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The Employment Index: Week Two

I pass the test.

(See last week’s Employment Index for background on this project.)

Week two and I’ve already diverged from my original intent.  I was busy the first two days of the week so I wasn’t able to devote as much time to my job search as I wanted to.  But on Wednesday, I submitted 7 applications.  So, in addition to the 3 additional ones I submitted last Saturday, that makes 10 online applications since the last unemployment index post.  I also made two networking connections.  

So, why so little activity this week?  Well, as it turns out, I went a little outside my search territory on Wednesday and submitted an application in a different industry.  About 3 hours later, I got a call from that company.  They were very positive (I’m trying not to get my hopes up) and asked me to come in for an assessment test in several different areas.  That had me sweating bullets.  I was really worried that I was going to have to do heavy math and the last time I had to take a derivative of anything was back in the late 80s.  That’s what server clusters and scientific software are for.  They do the work so you don’t have to.  Oh sure, you have to know the equations and relationships but the heavy lifting is done by silicon.  Anyway, I freaked myself out unnecessarily.  Most of the stuff I reviewed wasn’t on the test and there were sections of the test that I would have needed much more time to learn because it was outside the scope of anything I’ve ever done.  

I passed it anyway.  The HR person said I got a score of “awesome!”.  Whew.  She says I should be scheduled for interviews next week and will know by the end of the week if I can rejoin the middle class.  I’m trying not to make plans because even though I give good interview, I’m getting to be very superstitious about these things.  The universe can be random and weird.  But the thought of having a full time job with benefits and a decent salary has driven the thought of useless application churning right out of my mind for the moment.  I will pick it up again on Monday.  

Some other notes:

One of my networking contacts was an old friend from the Pittsburgh area.  She’s a little older than me.  She and her husband were also tossed out of the middle class during the recession.  They had a hard time making ends meet for about 4 years until they moved back to Pittsburgh.  She’s a little bitter about the fact that older baby-boomers are retiring comfortably while she and her husband can’t buy a house and will probably never retire.  

She told me that their luck turned in a single day.  In both cases for her husband and herself, they applied online and heard back from their current employers within minutes to hours.  

That makes me wonder if there’s a sweet spot for submitting an online application.  It could be that HR reps or hiring managers scan the resumes online at certain times of the day.  It could also be the case that the sooner you apply to a posting, the better your chances.  

The other thing I noticed is that there is one company that I apply to frequently that everyone I know says is low hanging fruit but for some peculiar reason, I can’t get a response.  Not even a nibble.  It’s ridiculous.  It might have something to do with their online application system.  It reformats my resume every time I submit to it.  It also asks if I’ve been out of work for a period of more than 30 days during my entire working career.  Come on, who hasn’t been out of work for more than 30 days in the last 6 years?  Is that a realistic question?  Some of the best people I know, the hardest workers, the smartest people, have been out of work for more than 30 days.  Not their fault, especially if they were located in NJ when their turn came.  I used to go to meetings where everyone was looking for a job.  When sites are closing all around you and the competition is high and jobs are few, you tend to spend more time out of work than you intended. It’s just that random universal thing.  But it does suggest that there is a  level of prejudice against the unemployed that may be impossible to overcome if the criteria is set at how many days of unemployment a candidate has faced.  

Total applications this week (end 09/06/2014): 10 

Total applications since the beginning of this project: 35

Total number of calls for interviews: 1 

                           Temp agency: 1

                           Direct position: 0

Total number of assessments taken: 1; Number passed: 1

Total number networking contacts: 2

12 Responses

  1. Well, I think we all find ourselves hoping you get that job you got tested for.

    About your networking aquaintance bitter about elderboomers retiring comfortably; she probably sees the elderboomers at or just above her own social class. There are probably many elderboomers who lost their jobs during the Free Trade Bonfire of the Industries who are not retired comfortably at all. She might also ask herself, does she feel that since the elderboomers she knows retire comfortably, therefor she deserves to retire comfortably? Or does she feel that since she won’t retire comfortably, the comfortably retired elderboomers she knows don’t deserve their comfortable retirements and in a just universe would lose their comfortable retirements?

    • Good questions.

