Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Waiting Game

I have to apologize in advance if this post wanders a little bit, but I'm very tired and my brain is a bit muddled.

However, thanks to the insomnia that has plagued me for years, I've been mostly awake the past few weeks. I'm exhausted, but unable to sleep, which is rather irritating.

When I got laid off at the end of March, I knew it wasn't my fault. I didn't do anything wrong - the company was and probably still is going under, and I was almost grateful that I wasn't the last rat off the ship. And yet, it's nearly two months later, I am still unemployed, and I can't help but feel like a failure. A loser. It's compounded by the fact that this is the second time in a year that I've been out of a job. I've always kind of defined myself by my job. I take a lot of pride in the work I do and the knowledge that I'm good at what I do and I work hard. I know I'm not a failure and I am very well aware that I'm not a loser. It feels that way, though, you know?

There's also some guilt. The last few months I was there, I was pretty unhappy. There had been ~15 people laid off by that time and it was a scary, sad place to be. It was crazy quiet when it used to be filled with the sounds of people typing, laughing, and working. Everyone was scared they were next and when the big boss call them into their office, there was a definite "dead man walking" feel. It was draining to work there. I remember saying to one of my remaining co-workers "I almost hope I get laid off - at least then I'll know and I can move on." I'm sure I'm not the first person in the world to complain about their job and then want it back when the worst does happen. So with the feelings of guilt also comes the niggling fear/guilt that I brought it on myself.

I am also waiting to hear about a job and I'm nervous for a few reasons. A friend of mine contacted me about a job opening she heard about and encouraged me to send my resume. I sent my resume, along with my letters of recommendation. I talked to the hiring manager and had an interview. I basically had the job at that point if I wanted it. However, because it's a big company, there was a pretty long and involved process and it would take a while. No problem - we were heading to Hatteras for vacation, anyway (thank goodness it was paid for before I got laid off). When I got back, I had a second interview with the hiring manager's boss. I was then contacted by a recruiter and given instructions to go online and complete some information for a background check. I had to put down 10 years worth of residence addresses and 10 years worth of job information, including manager's contact information.

The job part was easy - I have my resume that has accurate dates, and I remembered my manager's names on all but one job. Some companies don't exist anymore and very few of my managers are still at the companies where I worked, but that part was relatively easy.

The residence information was tougher. I moved to Arizona in August, 2002, and the house where I'm living now is my TENTH address. I stayed at some places only a matter of months, but who can remember which months? The list turned out to be 14 addresses long. The dates are very blurry, though. Some of the ones in Minnesota, I could remember dates because I knew if it was hot or cold or if it was around my birthday, around when I started a new job, etc. Because of some things that happened when I moved to Arizona, I moved a LOT the first two years I was here and really have very little memory of what months. I know it's been hot every time I've moved, but it's Phoenix - it's always hot!

At any rate, one of the reasons I'm nervous is because you have a 30-day grace period for the dates, but anything more than 30 days, you not only don't get the job you applied for, but you're not allowed to apply again for a certain period of time. Scary.

The other reason I'm nervous is because when I mentioned to her what I made at my old job, she said "well, I know this won't pay even close to that," but she didn't have a salary range, and the recruiter won't give me the range until they get the background check results. So what do you do in that case? Will I make more than I'm making on unemployment? Yeah, I will. Will it pay the bills? No, it won't. And this job, I can already tell, is going to be another 60-hour a week job - nights, weekends, etc. I'm not sure if I can do that for a LOT less money, especially since I'm enrolled in school to get my accounting degree.

The background check was to take 3-5 business days. Today (Friday) marked the 10th day and I haven't heard anything. That's better than a rejection, but still scary.

So this is something that has had me in knots for two weeks. And it's not like anyone else wants to hire me right now - I've sent out about a million resumes and only gotten one call, and that was a resume sent by a friend. I need more friends, I guess.

It has been nearly seven weeks since I was laid off, and I have yet to receive a penny of unemployment. The unemployment office is so backlogged with applications that it takes forever to get anything. While I'm grateful that I qualify this time, I'm getting frustrated. I just want to keep my car and my place to live and be able to pay the air conditioning because it's getting HOT here.

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