This is my blog about my recent experiences looking for a job in my new town.
It's not just the economy, stupid!
You know that saying, "It's the economy, stupid" that we always here as an excuse for everything when the economy is not so great? It is really over-used, and I think it's one of the worst excuses I've ever heard about anything.
I told you that we recently relocated. I've been looking for a job since about November, sending my fair share of resumes, getting a lot of rejection emails, a few phone interviews, and only two real interviews.
Because we have a child that's not yet school age, my husband and I discussed that the best thing for me to do would be to work part time a few nights a week and some weekends, just to supplement his income. I had applied at a large retail warehouse store and received from one of the hiring managers to come in for an interview the next day. The next day, my son wasn't feeling well, so my mom took off of work to watch him for me until the interview was finished. When I arrived, I was told that the manager couldn't see me after all, becasue of an unexpected visit from the corporate office to the store. I asked the girl that I was talking to, as politely as I could, to please have the hiring manager come talk to me about this, because my mom had in fact taken off of work to help me out. I was astonished at how rude this was, becasue I hadn't even received a phone call. My mom and I had a rough morning, her stove had caught on fire and my son was sick, but I still managed to get to the interview early.
The manager finally comes to talk to me and quite rudely informs me that because of the unexpected visit from the corporate office, she could not interview me, that I could come back the next day or any other day that week. I explanied, as nicely as I could, that it was a huge inconvience for me, and told her about my mom taking off of work and using her personal time pay to watch my son. The manager then began to lecture me that in retail things happen. Now, I've worked quite a bit in retail and have had a few other jobs. I explained this to her and that she could have at least called me. Her excuse was that they had only been there for an hour. I explained that it was unacceptable, to say the least, because if I had failed to show up, I would have lost the opportunity for the job. After a call to the corporate office, I made a call to this particular store. I reached the membership manager, who said he liked that I had the audacity to call and make management aware of the situation and asked me to come and meet with him the next day, even saying that I could bring my son with me if I wanted to. He said if he liked me, he would send me on a drug test and I'd have a job. I went to the interview the next day, and did go on the drug test. He told me to expect a call in a few days to come to orientation and get started. I was excited, even though it is retail and I knew I would have to work weird hours for a lot less pay than I am typically used to. When I got home, ANOTHER manager from the store called me to ask me to interview. This particular store had several openings, so I thought it was a sure thing, despite the previous day's mishap.
A few days go by and I have yet to hear from the store, so I called. I was told to call back the next day. The next day I call back, I was told to call back the next day. I needed to know when I was going to start and what hours I might be working so I could line up child care for my son. I was lining up preschool tours and didn't want to start him in school and pay for it until I knew what kind of schedule I'd have. After two more days of not hearing anything, I called the store again and asked to speak with the scheduling manager. She had a nice surprise for me...the store, all of the sudden, is on a hiring freeze and I did not have a job after all!!!!! I was, to say the least, quite upset. I went off on the lady, with as much forced politeness that I could manage. I asked her why in the world they would have hired me less than a week before they had a hiring freeze and not have the courtesy to call me and tell me, or to tell me when I had called. I had turned down other interviews and stopped sending resumes, who knows what opportunities I had missed! I asked her if she cared at all that I was about to enroll my son in childcare and would have been out the tuition plus a registration fee. All she could say was "I'm sorry."
I was more than upset. This company without mentioning any names, is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, employer in the U.S. outside of the Federal Government. My husband and I had been members of the warehouse since 2003! We have spend thousands in these stores. We had actually boycotted their "other" store for about six months last year because we have been displeased with the stores for a while, and have been doing well to go to other stores as much as possible becasue we really dislike this company, their lack of respect for their customers, and how they treat their employees. Needless to say, we are boycotting them again. I went to the store the day after I found out I didn't have a job after all and cancelled our membership. I also took back EVERYTHING that hasn't been used to that "other" store becasue I don't want another dime of my money going to this store.
I'm sure this story is just one of a million other horror stories in today's job market. When you really think about it, though, what is the real reason why it is so difficult to find a job right now? I was talking to a recruiter from a staffing agency during the only other real interview I've had so far about this experience. Maybe that wasn't the smartest thing to do, but she was asking about my very noticable level of frustration with my job search so far in my new city. She told me that from a hiring manager's perspective, if I really wanted the part time job, I might not have said anything to that first manager about how rude it was to tell me I had to come back because she just could not see me. She (the recruiter) made it seem like if I really want/need a job so much, I should just be willing to put up with anything. Well, as I told her, I was alreay willing to put myself out there and take a job making AT LEAST $5 less an hour than what I am typically used to as well as accept a crappy schedule. How much more should I really be willing to put up with? I have an excellent resume, work ethic, and attitude when it comes to work. But, I will not sell my soul to the devil and pretend that just because I am one in a sea of thousands/millions looking for a job right now my time is not as valuable as anyone else's. This recruiter, who probably won't call me back, has an office in a town about two hours away from where I live, by the way, and had me meet her about 40 miles or so away from that office... and again, my mom had to take off of work to watch my son becasue my "mom's day out" program only allows three hours per day. Her interview was also full of questions intended to trip me up, as in, "tell me about a time where you've had a negative evaluation at work." Well, I'm not perfect, but when I told her the truth, which is I really have never had negative evaluations (becuase I work my butt off and pretty much just do my job) she didn't believe me. I had to struggle to come up with an answer, when what I really wanted to do was get up and walk out...especailly after being told that maybe I expect to much and even though I have an excellent resume and test skills, I should tone down my expectations... Really? Seriously? It's not like I'm also a mom and paying to go to school right now. Oh wait, I am.
To make a long story short, it's not just the economy. I think there are so many other factors contributing to this awful job market than anyone can really sum up with charts and just talking about it. I know that there are a lot of people out there who are lazy and don't want to work hard for their money and benefits, and I do believe that has a lot to do with why some of these hiring managers treat prospective employees the way that they do. I'm sure not all hirning managers are using these tactics, in fact, I know a lot of people that make hiring decisions and they'd never treat anyone that way. But they are out there, and for some reason, I've been lucky enough to draw that straw.
I've got another job interview Friday. Hopefully, it will give me a much better story to tell.