The Unemployment Chronicles
Happy Belated 92nd Birthday to my Great Aunt Rita! (Tuesday the 15th)
Happy 91st Birthday Betty White! (Today the 17th)
Yesterday, after my fourth job rejection about this week “not hiring at this time but we’ll keep your resume on file”, “we went with another candidate but good luck with your job search”, “we’re all staffed up at this time but we’ll keep your resume with your file” and “we don’t feel that meet all of the qualifications required for this position [like filing, answering phones, typing, faxing and scanning], I sent out the following tweet:
“YAY!! I just got denied from my fourth job this week!” #hallelujer #collegedegree #experience #positivethinking #sarcasm
Shortly after a this tweet went out, I received a response from the Volt NorCal, a workforce solutions firm (I love that wording) asking me what I was looking for. I gave them a few ideas and they asked for my resume. I sent it to them with this rather lengthy cover letter outlining my background, what I want and some of my frustrations with this current search. I should send this with all my resumes.
Whether Volt ultimately finds me this great job I have envisioned or not, I thoroughly appreciate the personal touch of our Twitter exchange and our email exchange. Far above the approach of the useless temp agencies I’ve been trying to work with of late, my first impression of Volt is that they have an understanding of the frustration of the job search process and the mindset that we all deserve a job that we love – and not just one that we accept because we sometimes need to in order to survive.
Whether we get it or not is another story and largely out of our control. What is in our control is the trying to get it part.
Thank you very much for responding to my snarky Tweet yesterday.
My name is Terrence Moss. I recently moved to the Bay Area from Los Angeles, where I spent much of my nearly decade-long career in the TV advertising industry. During my first four years, I gained experience in media buying and ad sales. At that point, I took some time off and lived in New York. I then returned to Los Angeles, where I had the opportunity to work directly with advertisers, albeit on a direct-to-consumer basis. That job led to a similar job in Massachusetts following a merger with an advertising agency in that area. After about two years, I left that job and returned to Los Angeles to pursue a writing career.
I did that while simultaneously working for yet another advertising agency in the same client service capacity. I worked for that advertising agency for a year-and-a-half before being laid off on account of lost business (none of it mine). I took the opportunity to write full-time. I profiled local actors. I expanded my ongoing short story series. I built my own website from a Google template. I worked on three different web series -- two as an actor, one as a writer. All the while I gained some preliminary knowledge of online marketing approaches through outlets such as Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus. And of course I talked myself up so as to establish myself as some sort of brand.
None of this panned out as I would have hoped -- largely because LA is so industry-oriented and I lost interest in that. So I came up to the Bay Area and am now looking for new opportunities to take what I've done and what I know to learn things that I haven't done and that I don't know. I would love to get in on the ground floor of a startup. I find that exciting and believe that such enterprises allow for more risks to be taken and more out-of-the-box thinking to be applied to the business than more established ones. I would also like to gain more knowledge in online marketing. I would like to help refocus some of the current methodologies that seemed to have jumped the gun in terms of trying to monetize the internet before its capabilities and affect on consumer habits were fully understood. Lastly, I would also be interested in an entry-level positions with a tech company -- with some training.
I am a diligent, capable, smart, reliable, self-starting but rather headstrong individual (not necessarily a weakness). I have always been an asset to any organization on several levels -- personality, ability to learn, willingness to take on projects outside of the scope of my position as a means of expanding it and a solid work ethic. I thrive on support, trust and latitude to do the job hired to do.
But what I'm finding is this: two years ago it was all about diversified experience. Now it's all about specialization. I've always been a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none. I've always found that to be best. Still, with a little bit of training I can become masterful at something that is of demand in the current marketplace.
Attached is my resume. I can be reached at [my telephone number]. Thank you very much for anything you can do. I am available for immediate hire.
My name is Terrence Moss. I am submitting myself to be considered for a position with your company. I come to you with nearly a decade of diversified media experience in TV advertising.
Following a layoff in July of 2011, I took time off to write full-time, which culminated with a self-published book of ongoing short story pieces that I had previously been writing for my blog and website.
I just relocated to the San Francisco area from Los Angeles and am looking for long-term full-time work. I am an enthusiastic self-starter ready to actively contribute ideas to your organization. I have great interpersonal skills and am equally comfortable as part of a team or working independently. I require very little oversight once I am up to speed on processes and I make the most of any position I hold.
My previous experience, though not specialized in any one area, can be utilized in whatever ways will be of most benefit to the organization.
I can be reached at my phone number. Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.
A Terrence Moss Enterprise (website) – Los Angeles, CA. Owner & Operator. Dec. 2011- present.
· A recently concluded short fiction story series
· Profiles of local up-and coming actors
· General topic articles, essays, commentaries and reaction pieces
I Am Erick Davidson (book) – Los Angeles, CA. Author. September 2012
· Colossal volume of 200 short stories written over a two-year period
GENERAL WORK EXPERIENCE:
Integrated Media Solutions- Los Angeles, CA
Account Executive. January 2010 – July 2011.
· Managed direct response client campaigns and served as day-to-day contact
· Conducted regular media analysis to provide daily and weekly campaign performance reports for clients
· Worked closely with spot buying team to purchase most cost-effective media
Mercury Media – Santa Monica, CA & Marlborough, MA
Account Executive. 2006 - 2009.
· Launched direct-to-consumer test campaigns
· Managed existing DRTV client campaigns
· Worked closely with the Director of New Business development in following up on new leads
· Created agency capabilities presentations for new client pitches
· Participated in new client pitches
· Submitted weekly campaign performance reports with recommendations to maximize results
· Worked closely with media buying team to optimize campaign performance
Viacom (now CBS) Station Sales- Los Angeles, CA.
Account Executive. 2004 - 2005.
· Sold advertising time to national advertisers on behalf of 21 local CBS and former UPN television stations across the country
· Negotiated and maintained client campaigns
· Provided regular in-person station representation to media buyers
Sales Assistant. 2003 - 2004.
· Provided administrative support for two higher-level Account Executives and helped maintain client campaigns
· Compiled weekly station performance reports for various clients
Rowan University- Glassboro, NJ. Graduated May 2001. Bachelor of Arts, Communication
And the job search begins...albeit less half-heartedly than before, but with the same aggravation because I hate applying and I hate interviewing. I'm not a people person. And I don't like to be managed. So just give me a stack of work to do for the week, leave me alone to do it and then pay me when I'm done. #goodluckwiththat
This was my Facebook posting from Monday.book, I have cleared out some head space with which to actually look for a job – something I have been all but refusing to do in the wake of my July 2011 layoff.
Since “renewing” my job search, people have been asking me what I want to do. Unfortunately, what I want to do doesn’t really exist in this current job market. This requires me to get creative with the job search or entrepreneurial in my efforts to eke out a workable income. So far I’ve come up with bupkis with either.
But instead of blanketing the world with my resume, I have been more strategic in my job search by applying only for those jobs that won’t make me want to dive face first down the side of Runyon Canyon. The jobs I have been applying for are those that lead to a career and not back on unemployment in eighteen months.
Though I include them in my pitch anyway, I actually hate resumes. I find them to be utterly pointless in the current age of Linked In or portfolio websites like mine. And instead of the traditional cover letter (which I also hate), I send what I call “what I tried to get the resume to tell you but it wouldn’t.”
