Employers Don’t Understand The Great Resignation

Hi y’all!

I’ve been temping this past week (yay!) and I’ve been too tired to look at job posts when I get home. So I’m taking advantage of today’s holiday to spend some time combing through the usual online job boards.

You would expect the last two years to usher in some real change in the world of work, but alas, it appears that is not the case. It’s my opinion that many employers don’t truly understand the Great Resignation and I despair that they ever will.

Those struggling to find gainful work have always been urged to bolster their skills — going back to school, earning certifications, or taking advantage of cross-training if their current job allows it, which many don’t. I myself earned a project management certificate in 2021 thanks to the state department of Workforce Development (hey, Missouri doesn’t ALWAYS bork everything up!). Now they’re offering free Coursera classes, but honestly, I’m not sure there’s any point.

Go back to school, they said. It’ll be fun, they said…

Image by silviarita from Pixabay

I’m not seeing much change in job posts from before the pandemic. Particularly in support positions, which is where I’ve spent most of my career. I don’t know if they haven’t bothered to update them or if they’re really this clueless. The posts are chock-a-block with the same tired elements.

1. Jobs posted as entry-level but requiring 3-5 years of experience. In different industries your mileage may vary, but for administrative jobs, that is NOT entry-level. I know why they’re doing it—it’s because of number 2.

2. If they class a job as entry-level, then they can pay at the lowest possible end of the pay range. If they’ve even bothered to share what that is. Employers still can’t seem to force themselves into even the most basic transparency.

3. Free food, ping-pong tables, gyms, etc. in lieu of market-rate pay. These perks lifted from start-ups and tech firms are designed to make you more comfortable in the office. Why? Because you’ll be there for hours and hours and hours every day.

4. Ads that say REMOTE WORK but aren’t really remote, as in, “You must be onsite at least two days per week.” Or the job is work from home but says “Local candidates only.” By all means, don’t consider anyone out of state who could be a terrific employee and really wants to move. This is the only one that has changed even a little bit, but it’s still not enough.

5. The old saw that anyone who’s unemployed must be unemployable, an attitude that has grown even more pernicious after many people lost their jobs during the (still-ongoing) pandemic through no fault of their own or quit due to untenable and even dangerous working conditions. No, they must be lazy or entitled, because

As I said earlier, I’m not sure there is any use in spending time completing yet another course or credential when a B.S., an A.S., and a CompTIA Project+ certification aren’t enough to get me off the front desk. I’d rather use that time to write the third book of my trilogy, both so I can offer a box set and because a ton of people won’t start a series until it’s finished.

I’m grateful the staffing agency reached out to me for my current assignment. Not only is the client company a fairly decent place to work, with nice people, but it’s a great way to ease myself back into an office routine again. It will be interesting to see whether it helps me find something. I’d love to see if they can handle the challenge of placing me in a direct-hire position in my target state.

The only advice I can offer if you’re looking for work is this: don’t give up. I’m certainly not planning to. [Edit 7/19: I’m about to give up. 😦 ]

The Profile You Will Never See on LinkedIn

“I am burdened with glorious purpose.”  – Loki

A recruiter in my target area (Massachusetts) contacted me on LinkedIn recently for a job that unfortunately turned out to be here (Hell) and ultimately didn’t sound like a good fit for me. She told me that recruiters often search by location and suggested I highlight my intent to move far, far away a bit more prominently. I changed my location and moved the paragraph that refers to relocation closer to the top of my summary.

I was already tweaking my profile before this happened and because I am a massive Marvel geek, I had a little fun. I also have a portfolio site, but I decided not to post my nerd revisions there or on LinkedIn in case it made the situation worse (though I don’t see how it could, to be honest).

But since this is my blog and I can post whatever I want, BEHOLD.


You need someone to assist with your mission. I need money. Let me introduce myself.

I’m a writer, editor, and administrative coordinator with experience in substantive editing and document control, basic project management, content and creative writing, and desktop publishing. I hold a B.S. in English and an A.S. in Criminal Justice from XYZ University. For a short time in 2013-2014, I studied technical writing at STATE University.

Based on my career trajectory, I earned a CompTIA® Project+ certification in June 2021, thanks to the STATE Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development. They offered training to workers displaced by the COVID Infinity Stone—oh sorry, I mean the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Think of me like Spider-Man—I do a lot of helpful things around the neighborhood.

Nerfed:

  • I can’t fly or take the full force of a star.
  • Numbers are my Thanos. Payroll or complex financial work would pass to Pepper Potts, but I’m a whiz at careful data entry. I can write SOPs and checklists other people can use if I’m off on a secret mission. I can manage a simple budget or at least let you know if we need more of Tony Stark’s cash.

