First the good: Originally, I was to be let go effective May 30. After some consideration, the powers that be have decided to extend my stay here for another month. That means I will be working until June 30 (a Monday, so it will probably be mostly a blowoff day with exit interviews, final desk cleaning out, and probably a small going-away party or lunch). My severance is extended accordingly, so I'll be receiving a check until August 21 (three days before my birthday), which includes my health insurance.
Now the great news: after several weeks of frustration, Kat has found herself a job. Not just any job, either. She'll be working for Sallie Mae, the nation's largest provider of student loans, as a Default Prevention Specialist. If any of you are delinquent on your student loans, you just might be getting a call from her. <
Finally, the mediocre news: I've been actively looking for a job for over three weeks, and other than some automated responses, there hasn't been a lot of progress. I've sent out a bunch of resumes for positions I may or may not be qualified for. I've sent at least twice as many meeting requests to cold contacts, emailing local companies that may or may not have job openings. Not sending them a resume, but an invitation to just meet and talk. I need to build up a network of contacts in the area to get some name recognition and to find jobs which aren't advertised, or which may not exist until I talk to the person. It's slow going, very time and labor intensive at first, but I'm hopeful.
I haven't spoken with recruiters yet, but I think I'm headed in that direction. A little explanation about recruiters: Your run-of-the-mill headhunter is paid by employers to find them a suitable candidate for an opening. That means the headhunter is interested in putting bodies in seats, and doesn't give a wet slap if you are the best fit for the company, just as long as he gets paid. The employer, in turn, pays the recruiter a percentage of your first year salary. That means it is in the employer's best interest to keep your salary low, so they have to pay the headhunter less.
In the last week, I met with Bernard Haldane Associates, who bill themselves as “career consultants.” What they are is a sort of reverse recruiter. Haldane tries to match employees with companies. They work with you to determine your skills, abilities, wants and needs, then use their extensive network of contacts at companies to get you into your ideal position, usually for a much better salary than you could negotiate on your own. The employer doesn't pay them, however. They get paid by YOU, the job seeker.
After my initial meeting with Haldane, I was told that based on my skills, the marketplace, and the amount of time they estimate it would take them to find me a position I would like, it would cost me $5000. That's five grand upfront, no refund, and no guarantee.
BULL-SHIT! First of all, I don't have five grand sitting around (hell, I'm lucky I've got enough to buy lunch tomorrow, and even that's iffy). Even if I did, there's a hell of a lot of better things I could do than give it them. I met with them a second time today, and before they got too far into their sales pitch, politely told them that based on their fee, I don't think I would be able to be one of their clients. Boy, that shut them down fast. I spent fifteen minutes in the waiting room, ten minutes listening to them tell me how much interest there is in my kind of work and how much they could help me, and after I told them I wasn't going to pay, less than two minutes before I was saying goodbye. Of course, they said that they would love to have me as a client, but they understand the situation, and if they can help in some limited capacity, I could contact them in the future.
I've got a meeting this afternoon with General Employment (a recruiter), lunch with a former coworker tomorrow (worked for us, and later for one of our competitors, so she should have some good contacts), coffee with an HR advisor next week (help to work on my resume and presentation), and once I catch my breath, I'll be scheduling meetings with some other people after Memorial Day. If nothing else, this whole thing has improved my wardrobe. I've had to buy new shoes and new dress slacks, and once I get a little money in my pocket and get caught up on all of the bills I've been neglecting, I'll probably pick up a new suit as well.
There's also the slim chance that the company I'm with now will turn around, have great 2nd quarter numbers, and I'll only be laid off a few weeks (quarterly results usually are reported the third week of the following quarter). If they bring me back on board, you bloody well bet I'll be asking for a raise. After all, I've got experience!