It’s not too far off from a cover letter but it sounds new and innovative – and isn’t that what these hiring knuckleheads want (or say they want)?
So here is a representative sampling of the inquires (not resumes) I have sent out over the last week to secure work I’m hoping not to hate. I’ll probably never know how they’re received. There may be critical errors in how I present myself. And I may have missed key elements that would have helped me stand out and compel someone to want to pay me to continue spewing forth brilliance into the world.
But does it really matter? As I’ve said before, I’ve actually never found a job by looking for one. Opportunities have just been presented to me by contacts within the industry – when I had them. I’ve been out of one that I’d begrudgingly go back to for almost seven years and am not yet enough of an entity as a writer that my services are being sought out. It’s an interesting holding pattern I find myself in right now.
Still, I can’t imagine anyone could thumb their noses at someone with a blog, a website AND a book.
Then again, some may find that too enterprising and figure that a man who can write a book can also find a job or start his own enterprise (that actually earns him money).
September 10, 2012
My name is Terrence Moss. I am an independent writer based in Los Angeles. For the better part of the last ten years, I was entrenched in the TV advertising industry as a media buyer, station rep and client service Account Executive.
Of course, while I was great in these respective positions, I wasn't so great FOR them. And there is a difference.
But since my layoff from my most recent position in July 2011, I finally took advantage of the opportunity to pursue the more creative efforts I had previously been working on during my free time.
Among those efforts was an ongoing short story series that I recently concluded after 200 "blogisodes". Among those efforts was the creation and launch of my own website -- a showcase for those stories as well as actor/actress profiles, articles, essays, commentaries and reaction pieces. Also among those efforts was also getting involved in three web projects -- one I co-wrote (a comedy called Child of the 70s) and two on which I wrote a features (a soap called The Cavanaughs and the comedy Bitter Bartender).
I've been looking to join an organization that fosters such creativity on a variety of levels -- from finance to development to marketing and more. In fact, I delineated exactly that in the final "blogisode" of my story series. And then I came across Acme Company A in a search.
I don't see the web as "the way of the future" or "the place to be". I see it as an opportunity for those with a voice, a gift, a talent or even just a desire to express themselves to find their audience -- whatever its size may or may not be. And we can build a larger market from the core audience. I want to be a part of that.
I bring just as much to the table as I believe I can take away and would love to discuss career opportunities with you. Attached is my resume. I can be reached at my phone number.
Thank you very much for your consideration.
September 12, 2012
My name is Terrence Moss, an online content creator with nearly ten years of TV advertising experience as a buyer, seller and Account Executive. I was laid off in July of 2011. Since then, I am immersed myself in online content as a writer. I created and launched a website in January as an offshoot of my blog, which had been in existence for nearly two-and-a-half years.
The website consists of longform written material ranging from articles, essays and commentaries to short fiction and actor/actress profiles. But the key was content. Online content. And distributed through a variety of channels -- Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus as well as Linked In and Newsvine (powered by MSN).
Acme Company B would make great use of my advertising
background while providing a new experience for me in the world of digital
video content. I welcome the excitement that comes with such creative marketing
and the challenge of a new learning opportunity.
I look forward to hearing from you to discuss possible career opportunities. Attached is my resume. I can be reached at my phone number.
September 13, 2012
Person Who Should Pay Me for My Brilliance
Dear Ms. PWSPMFMB,
I hope this letter finds you well.
My name is Terrence Moss. I am an independent writer based in Los Angeles, CA with nearly ten years of diversified TV advertising experience under my belt. That experience is made up of media buying, ad sales and client service. I have worked with branding and retail clients as well as direct-to-consumer clients in both the local market and national cable broadcasting spaces.
I was laid off in July of 2011, which has afforded me the chance to finally write full-time. As an independent writer, I am always looking for new ways to market myself as such and to establish some level of much-needed and sorely-missed career stability.
Now I come to you with what I consider to be a unique marketing opportunity.
I have operated a blog to showcase my work since June of 2009. I feel safe in saying that it has evolved just as beautifully as I’d like to think I have as a writer. However, because my content was lengthy by internet standards, I eventually “outgrew” the blog and created my own separate website in December of 2011. That website – A Terrence Moss Enterprise – consists of media commentaries, reaction pieces, essays, articles, a short story series and actor/actress profiles.
What I would like to propose is a sponsorship where Acme Company C sponsors me as a writer. This sponsorship which would consist of the following:
Exclusive ad space on my website.
How does this benefit Acme Company C? First off, the press for something this unique could be priceless for all involved. Secondly, you are creating an association with an up-and-coming writer generating wonderful content who has a relatively small but growing readership.
Why Acme Company C and Terrence Moss? When it comes to consumer satisfaction, Acme Company C is generally spoken of very positively – and that is rare today. I consider myself similarly rare – an online writer less concerned with politics, pop culture or celebrity gossip and more concerned with artistry.
Why wouldn’t two like-minded entities come together in such a way? Let’s both be on the forefront of something new and innovative.
Total package cost: [undisclosed here]
I would love to discuss this and any other opportunities with you at your earliest convenience. I can be reached at my phone number.
My website can be accessed at www.terrencemoss.com for my portfolio of capabilities.
Thank you very much for your consideration.
Right or wrong, I am of the opinion that all of this is a crapshoot anyway – like dating and auditioning. The people who receive these will either love it or not. Simple as that. I could end these notes with “kiss my ass” and someone might like my moxie. Or maybe frustration reads through and turns people off. I don’t know. But perhaps they should sense frustration so as to add a sense of urgency to their response.
Or maybe I just throw in the towel, take some shit job, live in misery and keep my brilliance to myself. It sounds dire (and people prefer sunshine and daisies to dire) but this is realness.
As of press time, I have not heard back from the first two email inquiries. Yay or nay, it would be nice to know why they may or may not be interested without the spin of blah blah and blah. But you don’t get that anymore. You get to guess and wonder and ponder and listen to people with the greatest of intentions offer up advice and suggestions – but no job.
Such is life these days. As tempting it is to just stay in bed all day long with the covers pulled over my head and as enticing it is to just sprawl out on my couch watching The Cosby Show, I have to remain productive. So every day I get up, gather some motivation to try again and do just that.
Still, what are the chances I could actually get paid to watch and review The Cosby Show for a new fan site? Now that would be the type of “amazeballs” job I keep hearing some people have.
One year ago (yesterday or the day before), I was laid off from what I intend to be my last job in advertising – an industry I had been working in for nearly ten years.
The layoff wasn’t a surprise. In fact, it was not only expected but warmly welcomed when it finally took place. I had long since realized that advertising and media as it is, especially on the client service end, was not a right fit for me at that point in my life – nor I a right fit for it.
That Friday started off like every other. I woke up, took the 217 bus to Wilshire Boulevard and then the 20 local to Beverly Drive. I walked down the street and into the office. I booted up my computer, logged into my blog, opened up my email and went into the kitchen for Friday breakfast.
While I was eating at my desk, I resumed work on a bullshit project for my manager until our weekly department meeting at ten. I hated these meetings and seethed my way through them because I found them to be a colossal waste of time. I barely cared about what was going on with my own clients let alone what was going on with other people’s clients (definite hint that it was time to go). To pass the time, I would take notes…notes about my career in television that existed inside my head.
