Monday, February 11, 2013

The anniversary no one wants to celebrate

I was looking at my online calendar today and I realized that in exactly five days I will have been unemployed for one entire year.  Talk about the anniversary that no one wants to celebrate!  I can't think of a faster way to take a relatively decent day and drive it into the ground.  As I made that realization all of the cheerfulness of an enjoyable weekend ran out and depression set in.

I'm really good at what I do.  I know that it isn't generally socially acceptable to toot your own horn, but I really am one of the best administrative assistants out there.  I'm organized, reliable, and can juggle multiple crises at the same time and generally get positive results from all of them.

So why can't I find a job?

Am I asking too much money?  I guess it is silly to expect that someone with over 20 years of administrative experience, including six as the assistant to the CEO of a company actually get paid more than $9 per hour.  Yeah, I actually saw a job listing where they wanted an Office Manager and listed some pretty high level job skills...and offered $9 per hour.  That is not acceptable.  Out of my paltry six interviews in the space of twelve months I actually got one tentative offer for a position where they offered $12 per hour for an Office Manager job that was intended to run the office AND be the person in charge when the company's owner went out of town, which he said he did frequently.  I countered with $14, which is a LOT lower than what I was making, but if there were bonuses (which there supposedly were) and raises, I could start a little low for now.

He said no.  For all of the things he wanted someone to do, he couldn't bring himself to pay $14 per hour.  He didn't come back and offer again.  Apparently he found someone who would do the job for that little.  I presume that he got what he paid for.

Am I just out of touch with what employers want?  By replying to their questions with the information that I prefer a job where I am told what they want and then left to accomplish that goal, am I shooting myself in the foot?  Have companies actually reached the point they've apparently been striving for?  Big Industry Lobbyists have managed to coerce our so-called representatives into passing laws that have turned education in our country into a laughingstock, turning out drones who know how to mark little boxes but can't think their way out of those self-same boxes.  Is that all that companies want these days?  People who have to be given each instruction one at a time, no independent thinking or problem solving allowed?  No wonder we're falling further and further behind the rest of the world in almost every area.

I'm tired.  I'm depressed.  I feel useless.  I started a company and in my optimistic moments I still hope that this will be my way out of the corporate grind, but then moments like this hit and I see a stupid dream that will only serve to pull money out of our household budget even faster than if I hadn't started it.  Jars of jam sitting on shelves may look pretty, but they don't pay the bills.

No decisions right now.  I'm definitely not in the mindset to make any kind of decision.  I just...feel weighed down.  Like there's no way to make things come out right in the end.  I've been crying off and on for about two hours now.  Not sure how much longer it will continue.  It will pass, I hope, but right now...right now it isn't good.

I feel useless.

Happy anniversary, unemployment.  Happy anniversary.


  1. You are not useless.
    I know this is how you feel, but you are not.

  2. Been there. Understand exactly what you say and feel. Virtual hugs, fwiw.

  3. Dustin was unemployed for over 2 years. No one wanted to hire a high school science teacher with 8 years teaching experience and a Masters degree in Education. It cost too much money, compared to a teacher who was fresh out of college.

    So... it isn't you, Lys. It's happening all over the place. Employers know they can hire cheap labor because everyone is DESPERATE for a job, and if they suck, well, there will be someone else they can hire. In house training! They find someone who is intelligent and can eventually figure out how to do things, they hire them at a pittance of a wage, train them up how they want them to be, and then they don't have to pay them as much!

    But yes, unfortunately, education is teaching children how to take tests, not how to think, how to learn the facts they need to pass, rather than giving them a thirst for knowledge.

    It sucks.

    You however, can either do two things (or more, but I'm going to list two).

    1) You can accept a job for less than you are worth. This can have two possible outcomes (or more, but I'm going to list two!)
    a) You are unhappy there because you aren't getting paid what you are worth, and it eats at you because you are doing the job of a $X/hr person and only getting $Y/hr. Your employer, being a cheap ass, doesn't pay you more. You eventually leave because being unhappy at work is NOT GOOD, or you stay, maybe figuring 'something is better than nothing', and stop looking for the dream job.
    b) You aren't happy there because you aren't getting paid what you are worth, and you are doing the job of $X/hr person for $Y/hr. Your employer sees that he actually hired someone who is what they said they were, and worth every penny, and when he sees you are unhappy, rather than risk losing you, he increases your pay to closer (or what) you deserve.

    2) You hold out for a job that actually offers what you deserve. In the meanwhile, you work on your business, building that up, because while businesses can be headaches, it can also pull you out of the corporate grind. It's something you obviously love to do, and it brings in money! What can be wrong with that? This can have two possible outcomes (or more, but I'm going to list two. ;)
    a) You never find a job. Employers are too used to cookie-cutter people who can't think, and so someone claiming they can just comes across as someone padding their resume. And who wants to cede any control to anyone anymore? Giving you the control to solve problems your way? OMG! That won't solve their micromanaging complex issues, y'know. But you continue with Fat Lady Foods, and you become the next Russel Stover's, only with Jam. :)
    b) You find the dream job. You find an employer who doesn't want cookie-cutter college kids who can't tell the difference between your and you're, there and their, or heaven forbid, know how to use and spell a word with more than three syllables. You continue to do Fat Lady Foods on the side, because it is YOUR business, and you love making jam, and one day you may become the Cadbury of Jams. :)

    Either way, hold your head up high, Lys. It isn't you. You aren't a failure. Our country just has its head up its ass most of the time, in regards to what actually makes sense.


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