Monday, January 13, 2014


I've kept a secret from you. Its not one that I'm particularly proud of, but its a secret, nonetheless.

I'm unemployed. I was laid off the week before Thanksgiving from a company I'd been with over a year. Now for those of you who have been following me for a while, you know how big a deal this is. Not the unemployment part of it, but the year plus part of it.

I've been a devoted wife, mother, and support system for my household, my family and my extended family. I'll throw friends in that mix too, because I've had many times in the past few years I've reached out to acquaintances and supported them because its been the right thing to do at that time.

Back to the longevity. Yea. More than a year at a job has not been accomplished for me since 2005. Yes, you read that right. Almost 10 years. I'm as amazed at that statement as you are. I've filled the past decade being that support system, a mother, a moving consultant, a vet, whatever was needed. In most cases on top of my regular 8-5 job. Because who knows what 9-5 is anymore? Seriously. The only way I ever saw a 8 hour day was if I skipped lunch and could justify it by making sure everything was done for the day by the time I leave.

The past ten years has changed the landscape of the job market so much, that even though I've been in it and involved in it and worked it, I almost don't recognize it anymore. How you hunt for a job has changed. How you keep a job has changed. How you perform at your job has changed. And, oh! You get to make the same amount of money you made 10 years ago, you have no right to complain, and you get to do the job of three people. With no training.

Its taken me this long to write this because everything I usually do to find a job has failed. That last post I wrote: Ignore it.

All I know is that right now, its an Employers market, not an Employee's one.

Even in the darkest days of the Great Recession, things were ok. This time the world is flipped upside down.

I'm still figuring things out. I'm still staying positive, but I'm being forced to expand my horizons and the potential opportunities. I'm not opposed to it, but I'm certainly struggling to figure things out.

I'll keep posting my experiences and let you know how things are going.

I'm fine. The family is fine. We're fine.

Now, I'm going to clean off my desk and re-teach myself how to find a job.

I'll be back.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012


The last blog post seems to have hit a nerve. Usually my posts get under 10 people reading it. This time, I'm over 100 and climbing.

So, welcome! to the new blog readers that have come back. I thought I'd give you a little introduction to the reason why people keep asking me how I find jobs.

My family and I have moved alot in the past few years. In the past three years, we've moved five times. I'll let that sink in. Five. Austin. Boston. China. Los Angeles. And now, San Diego. None of them were small moves. All of them with a small child, gimpy dog, and geriatric cat in tow. Except the China move. The geriatric cat stayed behind and the dog hadn't joined us, yet.

But the reason why people ask me how I find jobs is this: We move to an area, and within six weeks (and I'm being generous here) I have a job offer in hand. Usually I do not have any professional contacts in that city. I sit down and get to work finding a job. I detailed the methodology in my prior post for those new comers.

So, welcome! Take a look around. I will be posting more about my job searches in the near future, so come back soon!

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Job Hunting

I've been asked by at least a dozen people over the past week how I am able to move to a new area and find a job so quickly. "How, exactly, do you do it?"

Well, here is my one sentence answer: I treat finding a job as if it were my full time job.

I spend hours upon hours polishing and perfecting my resume. My first step to do this is to go to my favorite search engine and type in the type of job I'm looking for with the word "resume" after it. Resume styles that are preferred by recruiters change all the time. Never assume that the resume you created two months ago is still relevant today. So my search is "Business Analyst Resume". Simple, and you get a ton of examples. I spend a good amount of time on this.

  • Remember, don't make your skills too specific unless you're applying to a specific job. Keep your active, searchable resume on the internet in a pretty detailed, but generic form. 
  • Make sure you're using the appropriate key words for your position. You'll find those listed on those example resumes.
  • White space. Don't be afraid of it. Three pages is acceptable these days. Spread everything out.
  • You have about 15 seconds of a recruiters time. Don't waste it or they'll be on to the next resume in the stack.
I take this newly updated resume and post it on all the big players. They I take it to the minor players. Creating an account is free, and it will take you all day the first time you create accounts. But after that its a five minute update process each time you're starting a new search. I use the following sites, and I use them in order that I'm listing them. I'm in the IT industry, which is why Dice is on there. If you're not in the IT industry, you can drop that from your list.
Once I take care of refreshing my resume on those sites, I get busy applying. I'm not kidding when I say I see finding a job my full time job. I plant myself at the dining room table and apply until I reach my daily goal. And then I sit back and allow myself to check FB or see whats going on in the rest of the world. I eat lunch at the table.
  • Set a high goal for yourself. The first week, I apply for 40 jobs a day. Second week, 25 per day. Third week, 15 per day. By then I usually start getting phone calls. You can keep up the high number of applications or taper off. Your call.
  • This may seem like alot of applications, but you need to realize that you're not just applying. You're also uploading your information into their database. This means your information is searchable for the internal recruiters in the future. Most companies keep your data on file for a year. 
Negotiations. Sometimes you can, sometimes you can't. If you want it, compromise and take what they're offering. BUT GET IN WRITING if they promise you that what you're asking for will come to you in the future. If you don't get it in writing, the conversation never happened.

