Minimum wage warfare…

Now as many people now the minimum wage is being raised in most states so that people can stop living at the poverty level or well below it.  While, I am totally on board with this since most people with college degrees are working minimum wage jobs or those over the age of 25 are also taking these jobs to support themselves.  Which, is kind of the problem in a since most minimum wages does not give one enough to sustain oneself be it in a small town or big city it seems like in the United States.

The only con to raising the minimum wage is that their is a high probability that hours will be cut so that employers can continue to not pay for people’s health benefits. Another issue that I discovered while talking with someone I know is that it maybe means that team leaders, trainers, managers, etc. may not  receive the raises they deserve if they have been working somewhere for a couple years.  This being especially trying for places that are small business or franchises who have to pay royalty fees to the companies that they are currently franchising (ow).

But while these intentions of the government are good, their might be some negative results through this process. I say this because even though the recession is supposedly over or dying down most businesses seem to still be in a “recession” mind set in which one must cut costs as much as possible to save their bottom line.  Another possibility, was that businesses were in this mindset from the beginning it just took the recession to bring it  out of them. I am not sure.

Also, to further complicate things is that when a company raises its minimum wage than people will be clamoring to work their in a job market that is already tough to begin with in the first place.  I would know, where I live we have a 10.5% unemployment I have been on about 20 interviews and have yet to be hired anywhere. I have gotten close with a couple places but no cigar. I am going to try to take the mentality that it is not a matter of “if” I get hired but “when” ideally.  So my little ramble aside, readers out  there with these pros and cons of raising the minimum wage do you think it should be come more common in the US, yes or no? and why?



Interview gone bad…

I was in a pretty decent mood today when I woke up since I had an interview to go to today, yeah a glimmer of hope. Well, I was wrong I prepped for the interview looked up questions on, did research about the company, what I could find anyway. I was confident, calm, and relaxed and planned to wow the interviewer when I got asked a couple questions that made me want to bury my head in the sand. My first one was why I got fired from a position in which the customers decided your fate whether you did a good job or helped them in the first place. Also my interviewer then proceeded to ask why I was not pursuing enough educational positions since I had my masters. This was what I was told after I asked if she had concerns about me, and other than this interview only one employer I have interviewed has said this out of twelve or thirteen.

When will people learn that just because you have said skills to teach does not mean anyone will hire you to do so unless you have some teaching experience or a composition instructor who loves you.  Also, getting into teaching to me is like trying to get into the acting business, the competition is fierce. It is vicious cycle on top of which I am not sure what sort of career I want to pursue at this point in time.

I have been volunteering but when your interviewer tells you that you are not being “aggressive” enough pursuing your “career” goals.  I was so mad I didn’t even inquire to this person about calling back about my application status in the future, my gut feeling is that I am not hired, and if this person had these concerns I should have not been interviewed in the first place. I might apply to this same company again with the hope that I get someone well that gets me.It was like a bad date, it was so bad I cried afterward hours later and had copious amounts of ice cream of ease the pain while not emotionally healthy, didn’t hurt.  As soon as I see a nutritionist I am sure said bad ice cream behavior will have to stop so I can make my goal weight my next summer or fall.  So to all those looking for work have you ever had an interview go from good to bad over a couple questions, and how did you deal or salvage things if they were going down hill?  Also, even those who have jobs I am all for hearing your interview horror stories too.

A funny thing happened on the way to the ball game

Well, yesterday I did something I had not done in almost a decade and went to my cities local triple A baseball game. I did this because A) I needed social time and B) I have learned if I stay cooped up in the house looking for work, I tend to get very crabby which is not good for me or anyone else I know.  Also, I had a promised a friend that I had known since high school that I would good. Oddly, enough I was  excited to go to said games since it was a double header because I had not gone to one in so long. Another perk is in included in our ticket price for me and my friends/aquainta-friends who were coming along with him was a meal thrown in before the game. Mind, you my excitement was a bit dampened the day of because I was on my period.

Now where we live it is hot in the summer since I live in a desert and we had to wait for a couple people to show up, but they made it on time. Little did we know is that they didn’t want to come and had rather gone to see a comedy show that night. Also, I had discovered later that night that my aquainta-friends bf/fiance wants to be a comedian so he has been going to comedy shows to I guess learn the basics of a comedy show and has been working on “material”. This same person also had recently hurt himself at work and had hurt his teeth in the process so he did not eat anything that day and I am pretty sure he was more crabby than me and I was on my period.

