‘How is it that you have had so many jobs but you never been hired?’
I started out as an accountant at a law firm that started downsizing in early 2008. I was fortunate enough to find another job but it was a temp-to-hire. Since the economy got worries I never got hired and the department I was working in was outsourced. This was the start of my three year journey of being unemployed.
The hardest thing about being out of work so long was never having a consistent check. Each temp assignment was different by pay and length of assignment. The most I made was $26/hr the least $8/hr. Some lasted 6 months others only a day or just a few hours.
There was a number things that kept me from getting jobs besides not having one:
1. The amount of jobs I had in such a short period of time would make companies ask, “How is it that you have had so many jobs but you never been hired?”
2. They never wanted to pay the finders fee from the temp agency, so a lot of times I would be on jobs while they did interviews and trained new people for the job I was already doing.
3. When I would apply for jobs that were well below what I used to make, employers would see my degree and work history and tell me I was over qualified for the position. I had one experience where I did a phone interview and when I was invited to come down to talk to the manager, as soon as I walked through the door he began apologizing to me. Saying, “I’m sorry to have you come down here but you are way to over qualified for this position.” Pretty much was shown the way out before the elevator I was on closed its doors.
The jobless benefits were very helpful in filling in the gaps of when I would go long periods of time with no work. I never did get a chance to exhaust them. But I did take full advantage of all the government programs that were available that I would qualify for such as WIC and many other programs provided by utility companies for low income families.
Yes competition is tough, its to the point companies become really picky and start dismissing good workers for the silliest things. I remember temping for one company where the hiring manager didn’t like the car the person was driving, or the shoes they were wearing.
In the end, after three long years, I was able to find a job.
I pretty much signed up with every temp agency in my area and I took any job they gave me. Temp agencies have a list of who are good workers and who are not. To get on the top of the good worker list you need take any job they give you, no matter how much you hate it, and just do your best. Overtime they will keep calling you for more and more work. This is what helped me to support my family and it extended my unemployment benefits for over three years without filling for an extension.
The easiest way to find work is to not lock yourself in to only being able to do one thing.
My work history shows accounting, but the three years I was out of work I did electrical, car detailing, small business consultant, auto mechanics, baking, and construction. Never think you are too big for any job, also look at certain hobbies you have, you never know you maybe able to make money off of it.
Most of the things I did I knew nothing about—like electrical work I knew someone who did it and I was his helper. Car detailing—a major car wax company has free classes on the weekends that teach you how to detail a car, and auto mechanics I used YouTube to learn how to do basic auto repairs.
Think outside the box and never be afraid to ask for help or use any government assistance program. You have to remember when you were working you paid taxes into those programs so you have every right to use them.
Mason B., via email