So, Now I Am Gainfully Employed! What Did I Do?

It took me 2 weeks and 3 days.

First, I thought I would be awesome and create this resume that was a work of art. Having such Graphic Design background as i have, (see: avoided doing any Graphic Design whatsoever because I hate it.) I made a very creative resume that would catch someone’s eye, had a picture on it, (oh no!) and had more than 3 font sizes and used ITALICS!! Well, I quickly discovered this was clearly the best way to have my resume thrown directly into the “circular recycling file cabinet.” I utilized the Colorado Workforce Development center because I am no dunderhead — if you want a job, they are out there. You just have to be willing to do what it takes to get a job in minimal time. Which really translates to maximum effort for minimal time.

Two of the Veteran Outreach fellows called me after I signed up for unemployment to make up the other half of my paycheck from the previous job. I was summoned to a seminar for some local vets at the library for help getting employment. I love this kind of stuff because it offers free advice, free training most of the time, and free access to people who are important cogs of our local communities. They tore me a new one about how confident I was and how stupid my resume was that I would never get a job with it. No, really, they offered great, constructive advice that I immediately took to heart and worked with them to change for the better. Once my resume was as they determined it should be, I was getting calls and messages on the voicemail. Too bad I had already spent $36.00 on resume paper and having it done at Staples. Apparently it is all about computers reading the digital resumes, scanning for keywords rather than sitting face to face getting to know the applicant.

I scoured the Colorado Workforce listings in the morning at 8am, in the late morning at 11am, at about 2pm, and then finally at about 5pm or later, depending on what I was doing that day. I felt like responding to Craigslist ads was volunteering my information to Somali pirates so I avoided that. Filling out applications is the worst. I almost view it as a complete waste of time except that it is required and the document gives the employer what they need to type into their records. The resume is more of our story. At first, it really was a waste of time. I might as well have filled out applications without my resume being prepared at all because the majority of the secretaries and hiring personnel these days have an additional weapon in their arsenal; a very-discriminating computer who can throw your info “in the recycle bin” based on a set of variables and keywords.

Never mind you that I have years of experience operating a forklift, but because I didn’t say i have years of experience operating a hi low, most likely was auto-disqualified. What the hell is a “hi low??” It is a forklift. Well, that is an example of the difference in terminology for the company Meijer. Could have been a skid steer with forks on it, so Skid Steer would be required. So many companies have position openings but are either unnecessarily weeding out the people that they need that have the skills they want, because they use computer programs as their first line of hiring discrimination. Forklift operators who have been working diligently in the industry for 25 years become no longer relevant because they “don’t know the golden words” to get past this non-human interface, and people coming straight out of college or high school don’t know how to say the right words because of our piss-poor education system. Luckily for me, I have a super-duper-extended vocabulary and a creative imagination.

Following my post about the importance of saying yes, there is a definite reason behind why I made that post. I was considering jobs in different fields or areas that I would not have normally chosen. For me, it is the intrinsic value of the job that interests me more than the pay. I work for people because I am good at what I do and I can make a tangible difference. I do not work for the money. Money is an accessory, a tool, a means to an end — something that helps us get from where we are or where we have to be, to where we want to be. Not the end itself. If I was to work somewhere for the money only, I would never be happy because there is never enough. New needs, life’s uncertainties, bracket creep, comfort, whatever it is, will come up and take that “extra money” you had for savings, for vacation, sending the kids to school… It ALWAYS comes back, and leaves you broke. No, the only thing that deserves to work for money is money itself. Money is timeless, can work 24/7 and can move mountains while I spend time with my family. Money is forever. Since its inception as a tool to make trading easier, man has constantly flocked to obtain as much of it as he can possibly afford, at whatever means possible — good or bad. The recent news in Bitcoin is a perfect example that as we travel the digital information age, that even more novel ways of using never-before-heard-of currencies are going to be dreamed about and attempted.  This will continue well off into the future only ending with the disappearance of the Human race itself.

So i just go for the job itself. Here is some of the process I use to determine a job:

  • Is the job interesting? If given enough time, could I love doing it?
  • I gauge my current and past experience and my abilities. I have a lot of em. What current skills do I have that can meet the majority of the employer’s readily apparent needs? For instance, in the time since getting out of high school, I have learned: Public Speaking, Writing, Welding, Snorkeling, Fabrication, How to make Maille, Iron Forging, Jet Aircraft Maintenance, How to live on less than $9000 a year, Motivational Speaking, Resume and Professional Development, and Supervision and Management in excess of 1000 employees. I have driven across the state of Kentucky to Train Enumerators, Manage IT Infrastructure, was a Property Custodian of more than a million dollars of inventory. I have stocked and sold clothes in the Mall, I have been a Meat Cutter in the deli. Ive crawled under houses looking for rotten beams that would make a crappy Real Estate Investment. Ive been burnt to a crisp Erecting and Restoring a Greenhouse. I know how to raise Trout in a Fish Hatchery. The list could go on, and that’s crazy, right??
  • Can I still perform these abilities at the same efficiency as I used them last, or has that ability degraded as I have gotten older? Has that “muscle” atrophied? Am I confident in that? One of the jobs I applied to was to a Cemetery. *Importance of saying yes* I haven’t mowed a lawn in a commercial capacity since I was a teenager lawn mower, and was faced with mowing 180 acres. I think the most atrophied muscle possibly IS the teenager, so if the head groundskeeper was pushing a mower i’ve got no excuse!
  • What I have that I might possibly be able to offer as a service or product of my being there, in addition to my being employed. This serves a double purpose: The employer and employee always get more than they pay for. As an example: having knowledge of nutrients, fertilizers, and organic integrated pest management, I can create an effective organic pesticide to be used on tomatoes at a savings to the employer of an average $1250 per year. The added bonus for me is that I now have the knowledge of the creation and application of not only this product but many others of my own design which is great for my future business endeavors.
  • I ponder what I might be able to learn from the job. As above, obviously learning how to perfect pesticides or nutrient lines is one thing. But what I mean is actually learning something completely new. Every industry and every job has something new to learn. Even if it is one McDee’s to another one down the street, they are most likely operated by two different franchise owners and have different ways of doing things. You may have never had to put mop-and-glo down on the floor on your hands and knees before but you’re going to learn somewhere.
  • What the duties ask of me as sacrifice to what I want to do. As any good businessman would, I do due diligence. If you don’t know this term, you are wrong. A job is a business transaction. You are transacting your time, the muscles and sweat in your body, your health when using hazardous equipment… To make matters worse, you are burning the candle at both ends, my friends. Find out what the job costs YOU to do it. Don’t forget things such as: Family Time, Commute Time, Fuel Expense, Car Mileage and Associated Maintenance Costs, Benefits, do you get regular Time Off or is it a Blitz? Does it have Intrinsic Value? Would doing this for 10,000 days straight drive you crazy? Commission? Commensuration? The list could go on. If you hate coffee, don’t become a Barista.
  • I have to have the opportunity to meet people. It is just one of those things. I must be able to interact with others on a regular basis as part of my duties. I would never want to work in a job that I was by myself unless it made a bunch of money and temporary. I like to be a positive, motivating force in the lives of others. I can usually find some way of helping others in some aspect of their lives based on the broad experiences I have had the privilege of having in my life. I am a cosmopolitan extrovert that has conversed with many around our globe and we are all human and can learn from the mistakes of others. 😉
  • Will this fit in with my 5 year plan? My 10 year plan? My 25? Who has plans for 25 years? Statistically not that many! That right there is the main reason I have very generalized but focused plans for these time periods. I want to do as much good as I possibly can. I want to make a meaningful difference to both the people around me, the communities I may be a part of, my country, and the entire world. I can’t do that if I become destitute working desperately to make ends meet somewhere, which is what a lot of people do. If the skill-set doesn’t mesh with my plans, it is a waste of time. If the employers don’t want my added skill-set and just simply need a body for a slot, it’s a waste of my time. If I have no interest in it and no skills, I’m a waste of the employer’s time. What a waste of time! Why do people do that? Really, it happens every day.
  • I want to be able to physically volunteer more in the local community. I need a schedule that meets making this possible. While there are plenty of nighttime opportunities, that eats into my personal family time too. We have to budget everything in life if to be successful. It’s hard, but it can be done. There is an inherent importance in saying yes, but you have to know when to say no at the right time as well.

I don’t know how other people might go about finding a job, but the above is what goes through my head before I ever write down the job number, the employer name, or additional information. If the position and company meet the required criteria  and get past my blockers, it goes into another pile. In this pile of acceptable positions I always strive for 100 different companies. Only a few times have I ever had to apply to 100 different places, but in attempting to find a Greenhouse to work for out West, I had to contact 252 different people or companies before one stuck. I understand the power of determined persistence.

Next, I do company research if I can find any, find out what they do and are all about, and about the ownership. I take a different measure in companies than most people do, because I am training myself for the investment angle. I eventually want to be a Professional Investor. There is never better time to start learning the trade and terminology than in the present. With that said, I look at the company as an investment, and is the investment worth it?

Does the management care about the employees, or are they Egyptian slave drivers? Is there an ability for dedicated employees to buy  into the company as an investment in themselves, or is that ever out of reach? Does the company train its employees or rely on turnover and overworking its supervision? Is the environment one of subjugated depletion or positive motivation? Do the employees look happy, are they happy? With so many ways to find company information and as many of you who have cell phones, there should be no reason you ever have to walk blind into an interview. Let your fingers do the walking.

Notice that it was mostly I who dwindled down and filtered my own options. I have an elaborate way of doing it, but most of you do this very thing except you set your bars only on money most of the time. I believe we need to set the bar higher, say yes more, try things we have never done before, and try to make as excellent of an example of ourselves. There is opportunity in everything, so if you set your filters really high, you are also going to have to set your input batch of potential jobs you are willing to do really high. You are going to have to take some of the requirements off. You might have to commute. Can you afford that? You might not be able to be a photographer for a magazine yet, but would you be willing to take pictures of house exteriors and interiors for a real estate investor? You could be building a portfolio and could tweak your technique while making money for it and building a portfolio.

For this round, it was 49 places. Food Service, Writing, Editorial Work, Cemetery, Data entry, Barista, Property Management, Real Estate Investing, Computer Sales, Car Audio Installation — I had made individual resumes and applied to 26 companies, and gotten three interviews.

Data Entry & Research.

Re-post, share, like, whatever! Sorry it took me a few days to get another post up but as you can see I have been busy.

I also fell off a mountain! (Only a few feet, I’m so dramatic.)

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