Friday, November 19, 2010

Update on the Job Situation

I am still ungainfully unemployed, still looking just like a month ago, when Eric and I attended my first job fair. Nothing from that fair has panned out, although I certainly got a feel for how these things go. Eric and I later (Nov 9th) attended a second job fair at the same location in the River Cities*, 50 miles from Churchville*. While we were over there, Eric dropped off two job applications at a school district there, and as we drove home he was called for an interview for one of the jobs. That interview happened this Tuesday, but we haven't heard back yet so hope is dwindling.

On Wednesday I noticed an item in the local newspaper about a job fair being held in Walltown* on Thursday at a university campus. I wasn't familiar with the location of the university, although I've been to Walltown quite a bit, so I checked out their website... which said the job fair was on Friday. After hemming and hawing, I called them up to find out what day it was, really, and upon learning it was definitely Friday I got prepped to go out there. Because our garage is out there, I also scheduled an oil change/winterizing for my car for before the fair started. So I was there bright and early, and got to the university well before the job fair started.

Unlike the two job fairs in the River Cities, this was a laid back, low-key event. It was student-run, and the non-students were confused as to where it was being held. As I had arrived early, I naturally took on the role of traffic director, and helped a lot of the employer representatives as they arrived, pointing them to the correct hall and even opening the doors for ones carrying boxes. I also talked with a lot of the job-seekers, who were mostly students at the school with a mix of the general public. It really is amazing how much a kind "hello!" and a reassuring look can give a person confidence when they aren't sure where they are supposed to go or what they need to do.

Once inside, it was just the same as a low traffic convention. The employers were mostly folks who don't need a technical writer/computer troubleshooter, but I chatted with everyone. There was an awesome research lab there with two display cases of "bugs that may infest a building", and they gave me some federal employment handouts. Another employer was only looking for summer interns, but their giveaway was perfect for college students: a laundry bag. I didn't get one, but I did pick up a golf ball from one company (CPA company), which I think I'll give to my father-in-law to find a home for it. WorkSource was represented there, and they gave me a coaster. I also got a keychain and two pens. You always seem to get some loot when you go to these.

There was one employer I was eager to talk with, and I hoped they might have some sort of place for me. When I got to them, it was clear that I wasn't going to be a great use to them but we chatted anyway, and when I mentioned that I do websites my resume was taken. Fingers crossed.

Another employer I talked with was even more promising. The company is a non-profit that helps people with disabilities find jobs and deal with the general bureaucracy. In addition, they help people like me, who are coming off long illnesses and such, to find work. And better yet they have an office in Churchville that is *just* within my walking range. So, they might employ me to help people with disabilities (which would be cool: I've worked with the deaf before and have friends with physical disabilities that I love to hang out with), OR they might help me find a different job with my own limitations in mind. Either way, I came away from their table feeling very positive and liked. I want to give that feeling to others. They took my resume, but I'm trying to think of ways to follow-up to make sure they remember me.

I also talked with a consumer credit counselor representative who was there not to offer work but to offer help to people dealing with debt. She and I chatted a little about Bank of Evil and the serious pains counselors have trying to work with various banks to try to keep people in their homes. When I talked about the problems getting shuffled from department to department she told me about an initiative to try to make companies to assign a single person to work on a case, and follow it through to the conclusion. An initiative that hasn't apparently been embraced by the banks. When I mentioned how discouraged I was, she told me I came across as very friendly, open, and professional, and that she was sure I'd find something. She has no idea how much I needed to hear those words, and I'm glad she said them.

After I'd talked with everyone and it was time to go, the organizer pointed me to the adjoining room, where they had lunch for the job-seekers. I was stunned, and delighted. I happily grabbed a sandwich and snack, as it was almost 1pm already, and filled up my stomach before heading home.

So, I'll rate this job fair better than the two in River Cities, for me at least. I have two possible job prospects, one extremely good and one very tenuous at best. I got another set of information, and more practice in at talking with people who might interview me. So, spin those prayer weasels and let's hope something good comes from this.

* Yes, the names of the towns and cities are fictional. I'm trying to annoy my stalker.


Wings said...

Sounds quite positive! Hoping for the best!

Carolyn said...

I agree, sounds hopeful. Here's hoping!

Anonymous said...

Good luck, Laura! You deserve the best.