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  • Writer's pictureMr. Jamoke

Unemployment Blues

Yesterday I found myself yelling at my mailbox: “Where the fuck is my money!?” Another day of anticipation, another let-down. No unemployment check. They sent one over three weeks ago to wet my beak. Nothing since.


Today, some job search engine I had never heard of or enrolled in (to my knowledge) sent me the following email:


“We created a personalized alert of top matching jobs for you!”


The first entry: “Scalehouse attendant landfill > Waste Management Inc. > Aurora, CO.


It’s not nice to send me jobs I am unqualified for.


A month ago, I thought I was sitting pretty. I was in late-stage interviews with 3 different companies and in early-stage discussions with a behemoth that has deep pockets. I was even working to get the other layoff victims interviews and connections. 3rd party recruiters lost interest in me because it was so “obvious that [I] would soon be getting an offer.”


Unfortunately, there are three certainties in life: Death, taxes, and the incompetence of corporate America.


Company # 1: I almost canceled on these guys twice cause they were so annoying and I was suspicious of their competence and intentions. When you’re unemployed though, it’s hard to justify turning down an interview. What else was I going to do that day? Mop the floor, do some laundry, and scour LinkedIn?


Halfway through my all-day, in-person interview they subjected me to a panel interview. Five people sitting across from me blasting me with questions about how I performed my role in my previous company, a rival company. How did you guys do X? What sort of incentives did you pay? What tool did you use?


My worst suspicions were confirmed. A fancy title with surprisingly low pay coupled with an interrogation rife with inappropriate questions. This wasn’t a job interview; this was corporate espionage.


Company # 2: Everything was going swimmingly until interview 5.


“So, you’re an I.T. guy. I don’t need IT guys. I need people who can talk to clients and sell.”


“Ma’am, I am NOT an IT guy. In fact, I don’t like computers much at all. My entire experience is client facing work, primarily with the C-level. I have generated tens of millions in revenue from BD efforts over the years. I think I could leverage my experience….”


My sentence was interrupted by her yawning. I think she still has her wisdom teeth by the way.


I changed course. “What do you think are your clients’ current needs and what has been the biggest barrier to winning more business with them. Or bringing on new clients?”


Awkward silence for 10 seconds followed by: “I have the solutions. I just need someone who can talk to clients, not more I.T.”


……………. So ya, I am not convinced I want to work with this person.


Company # 3: During interview 1 we established that my salary expectations were “on the high end but still within range for the role.”  What followed were seven interviews over six weeks. Nothing but compliments, smiles and good vibes all around. After interview 7 the recruiter called me to talk about the offer they wanted to make.


“Unfortunately, we just finalized our budget for the year and this role will actually pay 20% less than what we had initially discussed was your minimum requirement. How do you feel about that? I wanted to call and check in because I don’t want to make you an offer that you are going to reject.”


“…………………. Well, ………….. quite frankly…………… I am stunned. I mean, how would you feel if I had just called you and told you I had decided to readjust my expectations upward by 20%”


“Ok, I will talk to the VP and see what we can do with the budget.”


Haven’t heard since.


Company # 4 – The behemoth. I’ve had several coffee chats / “not formal interviews” with the hiring team. I have no idea if and what is next. This feels awkward and clumsy like college dating. I find myself wondering if and when to follow up. I don’t want to come across as disinterested, but certainly not over-eager or desperate. I have been out of the dating game for many years now, but I believe the point of all these rendezvous is still to eventually get laid. Correct? I learned at a young age (courtesy of the MTV dating show “Next”) that people know almost immediately if they are into someone or not. Hell, some of the dweeb “contenders” on that show were rejected by the girls before they even got off the dang bus. The girl saw a pair of new balance shoes and some pleated khakis and promptly howled “NEXT!”  She read right away that he cared little about his appearance (the NB shoes) and that mommy had probably procured those pants (momma’s boy) and had no need to see the upper half. So, have I been “nexted” already or are you in fact salivating at the prospect of spending more time with me but are playing hard to get? Sadly, much like my college days, I have no f-ing idea!


With my first 4 flings flaming out, I am now engaged with companies # 5 and # 6. All very early though. They could low ball, do some corporate waterboarding, or just yawn in my face. Who knows. Recruiting is a blood bath of incompetence and inefficiency. The market is soft though, that’s for sure. Worse yet, now we have AI tools that people more tech-savvy / nerdy than me use to auto-apply for jobs. On the receiving end, even when you know the hiring manager you still have to apply through the company’s designated portal which has a mind of its own. Hip Hip Hooray! Computers are talking to computers to figure out which humans should work together. How delightfully dystopian.


Even worse than all the incompetence, frustration and disrespect that comes with the job search; the truth is, I just want to retire. Yet here I am, embroiled in an ignominious quest to enter a new environment with the same old problem:


Idiots hassling me about nonsense.

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