Can You Relate

Networking When You’re Not Working

Jamie looks angry and fed up! Can you blame her? It's been over 2 weeks since she began filling out applications and still nothing. No interviews and no job offers, only some rejection e-mails and feelings of disappointment. 

Have you ever wondered what happens with all the online applications you filled out? There's an urban legend that they often disappear into some "abyss", never to be seen again. While there's some truth to this thought, they don't just disappear. If you've ever been on the receiving side of those applications, only then would you really know the facts. The truth is they do end up in an "abyss", an abyss of e-mails known as someone's inbox. When an employer posts a job online, they must provide an e-mail address where the replies will automatically go to. If a prospective employee applies via the job post, it sends their information to the employer's registered e-mail address. Normally, there are hundreds of applicants and the employer will receive each and every one of those in the order of date and time of submission. Now, honestly speaking, who on planet earth reads each and every single e-mail in their inbox? I don't, not even when I was a hiring manager...sorry guys. At best we skim through them and open whatever "appears" to be important. That's if you even check your email right?! LOL, lot's of thoughts running through your minds huh?

Well as the old saying says; if you can't beat them, join them. Join them by connecting with them in person versus staying behind your bad ass laptop. You could kick it old school and pay the employers a visit, but chances are you may not make it past the receptionist. However, there are other ways of networking that are more "acceptable" today. Jamie has a few acquaintances at the top of the corporate food chain, she could be upfront and ask if their employer is currently hiring (too desperate?) or she could just let them know that she is actively looking for work and see how the they respond. Jamie could also attend a local networking event. Networking events are great opportunities to meet other professionals and expand outside of your normal social circle. At the same time it allows you to put your name, skills, and achievements out there. You never know who you might meet, (Jeff Bezo's Assistant perhaps), so make sure you are prepared and bring your A game.

Jamie decided to use one of the above networking suggestions and applied for a position at one of her friend's employer. She gave her friend her resume and is now waiting on an interview. Jamie went on the company's website and was able to learn that she is actually very qualified for the position. Let's keep our toes and fingers crossed for Jamie! To be continued....

How did you get your last job? What are some popular networking events you've attended before?

Orange Button

Sixty jobs is the total number of jobs that I have applied for in the past two weeks. Had it been 20 years ago, I think I would have been mentally and physically drained by now, but thanks to websites like Indeed.com, applying for jobs is a lot easier now. I’m sure everyone knows how to use Indeed this day in age, but just in case there are a few beginners out there, I will give a short explanation. But first, let me introduce you to Jamie. Jamie is a 39-year old female, who recently got screwed over by her last employer. Jamie loved her job and dedicated a big chunk of her life to this job. Her employer loved Jamie as well and practically ensured her job security for many years to come. However, one day, out of the blue, her employer decided they just didn’t need Jamie anymore and let her go! Welp….now Jamie not only has money issues, but trust issues as well. Jamie turns to Indeed for help. See, with Indeed she can create a new resume or upload an already existing one and use it to apply to thousands of jobs they have posted, which include a user friendly orange “Apply Now” button. It’s really that easy! It eliminates long applications that can take at least an hour out of Jamie’s life. Now in an hour, (depending on fast she can work it), hundreds of companies out there will know who Jamie is and that she is interested in working for them. But, and this is a really big but, were talking Nicki Minaj……Jamie still has to search through thousands of listings and decide if she should click their orange “Apply Now” button. Is this a drawback for Jamie? Well, it depends which way you look at it.

Thousands of jobs available at touch of an index or middle finger….whichever one you mostly use to click. Great, but there is so much to consider.

Things to Consider Before Clicking the Orange Button

  • Job Jargon Gibberish: Do you understand the qualifications for the position? Not all job postings are created by the actual company that you will be working for. Some companies outsource the task of recruiting to outside resources such as temporary job agencies or online job boards (Greenberg, 2013). They have individuals who are hired specifically to create job posts based off of some summary that was provided by the company. Many times these job listings include jargon that can just sound like a bunch of gibberish, therefore you should take your time to decipher what exactly is it that the company is looking for. You never know, what may at first appear like a job that only Jeff Bezos qualifies for, may actually be one that you are perfect for!
  • What do you know about the company? Remember Jamie? Yes, Jamie who developed a trust issue after being let go from her job. Jamie could have benefited from reading this article before accepting that position, if you know what I mean. If you are looking for a career or a long-term position with a company, then make sure you Google them or Glassdoor them. Glassdoor is a great website for researching any company. They provide you with good insight like real employee reviews, salary information, and a lot more goodies. You want to make sure you are pursuing the right company. One you can trust and not one that give you the boot after a couple of years, for absolutely no good reason (poor Jamie) or due to lack of stability.
  • Too good to be true? Maybe. If you are having a hard time conducting your background research on a company, it could be because they are bogus. Job searching websites do their very best at ensuring that the employers using their services for recruiting are real and not fake, but they’re not perfect not even Indeed. Every now and then you will see a job posting offering an abnormally high salary for minimal duties and responsibilities. For example, “Looking for full-time cashier, no weekends, no late nights, no experience needed. Pay starting at $18/hr.” Yeah right! If you’ve done your homework, then you know that this is straight up fishy! When you feel your gut filling up with question marks as you read the job description, Do Not click the orange button. This can be some pretend company or just some scammer named Joe Doe, using a job post to hack you for your juicy information. I know it sounds crazy, but it happens to the best of us, so better to be safe than sorry.