A couple hours later, I was still working on that bullshit project. Much of the office was out at lunch. The HR Lady, whom we’ll call Molly because of her eternally bright disposition no matter what time of day it is, came out of her office, called my name and motioned for me to come into her office.
My desk was situated between her office and my manager’s office, so I could only think of three reasons why I was being called into a meeting with her: they didn’t like my deteriorating attitude, they noticed I was spending more and more time working on my blog or they wanted me to rekindle the fire I had when I first started by giving me a pep talk.
I walked into her office. Seated on the far end of her long white couch was my manager. Molly sat down next to him and asked me if I wanted to join them on it. I declined and opted for the nearest hard plastic chair.
“I’m afraid we’re going to have to have one of those hard conversations we talked about,” Molly began after I sat down and got semi-comfortable.
There are two previous mentions of a hard conversation to which she is referring. The first one took place about a year prior. I was having difficulties with the lead of one of the agency’s key accounts. She always spoke to me very condescendingly (which is an absolute no-no for me no matter who you are), nitpicked at everything I did and had no problem throwing me under the bus in front of my manager or the client.
So I did what any self-respecting young man would do. I sent her an email -- edited and re-edited down to a professional, yet pointed couple of paragraphs.
She sat on it for the day and called me the next morning to talk about it. But what she was really looking for was an argument. And she got one. She hung up on me and five seconds later I heard the phone in my manager’s office ring.
This was a Thursday. He sat on it for a day before calling me into a meeting with him and Molly at the end of the next day. Molly led the meeting. Neither of them bothered to ask me my side of things because they didn’t care. Apparently, the clod I had been dealing with was a VP. Who knew? So Molly basically told me that if this happened again we would need to have a “hard conversation” – which meant suspension or termination. At the time, I still cared about the job and wanted to keep it so I fell on my sword.
The second mention was during a one-on-one meeting in Molly’s office. She was curious about my goals within and without the company. She then suggested I think about what I really wanted to do (shades of a similar conversation I had with the CEO of the last company I worked for – shortly before I resigned and moved back to LA to be a writer). If what I wanted to do didn’t line up with the direction the company was headed (which I knew didn’t), then we’d have to have a “hard conversation” – which meant some sort of separation. This was a couple months before the layoff and the job by this point was nothing more than a paycheck.
“We’ve lost a lot of business this year,” Molly continued during what was our first actual hard conversation. “We’ve had to take look at who we are going to keep and who we are going to let go and I’m afraid we’re going to have to part ways.”
None of this lost business was mine, mind you, but immediately peace descended upon my soul.
“That was the hard conversation?” I replied.
“Huh?” my manager asked.
“What does mean?” Molly asked.
From my vantage point, that was the easiest conversation we could have had. A harder conversation would have been for them to tell me that I needed to adjust or change my attitude. I didn’t walk into the job with it, so obviously the job caused it. Behind that, letting me go was their best option because my attitude was only going to get worse.
I just laughed and told them it was nothing. I then asked when this parting was taking place.
“Today. Today will be your last day,” Mollie informed me. “How do you want to handle this?”
Because I was still working on my manager’s bullshit project, I suggested I finish out the day and just not come back on Monday.
Molly looked at my manager.
“Why don’t you just start your weekend early?” he said.
I thought to myself, “Why didn’t you just say that? Why did you ask me in the first place?”
We had a few laughs and embraced. I was directed to the main conference room where two hours earlier I was sitting in a laborious weekly meeting talking about accounts that, unbeknownst to me, I wouldn't even be managing by the end of the day.
I wonder if my manager knew this at the time. If he did, then why he didn’t just suggest I not attend that meeting so I could “finish working on the bullshit project”. That would have made more sense to me than to have me sit in on a meeting when my participation in it would be inconsequential by mid-afternoon. Then again, maybe he only found out shortly before I did. I will probably never know.
The other HR lady, who walked me through my new hire paperwork eighteen months prior, walked me through my severance package and COBRA paperwork. In the middle of it, Molly pokes her head in and asks if I was done with my computer so they could shut it down.
I told her yes but I thought to myself, “Not yet. I still have to transfer secret agency files onto my thumb drive so I can take over the world.”
A few minutes later I walked through the lobby. I didn’t need to go back to my desk because I had already taken home everything I wanted to keep in anticipation for either a layoff or my resignation. I waved at the office manager, who got up to give me a hug.
I walked out of the office, into the elevator and out the door. I walked down Beverly Drive with a newfound sense of freedom and into the nearest branch of my bank to deposit my final pay. As I walked east down Wilshire Boulevard, calls and texts came in from co-workers wondering if what they thought had happened actually happened.
The congratulatdolenatory celebration lasted throughout the weekend.
Then came Monday. Once again, I had to figure out what to do next with my yet still young life.
I knew this much -- I did not want another job in advertising. I did not want to be in client service. And I was going to eke out a living as a writer. I just had no idea how to make that last part happen.
It’s been an interesting journey thus far.
Shortly after the layoff, I went with a friend of mine to the LA Improv for a comedy show where I met a comedian from Texas. We chatted after the show and I went to several of his subsequent performances. It gave me a taste of the comic scene in LA – so much so that people began to think I myself was a comic. While I may be funny at times and even though I did wind up performing stand-up at his biweekly show, I am hardly a comic. But it was a nice experience.
I was at my local West Hollywood watering hole talking to one of my bartender friends there. He told me about the web series he was producing. I asked him to let me know if he needed any help. I arrived on location a few weeks later to do background work and got a behind-the-scenes look into the life of the struggling actor scene in LA. I have profiled several actors from this project for my website.
I also became friends with the director and his production team – many of whom I had known of from the aforementioned watering hole. They were in the third season of their own web series, which I started to watch and enjoy. Like Carol Burnett on All My Children in 1983, a part for me was written into their upcoming fourth season.
Another actor I had profiled for my website was also interested in producing his own web series. He pitched me the idea and asked me to co-write it with him. We met for five consecutive Thursdays and wrote an episode each week. The first episode has been filmed, with the remainder of the season being shot over one weekend in July and another one in August.
One Sunday afternoon while I was holding court at that same watering hole, I received a call from Equality California asking if I wanted to join one of their canvassing events. I said no. They asked if I wanted to come in and make phone calls. Again, I said no. Then they asked me if I wanted to come in and do data entry. Bingo! That I can do because it doesn’t require talking to people.
I signed up for a Thursday and thought that was going to be it. But as I began to learn about all of their current initiatives, I began to believe in the organization and what it was doing. So I went back. And I kept going back. It feels very gratifying to be doing something for a cause other than my own – even if it’s just data entry. The activist in me that I have always been afraid of is coming out of hibernation. I hope to have greater presence in this world at some point so as to be of greater benefit to the organization.
And just recently, a new friend – also from that same watering hole, told me about a pilot script he had written and wanted to produce on his own. One production meeting and two shooting days (for the fundraising campaign video) later, I am in charge of marketing and awareness.
I told you all that to tell you this – there has been a seemingly organic flow to all that has gone on in the past year. One thing has led to another which has led to another. I have met a lot of new people. I have given out a lot of business cards. Awareness of what I do has grown. I’ve done stand-up comedy. I built my own website (albeit from an existing Google sites template, but whatever). I hosted a premiere party. I sat in on a casting session. I went to an award show. I’ve done three live readings and attended several others. And I have stumbled upon the greatest of performing outlets every Monday night at the watering hole.