    • I think she and her husband were firmly in the middle to upper middle class, both college educated, at least masters level, one in tech management. What do YOU think it means that she is bitter about not being able to retire? To me it means being out if work while trying to keep up a mortgage on a nice house, paying for two kids to go thru college while being forced to live on your heavily taxed 401k after the unemployment runs out. If you are in your 60s, you were probably done with your mortgage and college coasts and you might have even had a pension of some substance.
      That’s a luxury to people in their 50s. All we see is years of underemployment stretching out for a couple more decades with no payoff at the end, no permanent housing and no nest egg.
      This is not a matter of envy in the normal sense of the word. It’s more of a “we wuz robbed”.

      • It matters whom she thinks she was robbed by. If she thinks she was robbed by the Overclass Governators then she will want to win back or take back what she was robbed of from the Overclass Governators. If she thinks she was robbed by the elderboomers, then she will join the legions of boomerhaters referrenced by Lambert Strether in his mentions of Strategic Hate Management. So it matters who she believes robbed her.

        So who were we robbed by? The Overclass or the elderboomers? The actions we take will flow from the answer we pick and will lead to diifferent consequences depending on
        what actions we take against whom, and why.

        • Probably a bit if both. After all, it was the elder boomers who threw their substantial weight behind Obama and seem to be utterly clueless and unconcerned about the younger contingent of boomers. I NEVER hear a word if sympathy or concern from them. They seem to think we’re all the same demographic when clearly we aren’t and the weight of this recession is falling disproportionately on our heads.
          I blame the overlord governators and the stupid elder boomers. I do not feel guilty about making them feel a little ashamed of themselves. They pulled up the ladder and stranded us.

          • Wait . . . what? I wasn’t there but I thought that Clinton’s support was older in general than Obama’s support. Weren’t most Clinton voters from an older demographic just as the Clintons themselves were?

            Does anyone have a datasets-broken out history of this?

            I’m not talking of a few cynical olderboomer-generation party manipulators like Pelosi and Reid and those others. I’m talking of the millions of voters in general. I continue to think that Obama’s base was more biased towards the younger groovies and also the Black Race Card voters.
            Do I continue to be wrong?

          • Well, the propaganda was that Obama was attracting younger voters but from what I could tell from her rallies, the age differences were pretty much the same. Nevertheless, the Obama campaign went out of its way to make its supporters to feel younger, fresher and more creative than anyone else on the planet.
            It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book.
            From my vantage point, I saw a lot of older boomers whose wonder years were shaped by the civil rights movement. Then there were younger boomers in my contingent whose wonder years were shaped by feminism.
            But history is written by the winners, amirite?

          • As long as the winners haven’t destroyed the losers and the losers still have enough resources to gather data and analyze it for detecting historical patterns, different narratives will be written. They may be compared and contrasted at some future point.

            If the age differences of people at the Clinton versus Obama rallies were really much the same, then can the elderboomers be held more responsible for one than the other? If half the elderboomers attended
            Clinton rallies and half attended Obama rallies? Will guilting some elderboomers help me save my Social Security from the Clinton-Ob ama Catfood Commissioners? (And I say Clinton-Obama because the eager co-chair of the Catfood Commission . . .Erskine Bowles . . . was one of President Clinton’s creatures.

  2. And, RD, fingers crossed!

  3. That must have been a wonderful moment, to hear that score, “Awesome!” I am so happy about that.

    Just that.

    Here’s to another good week! (Raising glass)

  4. There’s nothing you can’t do when it comes to this stuff…trust me
    Good Luck! . Those folks don’t throw around words like ” awesome”

    She’s a little bitter about the fact that older baby-boomers are retiring comfortably

    and who might that be? Retiring comfortably? That hasn’t been true even before 2007-8 at least. Perhaps she means 80 year olds? That would not be Boomers .

    I am not an older baby-boomer( I love how with these definitions we boomers try to be ever younger even with in our own social group… like Okay I am a boomer…but not an old one! lol ) I’m a middle age Boomer.,..( hey that does sound better ! ) But I’d be glad to hear of anyone of the class formally known as middle getting on a decent ice flow at this point…just to show it can be done.

    I suggest she thinks there are still middle class world hopping older boomers out there to resent . If there was, the casino biz in Atlantic City would not be collapsing… Atlantic City was always a middle class gambling resort…and now their older middle class customers have died out .

  5. Here’s a couple blogsites about “Generation Jones” . . . the “Brady Bunchers” . . . a k a the “younger boomers”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_Jones

    http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-generation-jones.htm

    http://www.thegenxfiles.com/2009/02/10/does-generation-jones-exist/

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