2010: The Year In Employment


I have had perhaps my least productive year on earth this year.  I have probably made less money this year than any since the mid 90’s.  I have worked tirelessly looking for work. 

A few examples of how the job search has gone this year.

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The somewhat less than great news:

Since I was laid off from Sotheby’s on November 12th, I have easily sent in over 100 resumes, contacted several agencies, Spherion being the latest, though how legitimate they are I know not, they haven’t contacted me back yet. 

There's a job for me, somewhere over there...

Called the people at Ricoh to see if they had anything.  Yes, they said.  I said “GREAT!” They said it was in Valhalla New York, a 3 hour commute, and it would pay…not much.  They rescinded their offer to me, and in truth I acquiesced fairly easily.  It would have cost a ton of money, taken hours to get in, and paid me less than I was making 7 years ago. 

I would have ended up making less than I did at Sotheby’s after taxes and medical coverage and commute costs, and I made as much at Sotheby’s as I did when I was a drunk living at home with my parents in the mid 90’s.  Which wasn’t enough to pay the bills then. They are still looking for a spot for me in New York City.  Hope something comes up soon, nothing yet though.

Had an interview at a major white shoes law firm, whose name I will not mention, for the same position I had when I was at Davis Polk.  They said they liked me, and would call me back.  They never did.  The agency I got that particular interview with never called me back, either.  I called them, several times,  and dropped a few e-mails there way.  Nothing.  And there was supposed to be another interview they had set up for me in a different position at a different place which went the way of the dodo.

I thought I did well in that interview, too.  Must have been bad enough where neither party wanted anything to do with me.  Dammit.

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Viddy of the day:  A viddy showing common mistakes in interviews from the people at the HR in Motion consulting group.  I’m good with everything here, as far as I can tell.  It’s good to hear this stuff, even if you think you are good at interviewing, to fine tune your approach to the fine art of the interview.

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Every individual should have the opportunity to develop the gifts which may be latent in him. Alone in that way can the individual obtain the satisfaction to which he is justly entitled; and alone in that way can the community achieve its richest flowering. For everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.

Albert Einstein

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The Nothing:

Document technologies was a nice enough place.  I sent them a resume, and they told me they liked what they saw.  They had a number of jobs I qualified for, so I put in for several of them. The jobs they had that I put in for were filled by other people.  I didn’t get so much as a phone call.  Nothing.

I just a few minutes ago put in for 3 more jobs with them, hoping for a different conclusion this time.  Fingers crossed.

I worked with Semper, an agency, for a while.  Interviewed with them twice.  They said they had stuff for me, helped me with my resume, which was nice.  Called them back, left messages.  Nothing.

Used another agency called Vanguard in February and March.  Nothing. 

Several other agencies.  Craigslist.  Careerbuilder.  Hotjobs.  Mikeroweworks.  Called various places associated with Teamsters 814.   Nothing.

As I write this, I have sent out 7 resumes through careerbuilder so far today, and one through simplyhired.com, and the three I sent to document technologies.  Combing through craigslist at the moment.  There was a big fat zero on Craigslist for copy operator jobs.  Art handler jobs?  All the ones listed, you need several years experience, and a drivers license.  I don’t drive(dammit).  General labor jobs? I don’t speak Spanish, don’t know how to install security systems in cars, have no experience as an executive secretary(I don’t have the tits for it), and am not a licensed exterminator or plumber.  Take off all the filters and see what they have?  Restaurant manager? Driver?  Account executive? Electrical estimator?

Nothing.  Dammit. 

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Unemployment:

I went through two stints on unemployment.  I hit the 52 week limit on my first stint on unemployment the week of March 15th this year, would have had to re-up, but  I started at Sotheby’s that day.  Luck. Pure luck.  Sotheby’s laid all the temps off on June 22nd.  Started a second stint on Unemployment then.  Had an issue with unemployment, but it was quickly resolved.  Went back to Sotheby’s in September, and off of unemployment.  When I was laid off for good Nov. 12th, I jumped back on. Thought I’d have to start a fresh claim.  I didn’t.  This claim is good until June next year.

The New York unemployment office.  They are the only reason I am not now living with my wife at either her or my parents house, or homeless.  That is sad, but that is life.  I busted my ass for over 2 decades at a variety of places.  Now that I seem to be unhireable, at least for the moment, they are what is keeping me, and my wife, alive.

She works, but she, because she works at home, she barely makes enough to pay her bills, so I can’t expect much help there, but she helps whenever and wherever she can.  

Being unemployed feels like constant failure, spread out over time. I want a job, and I will not stop looking until I get one.

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I did actual work:

But there was good news.  I did mention it in passing above.  Sotheby’s.  From March 15th to November 12th, I was an art handler at Sotheby’s.  I busted my ASS there.  It was GREAT.  I’ve never had a job where I had so much actual honest to bob job satisfaction. 

I broke a sweat.  I strained. I lifted.  I pushed.  I smiled.  A lot.  There were a boatload of great people there, if I had the space here I would tell a tale or two about a few of the more colorful characters that work there.  There are a number of people there that I actually miss.  I don’t know that there is any other job site that I can say that about.  There were a few at DPW.  A few people over a span of 13 years, from 1996 to 2009.  Sotheby’s? Dunno that there were more than 2 or 3 people I didn’t like. From me, the surly curmudgeon that I am, that is saying something.

And the work was good, honest, hard work.  Moving walls, called elephants, ten feet tall, 8 feet long, two feet thick, heavy as hell. Even the light ones, with carpet, not sheetrock on’em, were heavy.  Tossing those things around was fun.  Remember pulling one out of the service elevator so fast the girl on the back end was actually feet off of the ground flying in the air behind this thing. I didn’t mean to do that to her.  Poor kid.  Apologized profusely, she was OK tho, that being the important thing.

It was funny.

Pedestals.  36″ x 20″ x 20″.  Wooden.  50, 60 pounds.  There were bigger and heavier as well. 

Wall dollies,  metal, about 40 – 50 pounds each.  

They HATED the way I moved those things.  Most times you would have two people at a time moving these things.  I moved them solo, just to do it.  They said I made them look bad, tried their best to get me to stop.  Which I did on occasion, to make’em happy.  But when they weren’t looking, or they were so busy they needed the stuff done fast, I could toss them around as I pleased.  Wall dollies I moved two at a time, lifted like a straight legged dead lift.  People told me I’d hurt my lower back.  I giggled, and did it anyway.  My lower back is strong.

There was a reason the temps called the place “Club Sotheby’s”.  It wasn’t an art auction house for us,  it was a gym.

There is still a chance I could get hired on there. 

I hope so.  I’m waiting for that phone call. For ANY phone call. 

I need a job.  I’ve set out 11 resumes today, in hopes of landing one this week.

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All I want is a chance.  Is that too much to ask?

That’s it for now America.  I’ll write to you later.

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