one interview in a month. One. I was averaging better than that first quarter. What can I do? Nothing but cash my first unemployment check which finally arrived.
September 07, 2009 by
I have to get a job soon, if only to rest. My availability is creating severe social distractions while my tan fades.
My week started out of town. The boyfriend took Tex and I to Vegas and then up to UT to check on a condo he’s trying to sell. My excitement was centered around Tex’ first real road trip. Vegas baby. We stayed in a four-star, dog-friendly hotel where the dood was treated like a king.
When I got back, I had accomplished my short-term goal of getting my LinkedIn contacts to surpass my Facebook friends. Not only that, I reconnected with a recruiter and scheduled and interview. So, hooray for the power of social networking.
I saw two friends this week who told me that unemployment was agreeing with me – I appeared very relaxed and refreshed. Makes me wonder what I’ll “look” like when I go back to work. I continued to discover more hardship hours with my Outties and was reminded by a writer friend that I’m making more money on unemployment than she is with three published books – so I should continue the quest for another day job.
My first unemployment claim form FINALLY arrived, a week late. Let’s see if the check is in the mail soon. I’m considering reviving the concept of pink slip parties like we used to have in NY after the dotbomb. With all the cheap happy hours I’m finding, it seems like sensible idea to connect Outties with booze and networking. Of course, all of this is selfish. It just gets me out of the house so Tex can nap in peace.