Now the job hunt begins in earnest.

My office phone rang as I was wrapping my scarf around my neck to head home at 4PM today. It was my representative from the contract house I work for. He asked me what time I get off of work and when I said I was just about to leave he asked if I could swing by his office, but wouldn’t say much when I asked what was up. This naturally set off my spider senses and I knew before I ever made the five minute drive what I was in store for. As I walked in his office it only took a glance at his expression to confirm my suspicions. My contract was being terminated.

My supervisor had called him that afternoon and wanted him to make it clear to me that it wasn’t due to any failing of my own. It wasn’t a job performance issue or a lack of professionalism; if anything I had done an excellent job in my four years working there even after they moved me into a position they knew I wasn’t happy with. Apparently the reason I was being let go was because they had gotten authorization for a direct hire, but they had to give up an agency (contractor) in order to do so. My supervisor would have liked to have offered to convert me from agency to an employee, but my lack of a college degree apparently put me beyond consideration and so they were ending my contract. The good news, if you can call it that, is that I have a little under a month to find a new job. My last day will be Friday, February 11th. This too, I was told, was representative of my professionalism as normally they lay folks off the same day they make the decision.

It was a somber drive home and I’d be lying if I didn’t say my stomach isn’t in knots at the moment, but I’ll put in my remaining time and start passing out resumes like complimentary breath mints. I’d intended to find a new job this year anyway, but I was hoping to do it on my own timetable. Still, a month’s notice beats a day’s notice and I’ll try to be happy about that much.

So if any of you hear of any good opportunities in the South Eastern Michigan area, or happen to be talent scouts from Hollywood who were considering taking me up on the offer to make me famous from the last time I talked about my job, now’s the time to let me know about it. Wish me luck, I have a feeling I’m going to need it.

50 thoughts on “Now the job hunt begins in earnest.

  1. Sigh, I feel for you man.  Been there before.  The life of a contractor has its plusses and minuses; this being the #1 minus.  Hang in there, Im sure you’ll land something bigger and better anyway.  Good things happen to good people.  Even bastards!

  2. That sucks man. Like Grokster said though, you’ll find something. You are obviously intelligent and capable (this is fast becoming one of my favourite websites), besides you may even find a job you like.

  3. It seems weak for me to say, but I really hope you can find what you want – and soon. 

    (Can’t say I understand their logic, though.  They liked your work, got authorization to hire someone permanent for your job, but can’t hire you.  What a bunch of idiots.)

    I know what’s going to happen when I get home.  MrsDOF is going to say, “Les got a pink slip!!!”

  4. Rrg.  I agree—it’s goofy that they like everything about you except for some theoretical requirement for a college degree.  (Which is why all the positions *I* post include “or equivalent experience”).

    I’m a big believer in college, esp. a liberal arts education, but insisting on it when it’s demonstrably unnecessary is just stupid.


    Here’s confidently looking forward to a swift post about your faboo new position …

  5. Sorry to hear that Les.
    Take it as a challenge. Tomorrow morning, the challenge of the year starts for you. There’s a lot to win.
    Stay positive….And charge.

  6. I feel your pain Les. I’ve been contracting for nearly a year now and it’s definitely not something I’m enjoying. Seems odd that they were able to keep you on a contract for so long. Here’s to hoping your new gig treats you better.

  7. That really f****** sucks – I’m sorry. Good luck on finding something else though, hopefully something even better!

  8. It’s complete insanity that they’d need you to have a college degree before hiring you as an employee, they know you’re a good worker, they want to hire you, what difference is a piece of paper going to make.

    I can understand not hiring someone new because their educational qualifications aren’t up to what you consider appropriate for the job, but someone you’ve been working with for four years?

    It’s insane, truly insane.

    At least a smart dude like you isn’t likely to be out of work for very long. Good luck.

  9. Have you looked at federal employment? IT is big and the pay is good. I don’t know how many jobs are in your area but have a look at “usajobs”

    Federal employment always has a “degree or experience” clause.

  10. I’m sure I’ve prolly seen this before but what is your experience in?  If you were willing to move I might be able to find suggestions for places to apply, but they wouldn’t be in Michigan.  It prolly means nothing to you, but my prayers are with you.

  11. Man that sucks… That happened to me just under 2 years ago. Took 8 months to find something else, but I did find something else. My cousin just lost his job last week too.

    Good luck man!

  12. Wow Les, that truly does suck. I can’t believe the degree issue…sheer insanity.

    I would think that at a certain point in one’s life/career (you’re late 30s, right?), that sort of thing wouldn’t matter anymore. Especially in your field, what you may have learned pursuing a degree is probably useless in practical application at this point.


    I think you should buy a degree online…and become a minister while you’re at it. Maybe a 2-for-1 special.

