Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Genius Recommends: Advice for the Recently Free

I just received word that even more of my fans are now enjoying the freedom to look for new (employment/early retirement/unreasonable termination/unseasonable free time/ways to entertain the children/reasons not to purchase fireams). Since I have been seeking satisfactory employment for the last ten months without success, I thought I would share my obviously excellent experience at finding a new source of funding outside the family. These items are meaninglessly numbered and quite possibly meaningless in general, but hopefully you'll pick up something useful or at least smirk mirthlessly at my problems. As other people always say about me, if you can't do something right, try and serve as an example for others.

Item 1: Do Not Wallow
When enjoying the early stages of unemployment/freedom, it can be easy to sink into a cycle of self-pity and doubt. You just got fired, so obviously you must suck at the work you had been doing for 2/20/200 years, right? Not so much. Remind yourself that shit sucks right now and you need to get over your anger at your old company's decision and get cracking at finding a new job so you can go back to spending eight to twelve hours a day being miserable under fluorescent lighting. Take two days to feel shitty and angry, maybe get drunk or whatever, but that's it. Two days of wallowing is enough, you big baby.

Item 2: Log-ins, Log-ins, Log-ins
Unless you're some sort of fucking mega-star in your field, people probably won't know you. If you are some sort of mega-star, fuck off because you're ruining it for everyone else. In order for people to learn about you, you've got to get out there. In the good old days, you could keep up your attendance at the neighborhood happy hours over at Jimmy and Diane's. These days, it means creating profiles all over the goddam internet. Career Builder, Monster, Linked-In, (Local High Profile Newspaper), etc, etc, etc. Go the extra forty miles on these things, too. Really clog up the tubes with tales of your daring and dynamism at the workplace. Remember that time you saved that dude from OD'ing on correction fluid? Or the time you had two interns in the copy room? Well, maybe you leave those out. You may be thinking "But Genius, I'm a certified paper pusher with two degrees and several references and recommendations! Why would I need to go to all this trouble?" Here's the thing: someone at your targeted company will be searching the internet for information about you. Some HR flunky will be asked to "see what's out there about this guy/gal." Make sure that what's out there is positive and helpful to these people. They're already HR, so they're not too bright, so help them out.

Item 3: SCHMOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOZE
If you want to continue working in your former field, call everyone you know that is still working in the field. Chat them up, renew your acquaintance, and straight up ask them if they have any intel for you. This is not a time to be shy, or feel conflicted about using social contacts for personal gain. Remember that dude from (Other Department) who got a job at (Competing Company)? Call that guy, see how he likes the place, and if he will forward your information. That woman you got a business card from at that trade show? Call her, too. Be upfront about why you are calling and what you need from them. Listen to them, if they have inside info about the company that they are willing to share, be willing to listen. As for how to determine what you need from them, see Item 4.

Item 4: Research AKA Stalking
The internet is a wonderful land, full of opportunity and information. Did I mention that it's full of information? Cuz it's FULL OF INFORMATION. Unless you're a creep who specializes in digging out secret addresses of Myspace kids, you will probably be surprised at the sheer amount of stuff you can find out by searching for stuff like "KBR/Halliburton HR Staff List" or something similar. You need to be a frigging subject matter expert on any company that you are serious about making a run on. When contacting your people, you don't want to ask them to just kick your resume over to HR with a note, you want to be as precise as possible. "Please send this over to Mr. Wilmington in HR and I thought that Mrs. Jenkins in Drafting and Design would also appreciate it." If your contact is willing to put you forward in this way, you are already up on Johnny Pearlywhites at the interview.

Item 5: Appearance
As much as I don't hate to say it: appearance counts. True story: I was working at a public agency in San Francisco, conducting a survey of employers and their trouble filling positions. One woman at a large firm really wanted to vent about how hard it was to find qualified people who could also remember to comb their hair more than once a week and be bothered to tuck in their shirts. You can have a glowing resume and be everything they need and want, but if you smell or have shitty, ugly teeth, you're fucked. Think about it: how much harder does someone have to work at being liked if they don't take care of their person? You're already unemployed, so you've got the time to quit smoking, start a work-out routine, and dye those teeth. As fucked up as it is, a good looking person with a nice smile will go farther than the person who rocks the scruff and went to the British School of Dentistry. This also ties in with Item 1: Do Not Wallow. If you've been thinking about dropping a few pounds, or maybe padded out those quads, delts, and biceps, you've got the time and you'll have more energy. If you're married or in a relationship, s/he will appreciate this as well, and I doubt I need to explain how that appreciation will be shown.

Item 6: Branch the Fuck Out
You just got shitcanned at your job auditing banks, and now you're not even sure you want to continue in that field, maybe because you have a soul and a conscience. What the hell should you do with yourself? Maybe you can explore your artsy side because you sure loved that one drawing class twenty years ago, but that probably had more to do with the models than any talent. So what the hell should you do? Branch the fuck out. Think about ways you can apply your skills and experience in some way you hadn't been before, as a private accountant or corporate auditor or whatever, I don't really know exactly. Be flexible of mind and it will come to you. Read lots, and talk to other professionals. Maybe there is work for an accountant tracking transaction reports for a law firm. Chances are that if your former company is experiencing financial woes, your entire industry is, so you might have to venture outside that industry to find a new water cooler to stand over and discuss last night's Lost.

Item 7: Training
You've got plenty of free time now, don't waste it leveling another character so you can go raid Mordor six times a week. Go back and refresh your skills with training courses, or learn some new skills that complement your experience and can help you with that idea you had about branching out, as we discussed previously. Most job training expenses are tax right offs, but you definitely want to talk to an expert about that before claiming anything with the IRS.

Item 8: Don't Listen To Me
I was unemployed for eight fucking months before I got a job waiting fucking tables! Why the fuck are you listening to me? Talk to a professional career counselor.

11 comments:

Mandos said...

Item 8:

Be an eternal graduate student with a "research" assistantship doing extremely specialized technical work they'd have to pay a private contractor 4 times as much to have done. That's job security, baby.

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Anonymous said...

I think your final step should have been, the economy sucks, so repeat as often as necessary till this works. It really does, i did it for about 1 year and half before getting a temp job that has now lead to a permanent position.

Mendacious D said...

Item 9: Proofread.

Item 5 occurs twice.

While the importance of fifths cannot be disputed, it is not of precise use in this case.

Chuckles said...

Must have been a fifth column insertion.

Or a copy and paste error, the bane of all editors.

Dandrobium said...

Actually this is quite sound advice. Are you following any of it? :)

The first two hots when you search for "KBR/Halliburton HR Staff List" are "Freelnace Genius" and "Another KBR Rape Case."

Frightening, both of them.

Chuckles said...

That's a terrible coincidence.

ginger-talk said...

item 10: start your new career as a "redundancy consultant."

Adorable Girlfriend said...

Schmoozing is important. Hey, I have a lead for you. I am sending it your way shortly. (Even if you've been an asshat as of late.)

missyandchrissy said...

this fellow unemployed thanks you for your words of wisdom!

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