And then there are rays of sunshine . . .

April 22, 2010

It’s not all bad. It never is.

Yes, I mentioned it’s been a touch week, but there are some good things going on.

1. I got a call from the city editor at the local daily newspaper. I have done freelance sports reporting for the paper before, but never anything beyond that. I had one interview with him, several years ago, and something didn’t click. He wants to talk to me about freelancing.

2. I am also going to hear back from the publisher of a local weekly newspaper I have worked for in the past. He has several special sections coming out that he could needs some stories written for.

3. I have been accepted at Examiner.com, one of the for-pay blogging sites. Not a lot of  pay, but pay nonetheless. Look for more on that down the road.

4. I am hard at work on a resume project and a social-networking project, and I am going to be doing some grant research as well.

5. One of my friends finally hit me upside the head and said, “Start doing photography for hire, too.” That suggestion actually came here. I am working on publicizing that. I have let the local papers know I am available already.

6. I asked four people for letters of recommendation, and I have seen two of them. There’s nothing better than reading a letter from someone who met you in the 1980s and still thinks you are really cool.

7. Finally, I have my friends. My friends are there, and they are behind me. That’s something that has really been brought home over the last three months.

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Ruts in the road . . .

April 22, 2010

There are happy weeks in the job-hunt, and there are unhappy weeks, and this, right now, is one of the unhappy weeks.

The way I figure it, I have today and tomorrow to turn it around, and that’s where I am going.

First off, I have not heard back from the nice lady at the wicked cool job I interviewed for last week. I did send her a thank-you note, but I have not heard anything since. I am going to check the mailbox this afternoon, then follow up with another e-mail.

The Census Bureau psition did not come to fruition. They did not have the job available that I was hired for, so it’s back to wait and see for me.

I have not heard back on anything else in the last week or so. Yes, it’s frustrating, but honestly, the highest percentage of people looking for jobs have been at it between six months and a year. That timeline would not be terrible for me, assuming I can land a teaching job for the Fall, which is one of my main goals at this point.

Sure, if I can find a solid job before then, that will be all good, but if I can scrap my way to late August and get back into the classroom, that would be great.

Updating my presence on several of the teaching websites is a priority for the next couple of days. Once the stuff is up there, the application process is pretty simple.

Yesterday, I applied for a total of five adjunct instructor positions at two community colleges (HVCC and ACC for those following along at home), as well as at a major PR firm in Albany that just went through a an ownership change (bought from within).

I have six applications to get out today, plus some freelance stuff I need to get done.

As I think about it, the most successful week on the job hunt is the last week, because that’s when you land a spiffy job. But, oddly, more and more I am becoming convinced that with the right part-time job as a base, I might  be able to make it freelancing, if I can really focus and work extremely hard.

We will have to see.

This is certainly an E-Ticket ride, for those who remember E-Ticket rides.


Semi-random job-hunting thoughts

April 19, 2010

Sometimes, as you cruise through the job hunt, certain thoughts stick in your head.

Here are a few of them:

  • While I have been unemployed for roughly 11 weeks, I have been job-hunting for a while, and I find that some jobs pop up over and over again. The paper in Roswell, NM, cannot seem to hang onto a sports editor, and Nemer Ford here in Queensbury hews up and spits out customer service managers like so many pumpkin seeds. There are probably another half-dozen places that I consistently see posting the same job or very similar jobs. Berkshire Farms, a which runs youth detention houses and similar places, is always looking as are many of the ARCs and similar places like Saratoga Bridges.
  • I will pull back on what I said about Indeed.com. It seems as though the issue of having dozens and dozens of telecommuting jobs from the same job services, over and over, has been fixed. I still think it’s the best web search service to use. I also continue to promote Craigslist.
  • Maybe it’s me, but I just see it as a matter of course to send a cover letter with a resume. Some places ask specifically for one and say they will not review a resume without it. That seems to go without saying, as far as I am concerned, but I think some folks might feel the e-mail that the resume is attached to can be considered a cover letter. I don’t buy that, and I do not think employers do, either.
  • I dislike it a lot when places ask for salary requirements. I look at it as another way to screen you out. I have seen one place that will not consider a resume without such information. Honestly, I want to work for you only if you are a fair and reasonable employer, and if you are, I believe you will offer me a fair and reasonable salary. All of the interview training I have seen says to delay that discussion as long as you can and to make sure you have current salary information for that position.

A Week in the Life: Part The Second

April 19, 2010

It’s right there on the job description for “Unemployed Guy,” right after No. 1 “Find A Job.”

That’s obvious, but then there’s No. 2 “Deal with the paperwork.”

