I have a job

I got the offer about 2 weeks after I wrote my last post, and I started less than 2 weeks after that, so it’s coming up on my four-month anniversary. I didn’t blog about any of the hiring process–I was scared of jinxing it. And it’s taken me awhile to be able to write about it since then–partly I’ve been so busy, and partly I’ve been gathering my thoughts.

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The unemployed hiring manager

I was recently in the exceedingly ironic position of hiring  someone while unemployed myself.

The organization I volunteer for wanted to create a new part-time position (5-10 hrs/week). This organization has only 2 (now 3) paid positions, all of which are similarly part-time; the bulk of the work is done by volunteers. We talked a lot about this new position, but no one was moving forward, so I took the initiative to write up a job description, post it for free on local university career websites, and, when that wasn’t working, get approval to post a paid ad on Idealist.org.

Our ideal candidate was someone with an interest in nonprofit management and knowledge of our specific sector. Over about a month, we received 25 applications. They came from a wide range of applicants: there were a few people right out of college, some who were very advanced in nonprofit management, and some who had a good deal of experience in unrelated fields.

I wish I could have written back to many of the candidates with my feedback on their resumes and cover letters; instead, here’s where I turn into Ask a Manager:

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From the archives

Here’s a post I wrote late last October, when I was in my receptionist job. I was working on perfecting this when I got laid off, at which point it seemed irrelevant. But I’m posting it now as a record of what that job was like.

I’m six weeks into my new job.

At first I was really happy: having a real job made me feel needed and valued, and it was really good for me to have a legitimate reason to get out every other day. I was no longer isolated and felt like I had a purpose, however minor my contribution.

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Headdesk

Just sent off an application via Jobvite in which I attached the wrong cover letter file. The one that included a previous draft of the real cover letter, the copied-and-pasted job description, plus a generous sprinkling of bits and pieces from other cover letters. I spent far too long agonizing over this job application in the first place, and then I send it off and make a stupid, magnificently ironic mistake like that. After touting my brilliant eye for detail, killer proofreading abilities, and unmatched communication skills, I miss this. I guess it was bound to happen at some point. But is it better or worse that this is a job for which I got a contact through my ever-improving networking skills? If I were a nobody, then I could just scratch this one off the list: oops! But since I have an in, this person who doesn’t really know me is probably going to think I’m an idiot and regret recommending me.

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“Benign self-absorption”

I just got off the phone with my mom. I mentioned to her that I was going to get unemployment benefits, saying, “I didn’t think I’d qualify, but I do, so that will be really helpful.”

Her response: “Yeah, under Obama everyone gets everything they want, all they have to do is ask. Doesn’t matter if you’ve earned it or not.”

I have been through enough therapy at this point to know that my mom’s personal judgments often come at the cost of civility, and it doesn’t help the situation for me to take it personally. So I ignored her unintentional implication. But I was genuinely confused because I knew she’d made the tortured decision to collect on her benefits a couple of years ago. “Well, you got unemployment too when you were looking for work.”

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Feeling better

I’m feeling a lot better now than I was the other day.

First, I found out that I’m eligible for unemployment benefits. I applied a couple of weeks ago just for the heck of it, figuring I never made enough at any part-time jobs to qualify for anything. But a couple of days ago I got a form in the mail including the details of my weekly and maximum benefit amounts. Just knowing this has made a big difference for me–it’s not tons of money, but it’s so much more than $0, and I won’t have to feel like a total drain on my partner’s income.

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Unemployment Blues

Job hunting is as bad as dissertation writing. It’s different, because I am more motivated to find a job than I was when I was writing most of my dissertation. But job hunting is, like my dissertation, much more than a full-time job. Even when I’m not actively working on application materials or networking or informational interviewing, the foremost thought on my mind is I don’t have a job and I really, really, really need one. It’s gotten particularly bad lately, and I’ve been asking myself why. I only defended my dissertation a month ago, and I only graduated a week ago. Yet the trajectory of my pessimism has gone sharply downhill in that last week.

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