Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Interview in a Down Economy

I'll first start this post off with even though our business is doing well, it's just not consistent income. One month we make bank, while the next two months we barely make anything. So, a few months ago, we decided I needed to get some kind of steady job. Honestly there isn't many jobs out there in my area. You get the local newspaper and look in the classifieds and there is 2-3 jobs at most. You get online and it's just as bad and mostly filled with job scams, even on the most reputable sites. There's been a local company, who's been hiring like crazy. They do contract work for quite a few business and are expanding like there is no tomorrow. I have put my application in several times but had never heard anything, even though I'm beyond qualified for the positions offered. Basically this was going to be my last hooray on trying to apply there. So, I put a application in on Saturday and by Monday had this job interview scheduled. As the minutes ticked down to today, I kept feeling this nagging feeling of doom but kept trying to shrug it off as nerves. I mean, I haven't had a true 40 hr week job for a few years now. So thinking that this would be a short interview (1/2 hr to 1hr tops), Keree and my Mom went with me. We had planned after the interview to take Keree to the Locks and Dam, their visitors center and maybe a few other places for a field trip, since we would only be 10 minutes away. So I arrived about 5 minutes before 9am. As I looked around there was 7 of us waiting, all I could think was just great, a group interview. We were then lead back into another room, where we joined a group of people who's interview was at 830a. There was some initial paperwork to fill out and then we were led back into a room to test. Well it turned out that the job I was testing for, was actually the job I had done for most of my Career life...the same job that I was laid-off from shortly after bringing Keree home from Vietnam and the work was shipped to India for outsourcing because of course it's cheaper over there. And I guess somehow this company convinced them that they could do it cheaper than India. I guess that should of been a huge warning sign and I should of left at that minute. But for some reason, I stayed. Not to blow my own horn, but I aced the tests that were given. I felt bad because I had such an advantage since this was my previous work. Once I finished, I had to wait around for them to come get me. That is when I really took note of the people who was trying for this job. My heart sunk, when I looked around and most of the people who were there was my Mom's age. These are the people who probably had worked at a job for 20-30 years and then suddenly was out on the street. These are the same people who are the 99-weekers you hear so much about. These people are not lazy, they are middle-age or baby boomers who suddenly after years of loyal service are being thrust into a hostile job market that doesn't want them or their experience. When they came to get me finally, I almost told them Thank you but No Thank you. As I walked back to what I can best explain as the holding area, I felt so guilty. Here I was possibly taking a job from a 99-weeker who could end up on the street because there unemployment benefits were ending or ended. Slowly, those who didn't pass there tests, were given a short speech at the door, while those who made it was herded into the Holding area. I didn't have a clock on me, so I finally asked the man next to me what time it was. I was shocked when it had been 2 hours already. I felt so awful that my Mom and Keree had come with me because I never thought it would take that long. The next step for all of us in the holding area, was a role-playing game. I about died when they handed me the script because it was the exact same one I tested on to get this job before it was outsourced. I again felt like I had a head-up on getting this job. As we sat there, of course we all started talking. Of course, my previous observations were true. So many of the people sitting there were on the verge of having there houses sold at foreclosure sales, they had been out of work for almost 2 years or more and all of them echoed the same sentiments that the government on all levels weren't doing enough. Finally after another 1 1/2 hrs of waiting, I was called back for my role-playing. I guess at this point, my subconscious was playing a huge role and I actually stumbled over quite a few things. The interview came back and asked me how I thought I did. He was taken back, when I told him I didn't do very well at all. He mumbled something and then goes "it doesn't matter what you think, my opinion is the only thing it matters and you were wonderful!" He said it was such giddiness that it made me sick to my stomach. Or it could of been that I hadn't ate since the night before and at this point had missed breakfast and lunch. He escorted me back into the Holding area for my final interview. As I sat there, I watched the pool of applicants dwindle. As one person would fail, I would hear a great job but your not cut out speech and they were sent packing. To see the defeat in the eyes of someone who is about to lose everything cuts into your soul. By the time, I was finally called for my interview, I was emotionally, physically and mental drained and of course hungry. The interview last all of 10 minutes, at this point they finally tell you how much your going to make, there is no vacation or sick days, you are not allowed to call off and if you do you are automatically fired, what is required because it's work at home and that you will work every weekend and holiday, no exceptions. I'll put it this way, I got the job but I'm not happy. I honestly wouldn't have wasted my time and energy if I had known the things they told me in the interview. I still have my Business to worry about and I already have money invested in several shows this Fall. I'm not losing 100's of dollars for rental plus potential sales. They told me, I would have to choose because there is no exceptions. When I got out to the car, it was 6 1/2 hours later. My Mom and Keree was miserable. My Mom said that they spent the day walking around the complex of buildings, she said luckily there was a gazebo and they sat there for most of the day. She couldn't understand why I was so unhappy because I got the job but then I told her everything that had transpired.
Needless to say, we rushed home, we had tickets to the Ballgame, plus it was Kids autograph night. We got home, with about 10 minutes to get everything together and change our clothes. Right as we were heading out the door, it started to sprinkle. By the time we got to the end of the road, it was raining pretty steady and by the time we got to the county highway, it was blinding rain. By the time we hit the railroad tracks in town, the Fire Department had the road closed for flash flooding. So we weaved ourselves though town and at the opposite end of town, the road was again closed this time by Police for flooding. I couldn't believe it but we finally made it to the Highway. The Highway was horrible with almost stopped traffic, so we turned on the radio to see what was up. That is when the Breaking News came on saying they closed down the entire East Side Highway. So that literally meant, there was no way in or out of the Big City. Both my Mom and I looked at each other in shock. We had never in our entire lives of living in this area known of them shutting down all East Highways thus cutting off all access to the 4 Bridges that get you across the Mississippi and in and out of the Big City. There was luckily an exit nearby, so we turned around and headed home. Keree was so disappointed that we weren't going to the ballgame but there was nothing we could do. When we got home, I let Keree play outside with her umbrella, she had so much fun splashing in the puddles. The only reason we headed inside is because the thunder and lightening started. We spent our evening watching the game on TV, there was a weather delay but they ended up playing the entire game and even won.

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