So I can’t imagine that something I am doing now, which I love and have always wanted to do, won’t lead to something that resembles a regular paycheck.
But as anxious as the uncertainty of the moment keeps me, I can’t imagine a better time in my life. Good, bad or indifferent -- anything is possible. Every morning I wake up and think that this could be the day. While I have so far gone to bed wrong every night, I know that every day I am working toward “the day when” and every day I am laying the foundation for “the day when”. As long as I continue to do that, then I don’t necessarily have to worry about “the day when” because it’s coming.
I just have no control over when that day will come. With that being the case, I’ll just leave it in the hands of who or whatever is truly executive producing the TV series that is my life.
In April, an unemployed Minnesota-based 22-year-old took arisky step toward finding work. Like many of us on the other side of a steady paycheck, the standard job seeking procedures of sending out a resume, getting a call, coming in for an interview and either getting hired or moving on to the next lead are failing.
So Bennett Olson bought an ad on a digital billboard with his picture to the left, the URL to his website to the lower right and the words “HIRE ME” featured prominently.
These are tenuous times for people looking for work. Just about every industry is shrinking. Companies are doing more with less in order to protect their bottom lines, maximize their profits and continue to pay astronomical salaries to their top-level executives.
We’re in an impossible vortex where the workforce is only qualified for a certain type of work, which unfortunately isn’t in the growth industries. Meanwhile, those growth industries are having trouble finding qualified candidates to fill a growing number of available positions.
So an already competitive job market is made even more competitive – and the employers are taking full advantage of it.
An employer’s market is dangerous. Not only can they undercut salary offers of prospective employees, but they can ask (translation: require) their current employees to take salary cuts, take on more work or do both in order to keep their jobs. More often than not, they’re successful at this because they prey on the fear of those who are out of work or can’t afford to be out of work.
“You should be happy to have a job”, they say.
And if that’s not enough for those people, they can easily be replaced because there are hundreds of understandably desperate people ready, willing and available to do that job -- on the employer’s terms.
But if an employer has such disregard for their employees and if it’s so simple for an employer to just bring in the next person, then why do they make the selection process more difficult than choosing a Pope?
Because they can. And because they’re also trying to figure out how long they can go without re-filling the position. Perhaps they’ll find they won’t need to. That saves the company even more money on salary and benefits – which will go to a high-ranking executive who’ll be bonused for it.
Fortunately for those employers, the standards of service continue to deteriorate so it doesn’t matter if things fall through the cracks or if customers are dissatisfied – they’ve increased their profits for the fifth consecutive quarter.
Olson’s $300 risk/investment for a digital ad playing intermittently over a 24-hour period worked out well for him. In May, he landeda job with a 3D scanning company as a sales and marketing associate.
I’m very glad for Bennett but I have to wonder if this isn’t indicative of a new methodology for landing work? I’m not suggesting we all buy a billboard but it does tell me that “marketing oneself” stretches beyond the interviews and the resume. We as prospective employees are now a brand. We’re a product. With “Terrence Moss Presents” as the title of my blog and “A Terrence Moss Enterprise” as the name of my website, I clearly see myself as one.
Facebook. Twitter. Linked In. Websites. It’s not just about a resume on Monster and Career Builder (I have friends who work for both.) But while I believe I got my last job through a recruiter who found my resume on one of those sites, I rarely get a call from either and those that do come in are for sales positions that I am 1000% not a match for my skill set or my interest level.
I hate resumes. Those random calls for sales positions are based on the ONE actual sales position I had for two years that ended SIX years ago. Since then, it’s been the dreaded client service and the new love of my life, writing. Save for reflecting work history, my resume is pointless. It’s a poor representation of me as a candidate and an even poorer indication of my ability to fit in with an organization in the first place to do the applied for job in the second place. My resume is no way to show a prospective employer whatever it is they are looking for, which is why I’m getting calls for sales positions. Either way, no one is reading it with a desire to simply fill a position rather than any level of actual interest in what I have to offer.
In this day and age, a resume is just for show because anti-discrimination hiring laws all but require them. I no longer wish to send any out. I’d much rather send out inquiries with samples of my work and a link to my website. That will tell any prospective employer more about my abilities than a resume with typical action words like “compiled” or “reviewed” or “represented” or “handled” or “managed” and formats that change with every graduating class.
I’d like to start using the resume as my litmus test for determining whether or not a company is going to be a great fit for ME or not. As a writer, what the hell does a prospective employer need my resume for? That’s why I have a WEBSITE. The work is right there! Now if they need a work history, we can talk about that in the interview but do they REALLY need to know what I did at each of the last three ad agencies I worked for? What I did for them won’t have a thing to do with my work as a writer.
What they need to do is log onto www.terrencemoss.com to see what I do and what I’m about. If you like it, great. If not, then God be with you.
Perhaps this is the new way to go. Billboard, print ads, business cards and postcards that direct you to websites, Facebook accounts and Linked In accounts. Here’s where they will find all the pertinent information for determining whether a candidate is worth bringing in for an interview. Why still use a resume when a) they aren’t going to read them and b) they don’t want to read them?
The old way of finding a job no longer works. You can’t go in to drop off a resume and be taken seriously. You’ll just be directed to the website for the application procedures. You can’t call because hey don’t want to hear from you. Emails get ignored. And it doesn’t matter if you have an “in”. The “in” is just trying to stay “in” themselves. Even if you have an “in”, the same factors are still at play over which there is no control because they have little or nothing to do with experience or abilities.
It’s becoming akin to being an actor. It’s a crapshoot. It’s all a crapshoot. I don’t know if Bennett actually thought his billboard idea would work. While I found it to be a great idea and am happy that it worked out for him, it indicates to me that there is something terribly wrong with a system where the unemployed have to buy a billboard ad to get the attention of prospective employers.
Be persistent, is what the conventional wisdom says. But the prevailing wisdom is that persistence is annoying. My wisdom is that if I need to be persistent, then they weren’t all the interested in me in the first place. Or they didn’t see my resume in the second place. Or it didn’t stand out to them in the third place. Either way, they don’t want me to come in, they don’t want me to call and they don’t want me to send them an email.
It may not take a billboard to stand out and be noticed, but it does take marketing. It’s always taken some form of marketing, but now it takes ACTUAL marketing. When I am out and about discussing my latest article, that’s marketing. When I hand out a business card (and I still believe in business cards – it’s not just about Linked In and Facebook), that’s marketing. When I post articles to my website and link it to Facebook, Linked In, Google Plus, Twitter, Stage 32, The Whole 9 and to my blog (the precursor to this site), that’s marketing.
Each article I write for my website or for other websites counts as part of the job search as far as I’m concerned. Of course, I send out the occasional resume because that’s what most people are still looking for. I don’t like it, but if a job is of interest to me, I’ll do it. But I’m of the mindset that EVERYTHING I do and EVERYWHERE I go is potential for a job.
And when I say JOB, I mean CAREER.
So while Bennett found his way via a billboard, mine right now is a website. And a blog. And business cards.
At some point, one of them has to work because I hate being wrong about things.
