I’m still around. This was a whirlwind week, a Jurassic Park of job hunting, full of pitfalls, ambushes and corporate dinosaurs. I wandered through the forest of depression and fell into the bog of despair for the first time since Flipper the Bald-Beguiler escorted me to the first-floor lair of Regina the Terrifying and announced my exile from the Big Bucks Banking Tribe.
I signed with Pretend-We’ve-Got-A-Job-For-YouTemps the other week and after a couple false starts they came across with an interview that they swore was a sure thing, the interview but a formality. They contented that I would be starting the job on Wednesday the 30th. The job sounded ideal. It was coordinating budgets, work I have a great deal of past experience doing. The pay rate was in the range I was seeking and it was located downtown, which is very convenient for me. It was a temp position to fill for a person who was on sick leave, but it was more than expected that this person would not be coming back and the job would turn permanent. The job was for the County Council.
I went to the interview, all spiffed up and spit-shining. I met the council representative and then she and the President of Council and the councilman for the city and the current temp person all interviewed me. The interview seemed to go swimmingly. We talked, we laughed, we bonded. After the interview, the council rep told me she thought the interview went well and that I probably would be offered the job.
But there was something unnerving lurking about the fringes because I was told this was to work on budgets and they kept referring to it as Auditor. Questions led me to believe it was more than originally represented. Still, I waited for word and no word came. By Thursday I grew despondent, because I was getting no information from Pretend-We’ve-Got-A-Job-For-YouTemps good, bad or indifferent, just that they were waiting. I suspected this was going nowhere and I really, really crashed emotionally. I got very depressed. I wasn’t answering any emails from anyone I was so gloomed-out.
Thursday morning, I replied to a couple ads in the local newspaper and on Monster.Com and on Delawareonline.com. One of the newspaper ads had a telephone number to call and another had an email address. I called the one and emailed my resume to the other. The one I called set up an interview for Friday at 11:00. I suspected they were another employment agency rather than an employer, but took the appointment. Then I looked up some employment agencies and headed out in the afternoon to present me credentials and beg for help. Well, I didn’t actually beg.
I had picked four places to go. I had my resumes and my references all ready. I had my newly issued replacement birth certificate and social security card. (I discovered after Big Bucks Banking kicked me out that I didn’t exist in the eyes of the world. I had lost my Social Security Card, which I had had in my wallet since I got it in 1959; and what I always thought was my birth certificate was only a hospital document, with dainty little footprints, but of no legal value. I had to regain the official documents, which is a whole other story.)
I went to the first agency, the one nearest me home. I found it in the Concord Plaza Maze of Confusion only to discover a sign on the door saying “By Appointment Only”. On to the next, one located downtown and ah, no signs, no closed door, but this time a maze through a building. At the end was a live human being, who said: “Oh, you have the wrong office. You want our office elsewhere in another galaxy, lord, lord.” She did take my resume to fax and gave me two names. (I called the next day and was told these names were in a meeting, but they would get back to me. They have never gotten back to me.)
So I sashayed over to the next downtown avenue to a condominium and asked the deskman for the next agency.
“Go down the elevator to the basement of darkness and wandered the crooked passages to the far corner and there they will be.”
And so I wandered the dim corridors and came to the door of my quest, only to find it locked and impenetrable, a dead end in the Forbidden Fields of Frustration.
My last gasp was down in the corporate common across from the fortress where I had formally labored for several years. I wandered another vast building to another office door and much to my surprise this one allowed me entrance. I was confronted here by a woman on the telephone talking like a legal beagle collecting a bone. When she hung up she said, “Yes indeed, she was the service, let her change from her lawyer hat to her agent hat.” She took my portfolio of life. Then she asked if I had tried Manpower. They had just moved in down the hall.
I found a friendly person at Manpower, who took my resume and gave me a brochure and lifted my spirits with her cheeriness.
I came home and late that day, Manpower called with a temp job that allegedly might interest me. It was right across the street from them. I said I was interested, oh yeah. Then I got an email response from another job reply I had emailed asking if they could set up an interview next week. I said go for it.
Manpower called today (Friday) and an interview with this company was set for Tuesday. But first thing this morning, waking me up actually, making me think the alarm clock was jangling, I got a call back from the newspaper ad job I had emailed my resume to. They wanted to know if I could take an interview today. Thus I went out on two interviews today.
As I suspected, the first (at 11:00) was an employment agency. So I signed up anyway. I had to take a couple tests and stuff, so I was there a couple hours.
My other interview was at 3:00. I set off at 2:00 to find the place and managed to get lost. I actually got near the place and stopped in the U-Haul dealership they had given me as a landmark to ask for the exact street I needed. They directed me off in the other direction, back toward me own place. I traveled their way and finally stopped at a gas station to ask further direction. A man, looking like an extra in the film “Deliverance”, directed me another way. Finally I did the smart thing; stopped at a Wawa and called. I had actually been very close at that U-Haul. I only had to go four blocks toward the river to find the place. Despite all this, I actually was there on time.
As you can see I have had an exhausting, often disappointing week of charging windmills.
But…I got the job at that last place I interviewed. I start at 8:00 Wednesday morning. It is an accounting position, but not real heavy. It is also something I have done and can do quite well. The starting salary was in the range I have been seeking. And it is perhaps ten minutes from where I live and easy to get to (once you actually know where it is). It is a printing business and is family owned. The President, who interviewed me, is the fourth generation to run the company. It has 28 employees and is growing, having just purchased another rival press; I am replacing a woman who is retiring after doing this job for the last 19 years. Everyone I met was very nice. It is casual dress and hopefully this is exactly what I want at this point of my life.
Anyway, that is my long story and why I have been hiding all week. I hope all is going well with you. I will certainly keep you up to date.
By the way, I heard a rumor that short little CEO Big Bear was thinking of leaving Big Bucks Banking. Anyone heard anything along this line?
NOTE: This piece was written in early 2002. The job at the printing company lasted a year and a quarter and I was back on the street again. Big Bear didn’t leave Big Bucks Banking until 2010 when it turned into Bleeding Bucks Banking because of bad loans. The question has not been answered yet whether he was forced out or left on his own.