Now, when I have discovered this the whole time I thinking but not saying because well that is rude is “if they had not wanted to come, and if he hurt himself, they should have just cancelled”, but I think my long term high school friend had already paid for the tickets so they felt obligated to go. After discovering some of this information out while eating our meal, the game started and me and my high school friend seemed to be the only one’s who pay attention as our local team lost one game of the double header. The games were good and we left during the 2nd inning of the second game because our team was losing.  I am pretty sure one reason I even tried to watch the game was my dad and stepdad are into it so I figured I would try for them, if I ever went to a game with either of them. Also, I had fun keeping track of well our teams’ players stats, since that is about as close to math as I like to get on any given day.


By, the time the gaggle of us left we decided to leave the middle of the second game to go to Dennys for some food, of which their was much debate. The then annoyed bf of my aqainta-friend who had spent most of the past two games watching MMA fights and who thought baseball was “boring” proclaimed where we were going. It is more entertaining then golf in my honest opinion and gets mildly exciting if the players actually make it to some of the bases. Me, my bf and my high school friend then proclaimed our annoyance and took our sweet time getting to said location.

Our groups annoyance did not end their, and some time was spent debating with MMA guy about things. The one debate that stands out to me were over the so-called merits of Cuttroat Kitchen and my acquainta-friend saying that “I didn’t get it”. Now, mind you have been cutting her slack over the years whether she deserved or not but this bugged me.

This bugged me because  television show networks like Food Network and Bravo has been used to broadcast mainly reality television, which I have found bad depending on the quality of shows. Also, this annoyed me because in Cutthroat Kitchen they treat the contestants horribly, and Alton Brown is mean and its a waste of his potential. Alton needs his own travel show , or more episodes of Good Eats, he has so much knowledge and I am sorry but the producers of Food Network have done him a disservice through not giving him these kinds of opportunities. Also, I have noticed that Food Network is trying to turn itself into the food version of reality shows which last I checked is not the point of the network. The cooking channel is an ok substitution but it could leave something to be desired sometimes too. As far as the Bravo Channel goes it has hits and missed but the thing is it is know for being a reality show network the only thing that bugs me is when it tries to turn shows like Top Chef into the sizzle that is The Next Food Network Star. This is not the stations purpose and honestly after last seasons top chef between the lack of quick fires, and originality and the many bad judge decisions I am not sure if I will be watching that show again.  Sorry for the off tangent rant but these things have been eating at me for a while.

I think the weird thing was my intention of this post was too talk about the game, but usually what I realize through going to these events is that hanging out with this particular group of people is good about once a month or more. Any more, and well I could end up going on a rant about their attitudes or television show networks. Also, the point of me going to the game was to socialize but at the very least it helped me realize who I get along with more than others. Sorry readers for the tangentialish post but this leaves me with my question which is whether there is a group of friends you hang out with occasionally just to see how much you want to see them in the first place?

My many career posibilities…

Even though I have graduate years ago, and while I still think I might want to be teacher be it in the high school or community college form, I decided I would take those many tests in college that help you determine what career would be best for you. I have to tell you readers right now I found my results hilarious.

I have no I idea where that list is as it looks like papers exploded in my room and like a frat boy lives here.  So, I will just tell you the ones I can remember that stood such as me being  a marketing director, priest, accountant, human resources manager, CPA, Credit manager, loan manager, etc. The reason I find all of these so funny is while I like working with budgets since I have been budgeting since I was 14, and even got my bf to do it, I don’t like math and love statistics. Also, in less someone found someone way to make accounting entertaining their is a very slim chance that I would actually want to learn it much less like it.  Also as far as being the priest goes I have been avoiding figuring out my own religious beliefs since I was 15 and I have no inclination to go to church, I would rather sleep in on Sunday. I would volunteer for a church if it was for a good cause or if for some reason I decided to get married in one and that is about it.  Finally, the reason I do not think I would make a good marketing director, is I am not very good at selling my self and am still working at it, and with that I would have to sell the brand of a whole company and I am having a hard enough time selling the brand of me while looking for work.

However, even with these out of left field careers I did find some that I did like and would consider such as an Employee Development specialist, Policy analysts, underwriters, archivist, playwright, analyst. I like the employee development specialist because it sounds like you get to help people find work, and I am all for work with a purpose and making a difference. I like the analysts jobs because I love analyzing things tell I am blue in the face be it television shows, books, etc, so analyzing government policy sounds like fun. I am not sure what an underwriter does but I like to write and read so I am all for that. I think I have always wanted to be a playwright but, I just never took the class, and was too scared to find out if I would be any good at it or not.

