Monday, November 24, 2008

All I Want is the American Dream (Is that too much to ask?)

My contract job ended.

One of the many things that appealed to me about this place is knowing that the economy is somewhat protected because of the state jobs. I met someone today who was just hired by UW, and so there is hope.

I was informed by a friend today that I seem "very calm" for not having a job. What can you do? From the moment I found out, I have been networking and applying for jobs like crazy. But, it is the networking that is going to get you a job in this market. As far as I am concerned, sending out your resume to job postings is like throwing in into a lottery. They may never see it. Calling people, and informing everyone you know that you are looking for a job has been the best route for me.

Let's talk about how I landed this job in the first place. (The job that lasted two months). I sent my resume out to sixty (YES, SIXTY!) places. I think out of the sixty, I got maybe five interviews. Most of which, I was not interested in pursuing. Let me add that I did all of this in two months time, when the average time it takes to find a job in my county (Dane) is three to eight months long (according to the Dane County Job Service), so I was lucky to find something so quickly.

However, I landed the two month gig by meeting a gentleman at a jukebox at a restaurant I didn't want to go to. I was putting in a few bucks, when he started talking to me, and I asked what he did for a living, which lead to a meeting at his office, where I begged him to hire me to do sales. He actually created the job for me. I told him what I wanted to do, where I wanted to do it, (from home), and how much I wanted, and we made it work - for two months....

This morning, I decided to go to a job search support group. Boy, was I in for a depressing two hours. It was pathetic. Some of the people in the group have been attending these meetings for a while. There were tears, and sad stories, discouraged people who are only applying to one or two jobs here and there. When I told them my story, they couldn't believe that I applied for so many jobs. They thought I was diligent and ambitious. But that wasn't my point. My point was that you can sit in your house all day, applying for jobs, but that may not get you anywhere. Make meetings, and make things happen. You can't sit and wait for the phone to ring in this economy. By the way, I think we all know that this is a global problem.

So, this guy I have been "exclusive" with keeps on asking me what my skills are. I say "sales, marketing, development, etc." He says, "Anyone can do that." Oh really? Yeah, a lot of people will call a list of people they don't even know, and tell them that so and so told them to call, and that you would like to set up an informational meeting with them? I don't think so! So, when he says this to me, I ask myself, "Should I go back to school and get a Masters?" (I have been considering this since I graduated). Let me tell you what I decided today. (Today is today. Remember, tomorrow is a new day). It ain't gonna help.....

In my sad support group, there was a lawyer, an MSW, a teacher, a number of people with Masters and beyond, the former VP of Sales at a big company, you get the picture. These people went to grad school, and they have skills. But they can't get a job. Most of them said they have been laid off a number of times.

The blog I follow, is written by a woman who moved to Madison a few years ago, after living in New York City, among other places. She is a published author, and excellent blogger, who is a career advisor for my generation. She recently blogged about why we shouldn't go to graduate school. This was after I was informed by several established doctors and other professionals that it is "overrated." If I do decide to go back, I will let you know. For now, no thank you.

So here I am, back to square one. I see it as an opportunity to starve, drink cheap beer, and have people feel sorry for me. Only joking.

On a more serious note - for the first time since I moved to Madison, I decided to let it all out and cry. This happened yesterday. You know how sometimes it just feels good to cry? Well, here I left my business, my ex boyfriend of four years, my family, and just picked up and moved one day. I never really sobbed about it. In fact, the last time I sobbed was after seeing the movie, "The Kiterunner." I was hysterical. Part of the reason I sobbed after seeing that movie was because I was soooo sad for that little boy in the movie who was raped. But the other part of me was so miserable with where I was in life. I wanted to blurt it out at the time, but I couldn't. So I just cried a good cry. Yesterday, I tried, but I couldn't cry as hard, because besides having left that job that I did at my house, for a certain pay, that was created for me, I have opportunity.

If you are in the same predicament, make sure you are selling yourself. Put yourself in front of people. I am all over the place, letting everyone I know that I am aggresively seeking work. My ideal situation? Doing this all day long.


  1. Janie,
    Good luck with your search and enjoy your Thanksgiving!


    p.s. call me if you want to talk!

  2. I am sorry to hear about your job coming to an end. I know it isn't really your area, but have you ever considered doing some kind of editing. It might be a good combination of the writing you enjoy and your love for good grammar. I remember you clarifying the difference between good and well since we were kids.

    I have every confidence that with your openness and strategy, you will find a job you will enjoy.

    As for the Master's, it might be better to get it once you have a job because then they can hire you at a lower wage and then you could use it as a pay raise negotiation. I think the Master's value depends on the job field.