After that 14th part, I had planned on having people submit their unemployment stories to me for posting. I reached out to Talent Zoo and Vault Dot Com for unemployment stories from their readers. None of that panned out. Even onlinecollege.org, who found the chronicles and asked me to post their unemployment reading list, never came through with unemployment stories I had asked for in return for posting their list and promoting their site on my site.
It’s all good. Who wants to be bogged down with those types of stories anyway? Everyone is already nervous about the economy and the job market. Jobs long considered secure are now anything but. Companies want candidates to be experts in everything so they can have them do two and three jobs to protect their bottom line.
And interviewers don’t know how to interview. They know how to ask questions, but they don’t know how to interview. An interview should be geared toward determining if and how a candidate might fit into an organization. It should not be used to filter that candidate out. That’s the way it’s been done for decades, but it’s hardly effective and you lose a lot of great candidates that way. At the end of the interview, a prospective employer should be able to determine what that candidate knows and how’d they fit into the organization.
That was the approach taken by the last boss when he interviewed me. Even though I wound up not liking that job all that much (for a variety of reasons), my interview with that former boss was one of the best I had ever been on.
Unfortunately, it’s an employer’s market and they are more than taking advantage of it. After an interview, a friend of mine was asked to come in to work for a day before a decision would be made about hiring her. That’s not unreasonable. You can only glean so much from an interview. When they day turned into four and she still didn’t have an offer, she put her foot down and quit. There were more factors involved but what that company did was unacceptable. If you wanted a temp, you hire a temp and then determine if you are going to hire that person. Otherwise, people’s time has to be respected. If you can’t determine in one day whether or not to you’re going to hire someone, then you have your answer.
And you should have the decency to provide the candidate with that answer instead of leaving them to wonder. Worse, they follow up with you for days and weeks on end during which time you just pick and choose if and when you’ll respond because you have the job and they have the need so their feelings are irrelevant.
“But we have so many candidates…” Oh please. You know who you’re going to hire as soon as the position becomes available. You’re only going through all this interviewing for legal reasons. Plus, if the half-read resumes don’t jump out at you, they get filed away someplace where no one can find them ever again.
I love digressing…
For the next job opportunity, the hiring company asked the staffing firm to ask my friend if she minded stuff being thrown at her because the owner of the company was often under a lot of stress.
We had to laugh at that one. She obviously said “no”. She and I are in our early thirties. We know our value. We’re both single and, for the most part, are only responsible for ourselves. We’re holding out for the job we want and deserve. Simple as that.
By holding out, I mean “no one’s interested in what we have to offer anyway”.
None of this, however, has ANYTHING to do with the below article I’m re-posting from Yahoo Finance. It was written by Mandi Woodruff for theBusiness Insider about a man who had been making six figures before the current financial shit show and then wound up taking a job a Starbucks.
How a Former Currency Strategist Went From $150K/Year to
Serving Lattes at Starbucks
A few years ago, Kevin Cronan had it all.
At 38, he was bankrolling $100,000/year (plus a $50K bonus) as a currency strategist for a major Boston investment firm and was this close to dropping $35,000 to rub elbows at an ultra-exclusive country club.
But with a college diploma, 22 months of severance to rely on and 15 years worth of experience under his belt, he figured he had nothing to worry about. Right?
"I thought, 'I can't believe I'm not gonna find a job before this money runs out','" Cronan told Business Insider. "I started traveling a lot afterward."
But time ticked on, his funds dwindled and the job market showed no signs of improvement.
There were a couple of close calls – he had a promising interview with one firm and found out they laid off a bunch of staff shortly after – but he kept running into the same wall.
"When they do hire, companies are going after people with two years of experience or freshly minted MBA's," Cronan said. "And they're paying them nothing and a lot of people who are mid-career like me, there really is very little out there."
Stumbling down the social ladder
Cronan was used to blowing $200 on swanky steak dinners each week, but the further he sank into unemployment, the more he turned down invites.
"It's hard to maintain contacts because a lot of the social contacts were over meals, cocktails, playing squash and golf," he said. "Money is always a factor."
His future on hold
It would have been nice to job hunt with an MBA on his resume, but Cronan was halfway through his studies at Suffolk University when he was laid off. His former employer had been fronting the bill.
And when his savings were all but gone, he made the difficult decision to dip into his 401(k) – a step that's become all too common for America's long-term unemployed.
"I didn't have a choice," he said. "Yes, it's for retirement but it's not gonna do any good if I don't have a place to live and my car gets repossessed."
"I didn't want anyone to see me."
He came across an online pawn site called Pawntique, where he took out a loan against a multi-thousand-dollar Corum watch. Going the online route was quick and efficient, but the real perk was anonymity:
"I didn't want anyone to see me," he said.
From unemployed to under-employed
The pay isn't anything to write home about ($9.70/hr) but he was more interested in their benefit package (medical, dental, vision) than anything else.
There's a reason depression is so prevalent among the unemployed. Beyond the financial strain, there's also the crushing isolation that comes with leaving the workforce.
To cope, Cronan allows himself one luxury – a $189 squash membership.
"It's my largest expense but I refuse to give it up," he said."It gets me out of what could be viewed as an isolated, lonely slump of living in this little suburban town."
Fear for the future
It's not just the meager paycheck that troubles underemployed workers like Cronan. There's that nagging fear that while he's foaming lattes and shaking cocktails, he'll miss his shot at getting back in the game.
"There's a concern I have that there's this negative perception (by employers) of someone who's out of the workforce for so long," he said.
All he can do for now is keep his mind fresh in any way possible. He keeps tabs on the market through Bloomberg and talks shop with his sister, who's a stock trader.
"I try to keep myself informed but it's not always the same," he said. "You can't quantify all that (on a resume)... but at least it's something."
It’s been suggested by a few well-meaning friends of mine that I do the same or something similar until this writing thing takes off.
On one hand, it makes sense. On the other hand, I can't give up 45-50 hours per week of writing time to work a job that will barely cover my rent. On yet another hand (where did that come from?), income is income. Be that as it may, not all income is income. It's just money changing hands without ever landing in mine.
During my last bout with unemployment, I applied to, interviewed for and got a retail job at the Target. The interview process itself was ridiculous and the training was even more ridiculous. I wound up not taking the job. It turned out to be a good move for me because three potential jobs fell into my lap over the next few weeks.
Three years ago, I told the Universe that I deserved more. I held out for something better and got it. Such could be the case again – only this time it will be for my life’s calling. There may be lean times and times of overabundance, but the plan is to not wind up in this position of unemployment ever again.
Hence, my stance. Agree with it or not (and there are those who don’t), it can’t fail any worse than sending out a stellar resume that will get ignored. It’s an employer’s market –and they’re looking for people they know or people who know people they know.
The funny thing is that I’m in between two “oh shit” vortexes -- my last three jobs were in client service and I didn’t exactly make my name for myself in that arena. My three jobs prior to that were so long ago that most of my contacts from those days are either out of the industry or just remember me by name as opposed to by reputation.
But it’s alright. I have little or no desire to go back to that line of work anyway. As a former supervisor used to say…onward and upward.
Brought to you by YogiGeeks.
The website Onlinecollege.org came across the "Unemployment Chronicles". Last week, they sent me one of their recently-published articles titled "The Ultimate Unemployment Reading List", which I thought would make a great addition to this component of the website.
