National Career Fairs: What a waste of an afternoon.
Wow! It's been a while since I posted. Where have I been? I've been here, unemployed, raising my baby girl while my wife works. My biggest project was finishing the novel, then querying literary agents. As I wait for the responses and rejections, I'm gearing up for my next writing project which I am trying to figure out exactly what it will be.
Meanwhile, as I said, I'm unemployed. Fifteen months now. Where has that time gone? I can't tell you how many hundreds of resumes I've sent. Periodically I'll check out a career fair and see if I can find something worthwhile.
I went to one today hosted by National Career Fairs. This is officially the last career fair I will ever attend.
They should really tell you in advance what kinds of positions these companies are looking for. They don't. So when you arrive, you learn the bitter truth: they're all looking for sales people.
The man in charge yells to everyone in line to check them all out! Network! Ask questions! You never know! I tried, I really did. "What are you looking for?" I would ask. "Salespeople," they responded. I'm an electronics technician by trade and a published writer, I would explain. "No," they would say, "we're not looking for anything like that."
So, why did I go?
Here's a few companies who were represented at today's career fair: The Army National Guard. Chipotle. Four insurance companies (and you know who they're looking for, right?). Something called Woodmen of the World, which appeared to be like a "sell our products" kind of company, judging by their very vague banner. (Shades of Amway, perhaps?) Four colleges. Do I go to a career fair so I can go back to college? Why waste my time, DeVry? Kaplan? National? and Fortis?
There were some others, but I was too irritated to stick around.
The only reason I went was to speak to a representative from a company I applied to a few days ago for a job I would be ideal for: an electronics assembler for a company whose initials are NG. I applied and naturally I never heard back. I thought if I attended the fair and spoke to the man personally, maybe I could gain a little ground.
He explained that this position, which I've done everything on their required experience list, needed proper certifications, which I lack. This certification includes soldering. As an electronics technician, I've been soldering on the job or in various hobbies for most of my life. But no, you must be certified. Ergo, no job for you.
Not even a consideration.
Career counselors used to say, "apply for the job anyway, even if you don't have all the experience they're looking for." I guess in today's market, that advice no longer applies because chances are good that NG will easily find the right person with the right certifications.
The blog reader might say, why don't you get that certification, blog-boy?
Because there's still no guarantee.
First off, where do I find a place that will certify me in soldering? Secondly, how much does that cost? I am unemployed, so I can't very well spend all those dollar bills I'm currently using as toilet paper, now, can I? And finally, assuming I do use my toilet-paper money to get a solder certification, then what? Does my phone start ringing with job offers? Or am I back to where I am right now, still looking for a job? Ah, but now it's different! Now I'm Certified in Soldering!
But, NG or some other company will find another reason not to hire me. "You don't have the Bullshit Certification," they say. "It's right on the job page. I see you're certified in soldering, but not Bullshit. Sorry, no job for you."
I'm willing to do work outside of what I'm used to doing (besides selling insurance, cars, stereos, vinyl siding, etc etc etc.), but whatever it is, it has to pay more than my unemployment currently pays me. Otherwise, what's the benefit?
Currently, my unemployment plus my wife's paycheck keeps us afloat with a little bit to save every month. Then, I get a royalty check every six months, which helps.
Reduce that unemployment check by $1, and we'll start to sweat.
I used to have a good job. For a long while, it looked like things were going to finally be okay. Then the job was gone. Then the baby was born.
Then President Obama says things will get better and new jobs will be made.
I'm still waiting.
Our neighbors lost their house to foreclosure. A house two doors down from us got foreclosed on. I can't even refinance right now because currently our house is worth less than what we paid for it in 2000. Oddly, our mortgage payment has stayed the same.
I have about three months before my current unemployment extension is up. Then, looks like I'll be working at Krogers.
Shouldn't be so bad, I worked there in college.