Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Unemployment Chronicles, Chapter 4

Today I spent an hour sitting in an Uptown shopping center, between appointments, waiting for a phone interviewer to call me on my mobile. With my Treo and a handy scratch pad, my office is wherever I want it to be. Too bad I didn't bring my laptop along, too.

Today's setup is nifty, since I remember the bad old days of job-hunting all too well. Before cell phones, I had to sneak into empty conference rooms to make private calls, or spend my lunch hours feeding coins into pay phones. Now I can conduct a preliminary interview without skulking around like a spy.

I also remember printing — or typing and photocopying — and then mailing dozens of resumes and cover letters, then waiting for responses in the mail. Now I can send my standard documents into the slush pile with a few clicks and receive a noncommittal reply within hours.

I still haven't found a better way to go on full-fledged job interviews, though. Unless I have a couple hours free for transit and meeting (which I do at the moment), I've still been known to call in sick so I could get away for a chat. I've also scheduled the occasional phantom dentist appointment to wrangle some free time, with my interview clothes stashed in the trunk of the car so as not to arouse suspicion at the office. Makes me wonder if I should invest in a webcam for virtual interviews, which I'm sure will be the next step.

Anyway. I spent an hour — er, 45 minutes — talking with a mental health professional this morning. I did this not because I felt in need of therapy, but because she was the closest thing my employee assistance program had to a career counselor. She suggested a couple resources, but really, I'm taking all the right steps toward staying well and getting reemployed. Someone with a Ph.D. says so, and it's nice to have that validation. I might schedule the other two appointments to which I'm entitled just to stick my ex-employer with the bill.

Postscript: The phone interviewer didn't call me on time, but we talked later in the day, and I'll be surprised if I don't get an in-person interview and then an offer out of it.

The in-person interview I did go to provided all the information I needed to make a decision: working as a part-time financial products salesperson on commission is not what I want to do next.



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