So this blog, has left me with a question for you readers, be it through unemployment, a career change whatever, has this down time had you thinking about other careers you would want to pursue other than the one you got your degree for? And if so what other careers do you want to pursue?

Rejecting the application before giving the person a chance…

I don’t know if this has happened to a lot of job hunters but one trend I am noticing is that if you don’t have a certain specific job history recruiters are not even giving you a second glance. Lets just say for the past couple days I have been applying to major corporations for customer service based jobs that I could do if I was trained properly but I am getting rejected because I don’t have the “proper” background.

Also, this is further a vicious circle because I am applying there to get job experience but I am being rejected because I lack the proper experience. I am wondering if other job seekers out there are encountering this catch-22?  Even with this bad news,  I am needing to stay motivated though since in a month I join the “long term unemployed” group which would be mean I would have been unemployed for six months. I am wondering if anyone else will be joining me in this group soon enough. Also, I noticed that the closer I get to joining this group, the more  I now feel like Marshall where I would be happy to put on pants in the morning.

I think that is just the thing all those unemployed want a purpose, a place to go, a place where they feel like they can make a difference in somebodies life, even if it is just to make them smile or laugh. Or in some cases people just want to feel like they make some sort of positive contribution to society. I guess for me my ideal dream position other than teaching community college would be to help those that are less fortunate have a better life be it through finding work, counseling, helping them survive the jumping through hoops that is completing community college coursework and getting an AA. I have been really wanting to pursue working for a nonprofit or a place where I just get to help people in general.  I guess my last query to you readers is have you come up with dream positions you would like to be employed in when you get hired?

Are job fairs becoming obsolete?

    I have gone to job fairs over the past couple months, but the main trend I seem to notice is that employers are telling potential employees to apply online. This seems to me mildly counter productive, because why go to a job fair if you are just going to be told to apply online in the first place. It makes me wonder what is the point of going in the first place?
I know we are in an employers market and more so where I live where the unemployment is 12% which is almost double the national average.  But, this worries me if at a job fair all I mostly see are companies trying to sell you something, get you enrolled in various colleges which is good given most people need more skill sets me included, but their are very few places that are actually seeking employment.  This job fair was further hindered by the fact that most companies there hardly ever interview, hire on the spot, or doing the actual hiring for the company itself.
I think it is due to these many factors that make and me other unemployed people wonder why they are getting up at 7am to go to a one of the supposed biggest job fairs in your city only to realize that all they might get out of it is that find out which people are potentially hiring, but very places are accepting or actually want your resume. If I had known that job fairs as of late had become this much of a joke, I would have stayed home applying places, praying that the application black hole known as the internet thought I was worthy of being interviewed somewhere.
So I guess this leads me to my point of this post, what do you readers think of the job fairs in  2014? Have they become obsolete, or if they have do have any uses what are they?

Judging a book by its cover…

       I have applied for hundreds of positions in the past six months, occasionally to the same place multiple times.  I have learned which places I am going to be applying to online are going to be easy or hard to apply to based on their online job applications. My worst examples of trying of job application websites currently are Pet Co and Macys.
Pet Co was simple enough in the beginning but when one had to enter one’s location for past employment experience and for it would not search it for you no matter how many different terms you tried.  I had to look through thousands of locations just to find the state I live in, it was ridiculous.  I decided to forget and applied to their competitor PetsMart instead.
My only issue with the Macy’s online job application is that it has a tendency every time you to try to do that federal tax survey to say you have an error and to try again in thirty minutes. I have tried again when days have passed and still nothing has changed.  This just has me curious for companies if your planning to hire people through online applications shouldn’t you make them accessible to the people who want to work there.
I have had much better experiences at other companies such as Chipotle, McDonalds, and even the local and federal government websites. These websites at the very least are user friendly and one does not have to jump through more hoops just to apply for the position.  So, this has me wondering if any others have faced issues when trying to apply to places online?  Also, do you like me also tend to judge the company a little bit by how user friendly their job application website is?

