6.19.2013

The Day Job Closet

I'm finally coming out of the day job closet.

My name is Ankh, I am an author, and the only reason I bother with non-writing work is to pay bills.  It's a hard thing to admit aloud, but it's finally sunk in.  I got degrees in psychology and sociology so I could understand people and write better characters.  So I'm now about to embark on a quest for a boring desk job...one that won't rob me of my energy to write when I get off work.

This finally hit home while I was talking with a manager on my floor who noticed I was applying internally.  He said some things which both confirmed my suspicions about my current, and also gave some tips which might land me a gig somewhere else...though I doubt that was his intention.

First off, red flags

Let's talk red flags on the job.  How do you know it's time to move on when there's seemngly no pressing need to move on?  You know...you have one of those jobs which seems "harmless" and it's easy to acclimate and start accepting certain things you really shouldn't.

1)  You don't like your job.  This is pretty much a gimme, but it's typically a sign we often ignore, especially when we have debts, kids, etc.

2) You constantly dream about your job, and not in a good way.  Sometimes this escalates to things like migraines and chest pains.  This is a definite sign you need a change.

3) You wake up one day and suddenly notice years have gone by.  And you have nothing to show for it.  You're still living paycheck to paycheck and you've only gained a meager raise or two.  Your boss says you can make more if you "exceed expectations", which is so subjective it's ultimately meaningless.  Or my personal favorite: they focus on bonuses rather than base pay.

4) When your managers/supervisors/whoever would rather chew off their own arm than do what you do.  This is a serious red flag.  At my current position and the position right before it, both of my trainers quit.  My manager-to-be at my current job also quit shortly before I completed training.

And since then, I've watch more managers either quit or get fired, and regardless of which, I noticed they all crawled through heaven and hell to avoid doing my job.  This tells me they believe that what I do ain't worth the headache and they would rather die than take on my duties.

5) When your managers/supervisors/whoever notice you're job-hunting and say things to stop you.  Mind you, they don't offer a hefty raise or some generous perks to entice you to stay; instead, they say things like "It's hard to a find a job these days" or "You should appreciate what you have" or "The company has invested in you."

This is a huge red flag.  This is the same argument used by domestic violence perps to keep their partners from going anywhere.  In short, it's intimidation rather than motivation.

Fashion Tips

1) Obviously, don't quit your job.  Get another one first and then move over, no matter how frustrating your current gig is.  And now, for the ones I recently learned.

2) Don't apply for multiple positions at the same institution.  This makes you look indecisive and unfocused.  Pick the one you want most and be ready to kill for it.  So make a list and cross companies off, unless you're applying for the same position.

3) When applying for a position, tailor the "Objectives Section" of your resume for that specific position.  It's not just your cover letter that has to conform anymore.  Both cover letter and resume have to read like this job is the only job in the whole wide world, and your universe revolves around it.

I found this to be particularly interesting because my resume has been combed, graded, and edited by professionals for years...and I only just learned this.

4) The stress is never worth it.  This I just learned from the Older Sis.  And she is so right.  It's easy to get caught up in the lie, the capitalist hype of this country.  And sure, the promise of more money sounds nice, but I've been sweating and stressing for years and I'm way behind on my books, and my life is passing me by, and I'm not happy.  The first book in my Guard series should've been out by now.  So should have two books revolving around the Hirosawas, along with the first book to introduce the d'Auvignes.  Not to mention Books 4 and 5 of the Selo & Inya series.

And it hasn't been worth it.  So...my new goal is to get a new day gig.  And if I make enough dough in the near future, I want to start a web series.

15 comments:

  1. Leo Princess6/19/13, 11:54 PM

    Godspeed, Ankh!

    ReplyDelete
  2. 2) Don't apply for multiple positions at the same institution. This makes you look indecisive and unfocused. Pick the one you want most and be ready to kill for it. So make a list and cross companies off, unless you're applying for the same position.

    This is good stuff right here. Imagine that.

    Girl, I coulda been told you about #3. I had the grand fortune of working for a government HR department for several months, and I learned about resumes real quick. My job was as a clerk and it was one of my duties to open the mail. When people from other departments came up to review the resumes for certain job postings, I watched them whittle 100 resumes down to 10 in two minutes. When I asked why, they told me that they didn't have time to try and figure out what the candidate could do based on their resumes; only resumes that clearly identified the stated position made the cut. Then on the second go-round, they looked for specific experience details, and only those that applied immediately to the stated position made that cut.

    Those were the two biggest things I learned while working there and they have served me extremely well. I keep five different resumes on hand, four tailored for a very specific job: educational research, instructional systems, curriculum development, teaching, and a general resume. I also have one written in a standard vita format. Before landing in education, I never had a problem finding a job.

    It's little things like that which can make or break a candidate.

    But I have to say that you're better than me. I can't do boring desk jobs. I need serious mental stimulation. But I salute you and wish you well in your career endeavors.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Goodluck. But you know a lot of people say the "objectives" section isn't necessary and can be a bit limiting. What can be useful is a short summary of your basic skills. The template I use has 3 columns which 3 skills in each column. It is really helpful b/c it immediately tells people what you are bringing to the table and the resume backs up where you used those skills.

    I think today everyone should have a LinkedIn profile. Everyone. Connect with the people you meet and use them to find more connections. You can get unsolicited interview offers that way which you can either pursue or decline.
    And you can include the link to your profile (which isn't just rehash of your resume) at the top of your resume.

    I went to b-school, where you get continuous access to what is considered to be the latest advice (so they even have seminars and give free counseling to alumni), but there is a good book on how to write a LinkedIn profile that explains the same things we were taught.

    YMMV though b/c my experience is in engineering, technology, and I guess a specific level in corporate America.