I do have to be fair and say that in general, at least in New York state, weekly filing is as simple as going to the web site and clicking some ticky boxes, then the payment shows up in direct deposit a few days later.

Trouble is, I distinctly remember filing on April 11, but after when I filed yesterday, I discovered that it had not gone through, so I am a payment behind. I have written a letter already, and it goes out today. I am going to try to call today, but it’s really, really hard to get through. This is not a surprise.

I also have to deal with forms for several weeks where I covered games for the local newspaper and only filed for two days of UI, because I worked the other two. Trouble is, you need to fill out a form for every week you do that, and it’s got to be done through the mail. I have those forms in the mail, too.

This whole thing also adds another monthly bill, but I cannot complain. I have to send a check to my previous employer to pay for the COBRA, but thanks to one of President Obama’s economic plans, I am paying about one-third of the actual cost.

Oh, and there was one other thing to do last week. I had to spend about an hour at the local One-Stop Center with about 20 other folks who are unemployed. It was odd for me, because I had worked at the One-Stop in the next county, doing the same thing. The woman leading the session was the same woman who hired me back in October 2007. That was kind of odd. There was a lot of good information, but I am not sure how much of it got through to folks.


Catching up on the past week: Part The First

April 19, 2010

We last left our intrepid blogger a week ago, in the middle of a job-hunt morning, and he hasn’t been seen since.

It turned out to be a pretty busy week, and things are really beginning to change.

Tomorrow’s schedule includes a 2 p.m. interview and training session for an office position at the U.S. Census office here in the North Country. It’s an eight-week temporary position, and I will find out the details when I go for the training. I did extremely well on the test (26 of 28), but I was not comfortable with the actual door-to-door work. I had hoped for a supervisory position, but I’ll be working as a clerk. The net pay won’t be much more than what I was collecting, but it’ll be a chance to learn new skills and to get out and have a new experience. I am unsure when it’s going to start.

The good thing is, it’s a temporary position, so I will be able to collect Unemployment Insurance when the job ends.

But there’s more.

You will also remember that you folks got me an interview last week, and I felt as though it went well. I’ll find out in the next few days just how well it went and whether I will be one of the two people brought it for a final interview with the CEO.

The job involves being a “connector,” bringing potential donors together with our non-profit organization. I’d be helping run some major event and helping the CEO visit other CEOs and company officers to convince them to work with us. For those of you who know me well, it’s basically, “Go out and be Liam.”

It seems like a great place to work, and I think it would be a great chance for a new career.

I sent out more job letters last week, and I have some lined up to send today. I worked the Internet job boards for about an hour yesterday and found a few things.

In addition, I am working on some freelance stuff, and I was able to bill a couple of papers last week for some work. Nothing on the sports writing front, unless Wilkes-Barre/Scranton beats Albany in a hockey game tonight. (I love this business).


Another day in the life: 10:15 a..m.-12:45 p.m.

April 12, 2010

10:15-12:15 p.m.: The skeletons for all of the cover letters are set up. There going to be close to a dozen today. Took a little recreational time and got a second post up here. This will be today’s third.

Not everything here at The Home Office is directly related to getting a job and writing blogs, articles, resumes and the rest. The dining room table is clean. The kitchen is clean, including a huge load of dishes (with one more waiting). The stove is even clean. Two bags of trash are on the back porch and ready to go downstairs. As a shiny bonus, the litter box is clean. If  the cats get gooshy food, there will be love forever. Or for an hour, maybe.

In all, there are eight items knocked off the to-do list. There was some free time on the computer slipped in there, and the third cup of coffee is pretty well gone. lunch beckons.


At the first turning point

April 12, 2010

A couple of opportunities have popped up over the last couple of days. I don’t want to be too specific, but I do want to share a little of what’s going on.

Friday, I got a call from an administrator at a non-profit  that helps people with mental disabilities in a variety of ways. It would be a fund-raising/gift officer position. Yes, my friends. You have seen me do that before. Like Saturday, for instance.

The cool part about this one was that she had read this blog and was intrigued by the job-skills entries you folks had written. “I had to talk to a guy whose friends felt like that about him.” So I have an interview tomorrow. This would be a good one, for my skills and for my soul.

The second is the solid possibility of being able to start with the Census for an eight-week office gig next week. That’s still coming together. A job would be good, and in some ways the timing and the chance to keep job-hunting would be a good thing. It would all depend on other potential job offers.

My friends continue to amaze me, by the way. I got an e-mail this morning from someone at a convention, where other folks said they were looking for writers to work on white papers and other projects. “I said I though I knew someone (wink),” she wrote. I am becoming more convinced that full-time job or not, I can finally start doing more professional writing.