Network. You never know who knows who. 
  • If you are out of work, announce it on your social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. Send an email to your well connected friends. 
  • If you are in a job and don't want anyone to know, thats a bit more difficult. BUT! Recruiters know how to be discreet. I once met a recruiter for lunch and my boss walked in the cafe. The recruiter pretended we went to college and hadn't seen each other in years! If you tell them to be discreet, they will be.
  • Send emails to friends at other companies ... 
  • That birthday party you don't want to go to on Sunday? Go. And unless its filled with co-workers (in which case your time is better spent at home applying for jobs), talk to people there and tell them that you're looking.
Contracting. You are their paycheck. If the recruiter finds you a job, they get paid. Remember that. 
  • I know many people that have tried to apply to contracting positions and don't network with the recruiters they speak to. Talk to them, if its an odd area code, ask them where they're from, schmooze them. BE NICE! I cannot tell you how beneficial this is for you! I talk to many recruiters that are nice to me just because I say "Thank you for thinking of me." when I speak with them. 
My golden rules:
  • Reply quickly. If a recruiter sends you an email, reply as quickly as you can. Sometimes its the first few resumes in that get looked at, the rest aren't bothered with.
  • Answer your phone. Unless I'm in the bathroom, I race to answer my phone when it rings. Even if its an odd number.
  • I have my "Professional" hat on at all times in email exchanges and phone conversations. I never assume a relaxed, casual demeanor. (This is one of those things that will bump you up in pay, or to a higher level position when speaking with a recruiter. This must be taken seriously!)
  • I make myself available during business hours at all costs. 8AM - 5PM unless it really can't be helped. I save big errands for outside those hours or the weekends. 
  • I will not waste a recruiters time. If I'm interested, I tell them. If I'm not, I'm equally clear. Never string them along and let them know this. This almost always guarantees they will call you as soon as something else comes in. And new jobs are always coming into recruiters. 
  • Prepare. I have alot of moves on my resume. I don't blow off recruiters when I talk to them. I answer head on. It ends up being a joke by the end of the conversation. I know if they call me, they're interested in what I've applied for. I just have to pass their test better known as "questions". I look at it this way: If we hadn't had this many moves, I wouldn't have this much experience. I have proven longevity at a company, and just keep pointing that out. 
  • The recruiters that don't bother calling me? I don't worry about. They're not interested in me anyway. ;)
This is a quick and dirty list. I will be adding more soon. Please let me know if I missed something or you have a site to recommend! 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Well, remember when I said we weren't going to move?

Yeah, that.

We moved.

It wasn't planned, it wasn't anything we sought out. But when you're looking for a job and willing to leave the industry and STILL can't find a job ... well, someone is trying to tell you something about where you are and what you're doing.

The husband found a job outside of San Diego, so we left where we were. I'm still getting used to that, and we've been in this location for almost a month.

So he's got a job, I had to quit mine, and we moved. The kiddo started a new school (thats a whole nother post -- in a good way).

I'm looking for a job, and hoping that something breaks soon.

We found an amazing house in the cutest neighborhood. The hubby loves his new gig. The kiddo loves his new school and teacher.

I'm encouraged about our next steps. They're happy ones.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Grow Where You Are Planted

The past few years have been years of huge, monumental, epic (did I mention significant?) change for my family and I. Since 2005, we've moved seven times. Our son has had seven different bedrooms that he's slept in. He's only six.

We've been moving around for hubby's job. He's been climbing the ladder in his industry for the past few years, and we've been proud to be able to enable him to do so. However. The time has come. And let me tell you the kind of message that has been thrown my way recently. Its a doozy.

I listened to the radio one morning and I heard a DJ say "Grow where you're planted." Huh. Food for thought, I think to myself. I'm in the grocery store and I overhear two women discussing "Grow where you're planted." They had an entire conversation about it. TV is having a recurring theme, too! One of the garden channels had a show based around plants and how they "Grow where they're planted."

See the theme?

Yea, there it was knocking me over the head. There were about four other instances of that one phrase coming to my ears over and over again. I smiled each time, but each time it went deeper and deeper into my brain.

You see, each time there has been a great career upheaval in our household, the end result has been to move. Whether purposefully or not, we've moved. The reasons are varied or the same, but we move.