The listing groups books into the following categories: UNEMPLOYMENT, CHANGE, UPLIFTING/INSPIRING (some humor pieces in this group), NETWORKING, SKILL BUILDING, JOB HUNTING, STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS & DEPRESSION/ANGER.
It's no secret that the economy, despite some recent gains, is in a pretty bad place. With almost 9% of Americans out of work, including many new college grads, unemployment isn't rare; unfortunately, it's becoming harder and harder to find work as the recession drags on. Yet there is hope for those who are out of work, especially those willing to learn new skills, polish their resumes, and get back into the workforce. While it's not easy, many people are finding work. Though it may come with a smaller paycheck, a career change, or after months of concentrated searching, work in any form is something to be grateful for in an economic downturn.
If you're unemployed, you likely have a bit of free time on your hands that can be used to do some reading that can help to get you back on track with your career or even find a new one altogether. Here, we've collected some books that are sure to inspire, educate, and motivate you as you manage the good, the bad, and the ugly of unemployment.
There's no way around it; unemployment stinks. Read these books to get some advice on staying positive, getting started with a job hunt, and making the best of a bad situation.
Little Victories: Conquering Unemployment by Tom Brophy: Unemployment can be traumatic, but this book will teach you how to celebrate even small victories in your journey back into the workplace.
Powerful Unemployment: Practical and innovative ideas for staying motivated and having fun while looking for a new job by Sheila Boddy: Get right back onto the employment saddle with help from this book. It offers advice on everything from staying motivated in your job search to actually enjoying your time off of work.
iJobless: 50 Ways to Survive Unemployment by Jenny Holmes: Get some basic tips on cutting back, making money, and job hunting in the 21st century from this helpful book.
Hardest Times: The Trauma of Long-Term Unemployment by Thomas J. Cottle: If you've spent several months or even over a year unemployed (or perhaps even longer), then you know about the depression and anxiety that can come along with long-term unemployment. Find strength in the stories of others who are struggling just as you are in this heart-wrenching book by Thomas Cottle.
The Unemployment Survival Guide by Jim Stringham and David R. Workman: It might not seem like it at times, but you will survive unemployment. This book offers up some practical advice that can help you ride out the roller coaster that is your new jobless life.
Rebound: A Proven Plan for Starting Over After Job Loss by Martha I. Finney: Losing a job can hurt, just like getting dumped or breaking up. And, just like a relationship, eventually you have to bounce back and find something new. In this book from workplace expert Finney, you'll learn how to take control of your life, figure out what led to your layoff and how you can prevent it from happening again, and hopefully get back into the workforce.
The Adventures of Unemployed Man by Erich Origen, Gan Golan, Ramona Fradon, and Rick Veitch: Need a lighter take on your situation? This book is filled with superheroes with names like Plan B, Master of Degrees, and Unemployment Man, putting a funny spin on many of the less-than-fun aspects of job loss.
Gainfully Unemployed: 17 Ways to Maintain Your Sanity While Looking for Work by Jonathan Wade: You'll need your sanity if you want to get hired, so this book may be a big help to those who are looking for work. We kid, but it is a great guide for helping you cope with the stress and depression that can come with unemployment.
Unemployment Boot Camp: Tactics for Surviving and Thriving in the 21st Century by R. A. Long: Feeling sorry for yourself? Learn how to buck up and start creating your own workforce battle plan with the help of this no-nonsense book.
The Healthcare Survival Guide, Cost-Saving Options for The Suddenly Unemployed and Anyone Else Who Wants to Save Money by Martin B. Rosen and M.D. Abbie Leibowitz: Many who are out of work are also suddenly out of health care benefits when they need them most. In this book, you'll find advice for getting the insurance you need at a lower cost.
Landing on the Right Side of Your Ass: A Survival Guide for the Recently Unemployed by Michael B. Laskoff: MBA Michael Laskoff has been laid off or fired several times throughout his career. In this book, he offers tips on searching for jobs, managing emotions, getting recommendations, and more that can help you get back into the game.
Many of us don't cope well with change. We like our routines, and when something like unemployment shakes us out of them, we're often terrified. Here, you'll find some great advice on navigating the many changes unemployment often brings.
Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson: Change can be either a blessing or a curse, depending on how you look at it. This book will teach you how to see the good side of change and learn how to roll with the punches and come out on top.
100 Ways to Motivate Yourself: Change Your Life Forever by Steve Chandler: Motivational speaker Steve Chandler offers some actions plans in this book that are ideal for making big changes in your life.
Work Less, Live More by Bob Clyatt: If you're an older man or woman out of work, perhaps you could consider semi-retirement as an option? This book offers up some ideas that could have you working less and actually enjoying it.
Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield and Ron McMillan: Unemployment is a big change in itself, but one that may also necessitate making a lot of other changes in your life. Get advice on changing anything standing in your way of success with this great motivational book.
Change or Die: The Three Keys to Change at Work and in Life by Alan Deutschman: While you might not die if you don't make changes during unemployment, you might suffer some serious difficulties getting back into the workforce. Use this book to help you make changes that can affect yourself in both your work life and your personal life.
Our Iceberg Is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions by John Kotter and Holger Rathgerber: Change can be hard under any circumstances, but especially so when you're dealing with the trauma of unemployment. This great read will help you to navigate change even in the worst of times.
Peaks and Valleys: Making Good And Bad Times Work For You–At Work And In Life by Spencer Johnson: Another great read by Spencer, this book offers up a parable that you can apply to your own life, helping you to better understand both the good and bad times in your life.
Uplifting and Inspiring Reads
If you need a bit of a morale boost to help you through unemployment, these reads might be just what you're looking for.
$100K to Nothing: My Journey From a Six Figure Income to the Unemployment Line in the Worst Economy of Our Time by Dan Holt: Dan Holt went from making six figures to no figures at all, amidst one of the worst economic downturns in decades. Read this book to see how he turned things around and get some advice on how you can do the same.
As a Man Thinketh by James Allen: We all need a little self-help now and then, and this book is one of the classics in the genre. Read through it to find out how perception may be influencing how you see things in your life and may be hiding blessings and assets you already have.
The Unemployed Millionaire: Escape the Rat Race, Fire Your Boss and Live Life on YOUR Terms! by Matt Morris: Matt Morris knows what it's like to be in dire straits financially; he was once homeless and deeply in debt. Read this book to learn how he turned it all around, got a job, and eventually made millions.
Your Best Year Yet!: Ten Questions for Making the Next Twelve Months Your Most Successful Ever by Jinny S. Ditzler: While losing a job might now be your ideal way to start your best year ever, this book will show you how staying positive, working hard, and believing in yourself may just make it possible to turn a tragedy into a triumph.
Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale: When you're out of work it can be tempting to get down on yourself and your prospects, but as you'll learn from this book, few good things ever come from negative thinking.
The Joy of Not Working: A Book for the Retired, Unemployed and Overworked by Ernie J. Zelinski: Why not look on the bright side of being unemployed? This book will teach you how to make the most of your time out of work and provide you with a framework for working life that will have you working less and living more.
What Should I Do With My Life? The Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question by Po Bronson: It's a scary question that even some well into their working lives don't really know how to answer, but in this book, you'll find some very inspiring answers to this eternal question.
Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success by John Maxwell: Knowing how to turn something bad into something good will not only help you get through unemployment, but can ease the pain of almost anything negative in your life. Learn how to make just about any failure in your life into something bigger and better down the road with the help of this book.