Well then, there you have it. Some basic no no’s to remember when you are looking for that next exciting career. Trust your instincts, use logic, and when all else fails then network. That way if someone tries to lie to you in person you can just knock em’ out. LOL. Just kidding, you want to get a job not a cell mate. Keep in touch by subscribing below and find out how networking is working out for Jamie.

Moving On

It’s amazing how much your emotions can affect or cloud your thinking. Let me explain, It’s been about a week since I was let go from my non-profit employer and believe it or not The Office of Unemployment has already replied! I was so excited to see those envelopes in my mailbox that I ran inside my house to open them. You would think there was a check in there or something (when pigs fly). As I’m ripping through the envelope my mind wanders off and I begin to tell myself wow I guess they didn’t have much of a decision to make because it’s cut and dry. I was laid off so of course I qualify for unemployment. Wrong! Of course I do not qualify for any assistance and they have a legitimate reason why not. See, one important bit of information that I forgot to mention in my previous post, was that when I first started with this nonprofit, I didn’t have a conventional position. I worked from home and I was considered an independent contractor or in other words self employed. As an independent contractor you are responsible for paying your taxes and putting money towards unemployment insurance, which I obviously failed to do. I paid my taxes at the end of the year, but foolishly didn’t think about unemployment insurance. I was so in love with my career and I was so good at it, that the thought of needing unemployment never crossed my mind. Then when they laid me off, my emotional response was to apply for unemployment. Not only out of spite, but also because I was worried about all the repercussions of being unexpectedly laid off. Ay Caramba… so no I won’t be seeing any deposits in my bank account from the government. And that’s okay, lesson learned. There’s a lot of other things that I must focus on like redecorating….my resume. Stick around and see if my next move actually helps.

FYI: If you’re unemployed and would like to know if you qualify for unemployment, reach out to your local office. Everyone’s situation is not the same.

My Boss Broke Up with Me

After the Break Up

Tuesday 9.am. my alarm goes off. Time to schedule today’s food donation pick-up and deliveries. I love my job! Doesn’t even feel like a job because of many different reasons. For one, I get to go straight to work in my PJ’s; after brushing my teeth and preparing my much needed cup of java. Plus, I get to feed the homeless and less privileged from the comfort of my home. PJ’s and giving back to my community, it just doesn’t get better that this. Lunchtime comes around, better get ready for my mid-day phone call with my boss who I love dearly and would never want to work for anyone else type of love. “You have been logged off from all of your accounts” is the message I see on my laptop screen as I am preparing for my meeting, hmmmm this is weird. Have we been compromised/ Hacked? No worries, I will just log back in, “Your password has been changed” huh, WTF is going on? I haven’t changed my password!! I have been bamboozled is what the fuck is going on. My passwords were all changed because my position no longer exists due to lack of funding. If you’ve ever worked for a non-profit, then you’re probably very familiar with this situation. I didn’t even get a heads up, it was just slam bam thank you ma’am. Now after a year and a half, I am back in the job searching scene. Aww yes to be 39 years-old with a family and bills and plans and jobless. What am I going to do? PANIC!!!!!!

After a couple of glasses of wine, I think to myself might as well write about it and make this job searching adventure into a blog. Maybe I can help someone out there. or someone can help me. So what is my first step after being laid off from a company that I had put my heart and soul into?

  • Cry and then cry some more, until I finally get a grip and think about what my options are for bringing money into the household ASAP, because at the end of the day, I may have stopped working, but life doesn’t stop.
  • Next, apply for unemployment. Why? because it’s going to take sometime before I find another career and most likely I will qualify for some cash since I got laid off. Of course it’s not going to be anything close to what I was making, but some cash is better than none.
  • I also may qualify for some government assistance like Food Stamps let’s check that out. HMMMM according to the state website I might qualify, let me complete this application. 2 hours later….wow I think I have become a professional application completer if that’s such a thing.
  • While I impatiently wait a few weeks for denial or acceptance letters from the government I will sign-up with some job seeking sites like INDEED and do some networking. I will put out some feelers to some of the professional connections I have made over time.