Superpowers:

  • Writing! Books, instructions, and informational content flow out of my fingers like webbing.
  • I’m really great at process improvement and thinking up new and more efficient ways to streamline your operations on Earth or across the galaxy.
  • I can edit your documents, especially for clarity and consistency. Your grammatical errors will fade into the distant past. Need to put together reports and e-books? Lay(out) it on me!
  • I’m creative:
    • I can make really nice PowerPoint presentations and even interactive quizzes suitable for a touchscreen—I’m enormously proud of the Infinity War quiz I created for a friend’s birthday.
    • I can also make videos in PowerPoint (meh), HD Movie Maker Pro (better), and HitFilm Express (best, though I’m new at this one). I can edit music (Audacity) thanks to operatic training and fifteen years of figure skating.
    • Need an informational flyer with a fun graphic? I got you. I taught myself how to use GIMP to make e-book and paperback covers for my own publications. It’s similar to Photoshop but free since being a fledgling superhero isn’t very lucrative.

With my considerable experience, I can bring order to chaos, assist a client, and help save your world. I look forward to a new opportunity and I welcome the chance to expand both my creative and technical knowledge.

You could be Nick Fury and guide me into a more specialized role as a true Avenger!


And there you have it! 

It’s Rough Out There

This article by Suzanne Lucas, aka Evil HR Lady, dropped into my inbox this morning. I started to write a comment, but as sometimes happens, it turned into a blog post.

Go ahead, read it. I’ll wait.

Unfortunately, situations like this one are very common. I was unemployed before the pandemic, and it’s like running the gauntlet. I’ve filled out hundreds of applications and written a stack of cover letters.

Thank goodness we don’t have to mail them anymore.

Image by cocoparisienne from Pixabay

Even without factoring in COVID, I’ve run into companies that do the following:

  • Make candidates go through an entire process only to reveal at the end that the salary isn’t livable. Just tell us up front what the job pays, please.
  • Want someone who will stay forever at $10 an hour (bahaha!).
  • Ask for 3-5 years of experience for an entry-level job—at entry-level pay. I even saw one post expecting a fully certified PMP for $18 an hour. Good luck with that.
  • Demand a degree for a job that doesn’t require one. This is a form of gatekeeping that disproportionately affects lower-income and minority candidates.
  • Want candidates who have extensive experience with one particular software; nothing even remotely related will do even if the functions are exactly the same.
  • Expect 24-hour availability for a part-time job, thus preventing you from getting another part-time job to make ends meet (retail and food service do this a lot).
  • Refuse to consider anyone who’s unemployed. Hello, if I were employed, I wouldn’t NEED a job.
  • Refuse to implement pandemic safety protocols for their employees and/or customers. One manager ranted at me when I showed up to the interview wearing a mask.
  • Finally, one of the worst: expecting candidates to prepare for an interview, sometimes more than one, and then ghosting them. And no, you don’t get a pass for sending me a rejection email five months later.

Candidates should not ghost employers, either; it’s rude no matter what. If you don’t want the job or you change your mind after being hired, let the manager know like a damn adult. But I would bet money this is not anywhere near as prevalent as employers blowing off candidates. The pandemic pulled back the curtain on the many flaws and deep-seated inequities in how hiring and labor works in the U.S.

Oh shoot, you weren’t supposed to see that.

It’s not totally hopeless. People do find jobs after long periods of unemployment. Good employers exist. For the rest, the pressure is on to improve. To get and keep good employees, companies are going to have to step up their game.

Part of that includes looking out for the health and safety of their employees. The Biden administration has implemented a vaccine mandate (pending as of this writing) for employers with 100 or more workers. A smaller company would be wise to do this too, as well as keeping remote accommodations in place for disabled workers, particularly those who can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons.

Because yes, we are judging you. Viruses aren’t capable of caring to which party you pledge your allegiance. They’re only interested in getting into your nose.

Healthcare workers are tired, y’all. Just get your shots.

Image by Abhilash Jacob from Pixabay

The only thing we can do is keep trying. It helps that I’ve earned a project management certification and indie published three books. This shows I haven’t been idle. Fiction writing is work, and I’ve had to learn how to use graphics and video editing software on my own. Even if you haven’t done these things, you deserve a good job with an employer who will treat you with dignity and fairness.

It may be rough, but even a bad storm will pass. We’ll get through it. Hang in there.


Comments are turned off for this post because I don’t want to get into a vaccine debate with y’all. Go somewhere else for that.

I’m Getting Some Career Training!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here. I would love to tell you I have a job now, but I don’t.  

I can relate, buddy.

