Unhelpful Employment Office

I shouldn’t be too hard on the lady, she really is trying to help.  Maybe there is a grain of truth to things, which is making me feel uncomfortable.  Let me start over.

I’ve been working with this nice lady from the employment office, who I will call Carol.  She is very perceptive and a bit of a counselor.  Her job is to help people find jobs.  She teaches a class on job hunting (it was a requirement for me to take it) and one of the things they talk about is going door to door with a resume in hand meeting receptionists and finding out about the company, then leaving your resume with them.  There’s a story about an IT guy who lost his job and found a new one within three weeks by going door to door. (So to speak.)  She’s telling me to do this too.  Right.  When I have a very specialized background?  She also said that I need to focus my job search in order to focus my resume.  She’s not going to help me with my resume until I can determine what fields I want to focus on.  I feel helpless.  If I knew what the hell I wanted to do, wouldn’t I be doing it?

Research: yes, I enjoy it, but do I love it?  No, love is too strong a word.  Am I any good at it? Yes and no.  I’ve always been good at some aspects of it but poor at other aspects of it.  I’m not a good organizer and sometimes I have trouble thinking outside the box.  Yes, seriously, a bipolar who can’t think outside the box.  I get curious about things, but then my curiosity fades and I’m bored.  (I am so easily bored.)  I don’t know if I am really any good at research or not.  I love analyzing data and looking for trends, which then lead to answers.  Is that research?  Yes, but you need to have an idea to explore in the first place.

College Teaching: yes, I enjoy it, but I don’t always have the answers.  Students expect that you always have the answer for things.  It took me years to make my intro courses into something I could be proud of, but my upper division courses were always a mess.  I couldn’t even follow things in the textbook – it was worse than being a student the first time through.  How did I get my PhD in the first place?  It must have been a miracle.  I’m doubting my teaching skill as well.  I went to Rate My Professor .com and looked up my scores.  Pretty sad. 😦  Well, sad for someone who really cares about what they are doing.  I got an overage average score of 2.5/5.

I’m not going to find a job teaching now, we’re well into the fall, so that’s irrelevant.  I thought about high school and Carol asked me why I hadn’t applied for my teaching certification.  She pointed out that there must be a reason.  I didn’t tell her this, but yes, there is a reason.  I’m terrified.  I’m afraid I will do it and get the job and discover that I hate working with children/young adults.  She suggested that I try substitute teaching.  It’s $60 for the background check and fingerprinting.  It pays $50/day.  So two days worth of work and I have paid for the background check.  I guess it’s worth applying.  It would at least tell me if it’s a job I would enjoy, tolerate, or utterly loathe.

I mentioned putting on weight.  She said “you know the solution to that, don’t you?”  Get up early, go for a walk, etc.  It will help with the depression, give you more energy, blah, blah, blah.  Like my problems with depression are going to be solved with a walk every morning?  If that were the case, I wouldn’t be on Paxil, Lamictal and Geodon.  And even then I’m still struggling.  No, she doesn’t know the details.  And bipolar is one big detail.

I know she’s trying to be helpful, but telling me about her life and how she tries not to let her impending divorce get her down doesn’t make me feel any better.  I feel worse.  She has a full-time job, kids to raise, etc.  I have none of that and I still can’t get it together.  Tomorrow is another day was her message.  What I hear (emotionally) is that she can do so much more in her day than I can do in mine.  Just writing this post has taken me nearly an hour and I haven’t even started editing yet!  I’m so slow at everything, which is why I don’t work well in a fast-paced environment.  (Although, believe it or not, I do type relatively fast and with two hands!)

So why am I writing all this tonight?  It’s not to bash the nice lady at the employment office.  She means well.  And I think door to door resume submissions might work for some people, but won’t work for me.  I don’t want any of the jobs I’ve already had.  I don’t know what I want.  Maybe it’s time to start my own business, except I don’t think I could handle that either.  What I do know is that my last job was a mistake (except financially) and I should listen to my instincts in the future.  Unfortunately, my instincts aren’t talking right now.


© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Slipping Gears

I feel like I am slipping gears here.  I can tell by my shower rate.  (This may be TMI, so feel free to skip ahead if you like.)  Anyway, I don’t take a shower every day – usually.  It’s hard to get up the motivation for something as simple as a shower.  Well, I’ve got nowhere to go and no one to impress, so what’s the point?  May as well save the water bill and stretch the soap.  I talked to my pdoc about it, and she said that showers are a lot of work. She also said she thinks people take showers too often. I inferred that meant it was OK not to shower every day.  But sometimes 2, 3 even 4 days go by with no shower.  It’s bad when your husband needs to stress that you take a shower because you smell.  (I warned you about the TMI!)  So my shower rate is a guide to my depression levels.  There are other clues too like my frequency of posting (you may have noticed this) and my desire to work out.  (Which always prompts a shower!)  But I’ve not worked out in two weeks now. My new-found muscles have probably faded away by now. 😦

As for the reasons, well, obviously the unemployment is hard on me.  Job hunting is frustrating.  It’s a real blow to your self-esteem to keep interviewing and failing.  I know I shouldn’t look at it as failing, but it feels like failing.  Maybe there are candidates out there that are more qualified than me, but it hurts every time I get turned down for something.  Take the last job interview, where I didn’t even hear back from them!

It’s all a waiting game for me.  Waiting to hear back from applications, waiting for the right job to come along, watching my rainy day fund (savings) go down the drain as it seems to be constantly raining.  No, I shouldn’t say that – things could be worse.  I could be racking up tons of medical bills at the same time, so thank God that isn’t happening.  But there is a constant drizzle – this unemployment saga.

Technically, I’ve run out of unemployment benefits.  Thanks to the Obama funding, there are extended unemployment benefits available.  My state has an overall low unemployment rate (6%) so the tier 2 and tier 3 benefits are gone, but at least there is still the tier 1 extension.  So long as I am approved for that, then I can keep collecting my $300 a week, which stretches our budget significantly.  The biggest bill we have is our mortgage at almost $1600 a month.  That mortgage bill wasn’t bad when it was only 25% of my income, but it’s quite a drain now.  We will definitely have to sell the house in the spring.  I just hope there are no major repairs that need to be done.

So you are probably tired of hearing about my showers and my job hunt and my income woes, but I haven’t got much else to talk about.  I could tell you about my Skyrim characters but I don’t know that would be interesting to most of you either.  (Takers anyone?)

Writing all this down does help.  I don’t journal so this blog is all I’ve got.  I’ve tried to journal (I know it would be good for me) but I just can’t keep up with it.  I know that it would be great to have a record of my life, but I only write when I’m stressed or really need to express something.  I’ve kept a lot of old emails, mostly from manic or mixed episodes that have negative experiences associated with them, that I should purge from my life.  I keep them because they are a record of where I’ve been.  I don’t read them, but maybe I should.  I think that now that I am on proper medication and fairly stable that it is a time for reflection.  But then again, I’m slipping gears, so maybe I’m not ready yet.

Employment Pre-screening: Going Too Far?

As many of you know, I’ve been on the job hunt for a while now. And in the course of that hunt, I’ve seen some interesting things. Like one company who wanted me to take a personality profile quiz when I submitted my application. Another one stated that by applying for this job, I give the company the right to pull my credit profile both before I get the job and at any time after I get the job. So if I fall on hard times and lose my credit rating, does that make me ineligible for a job? I don’t have one, therefore I can’t get one? Or if I have a job and my credit rating slips, am I no longer qualified for the job?

Employers can’t discriminate on gender, race, disability, religion or sexual orientation, but can they discriminate against you based on some computerized personality screening or your credit profile? Whether I think people are all just sheep and do what they are told, or if I think people are basically good or bad or if most supervisors care about their people – does any of this have any bearing on my skills and qualifications? Are companies doing this just because they can do this and get away with it? What’s wrong with the interview process that companies think they have to pre-screen applicants with computerized quizzes?

You’re asked to be honest, and so I was (screw the questions) but do they really think that someone is going to click ‘Strongly Agree’ with the statement: I have never been angry with anyone. Really? Never lost your temper? With anyone? Ever? Seriously? Have you ever driven over the legal speed limit? Well, since I got a speeding ticket once, I can’t say that I’ve never gone over the speed limit, now can I? What’s the matter, doesn’t the background check tell them enough?

Probably my favorite question of the day is: It is OK to sell illegal drugs to your coworkers if they can afford it. Do you: strongly agree/agree/uncertain/disagree/strongly disagree ?

No, I’m not making this up. I just wasted 30 minutes of my life taking a 100 question assessment, where about 75% of it was about illegal drug use in the workplace and stealing from your employer.

No wonder people can’t get jobs. The pre-employment is unbelievable!

© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Never Heard Back

I know some of you were waiting to hear how that job interview turned out. Well, guess what? They never told me. Anything. Since classes started yesterday and I am still 1400 miles away, I am guessing that I didn’t get the job. A friend of mine said it was ‘tacky’ of them not to get back to me. Whatever. I don’t think I’d want to work at a place that disorganized and inconsiderate.

And so here I sit, wondering where to go next.

I wonder what jobs are available for an intelligent, over-educated, opinionated, middle-aged woman. Yes, I have to confess that I am middle-aged now, and wondering if things will ever get crossed off my bucket list. (I still want to go to Scotland and New Zealand, and dozens of other places.) If only I hadn’t screwed up this last job with my 4 weeks of vacation and $120k paycheck. But my mental health is much better by not working there. So the real question is: what is the price of mental health?

Oh, now that’s a topic that should be a blog post all by itself.

Bucket-list is another blog topic too.

Guess I’m just brainstorming now. Wait, that’s out of fashion. Oh well.

My left arm is bothering me today. I’ve got a dull ache in my shoulder and down the arm, with tingling in the hand. No, it’s not a heart attack. At least, not very likely. I’ve been to the ER on several occasions under similar circumstances and my heart is fine. Stress test is fine. What’s not fine is the damn neuropathy and ‘probable’ MS. It could also be that my shoulder is so cramped up from stress and what have you that it’s putting pressure on a nerve. That’s what it feels the most like. I wish I could afford to go back to my massage therapist!

Blah. My life is still boring, that’s why I haven’t written anything. I did make a couple of cute cards so I’ll post those with a 30 days of creativity post. Soon. No, really, soon.

So what should I talk about? I’m really doing a poor job of creating a post today. I’m all rambley and stuff. Brainstorming. That’s it. It may not be cool anymore but I still like it.

Any ideas out there as to what I should write about? My life is pretty dull. 😦

And my arm hurts. Bummer.


© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Applications

I hate filling out applications. It becomes so disheartening. They always ask: What was your reason for leaving?  I got fired, OK?  It’s more than that, my therapist even said so, but that’s the short answer.  I was let go.  That sounds so much better than I was fired.  At least when you are let go you get unemployment.  And believe me, unemployment helps.

Let me recap my experiences for you:

I lost one because of my bipolar.  I was dumb enough to tell them about my Multiple Sclerosis and bipolar diagnoses.  The company was in the process of downsizing anyway and they couldn’t count on me to be in the office with my medical issues. I sued them unsuccessfully.  This is why I will never tell another employer about my bipolar.

I lost my academic position because of sexual discrimination.  I had always suspected it was an administrative decision, but one of my former students came across a memo from the dean to the chair stating that they were impressed with my progress as a teacher.  This was less than six months (including summer) before I was berated by my department chair for poor student evaluations.  I also learned from another student that my evaluations were not as bad as stated because he had seen them.  He also found out that the chair had the good ones removed and shredded.  Can you believe this?  I considered suing the university for sexual discrimination but decided against it.  After all I was going on to a $100+k job – it wasn’t worth my time and effort.  Everyone knew that I deserved to have my contract renewed – except the people who had the power to make such decisions.  Part of me berates myself for losing that job even though I didn’t do anything wrong.  I stood up for myself, my students, and what I thought was right.  I rubbed the wrong feathers the wrong way.  I don’t regret what I did there.  But as a friend of mine put it, if you rise above the rest, someone is likely to chop your head off.

I really blame myself for this last job.  I couldn’t handle the people, the pressure, the work.  I was out of my element and I hated what I was doing.  All my mental illnesses began to implode as I worked with the narcissist and his henchman.  I lost grip on reality and I lost my grip on myself.  The harder I tried to hold on, the more my illnesses bled through, mixing into the pot of bad blood between my coworkers and myself.  My PTSD skyrocketed.  I started having nightmares several times a week.  I was afraid to go to work.  When I was there, I couldn’t concentrate.  Something would happen and I would be out working off my temper or crying in a friend’s office.  I wasn’t effective.  I couldn’t be effective.  Add to all that my injuries and several work-related relapses, they determined I was no longer fit for duty.  I hadn’t been fit for duty for a while.  I should have been out on mental health leave a year earlier.  Maybe none of this would have happened then.  My wrist wouldn’t have been injured and maybe my right arm would have been fixed sooner.  I don’t know if either will ever be 100%.  I gave too much of my soul to this job for the sake of a lucrative paycheck and a little prestige.