This time, we've had the biggest and I do mean BIGGEST career upheaval to date. Both of us have been laid off in the past three months. (Hubby has since found a contract. And I am working my network and starting to get some traction with my own search.) But the incredible thing about this job search for both of us is that we don't have to look outside the immediate area to find work. We've been able to find local things that will allow our careers to grow into the next phase of whatever they are supposed to be.

However, the time has come. Grow where we are planted. Ok, then. We get it. I get it. The kiddo? He wants to continue karate at the same dojo. See the same kids at school in the fall.

Got it. We're planted.

Let's grow!

Friday, May 11, 2012

That Day.

Well, That Day finally happened.

Kiddo came home from school with his first "family origin" homework assignment. Only this time, it was given with a twist. The teacher read Jamie Lee Curtis' book about the night her daughter (adopted) was born. The teacher then turned around and asked for the parents to write about the night their child was born.

I initially thought about looking in my blog archives and writing about what we were doing the night he was born and then looking up about what happened in the city kiddo was born in on the same night. That particular avenue just seemed too contrived and architected.

We've discussed adoption (both in general and his, specifically) with him, but I just didn't feel like speculating on something that for all of us is truly an unknown and in this situation, extremely personal and private. I don't feel like I'm hiding something from him. I feel like I'm saving information that could be the most personal of all for him.

I switched up the assignment a tad and sent in the following. What are your thoughts?

What Happened the Night I was Born ...
My First Night With My Mommy and Daddy ...
The first night with my Mommy and Daddy was a very special one. My Mommy and Daddy had just flown on an airplane all the way from Boston, Massachusetts to visit me at my baby hospital in Russia. They drove for four hours once the plane landed, so by the time they got! to me, they were pretty stinky but they looked so happy 
The nurses at the baby hospital couldn’t speak English but were so proud that they could hand me to my Mommy with a new (my first!) haircut. It was much shorter than when they saw me last time, during their first trip, that they almost didn’t recognize what a big boy I’d become!
I was really confused at first but in no time I was hanging out with them and rolling the ball back and forth to Mommy and Daddy like a champ!! I really enjoyed the inflatable ball that they brought with them and thought the colors on them were very interesting. Although, truthfully, my favorite thing they brought with them was their suitcase. I loved to feel the texture of the fabric with my hands. I’d never felt anything like it before. I was fascinated!
Mommy and Daddy were in a room at the baby hospital that was reserved just for this reason. For future families to visit with each other. There was a crib for me to sleep in and a small bed for Mommy and a small bed for Daddy. 
By the time bedtime came around I was really sleepy. Mommy and Daddy changed me into the PJ’s they had brought with them and put me in my crib. I was starting to remember these people ... 
... I reached through the bars of the crib and took hold of my Daddy’s hand. My Daddy thought that was the most special thing I did the entire trip. 
I drifted off to sleep with the wind singing to us from the other side of the windows. 
In the middle of the night, the nurses came and got me to feed me. I was so hungry, that I ate it all up! When they were done, the put me back into my crib and I slept right through the night. 
In the morning, the first thing I did when I woke up was to reach back through the bars to hold my Daddy’s fingers. It was so good to see him. He picked me right up and started talking to me about what a good sleep we all had!

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Adoption: Seeing Red

Lets get this straight.

Long time readers of this blog know that my son is adopted. Long time readers also know that I am adopted. If not, hit the archives. There's a bunch of stuff there.

Today, Jen*nifer L*opez was quoted saying that "...adoption is a selfless act." I will not link to the article as I don't want to give it more hits than its already getting. If you want to read it, please Goo*gle it.

What she fails to realize or recognize is that she is wrong. Not just a little wrong, but fundamentally wrong.

1. Adoption is a SELFISH act. The adoptive parents have a choice to adopt. The birth parent or parents have a choice to place that child for adoption.

2. The child does NOT get to choose. My son did not get to choose to be adopted. I took that choice from him. However, I respect that he did not make this decision and make sure he understands what it means to be adopted, where he came from, and who he is. That he is loved unconditionally is a given. I never, ever forget that we are the lucky ones to have him in our lives.

The question I would like answered from not just her, but the population as a whole is this:

How does this qualify as selfless?

Right. It doesn't. I don't have to go deeper or further into explaining this. Its a simple logic.

Why I'm seeing red:

She is seeing herself as being altruistic and "saving" this child. What position does this place the child in in this family? It demeans and undermines the position this child should be in. In other words, this child should be a son or daughter; not an object that needs gratitude given back towards its parent. I "saved" this child? Bull shit. A child is not a fashion statement. Nor is it a status symbol. Its not even close to being grateful. Tell me this; do you remind your biological children that they should be grateful that you were selfless enough to give birth to them? No? Then why should that opinion be transferred to one you didn't give birth to but are still a parent (or potential parent) of?