I imagine that I may have done everything I can for now. Stay tuned for updates on my job search and if anything I have done thus far has actually helped. In the meantime, I would love to hear what tips or recommendations you may have. Tell me if you’ve ever been in a similar situation and how you handled it.

It may be difficult to see the positives from losing a job at first, but I must admit that there are a few things I have learned. I am now on day three post lay off and have discovered that if I plan for working for another non-profit in the future, there are certain things I should know about them before accepting a position. This actually may apply with any type of employer really. You know at that point of the interview where they ask you, “the interviewee”, if you have any questions….well say yes. Ask as many questions as possible. Find out how long have they been in business for? Is the position dependent upon some form of grant or financial support? Did this position exist before and what happened with the previous employee? Had I asked some of these questions before, I may not be in the predicament I am in now. Then again is there any job or career that is 100% secure?

Things to Consider Before Clicking the Orange Button

  • Job Jargon Gibberish: Do you understand the qualifications for the position? Not all job postings are created by the actual company that you will be working for. Some companies outsource the task of recruiting to outside resources such as temporary job agencies or online job boards (Greenberg, 2013). They have individuals who are hired specifically to create job posts based off of some summary that was provided by the company. Many times these job listings include jargon that can just sound like a bunch of gibberish, therefore you should take your time to decipher what exactly is it that the company is looking for. You never know, what may at first appear like a job that only Jeff Bezos qualifies for, may actually be one that you are perfect for!
  • What do you know about the company? Remember Jamie? Yes, Jamie who developed a trust issue after being let go from her job. Jamie could have benefited from reading this article before accepting that position, if you know what I mean. If you are looking for a career or a long-term position with a company, then make sure you Google them or Glassdoor them. Glassdoor is a great website for researching any company. They provide you with good insight like real employee reviews, salary information, and a lot more goodies. You want to make sure you are pursuing the right company. One you can trust and not one that give you the boot after a couple of years, for absolutely no good reason (poor Jamie) or due to lack of stability.
  • Too good to be true? Maybe. If you are having a hard time conducting your background research on a company, it could be because they are bogus. Job searching websites do their very best at ensuring that the employers using their services for recruiting are real and not fake, but they’re not perfect not even Indeed. Every now and then you will see a job posting offering an abnormally high salary for minimal duties and responsibilities. For example, “Looking for full-time cashier, no weekends, no late nights, no experience needed. Pay starting at $18/hr.” Yeah right! If you’ve done your homework, then you know that this is straight up fishy! When you feel your gut filling up with question marks as you read the job description, Do Not click the orange button. This can be some pretend company or just some scammer named Joe Doe, using a job post to hack you for your juicy information. I know it sounds crazy, but it happens to the best of us, so better to be safe than sorry.

Well then, there you have it. Some basic no no’s to remember when you are looking for that next exciting career. Trust your instincts, use logic, and when all else fails then network. That way if someone tries to lie to you in person you can just knock em’ out. LOL. Just kidding, you want to get a job not a cell mate. Keep in touch by subscribing below and find out how networking is working out for Jamie.

Behind the lines

With one leg tucked underneath the other
I encourage myself to start another
It’s been a really long time
A While since I expressed mine
My worries fears that cross my mine
Hidden beneath a crooked smile
And dark sunken eyes
Read me hear me out loud
No more whispering I want to come out
As they peak from underneath
Its just too much to bare
One at time or all at once
so much to share
The words do they make sense
Do I sound like myself
Do I feel what they mean
How does it feel
Like I’m starting all over or
Picking up from where I left off
It does not matter because what I feel
Is like no other

Feeling Peevish?  

Written by: Yaya

Something that can help people socialize is finding a common ground. Pet peeves is one type of character trait that most people share. Some may be bothered by the same things while others are not, and yet it can still be a good topic to strike up conversations with or maybe break the ice with. Do you mind if I share some of my obsessive compulsive behaviors with you, I mean my pet peeves?
My top 5 pet peeves
(These are not listed in no particular order) 

1. It’s the morning after a long night of partying and you are regretting the tacos you ate, when all of sudden you have the urge to poo so bad and you rush to use the lavatory. After releasing the demons, you notice that there’s no toilet paper, the roll is there but there’s no paper on it!!! Now, there are other people that live with you, that use the same lavatory because it’s the only one in the house, so one of them must’ve had the opportunity to put a new roll on, but instead they didn’t because he or she is just a selfish lazy ass!! Now you gotta go and reach for some toilet paper with your soiled ass! Change the toilet paper roll!!! 

2. Ugh, finally the weekend is here and it’s time for some cereal and Saturday morning cartoons! You grab a box of Fruit Loops, but there aren’t any actual loops left, just some crumbs and sugary powder. So you stop and ponder…. “Why is this cereal box there if it’s empty? Is this some joke or prank?” No it’s just the work of that same selfish lazy ass that you live with! Throw the empty cereal box away!! BTW This also applies to drinks in the refrigerator. Drink it till it’s gone, don’t leave a drop of soda. What am I a mouse? What the hell am I going to do with a drop of soda? OK moving on. 