The commodity of certainty

   I was at a job fair and talking with one of my volunteer cohorts and we were talking about uncertain one feels when unemployed and how this comes out in networking events. I say this because this person and I both have no idea how to act in this situations even with ample preparation. For example, I have gone to three of these events and to be quite blunt I don’t know what to say, how I should be and if the focus should be on me telling the person about me seeking work, or actually getting to know them as a person. What, I have discovered over much practice with both approaches is that they don’t work and this might be furthered by the fact that I like most unemployed people feel lost and not entirely sure about what to do with themselves.
However, I think this uncertainty comes at a price for those who are out of work, if you don’t know how you plan to define yourself to yourself how are you going to do with the many others that you converse with at a network event.  My new theory is that maybe employees are searching for those that are certain about those and their career path in life.  My guess is that they can’t waste time on those that are feeling lost, uncertain, and want to keep our employment options open to some degree. Also, employers might be okay with people like this it just depends on how they portray it in networking situations.
But, I have a feeling that those have clear goals in sight are able to do more purposeful networking and job hunting compared to those of us who just want work, and to have somewhere to go during the day where we feel like we are making a difference.  I think for me I feel like Marshall when he is looking for work in How I Met Your Mother in the hunt for the perfect hamburger where he just wants to be able to put on pants and go to work.
I think, me like other job seekers just want to be able to put on these metaphorical pants and feel like we have been productive that day.  This being productive being defined as helping with their taxes, tutoring a student, or helping a customer find exactly what they are looking for in a retail environment, anything that makes one feel that they have helped a person, and the reward was just in that. I am not sure if others who are out of work, feel this way but I would love to hear your thoughts readers? Also those that are employed if you have any tips or hints for those of unemployed and are in an uncertainty funk I would also be open to hearing those too…

The search for employment aka as "Hunger Games"

      As of recently I have been applying for most government jobs because they pay well and they are expected to train you pretty thoroughly before you start a position, and also for most government positions if you have a bachelors degree it matters to some extent. I recently had my application accepted for a government position and was thrilled to know that I would get to take the written test to find out if I would make it to the interview process. Also to prepare myself I looked up online what would be on the civil service test for the job so I would at least be mildly prepared at the time of the test.
When, I showed up to where the test was going to be taken their was a line of people, and while I was sitting to wait for our test booklets I guessed that their were at least 100 people taking a test for two departments that were each hiring one person for each of their departments.  This is not a good ratio 100 people taking a test for two positions, I do not like these odds.  Also, I happened to over hear one person who I think for worked for the county saying that they will pick the top seven scores to interview for these two positions. This test is basically used as a smart weeding out tool to determine who to interview and who would be best for these jobs.
This whole situation made me think of the “Hunger Games” series where Katniss constantly has to use various strategies and get a one up on her opponents during these games. Also, I know that I am not the only unemployed person where I live since our unemployment is about 11 to 12% when I last checked it, and I am sure that is not including those who have given up looking for work, or who have been unemployed for the past couple years.  So, I think in my situation is was more like “Hunger Games” magnified combined with feeling like its Darwin’s Survival of the Fittest and the odds are ever not in my favor.
This has me wondering though if this is how I feel after being unemployed for the past month, imagine how other people feel. Also it had me thinking what are the new tools that job seekers need out there to survive in this dog eat dog world where its about if you already have the skills to do the job, and to some extent about who you know?“Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t waste energy trying to cover up failure. Learn from your failures and go on to the next challenge. It’s OK to fail. If you’re not failing, you’re not growing.” –H. Stanley Judd 

Groundhog days…

      Well, I know that I have not posted lately I have been working at my first retail job. I recently got let go so my schedule has suddenly become way more open. However, being unemployed is beginning to feel like Groundhog Day  the movie because I have  gone through it repeatedly and I am still trying to get it right, if that makes any sense. This is my third time being unemployed and I am still learning from the last two. I am hoping this time I will gain more skills,  and find a job/career where I can expand my skills and meet interesting people along the way.
I am not trying to be optimistic about being unemployed but I am pretty sure it gets harder the more you go through it. Oddly enough I am in a group, where their are people their who are more jaded than me, making me wanting to act like Pollyanna in the face of adversity. This time I just feel like I am in limbo and plan to work even harder than last time to get me out limbo.
This can be shown by the fact that I have tried networking and its harder than it seems. My first event I went to was a big one and I had no clue what I was doing but I think I made a couple decent connections.  I think this was further impacted by the fact that I am introvert and I tend to better interacting one on one rather than with a whole group of people. I then tried to go another networking event that was way smaller and more compact than the other one.  This one was worse in that there was less room to move around, I had a hard enough time talking to people in a big room, how is a smaller room with limited room to move about going to help that. I am hoping by the next networking event I will be able to gauge situations and people better. I have even checked out “How to Think like Sherlock Holmes” by Maria Konnikova with the hope that this will help me better gauge people. However, I plan to think like Sherlock Holmes but without having the superiority complex that Sherlock has throughout his show. So to all readers out there how is your networking going and do you have any tips to improve at it? Also does being unemployed feel like Groudhog’s day movie to you in a way?”What if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today.” (Groundhog Day quote)