Motion Before Motivation: The Success Secret That Never Fails by Michael J. Dolphies: It's all fine and good to make goals for yourself, but how often do you actually act on manifesting those goals? This book will teach you how action, not intention, is the key to success.
Often, the best way to get a job is to use connections you already have or make new ones that can give you an in to a particular field or company. Learn some vital networking skills that can carry you through unemployment and beyond in these great books.
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie: With over 15 million copies sold worldwide, this book has been a bestseller since it was first released in 1936. While it's been updated a bit, the core lessons have held and still offer some of the best advice on being someone other people want to know.
Self-Promotion for Introverts: The Quiet Guide to Getting Ahead by Nancy Ancowitz: Are you the shy and retiring type? While your personality might not lend you to reaching out and networking, shyness isn't a reason to avoid it. Learn how to overcome your introversion and make connections that could get you some work.
Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty: The Only Networking Book You'll Ever Need by Harvey Mackay: If you're out of work you might already be "thirsty," as this book puts it, but it's never too late to learn some valuable networking skills.
Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi:Learn how to use the relationships you already have, and make a few new ones, to connect your way to the top.
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini: Persuasion is a valuable skill in business, but especially so when you're looking for work. Learn the basics of mind manipulation (in a good way) that can help you talk your way into a new job.
Networking for People Who Hate Networking: A Field Guide for Introverts, the Overwhelmed, and the Underconnected by Devora Zack: For many people out there, the word networking sends shivers down their spines. Yet even if you don't have much experience or hate making small talk, networking can be done successfully, as this book will teach you.
Networking Like a Pro: Turning Contacts into Connections by Ivan Misner, David Alexander and Brian Hilliard: Whether you're an old hand or a fresh college grad, this book offers up some great tips that can make any networking situation more effective.
Networking is a Contact Sport by Joe Sweeney and Mike Yorkey: Learn how to be more persuasive, build relationships, and improve your career through this much talked-about book from sports agent and businessman Joe Sweeney.
Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone by Mark Goulston M.D. and Keith Ferrazzi: No matter what kind of message you're trying to get across, this book can help you to do it more effectively and with less manipulation.
Can't compete with those who are younger and better trained? Hone your basic business skills, get creative, and work on yourself with the help of these books designed to help you be the best you can be.
The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino: Renowned salesman Mandino shares the secrets of his success in this book, which you can use in your career or just to help you "sell" yourself to potential employers.
Louder Than Words: Take Your Career from Average to Exceptional with the Hidden Power of Nonverbal Intelligence by Joe Navarro: Sometimes it's what you don't say that makes all the difference. Learn how to leverage your nonverbal signals for the greatest level of success in all you do.
Personal Development for Smart People by Steve Pavlina: One of the best-known personal development gurus out there, Steve Pavlina's book is a must-read for anyone looking to be more productive and successful in their work lives.
Emily Post's The Etiquette Advantage in Business: Personal Skills for Professional Success by Peggy Post and Peter Post: Are you being rude without even knowing it? Make sure you're following all business etiquette by referencing this book as you go through your job hunt.
Business Communication: Building Critical Skills by Kitty Locker and Stephen Kaczmarek:Those who know how to talk to potential employers are more likely to get the job, so give your business communication skills a makeover with the help of this book.
Surviving Your Serengeti: 7 Skills to Master Business and Life by Stefan Swanepoel: The animals who live on the Serengeti often struggle to survive, and only those who are the strongest, have the most endurance, and the best support systems can survive. Sound like your work experience? Then give this book a read.
Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity by Josh Linkner:Those who work in a creative field or anyone just looking to stand out can learn a lot about boosting creativity from this helpful book.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey: This book is a classic for a reason. It offers some amazing advice that can help you become a better leader and lead a happier, more fulfilled life.
Job hunting is often a huge focus for those who are unemployed, but many may not be approaching it in the most effective way. These books can help make the job search less stressful, smarter, and hopefully more effective.
What Color is Your Parachute? 2011: A Practical Manual for Job-hunters and Career-Changersby Richard N. Bolles: Even if you've never been out of work before, you've probably heard of this popular book. And with good reason. It's a great read for tackling all aspects of the job hunt, from writing your resume to nailing an interview.
The Job-Hunter's Survival Guide: How to Find Hope and Rewarding Work, Even When There Are No Jobs by Richard Bolles: Right now jobs are few and far between, so this book may be just the tool you need to ferret out work even when it appears there's none to be had.
Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 3.0: How to Stand Out from the Crowd and Tap Into the Hidden Job Market using Social Media and 999 other Tactics Today by Jay Conrad Levinson and David E. Perry: With so many people out of work and on the hunt for jobs, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd. That's where this book comes in, offering advice to help you get the job using modern technology.
The Unwritten Rules of the Highly Effective Job Search: The Proven Program Used by the World's Leading Career Services Company by Orville Pierson: Use the tools and methods of the professionals to land yourself a great new job.
Get The Job You Want, Even When No One's Hiring: Take Charge of Your Career, Find a Job You Love, and Earn What You Deserve by Ford R. Myers: Read this book to learn how to navigate a job search during an economic downturn. You may just find some pretty valuable tips and tools.
How to Say It on Your Resume: A Top Recruiting Director's Guide to Writing the Perfect Resume for Every Job by Brad Karsh: Your resume is often the first impression employers will have of you, so you have to make sure it does you justice. Use this book to help update, refine, and streamline your resume.
Acing the Interview: How to Ask and Answer the Questions That Will Get You the Job by Tony Beshara: No matter how many times you interview, the process never really stops being intimidating. Help make it a little less so by learning things you can say and do that make you appear to be the best candidate for the job.
Push: Job Hunting Secrets They Don't Teach You in College by Nelson Wang: Job hunting used to be a whole lot simpler back when things weren't quite so competitive. Learn how to arm yourself with a whole new set of skills for the complicated job market of today with some help from this book.
How to Find a Job When There Are No Jobs by Paul Rega and H. Savage: Read through this book to discover some methods that can help you find a job even in times when unemployment is high.
Starting Your Own Business
Always dreamed of starting your own business? With no 9-5 standing in your way, there may be no better time than now to do it. Learn the basics of working smart and being an entrepreneur from these great reads.
The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss: Sometimes, working harder isn't the answer when you can simply work smarter. While your new business likely will require more than four hours a week to get off of the ground, use this book to learn some methods that can save you time that you can reinvest in other aspects of your life.
Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson: Give your work life a makeover by following the advice found in this book. It offers some amazing advice on entrepreneurship that can help you create a lean, mean, and ultimately profitable new business.
Infinite Possibilities: The Art of Living Your Dreams by Mike Dooley: Unemployment is an end, but it's also a beginning. Mike Dooley explains how you can control your own fate, use positive thinking, and work towards your goals to finally achieve your lifelong dreams.
Jobless: How to Quit Your Day Job and Start Your Climb to the Top by Alan De Keyrel: You've already got the jobless part down, so get some help with the climbing to the top part from this book. You'll learn how to think like an entrepreneur, find customers, market your business, and more.
Think Better: An Innovator's Guide to Productive Thinking by Tim Hurson: If you want to stay ahead of the competition you have to be an innovator. In this book, you'll get some tips, tools, and advice on productive thinking that can make you a standout in your new business venture.
