Archive | June 2018

Am I ready?

I have been helping this house-flipping guy. I was referred to him by a friend. Thus far, I have been organizing his receipts (and putting them in an Excel spreadsheet) and helping him efficiently receive his Menard’s rebates. Menard’s is a home-improvement chain headquartered in Wisconsin. He just started his company.

The other day, he was online doing a bid for some job. He emailed someone and referred to me as his “administrator”. Holy crap. This is a new company. This is a mega-opportunity. I cannot turn it down. But I feel a little in over my head. I have been intentionally applying only for part-time positions and have now signed up for a job that might threaten to consume my life.

I feel like Joey on “Friends” when he got the lead in a movie in Vegas. He’s sitting in the coffee shop and says, “This is my big break. It’s what I’ve waited for my whole life. Why haven’t I been preparing?!” I need to clear up my apartment to make room for a real-life office. Just for starters.

I have realized that we are all preparing for something. If you want Mr. Right, you must make yourself desirable to him. You have to be Mrs. Right. Centuries ago, women went to actual “finishing schools” to learn house-wifery. The concept is ridiculously antiquated today, but the principle still and always applies. Same thing with employment. You may be looking for the perfect organization, but they are looking for the perfect employee. The question is, “What do you bring to the table?”

The next phase of my life is really starting. I have a lot to do.

Heard Myself

My life is going in a good direction slowly.

I am now working a house-flipper. He’s very interesting. He just started his company about two months ago. He has no system, so I am helping him the way I helped the Chinese lady, entering his receipts onto an Excel spreadsheet and keeping track of them. I can do a lot for him.

My normal job search has not gone well. But I know it is not just me. I apply for a job I see posted online. I interview for it. I don’t get it. And I keep seeing the same job posted over and over. I am not what they want, but clearly neither is anyone else because the position is going unfilled.  Whatever the local employers are looking for is simply not in the labor pool. Everyone keeps telling me that the problem is not me. I believe them now.

The issue is one of skill range versus wage range. The skill requirements for these jobs range wildly, from burger-flipping to high-end administrative skills (three years experience of data entry, two years of customer service, and must be familiar with databases). However, the pay range is minuscule, from $10/hr to about $14/hr. Reality check #1: absolutely nobody with the skills being demanded for some of these jobs is going to apply for them at $10/hr, unless they just got out of rehab or prison. Reality check #2: nobody in their right mind is going to go up to their eyeballs in student loan debt for a raise of $1 or $2/hr. Employers get what they pay for. A $10/hr employee might need time off to see their parole officer or some leeway if the buses are running late because $10/hour is insufficient pay to support yourself and own a car.

Long story short: employers in Michigan are driving away everybody with an education and real skills with their low wages and zero opportunity for advancement.

About six years ago, my friend who now lives in Maryland graduated law school and was looking for a job. I kept telling her, “You have an amazing and unique skill set. I do believe there is a fabulous job out there for you–but you will likely have to move to another state.”

A week or two ago, she repeated it back to me practically verbatim. Suddenly I understood. It sank in.

So I have expanded my job search area to include Grand Rapids to the west, Jackson to the South, Brighton to the east, and Dewitt/St Johns to the north. For the time being while I live in Michigan.

But my long-term plans are elsewhere. I am looking at other job markets: Columbia, Missouri, Charleston, West Virginia, and even Columbus, Ohio. Places with reasonable rental costs and abundant jobs all at the same time. But it would be hilarious to go to Columbus, home of the nemesis of both U of M and MSU: the Buckeyes.

In the mean time, I am helping the house-flipper by getting him organized, doing data entry, and doing research for him.

My future is bright. Michigan’s, not so much.

A Good Sign?

I have been dealing with strong feelings. There is the “OMG! Why doesn’t anyone want me?!” panic, with occasional bouts of optimism.

Why is this a possible good sign? Because it takes a certain amount of energy to panic. Having dealt with depression since I was about 10, I know that true depression precludes panic or even giving a rat’s ass about anything. Serious depression means simply not caring about what is going on because there is a zero percent chance that any possible event would have an  emotional impact to make one feel better.

I see my life right now as having crashed. My car has crashed from Barry’s passing. I have gotten out of the car with the smoking engine. I am standing in the middle of nowhere, scratching my head. Everything in the car has splattered on the inside of the windshield from the abrupt halt. I am okay, but really, really lost.

A friend suggested I start looking for jobs in Grand Rapids. I might do that. Lansing has nothing. I seriously mean nothing. Just the same old re-posts of jobs I have already applied for. This tells me that neither I nor anyone else is meeting the expectations of employers. Whatever it is they are looking for, they are not finding it. At all. It is so not me.

I can’t even imagine hunting for a job with an opioid addiction or felony on my record. I am squeaky clean and having these issues. These people must be ready to off themselves. I am not kidding.