    But I really have no doubt that you’ll land a bigger, better job very quickly. Their loss, right?

  13. I’ll say a prayer for you Les, The degree thing is overrated, but you know about the “romantic” allure attached to these titles such as a degree….blah,blah,blah has a degree in blah,blah,blah so damnit they must be smart. Yeh Right.

  14. I’m sure that you will transition to bigger and better things.  The in between sucks though.  My thoughts and prayers are with you.


  15. I don’t know you well enough yet Les but you seem like the type that’ll land on your feet.  Good luck.  I do kind of like that Hollywood idea for you though.  There may be something in that.  smile

  16. Good luck, Les.  Pursue all your wild and crazy ideas- you never know what might work out.  My brother the high school dropout has a great job- it is possible to find or create a niche for yourself.  You obviously have the talent, intelligence, and self-confidence- all you need is a bit of luck.

  17. I was wondering whether is this a true conflict with the company. The situation may not be all that irreconcilable.

    Perhaps you could attempt to negotiate with the company to give you the job in return, you would attend college.

    Thus you could ask them to hire you and put you on “probation” (for lack of better word) for 3-4 years during this time you work for your degree.

    To address the concern that you may not be on track, you could include your results as a condition of continued employment.

    And perhaps you could improve on the negotiation by promising to obtain not just a college degree but a masters too within a fix period.

  18. Oh by the way, do check out this month (Jan) issue of Fortune magazine for its report of 100 best companues to work for in the US.

    Some allow people to spend up to 25% of their workday pursuing tech ideas outside their job scope, to others paying 100% of tuition up to $20,000 for employee’s children or grandchildren college education, or flying in a professor every week so employee can earn a masters or take college classes on site, or paying up to $6000 for employee’s collge tuition per year.

    There are 5 firms HQ in Michigan although obviously the rest do have operations across the US since the cut off for small firm category is 1000 employees.

    – Bronson Healthcare Grp (Kalamazoo, Mich)
    Average $ = $73,881
    – Republic Bancorp (Owosso, Mich)
    Avg $ = $165,000
    – Quicken Loans (Livornia, Mich)
    Avg $ = $109,300 (CEO gives free concert tickets to people who sing over the PA system)
    – Plante & Moran (Southfield, Mich)
    Avg $ = $65,000 (Massages during tax season)
    – Valassis (Livornia, Mich)
    Avg $ = $40,294 (Company creates new position to accomadate special talents

  19. You should start writing books or something, Les.  Find some way of working for yourself and be your own boss.  That way you don’t have to put up with idiot bosses who get hung up on arbitrary titles.  And maybe working for yourself would free up some time to work on a degree part time, if your life could accomodate that sort of routine.  Anyway, good luck and hang in there.

  20. I suspect most, if not all, of us have been there: wondering what the hell we’re going to do now. It’s a sinking, humbling experience and it sucks.

    I wish you immediate success in the hunt, Les and that your new career will be closer to what you truly enjoy doing everyday. I hope this worrying development turns into more lemonade than you know what to do with.

    Please though, listen to me when I say: “Please don’t wear that shirt to an interview”

  21. Wow, that bytes! Why don’t you describe in the blog 3 things: your dream job, a job you’d be happy with and a job that you will accept. That way we can all keep an eye out for you and send leads your way if something comes up.

    I know this is a low point, but with your talents I’m sure you can turn it into an opportunity.

  22. Both my parents have been in sales their whole lives up until about 4 years ago where they were almost simultaneously ‘let go’ from seperate companies. My father wrote an extremely generous note to the president of the company thanking him for 11 years of employment. Long story short he went through two more jobs in one year and almost at exactly 1 year to the date the president called him on his cell phone and asked him to return. Turns out my the guy was sort of a slob and was cleaning a drwaer out of his desk where he found the letter and was so impressed with my dad’s professionalism, as it was the only letter he had ever received thanking him after being let go, that he just had to give him his job back. On the other hand my mother went through 2 jobs as well and is still going through more but she isn’t getting fired she just quits because things don’t turn out as she expected. Neither of my parents have any college education but they consistently have each made over 50,000 in their sales jobs.

    Anyways, I am rambling I just work up and need to go to class. Good luck in the job hunt Les, and I am sure a smart guy like you can find something that suits you with or without fancy titles.

  23. Les: That was really a tough break.  I sympathize with you and hope you find a good spot for your talents soon. Let’s hope you can keep up with your blog as it is one of the liveliest I have seen.

  24. Hang in there Les.  Remember, that one more resume you put in someone’s hands might be that great job you score.  Don’t stop!

  25. I didn’t catch the part that your last day was Feb. 11th. My cousin who was also told he was on borrowed time, his last day is also Feb. 11th. Hmm… I wonder what that is all about.