Image by Wolfgang Brauner from Pixabay

I’ve had three different staffing companies tell me they can’t place me because I’ve been out of work too long. COVID-19 is making that worse; no one is hiring, the jobs available aren’t a great fit for me (because accounting and bookkeeping), and if I work in food service or retail, not only will I be forced to run the cash register, but I will get sick. I can’t afford to get sick, nor can the relative with whom I’m staying (who thinks she already had it, but there is no guarantee you can’t get it again, and it can be worse on a second round).

Plus, I tried that in OldCity, and no one hired me; I guess they (rightly) assumed I would bail when something better came along, since nearly everyone in food service with any other experience at all does this exact thing.

Pixabay confused “leaving” with “leafing,” so I should just go with it.

Image by jplenio from Pixabay

Recently, my state’s career center posted a news item stating that they were offering free CompTIA training for workers displaced by COVID. CompTIA issues professional certifications for all kinds of IT jobs, a field that will only grow in future. Since the Plaguepocalypse has derailed my job search, I took a chance and filled out the application.

And someone called me!

Part of my old job duties entailed basic project and workflow tracking. Dyscalculia doesn’t exactly lend itself to computer programming and I’m not well-versed in hardware maintenance, so I figured the project management course would be the best fit for me.

They checked to ensure I was eligible (as a long-term unemployed person, I was), and then the blow fell: I would have to take the Wonderlic test to qualify. As in, that timed, pre-employment screening quiz with a lot of math on it.

This led to a crazy-go-round of accommodation requests, but when the paperwork finally settled, Wonderlic agreed to overnight a paper copy to the career center, where I was allowed to take the test in person with a calculator. No timers. Thanks to these ADA accommodations, I passed!

Today, I received the links to take the course, at my own pace (which will probably be at the speed of light). I don’t think I’ll be doing NaNoWriMo this year. No worries; I’m still working on the second book in my trilogy. It’s with my editor and we’ve got a long slog before it’s ready to send out into the world. Book Three can wait a bit. Besides, I could still get a job.

I don’t know how this will play out or if it will help, but I think it will. I’ve already seen several job listings where the project management training and certification would have given me a leg up. A pandemic won’t stop me; I have extensive experience with working remotely, plus I might even find a role that would finally get me out of here.

If you’re interested in similar assistance, it wouldn’t hurt to check out resources in your area. You can find a lot of information at careeronestop.org. I would not have thought my very red dumbstate would offer such a thing (and I wish they’d done it earlier), but I’m really glad I took a chance on it. We’ll see how it turns out.

I’m off to give blood today. In the meantime, stay safe, wear your mask, and wash your hands. And don’t forget to vote!


For Hell’s Sake, Just Hire Me Already

This is going to be lengthy, folks.

I’ve been job hunting now for over three years. THREE YEARS. I can’t believe it; I truly thought I’d find something before now.

It’s hard when you have a particular set of skills.

Image: Marvel / independent.co.uk

In the meantime, I’ve published a novel on Amazon, created an imprint, worked hard on my portfolio, and spent a lot of time being politically active — mostly online, since I can’t afford to go anywhere.

Why has it taken so long? I’m not sure, though I suspect a few factors are at play.

The job market where I used to live is ridiculously limited.

I track my applications in a spreadsheet. Over the last ten years, I’ve seen the same jobs posted again and again. The market has stagnated to an alarming degree. The only way to move up or do better is to get out.

Pay is also well below the national average. In the 2018 midterms, voters chose to raise the minimum wage, a measure that will help. But our state government is a dark money-funded, Republican nightmare, so I expect a monkey wrench to fly into the works somehow. I did move, but the cost of living here is 7-10% higher. I need to do better than my last job.

My previous employer paid magnificently for the area.

Most companies in OldCity are smaller, so when they saw Big Corp on the old resume, they probably thought, Oh, she won’t stick around, or Oh, she’ll want too much money.

Small businesses want one person to wear many hats.

Often, that includes bookkeeping. I’ve talked about having dyscalculia here and here, and how that affects my job hunt. Accounting aside, I’m halfway between being overqualified for entry-level jobs and not experienced enough to make a career change.

The longer you’re out of a job, the less likely you are to find one.

People have this strange bias that the unemployed must also be unemployable (we’re not!). Moving hasn’t helped, probably for this reason.

Maybe you’re just too darn picky!

Image: clipartix.com

I’m not a millennial.

I don’t look the age I really am (no one in my family does). But ageism is a real thing, and it’s a stupid thing. I want to work, and I’m not a tech dinosaur! Hire me!


Job hunting is tough. Employment ads often contain confusing language or little information about the role. As someone who’s been in the trenches of the process, here are some changes I’d like to see.

Post the salary range in the ad.

It’s a waste of everybody’s time to drag someone in for an interview, only to say you’re paying minimum wage. Candidates who want more can pass and those who are okay with it will still apply.

