Economy

What's the Real Story?

Roz Lee, whom you met in the SoCal Connected segment "Down But Not Out," gives us an update on her search for work.

So it's all out there...it's all on the table. Now you all know a bit about what life has been like for me of late. Most of you already know my story, and know it well. But I have to assume that some of you may also have some questions about what I must be doing wrong if I can't seem to find a job. Some, like the lovely Vera Lusia (thank you ever so much for your kind words in the comments--they carried light) know that the situation is rampant and hitting close to home.  And hear me: we are not the only ones.
 
It seems like everyday I am meeting people who are also displaced, and who also have not been able to find jobs unless they know someone on the inside. I recently chalked it up to the assumption that, by law, employers have to post open positions, but they wind up hiring from within. At least this is what I tell myself because the alternative is just too dark a corner to visit. Let's just say it's very, ummm, depressing. (Ahem!)
 
How depressing? A few days ago, I received my third regret letter from one major bank since Aug 2007. Did I mention that I have a 10-year history in Banking and Finance? Did I also mention that I was not offered an interview - not even an interview - for three positions I had applied for over the past year and half with another major bank? Now, that that bank has been in the headlines for financial problems it is apparent why.
 
Two days ago , I applied for an awesome Trainer position in Pasadena. It is with a heavy heart that I expect to hear that the position has been filled with someone who more closely matches their ideal candidate. Did I mention that I have been in Training Design and Delivery for the past 6 years from Trainer I to Training Manager? I even applied (twice, mind you) for positions at a department store. The first response was that the position was filled with someone else, and the second was that I was overqualified for the sales associate position. Imagine that; being told you are overqualified to work.
 
I did hold one job for a short while. I had to quit. And they knew I would...eventually. It was with a timeshare company, and I was so desperate to work that I did not mind the fact that I would only be working no more than 20 hours a week. I went in with the conviction that I would work hard and earn more hours. That's the way the company worked. What I did not expect was gas prices to hit an all time high (at the time), nor having to commute to Anaheim, Ontario, Irvine - may as well have been frickin’ Pluto.  (At least the trip would have been more interesting, certainly not less time or gas consuming)! I had to pay a sitter, pay for gas, eating would have been nice, but often was not possible, plus handle whatever costs may occur in that day for the $50 salary I'd make for it. Dude, I'm not kidding. And all for the sake of just having a job. Fortunately for that company, they expect the high turn over. Unfortunately for me, I needed to work so bad that I took the first hot coal on my plate...and paid for it. Literally. So please don't assume that I must be doing something wrong, or that I must somehow not be worthy of the jobs I am applying for. I think, if this is your opinion about my situation, you need to take a good hard look at some of the people around you, maybe even in your own back yard. There is a situation brewing that none of us are in control of. 
 
I'm still looking, as I will continue to do. Since I '"don't qualify" for cash aid (in my opinion, simply because I refused to lie about my situation; I think the truth is evidence enough that we need a break) I cannot get the other services I could use to help me out of my situation, like child care services while I physically look for work. But I can't give up. My Bishop at the Victory Bible Church in Pasadena instilled the word in me that God is my ultimate provider. In saying so, His will for me is not to sit back and play victim. Not at all. Not ever. So I will continue to apply, as I have for several jobs this week. The one I am most excited about is the position in Pasadena that I mentioned above as a trainer for a credit union. Wish me luck, ya'll!
 
To conclude, there needs to be an eyebrow raised with concern over the fact that so many people like you and I, and Vera's sister, that are being forced to seek aid just to have bare necessities. People think that aid is readily available, but in fact, getting it involves stepping intp a convoluted web of confusion geared towards total control of you and your situation. But that's another story.
 
What would you do if you were in my shoes? Hearing from you helps keep me grounded. Your thoughts are warmly welcomed!
 

LEAVE A COMMENT Leave Comment  

Hi:

Watched your program yesterday and totally understand. I have been out of full time work for 1 year now. Folks who aren't in our situation really don't appreciate and understand how hard it is even to get those interviews.

One thing I started last year was my own massage business using CraigsList.com. I post two ads a day free of charge and have been able to somewhat support myself doing this. I am not certified in massage but know enough to make money at it. You might even think of an angle you can use to sell your services/products over CraigsList. As a side note, my very first ad I placed within 2 hours I had my first client and left with $65 dollars in my wallet.

God Bless and hope all works out for you!

Rick

Rick,

You know what's funny; I still have the notebook where I jotted down all the possible services I could sell on craigslist. I did not follow through because I was scared and skeptical. You have given me encouragement to pursue something. Thank you. God bless you for igniting a possibility within me- I do so treasure the perspective, the input, and the consideration.

The trouble is that the longer you're out of work, the harder it is to get a job. Even though there's a lot of longterm unemployment, a lot of employers are still unforgiving of people who are out of work. I found when I was unemployed that interviews started getting difficult to get after about three months of unemployment. After six months, they were few and far between. When I did have them, I always got a very accusatory, "What have you been doing with your time?" in regards to my daily activities. Replying that I was looking for work didn't seem to be enough. I finally took the CBEST exam and became a substitute teacher. It doesn't pay all that well and it isn't for everybody, but it was the only way for me to get work after being unemployed for over a year (luckily I enjoy it, though not enough to get a full credential). I have a second job related to education to help fill in a little more salary, but make only $27K a year with two jobs. I was formerly an administative assistant making $42K a year. Good luck to you. People who haven't been there don't understand. Maybe your blog will lead to new opportunities; maybe even a career change. I'm rooting for you.

And I, for you! Wow, Barbara...you know what hit me the other day? We have been on a steady and very low key decline ever since 9-11. I remember the exact year, 2005, when I started noticing in every company, major organizational changes that seemed to increase as the economy declined. It went from, " We're downsizing the bla bla bla department for increased efficiency trough streamlined processes" to "we are closing this entire office in order to cust costs. But don't worry, our call center in (go ahead, pick one) will handle the call volume in our absence." That is when the ugly truth reared it's head that our economy was crashing down, and it could have been in a depserate attempt to place ourselves in global markets before God only knows what happens.
The truth now? Well, I do not think it is by coincidence that the only jobs available are those that are not in our field, and not at all close to the pay we are used to. Could a lot of this have to do with out sourcing? ABSOLUTELY. There are pros and cons to out sourcing, but I think you and I are a prime example of one of the cons.

I hope you VOTE on November 4th. Wwhomever you vote for, I hope you do it with pride and hope and most of all understanding! See you at the polls and be blessed. And remember, this too shall pass for everyone, and we will be more humble and courageous because of it!