Now I’m filling out applications again.  And faced with the question: What was your reason for leaving?  You can’t write: sexual discrimination. You can’t write: forced out for medical reasons. So sugar-coat it and call it contract not renewed, received other offer, company downsizing. What else can I write? I wasn’t needed, I wasn’t wanted anymore. End of story. But that’s difficult to handle, even when your therapist says, “it wasn’t your fault.” Because yes, some of it is my fault. It’s my fault for not trying harder. It’s my fault for letting people get under my skin. It’s my fault for being dumb enough to share personal information. Information is a weapon. This is why I write anonymously.

 

© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

No Word Yet

Well, I’m getting pretty anxious here. I still haven’t heard from the college and I’m starting to get depressed. (It doesn’t help that I woke up with a stomachache and haven’t felt well all day.) I know, I know, administration can take their time, but really, I should have heard by now. Most of the day is over on the East coast.

What I don’t understand is why. Why am I not getting jobs? I’m getting interviews, but not jobs. Where am I going wrong? I used to never have this problem. If I interviewed, I got the job. But I was usually hypomanic. I’m not hypomanic. I am boring old stable me. Should I go off my meds? Would that help?

I just don’t get it. I know, I know, they still might call. But my hopes are dwindling by the minute. And here I got my car repaired ‘just in case’. I’ve been pre-planning ‘just in case’. I know I said I wasn’t going to count my chickens before they are hatched, but I was counting eggs and trying to find room in the coop for the chickens ‘just in case’. I feel like smashing all the eggs right now.

Sorry, I’m just not in a good mood today. My BFF is on her way over soon so hopefully that will cheer me up. I don’t know what to do. Will I ever teach again? Or are people meeting me and wondering about my age? I always thought that was more of a problem in industry than academia, but maybe I’m wrong. Or is it something else? I sometimes feel like they can look at me and see that I am crazy. Is there a big sticker on my forehead?

I am so sick and tired of being unemployed. I hate this. I hate waiting. I hate today. 😦

 

© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Conference

Three busy days. There were supposed to be four, but I had to leave early in order to go to a job interview across the country. I got the student housing rate for the conference and I had a roommate for two of the nights. It was weird, but OK. She said something wrong in her talk, but I didn’t correct her. Not my place, actually. That and she came back after I had already gone to bed.

I did run into Dr. Bastard. All he did was nod and say hello. No scene, no conversation, nothing. Oh well, what was I expecting? I had no idea. He got what he wanted (me out of his lab) and I had my own business to attend to. At least he wasn’t nosy or nasty. Just cheerful as if he had met any other colleague, except he didn’t stop to talk my ear off like he would have with someone else.

But you know, when I saw him, I kept trying to think of what my therapist said, “He’s a pathetic man.” And I just kept thinking about that. There was one point, during one of the receptions, I could see him across the room and I’m pretty sure he could see me, that I developed some of that old fear. But then I was talking and laughing with a group of our peers. He might have just been jealous. I did avoid going back for some of the good food just so I wouldn’t have to go to near him. Cowardly of me, I know. But I think when we are faced with our abusers we tend to retreat into the shadows, hoping not to be seen, rather than to confront them. I had no intention of confronting Dr. B, but I do wish I hadn’t been so fearful as to avoid looking at some of the posters just because they were near by. Time will heal this wound too.

I did run into and talk to one of the other people from my former workplace. He’s someone who wants to be a nice guy but has some complicated mental issues. I don’t know exactly what his problems are, but I was told that he has periods when he is “off his meds” and can be extremely difficult -more than usual- to deal with. He has issues with touching (so he and I did not get along at first) and he has some attitude issues sometimes. He doesn’t respect female bosses, he told me that himself. He’s really smart and despite all his eccentricities, I really respect him as a scientist. I had sent him an email to that effect before he retired and I “left” but I didn’t know if he got it. So when I saw him, I told him again. I wanted him to know that I respected him. I don’t know why I felt that was so important, but it was to me. He thanked me, and then tried to change the subject, because I think he is uncomfortable with compliments.

I gave out five copies of my resume and several copies of my card. (Make your own business cards.) I did two interviews (with the same company) and talked to a couple of others. (It is a VERY small conference.) I didn’t get the chance to enjoy the conference part of it as much as I would like to have, but I went there for job searching and networking so I accomplished my goal.

Overall, it wasn’t a negative experience. And I am thankful for that. Maybe next time I won’t be too afraid to go over and view the posters that he is hovering around. Or better yet, maybe he won’t be there next time I get to go to it. I’m sure there will be a next time, just who knows when. 🙂

As an aside… no amount of ADD medicine can help you pay attention through a boring or incomprehensible talk!

© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.