This especially applies to entry-level jobs. Negotiating isn’t really a thing at this level, and candidates needs to know if they can live on the salary or should keep looking. “Salary commensurate with experience” doesn’t fool us. Just say what it is.

Skip the timed math/logic tests and personality assessments at the application stage. Or ever.

Many people who are smart and capable don’t do well on timed tests. You are excluding people with disabilities like dyscalculia (!) and dyslexia, and people with anxiety, etc. who have lots of experience and would otherwise make great employees. As for personality assessments, they’re no better than a horoscope. You might as well ask people what their zodiac sign is.

These screening practices are lazy, ineffective, and potentially discriminatory. Stop it.

When you write a job ad, make sure it reflects what the job entails.

Avoid the following:

  • Muddy cheerleading language like You will effectively contribute to a team atmosphere and champion results. I’ve seen whole job posts like this. It does not tell me what I will actually be doing all day.
  • Make sure the job duties you post are up-to-date. If you hired someone to edit widget reports five years ago and the position changed over time, don’t pull your old job description and use that. Hiring someone for one job and making them do another can feel like a bait-and-switch. This happened to me once, and I ended up quitting.
  • Avoid vague phrasing like “Other duties as assigned.” If you must do this, and the candidate asks what they are, tell them.
  • It’s okay to include wish list items, but if you’re flexible on certain things or inflexible on others, please say so. A long list of skills could cause otherwise good candidates who may only have 60% of them but who could otherwise rock at the job to give it a pass.

Pay your employees well and provide them with the best benefits you can afford.

Treat them well, too. If you have a problem employee, deal with them. Good workers will bail on you if they see you let someone get away with bullying, slacking, or bad behavior, and they will tell other people about a poor experience.. Alison Green of Ask a Manager has tons of advice at her blog on effective management and a book, too.

Don’t ghost candidates you’ve talked to, even by phone.

If we take the time to prepare for an interview and travel to your office, please give us the courtesy of an actual rejection if you choose another candidate. I realize you may get 200 applications for one job. Nobody expects a reply for that.

Ghosting is extremely rude. You have our emails. This is freaking 2020. Setting up a list and auto-response is easy

Treat people like adults (and human beings).

How you deal with candidates tells us a lot about what it’s like to work there. You gain nothing by condescending like we should be grateful you bothered with us at all. After we’re hired, we can work effectively and happily if we’re fairly compensated and you don’t micromanage us. Respect our time and effort and great potential employees will be beating on your door.

Let us in! There are zombies out here!

Don’t rule out unemployed workers.

Finally, when you’re considering applicants who don’t have a job, remember that layoffs and other circumstances are often beyond our control. We don’t get to make those decisions.

Even if we messed up at a previous workplace, that doesn’t mean we can’t be excellent at yours. We approached you because we want to work. Give us a shot.

Review: Alison Green of Ask a Manager has a new book!

Ask A Manager ‘s Alison Green has compiled a ton of her most useful workplace advice into a book. Lucky me; I won an advance reader copy from Goodreads Giveaways! The book comes out on May 1, 2018, from Random House imprint Ballantine Books. You’ll want to grab a copy.

You can find my Goodreads review below:

Ask a Manager: Clueless Coworkers, Lunch-Stealing Bosses, and Other Work Conversations Made EasyAsk a Manager: Clueless Coworkers, Lunch-Stealing Bosses, and Other Work Conversations Made Easy by Alison Green

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank you, Ballantine and Goodreads Giveaway, for this ARC of Alison Green’s latest book. I first found Green’s Ask a Manager blog while job hunting in 2012 and have been a loyal reader ever since. This book is like a printed version of that: a handy reference to situations you may encounter at work and how to address them.

The book is divided into chapters–bosses; coworkers; if you’re the boss; and finally, interviewers. Each section contains a ton of common dilemmas. For each one, she tells you exactly what you can say and what to do if you hit a roadblock. Green has always advocated being both tactful and direct, and the language reflects that philosophy. It’s like having an experienced and caring mentor helping you navigate your most tricky workplace situations.

Featured text scattered throughout the book presents some of Ask a Manager readers’ letters and Green’s answers to them. Many of these are massively entertaining; even if they seem wacky (trust me, the blog has many of those!), you’ll likely find a takeaway. A few features give the reader direct information such as turn-offs to avoid during an interview, or phrases you can use with your boss. I think an index would be helpful, though it’s not too difficult to find what you’re looking for. This is a book made for flipping, not necessarily a straight read-through, since it’s so packed with information.

I haven’t found a better work advice columnist than Alison Green. If you want to learn to navigate your workplace with smarts and grace, get a copy of this book. It’s a terrific addition to your professional library and would make a valuable gift for someone new to the workforce.

View all my reviews

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