    Good luck though, b/c no matter what you are looking for or what you do, esp. as a POC and a WOC in particular, you get 3, 4, and 5.

    I'm sure many of us deal with being better educated and smarter with the people who control 3 and the ones who fall into categories 4 and 5.

    I work in tech and in a group that no one wants to be in, that has multiple open reqs for all of the supposed important work but they will not promote anyone in the group and it's funny b/c they demand skills/education that I have but that are very uncommon in our company, however what they will do is hire some long time employee who isn't very educated and give them the title and the money (my company loves its homegrown "talent" and the stuff that they pat themselves on the back for could be done by any younger person who has grown up using computers, b/c yeah, I'm not talking programming, I'm just talking about people who can't even use computers that well to improve the quality and efficiency of their work).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What can be useful is a short summary of your basic skills. The template I use has 3 columns which 3 skills in each column. It is really helpful b/c it immediately tells people what you are bringing to the table and the resume backs up where you used those skills.

      Interested parties can download one here.

      Delete
  4. Can you use kickstarter to fund a web series?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, but it helps to have a finished product first. Like a season one to whet people's appetite for season two.

      Delete
  5. You wake up one day and suddenly notice years have gone by. And you have nothing to show for it. You're still living paycheck to paycheck and you've only gained a meager raise or two.

    Good Lord woman I want to quit and I don't even work there! That aside. Find a money mentor. I lucked out when I was young. I came in contact with an older WOC coworker who schooled me about investing. Everyone should have something to show for all their hard work over the years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL - I've actually been there less than 2 years but I can see where this is going. There are folks who've been there for years (mostly women) with little to nothing to show for it, and they are bitter.

      I ain't goin' out like that.

      Delete
    2. I know what you mean. I have too many female relatives like that and they are not pleasant to be around AT ALL. I avoid them at all costs because they are 100% negative.

      Delete
  6. Since you are a writer, have you ever thought of positioning yourself to help people who cannot write to help pay the bills so you can work on your writing more?
    The book I was talking about was written by a writer and she basically offers her services to people to help them with resumes, LinkedIn profiles, etc.
    I have other writer friends who do things like grant writing (either full time at non-profits or freelance).
    But just a thought of how you can have a less mind-numbing way to pay the bills as your work your way to a full-time life as a writer.
    And how does the whole self-publishing thing work? I've seen some stories on people who have done that and been really successful.
    But you know a lot of native born English speakers cannot write a coherent resume or cover letter(b/c they have no comment of language or grammar), and that is something easy for a writer to do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Since you are a writer, have you ever thought of positioning yourself to help people who cannot write to help pay the bills so you can work on your writing more?

      *raises eyebrow* They've got gigs like that in this economy???

      Links or it never happened.

      Delete
    2. Okay, here's and example...this isn't the person I was referring to, I'll add a link to her book too. But yeah, since so many Americans are only semi-literate AND need jobs, and you are a writer, you can ghost write for them and charge them a pretty penny for it.
      http://www.linkedin-makeover.com/linkedin-profile-writer/
      The 2nd book I own, and she has links to her services as well as her pricing listed in the book.
      http://www.amazon.com/KILLER-LinkedIn-Profile-Mistakes-ebook/dp/B007708HJC

      The other thing you could do is help these same semi-literate people write admissions essays for grad school.

      The grant writing one probably IS harder b/c it has to do with begging people for money which they get tight-fisted with when they feel insecure which then has the effect of making it harder to get new gigs. The friend who free-lanced did it a while ago and has long since beconme a director in a non-profit after starting off, several jobs ago, as the grant writer for the organizaiton that hired her.

      But school admissions and LinkedIn profiles ARE needed by all of the people who need a job and need to make themselves stand out and who cannot write.

      Delete
    3. There are also many non-profits (often small and not very well known) that tend to look for writers to put together various documents (like policy briefs, monitoring reports, annual reports etc.). Maybe that can be something to look into?

      Delete
  7. Jobs are definitely aren't what they used to be. I longed for the days where my boasted about working 30 years on his job, getting paid well and actually liked what he was doing. You would hear a lot of that during the days but not now.

    If someone isnt expressing their dismay about their jobs, they're talking about how hard it is in getting one.Jobs that was great to work for are beginning to turn to dictatorships for some. I've been on my job for a while now. I love where Iam and still do, but I was looking at the news about the CEO of Men's Warehouse being ousted out of his own company .Supposedly, it was said that he didn't like the direction his company was going and disagreed with members of his board. It is said that the company is good to work for. I don't know what is/isn't the truth, but I was just thinking that on case that the people thought that Men's Warehouse was a good place to work for and if the CEO suspicions prove him right, then there may be going down the toilet.

    I think about that with my jobs. Sure they have made some minor cuts on my job, but its still a good place to work. Sometimes I think about that what if the head people are done this way and my workplace go South? It can happen and if it happens that way like you mentioned on here,I'm gone. It seems that people works more and get paid less for what they do. A friend of mine was telling me about the 4th person that bought out her company and they have a high turnover rate in maintaining employees. I'll never forget the time when I was 16years old what a prospective employer told me about jobs like that, LEAVE !because it won't be long before it crashes .that's was what I told her and eventually she did. Luckily she did because the job did crash 6 months after I told her that.

    ReplyDelete
  8. You just summed up my last job and the drama that went down the weekend I got back from seeing Amaya.

    Another red flag. When you're dealing with the same gaslighting, goal post shifting and abuse that you dealt with from an ex, its time to get the hell out of there.


    Also, I'm gonna leave this here:

    http://dennisupkins.com/2013/05/28/putting-faith-to-purpose/

    ReplyDelete

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