The Accidental Entrepreneur: The 50 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Starting a Business by Susan Urquhart-Brown: Starting a business sometimes comes with some unexpected adventures. Help take a little of the mystery out of it, with advice from someone who's been there and done it before.
The Small Business Start-Up Kit: A Step-by-Step Legal Guide by Peri Pakroo: Make sure your new business is following all the legal basics it needs to stay successful with help from this guidebook.
Depression and Anger
Aside from the financial aspects, there is often a dark side to unemployment that can include depression, frustration, and a whole lot of anger. Learn to work through these emotions with guidance from these self-help experts.
The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness by Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, and Jon Kabat-Zinn: While depression is much more than mindset, the reality is that changing how you think can help how you feel from day-to-day. Learn how positive thinking and mindful action can help you to better manage your feelings of depression.
Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn't Teach You and Medication Can't Give You by Richard O'Connor: If you're depressed, medication and therapy can be a big help. But if you don't change your life, in the long term things may not get better. Read through this book to understand what other things you need to be doing to get your life and your emotional well-being back on track.
Take Control Of Your Life: Self Help For Depression, Anxiety Disorders, Confidence, Success & More by Dan Jones: Depression, anger, and anxiety surrounding unemployment often stem from a feeling that an individual no longer has control over their own life. This book will help you learn how to take back that control and battle many of the negative emotions you may be feeling.
The Anger Trap: Free Yourself from the Frustrations that Sabotage Your Life by Les Carter and Frank Minirth: Are anger and resentment sabotaging your job hunt? You may not even realize you're showing these emotions, but getting them under control can make you happier, better able to find a job, and a much more fun person to be around.
Transforming Anger: The Heartmath Solution for Letting Go of Rage, Frustration, and Irritationby Doc Childre, Deborah Rozman, and Matthew McKay: Getting angry about your situation isn't going to do much. In fact, it might make things even worse. While anger is an understandable reaction, you can learn to keep yours under control with some help from the methods taught in this book.
I receive regular emails from Vault, Talent Zoo, Monster and Career Builder about writing resumes, interviewing and getting that job. Most of the time I skim through those emails and dismiss most of the advice they dole out -- not because I know more than they do or that what they have to say doesn't have any merit – but because I’m just not interested in doing what they advise.
I’ve tried most of their approaches and they don’t work for me. So I come across disingenuous. Some people may be able to sell it, but I can’t. And now that I’m 32, I don’t want to have to. Unless their way actually guarantees me a job, which it never has, then the entire process is basically a crapshoot anyway.
For one thing, I hate the term “sell yourself”. What is there to sell? You either like my resume or you don’t. You’re either impressed by my background or you’re not. Admittedly, there’s nothing in my professional background from the last five years that’s particularly impressive anyway. I never landed a major account. I didn’t grow a small piece of business into a larger one (for many reasons having little or nothing to do with me or my abilities).
The best thing I did do in the last five years was to NOT lose any established piece of business. Can I sell THAT?
This “sell yourself” bullshit is especially encouraged in this current job market where employers have the upper hand as there are more applicants than openings in most industries. Consequently, the entire interview process has become so lengthy, unpredictable and improbable -- even for the lowest of positions – that companies are losing out on really good talent who either find comparable work elsewhere or just take anything in order to bring some money into the household.
One such email from the job search site Vault.com featured an article which caught my attention in a way that didn’t elicit a skeptical eye-roll. It was titled “Stop Looking for a Job, Start Looking for an Opportunity” and was authored by Darren Hardy.
According to the article, we are in the greatest times of opportunity in human history -- if we know how to seize them. Hardy goes on to provide seven strategies on how to seize those opportunities:
1. Adapt to the new reality.
2. Stop looking for a job and start looking for an opportunity.
3. What do you have?
4. Who do you know?
5. What problem can you solve?
6. Return to self-reliance and self-responsibility.
7. Take control of your future!
These strategies reminded me of a Time article from 2009 titled “The Future of Work” with lessons on how to succeed in the new American workplace -- one without briefcases, offices, benefits, old-school bosses, corporate ladders or retirement – by figuring out a new path into a world of opportunity.
The article was published a couple of weeks prior to my resigning from the ad agency I worked for in Massachusetts. I wanted to be a part of that new workplace. I figured it would serve me better and my ever-evolving mindset than the old one.
But because I needed the money, I wound up back in an old-school workplace that wanted to be more new-school as long as it could still practice old-school workplace tenets. When I was mercifully and gladly laid off in July, I remembered that issue of Time (which I still have) and decided that I was going to focus even more on my writing and find some way to eke out a living doing so.
When that Vault email hit my inbox in November, it just reinforced what I had been doing since July.
And now I’ve taken the next step.
Since the layoff, I’ve looked into a lot of writing opportunities – some of which were in line with my capabilities. A lot of them were not. For some people, it’s a foot in the door. For me, it’s another delay.
I know what kind of writer I am. I know what kind of writer I want to be. I know what I have to offer. I have a pretty good idea of where I can fit. I don’t know all the opportunities out there and I remain open to them. As long as I keep writing, I can stumble upon that elusive perfect job. Better yet, that elusive perfect job could stumble upon me.
The message that I received from both the Vault and the Time articles is that the current job market is forcing many of us to chart our own paths and create our own opportunities in a world where many are being taken away.
It is for this reason that I am doing what I will announce on Monday.
So…shit got pretty real a few weeks when I was sent a lease renewal notice with a rent increase.
Did the building’s management company not read my comment on the survey THEY sent me where I requested a month-to-month lease and a $100 DECREASE in rent? Apparently not.
Still, I refuse to move. Between LA, NY and MA, I have had TEN (10!) different addresses over the course of the last ten years.
If I have to move again, I am getting rid of everything that will sell – including the carpeting. I started walking through my apartment thinking about what I could get rid of. Though I spent five years building my DVD collection, a sad and painful visit to the “we buy used” section of Amoeba Records on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood is probably in my near future.
I then took to Craig’s List to post for a roommate to share my one-bedroom apartment. It’s doable but the problem is that people who would be willing to do that are probably in their late teens or early to mid-twenties and noisy as hell. Older people who are quieter aren’t going to want to sleep in a living room. I sure as hell don’t want to. I did that for nine months after returning to LA from NY.
I’ve gotten three responses so far and neither panned out. The first guy opted out. The second guy was a girl. I lived with a girl before and it’s unfortunate that she and I aren’t really friends anymore. The third guy was also a girl but she didn’t need the apartment until June of 2012.
Talk about planning ahead.
The reason why I refuse to move is because I deserve to live where I live. I want to live where I live. Despite the dog-friendliness that I didn’t even realize until I had lived in the building for seven months, I like living where I live and don’t want to move.
For all you realists out there, the fact that we don’t always get what we want is beside the point because there’s no reason on this earth why we shouldn’t. Just because we are told that life isn’t always fair doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be and I’m going to occupy some shit until it is.
I think a lot about all the possibilities. They are scary. I constantly wonder if I’m doing all I can to ensure some semblance of a near future. I don’t know. I just do what I know to do right now – which is to write. And keep writing. And then keep writing some more.
I just really wish Facebook hadn’t changed their interface AGAIN. It really screwed up my readership.