Monday, January 11, 2010

Finding Part-Time Work is Not As Easy As I Thought It Would Be

I always thought that when my kids went to school I would get a part-time job.   It seemed like the logical thing to do.    I put it off for awhile (since July) but finally I got excited at the opportunity to make enough money to maybe buy extras for myself and the kids.  Or pay for groceries or a bill once and awhile.

So, I started the task of looking for a job outside of my home after being out of the real workforce for almost 10 years.   During a time when the unemployment rate is hovering at  around 10%.   Yeah, it's not working out so well.  My local grocery store never even called me back. 

First of all, EVERYTHING is online now.  You almost cannot talk to a real person unless they love what they see on your application and call you.  An application - it's not like you get to write them an essay about how great of a person you are - it's fill in the blank. 

I really feel for people in careers that are trying to find full-time jobs.  I watched something on PBS recently where this man who had been an expert in his field for 20+ years, lost his job and was looking for a new one.  He had to hire someone to help him write an resume just to get a call back.  The best job right now seems to be the one who coaches people through the application and interview process.   With so many applicants, companies can be as picky as they want.

Anyway, I finally got a call back from a well-known department store make-up company.   So, I met with the person who would be my boss and we really hit it off.  The job was very flexible with great pay and I felt certain I was going to get it. As a matter of fact, I actually told people I already had it  - that is how confident I was. 

However, I first had to go through a personality based interview by phone.   I know the questions are based to help them find the right person for the job but seriously, I found most of the interview to be ridiculous.  One of the questions was, "Are you an honest person?"   Um, yeah.  Like I'd answer no if I wasn't?     Anyway, after the interview, I felt pretty certain I was not getting this job.

This is why.  Many of the questions were based on how many sales you would drive to this company.   Like, "Do you consider yourself a salesperson?"   Now, I can honestly say that almost every single job I've had in my life has involved sales.   I was a Corporate Sales Manager for a hotel chain in Dallas, TX.  I have sold real estate and cookware through in-home demonstration.  I have sold shoes, clothes, perfume and food and wine.  And quite possibly, the hardest of them all - trying to sell peas to a two year old.  But I do not consider myself a salesperson.  I have always considered myself as someone who becomes educated about my product or field and helps people make buying decisions.  I make friends when I help them buy a product that I am selling.   They refer me and come back to see me.  They remember me not as a salesperson but rather as someone who was helpful, honest and trustworthy.   That was my answer to that question.

Another question was based on what my career path goals were with this company.
I'm looking for a part-time job here, people.  Not a new career.  I told them as much (nicely) and stated that my family is my priority.    I also added that as my children grow older, I might consider a new career but for the time being, I was very interested in the part-time flexible job for which I was applying.

The last question that I remember and I'm really not sure what they thought about this.  I will say there was total silence on the other end when I answered.  "What is the one thing you would stand up for no matter what?"  Or something along those lines.   Without skipping a beat my answer was God.

So there you go.  I answered a personality based interview with three main ideas.
Integrity or Trustworthiness

I did not get the job.  The woman who originally interviewed me was shocked.  She is the one redeeming and wonderful part of this whole experience.

While I was a little hurt at first, I'm now at peace.  Some things have changed for me since I began a job search,  I'm all about surrendering this year and I know that God has a very good reason why he did not want me to have that job.   And frankly, why would I want to work for a company that is obviously more interested in making sales than hiring people with a moral compass.  I am savvy enough to know that had I lied through parts of that interview, I would have gotten the job.  I knew the answers they wanted and I very easily could have given them those answers.  I chose to be honest. 

I would do the same all over again.  You just can't replace integrity.

One very good lesson came out of this particular job interview, though.   If you think the sales person at the make-up counter is trying to sell you something you really don't need - she probably is.

For More Lessons Learned This Week head on over to it's guest appearance on  From Inmates to Playmates. 

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JanMary said...

Wow - great/tough lesson. Well done for making a stand!

I love that you have all sold peas to a two year old - broccoli (mini trees), sprouts (Barbie cabbages), been there and done that too!

I chose not to return to working for someone else this year, after a 5 year career break for the kids, and instead chose working from home with making jewelery, digi-scrapping for others and hopefully selling my photos too.

I did not see how I could cope with childcare for 3 kids outside of school hours, never mind the long school holidays.

I may never make much, but much more at peace with it, and the family and my faith come first.

fraizerbaz said...

I know it's rough out there. I got laid off last April and still do not have a permanent job. I had two temp jobs, though - one that lasted five months and another that lasted four weeks.

God has been taking care of me, in any event. Money comes when I need it, and from unexpected places sometimes.

Lots of luck to you in your quest!

The Chubby Dove said...

Good for you!

I've been thinking lately that I should get one, too. However, it seems that everyone is cutting back. Even at Christmas, the places I checked into weren't hiring for extra holiday help.

Anita said...

Wow what an interesting lesson. I was in retail management for a department store for just over 14 years. Retail can be grueling. Cosmetics sales is a good job, but upselling is huge. I never looked for a pushy person when hiring, I looked for the things that you are, that you value.
What a loss to that company.

Janel@Dandelion Dayz said...

Oh, thanks, Anita! I bet you were awesome at your job, I can see you being very caring and encouraging to your sales people.

You know it is really surprising. I know several women that work for this company and I would never guess them to be pushy salespeople. They are wonderful, family-focused, loving women. I was very surprised by the outcome of this opportunity. I love the product and have used it for years so it was disappointing.

I could always look at other opportunities, but honestly, retail is not where I want to be anyway.

Stefani said...

Good for you for being honest when it would have been so easy to tell them what they wanted to hear.

I actually worked at a department store that was more focused on sales than the integrity of their employees (or their employees at all for that matter), and it was awful. I quit after about four months on the job. It is the shortest time I have ever worked anywhere. I usually can make the best out of a bad situation, but the push to sell was too much for me.

God has a great plan for you and I'm sure you'll do great wherever you end up working. :)

Julie From Inmates said...

Wow. I would hate to think I had to re-enter the workforce and start the application process again. It makes me nervous just thinking about it! Good for you for being honest! Thanks for participating this week! =)

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