3. I don’t know about you guys, but can you tell when someone’s been in the kitchen without actually seeing them there? Some individuals like to leave clues behind like they’re playing some sort of guessing game. I am talking about leaving cupboards open and/or drawers open. There’s one person that lives in my household that always does this and I can actually guess what he did in the kitchen by looking at all the doors and drawers he left open. Pet peeve number three, don’t leave the cabinet doors open. 

4. Boundaries can be a big deal for some individuals. For example, you have some men that cannot stand for their date or girlfriend to take food off their plates or just sharing food period. However for me, you have crossed the line when you take something that’s mine and obviously not yours. For example, let’s say it’s been a tough week and I decide to treat myself to an almond Hershey bar (my fav), but I put it away in the fridge because it started to melt on the way home. Here comes that selfish lazy ass and devours my candy bar! Now I know it doesn’t have my name on it but c’mon you know that it isn’t yours, you didn’t buy it so obviously it belongs to someone else so why would you take it! It really shouldn’t get to the point where you have to hide your goodies and if it does maybe it’s time for a boundaries intervention. In summary, if you don’t know who it belongs to don’t touch it. 

5. In slang terminology we have a saying, “don’t half ass it.” in other words if you’re going to do something you go all the way, you try your best to finish with an epic finally. This saying can apply to almost anything really, a test, cleaning, a soda can. A soda can? Why yes, introducing the last pet peeve on my list half drunken cans. The other day I was cleaning up after a party and I swear I found more than 15 cans of soda that were either half way gone or almost full. Can someone please explain why people do this?? What, you tasted it and realized it was soda so you changed your mind? Or maybe you just enjoy half assin it. I don’t know, but if I invite you to one of my parties you’re not getting away with that crap.

Well there you go ladies and gentlemen, my annoying pet peeves. Now, I have shared some very personal thoughts here, but now I would like to know what are your pet peeves. 

Three kids Three states

Not many can brag about having each one of their offspring in a different state… Is it really something to brag about?? Personally to me it is, my mother on the other hand would disagree. A question that probably crossed your mind at the beginning of this paragraph is, “how did that happen?” It’s funny that when I tell people about it, they really do seem intrigued and curious. I guess in all honesty it’s not something that happens all the time or to just anyone. So how did this happen.. Well when I met my husband I was living in my hometown, sunny Miami, FL. We conceived our first child there, who is now 12 years old. We three lived in Miami for about a year until we decided to move to my husband’s hometown Philadelphia, PA. This was in 2006 and everything was just getting so expensive in Miami. It was no longer just my husband and I, now we had a child to think about and we felt this was the best decision at the time. Now remember I am a Miami native so it wasn’t easy getting adjusted to the new surroundings. It took me some time, but I did fall in love with Philly… So much that we honestly saw ourselves living there for the rest of our lives. Two years later we had our second son. Life in Philly was going pretty smooth until one day in June of 2010, when I received disturbing news about my mother being diagnosed with a cancerous tumor on her spine. With the help of my husband’s family, I hopped on a plane to Miami the same day. I left my husband and my boys with the intention of returning to Philly once my mother got better, which she did, but she still required assistance until she was fully recovered. That’s when my husband and I decided to move back to Miami so that I could be there for my mom (cancer sucks). We were able to stay with my mother while we looked for work and saved up enough money to move out. It didn’t take long before we realized why we had left Miami in the first place, it’s just too damn expensive. I’m sure everyone of you know how stressful living with parents or a parent in this case, can be. Luckily an opportunity knocked on our door, an opportunity that at the moment made sense. My mother in law and her husband were running their own business in good old Arkansas. I know what’s going through your mind… Trust me I’m sure it’s the same thoughts that I had then, but I’ll leave that for another day. So, my mother in law and her husband we’re doing so well that they purchased a couple of properties as investments and they also needed some extra help with the business. They offered us to rent one of their properties and to work full-time for them. Another thing that they were able to offer us was very precious, time, time to get our finances right before we had to start paying rent. A few days after that phone call we packed up our things, said thank you and goodbye to my mother, and hit the road towards Arkansas. I’m sure you can guess what happened next… Yes we conceived our last child! In Arkansas!! We didn’t last too long in Arkansas though, c’mon a Cuban/Puerto Rican family living among a predominantly White Caucasian population where children are being raised to not date someone outside their race (wow what a mouthful) yeah it just didn’t work for us. So where are we now??? Back in the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia and you know what, it didn’t take long for us to figure out why we didn’t want to leave in the first place.