Saturday, February 14, 2015

Four Months of Unemployment

And it's not like I haven't been looking. I went through the three stages of rigamarole:

ONE: Ward off all the India-contracted placement agencies and spam-bots. "Hill-lo! Muy neme is... Petrick... Juhn-sun." As soon as everyone knows you're jobless (and they can scent this like bee-pheromones), your email will fill with noise and your phone will ring off the hook. All these inhuman, soulless entities will promise you they've looked at your resume and assure you they've given this a lot of thought, and in blatant contrast to these two statements they will offer you a position in sales.

Response: Unsubscribe, "do not call me again," modify your resume on Monster and CareerBuilder.

TWO: Jump through the hoops of recruitment/placement/(temp) agencies. They want your resume and cover letter, and then they advise you on how to rearrange the format of your resume. They want you to take a piss-test, even though you're in your mid-40s and are well beyond this nonsense, and you're applying for a corporate entry-level position with zero responsibility. Urine makes recruitment/placement/(temp) agencies feel powerful. They offer you a bunch of job leads based on their misinterpretation of your resume. When you correct them, they promise to get back to you soon and then you never hear from them again.

Response: Give them everything they ask for, answer all their questions, and they will disappear of their own accord because they have nothing to offer you. When they promise to follow up in a few days, rest assured they're as good as gone.

THREE: Following up on your own job leads. You've gone well beyond Monster and CareerBuilder. You get weekly updates from LinkedIn, and they reliably cough up several positions. You get weekly updates from Elance, despite their negative reviews, and they have some places for you to try. You get weekly updates from ZipRecruiter, and they rank their several hits by percentage of relevance to your skillset (as they interpret it). You're not qualified for any of their jobs, but they remind you of them week after week without fail, insisting you're 93% compatible with a position asking for stuff you have no experience with.

Response: You write to some of these sites and most of them wait to accept your resume before letting you know they've gone ahead with someone else. Some places let you come in for an interview, and if you hear from them at all, they've gone ahead with someone else. If you still get updates from Monster and CareerBuilder, they assure you it's because you're worthless and flawed and you've done everything wrong. No way is the system broken: it's all you, but you can fix your condition by following their advice in a casual-corporate-tone blog post hacked out by an intern who, unlike you, was willing to take a $20 pay cut and generate all their social media content for half a year.

I have produced a few good leads. I've done some unexpected networking (applying for new renter's insurance, the agent said he works with many nonprofits and would put out some feelers for me), and I've freelanced a couple times.

I've also used this time to work on my writing. I've uploaded two novelettes for sale and a third one in the writing community where I'm trying to drum up a fan base. So far I've sold eight copies of my work, and that's great, but it doesn't pay for a burger and a beer. Pursuant to this, I've plunged down the rabbit hole of self-promotion:

  1. I have shadow accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other places, to which I post links to my published work.
  2. I also have a shadow blog where I work on short stories, and I direct people there. Haven't gotten any feedback that way, though.
  3. Now that I've got two stories up for sale, I need to think about "book trailers," something I've never heard of but which are, apparently, everywhere.
  4. And if I want to do that myself, I need to generate my own artwork and learn YouTube's video editing suite.
  5. I should also think about rendering my stories as audiobooks, which means finding skilled but free voice talent and learning recording software.
  6. PLUS... I really should be writing more stories. Whether going through two notebooks of ideas or hitting my writing forum up for challenges, I should always be writing.
  7. Now would be a good time to learn Google Analytics, as well.
I mean, as long as I have all this free time, I should be doing something with it. My wife's fear is that I'll get a great new job and immediately start beating myself up for having wasted four months of wide open days where I could've been producing salable literature. Such as it is.

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