    What I don’t understand here is, what incentive do you or my cousin have to perform? When I was laid off, that was my last day. Hell, I didn’t even finish the day. I collected my things and was out the door.

    If I had been told my last day was a month away, I would have probably found out what my options were there. I really wouldn’t have felt much like working for them and I certainly wouldn’t have felt any loyalty…

    I realize that there are commitments that need to be addressed, but really. I just can’t see a reason for staying… Even if it meant not getting the severance package I got. It just doesn’t seem worth it.

  26. What complete asshats.  You work there four years and they don’t hire you because you have no college degree?  My opinion…you are well out of there.  If you can, try to stay away from huge corporations, they generally treat people like crap and you are too talented for that.

  27. You work there four years and they don’t hire you because you have no college degree?

    Bah, things like that often turn out to be eccuses anyway.

    Best of luck, Les!

    And sorry to have to add that to your worries – but does that mean that you too, will be among those people without health insurance as of the 11th February?

  28. ‘Excuses’, obviously. I meant that they might just as well have let you got for a simple reason like cost-cutting, and this is their outward reason.

    If I had been told my last day was a month away, I would have probably found out what my options were there. I really wouldn’t have felt much like working for them and I certainly wouldn’t have felt any loyalty…

    Lol, only in the US. I mean most Germans would probably feel the same way, but here 3-6 months grace periods are quite usual…

  29. Lol, only in the US. I mean most Germans would probably feel the same way, but here 3-6 months grace periods are quite usual…

    Only in the US? I suppose I was using my example as the only possibility, but when you are being “let go” so that the company can make 10M and your boss can make a big fat bonus due to reaching that goal… Well, you just don’t really feel like staying there.

    One of the advantages of working for a publicly traded company is that their financials are posted by the S.E.C. for public consumption. Seeing a letter from the CEO of the company to ones boss stating that if the company makes 10M a year in sales, he will get a bonus of somewhere on the order of $100,000, pretty much puts the reason you and 4 others were let go into perspective.

  30. les,
    The good news: Web experience is a big plus, bad news: limited area to look, and the job market is still not that good in any part of us.

    Best of luck

  31. Les, I think you’re probably better off looking for something else.  The company you worked for obviously doesn’t appreciate you enough to keep you.  I’ve been in a similar situation, and remember my mixed feelings of anxiety and relief.

    I have every confidence that you will find a good job.  You are a perceptive and intelligent creature, and you’ll come out on top in the end.

    A tip to help you on your way: There is a company in Whitmore Lake called “Tectura” (they used to be Aston Business Solutions before they were bought out).  Drop them a copy of your resume, who knows?  Check out Tectura US for more info.  How do I know all this, living and working in Germany?  Easy: my cousin works there!

    Good luck, Les.

  32. Sorry to hear that, Les!

    Don’t forget to apply for Unemployment ASAP. Even though it is but a pittance, it is still money coming in and it is better than nothing.

    That being said, good luck; I know you’ll find a better job soon!

  33. Well, you just don’t really feel like staying there.

    I wasn’t shaking my head about your description of the likely feelings.

    However, I was trying to say that here in Germany, it is quite usual to continue working for a pretty long time after you know you’ve been fired.

  34. Isn’t it funny how, even when one doesn’t like the situation one is in, a change like this can almost make one physically ill. One would think that one would feel more liberated or grateful for the “growth opportunity” but any change, I suppose is a change out of the comfort zone.

    Good luck, Les. I’d say: “Come to Idaho, we’re cold too.” But you really don’t want what we have to offer…

  35. “growth opportunity” is nice when the job market is full of opportunities… However, thanks to a lot of factors including our country’s glorious leader, the job market just isn’t all that great.

    Let’s all hope that Les has better luck finding a new job than I did. 8 months is really not good length of time to be out of work.

    ingolfson, What I’m trying to say is that I don’t understand how anyone, from Germany or any other place, could work for someone months after being “fired” or “let go”. What incentive do you have to perform well? Your not going to get a raise or promotion. It takes away from the time you need to be working on getting a new job. I just don’t understand why someone would stay at a company 6 months after being fired/let go.

  36. Yeah, it’s a mess all around in places like Germany, Switzerland and others.  Even if someone is a real bozo, it takes months or years to get to the point where you can fire him, and even then, it takes six months to get rid of him, where he’s STILL not doing any useful work and you can’t bring in a replacement.

    Les, I’d try negotiating for something like Pop Tarts suggested—maybe they’ll let you go to school—but if they’re not enthusiastic about it, I’d take it as a sign to move on.  I wish you all the best, and I’d invite you down here to Texas where it’s warmer, but the job climate is just as cold. 🙁

  37. Personally, I refer to unemployment as “involuntary sabbatical”.

    The whole needing a college degree thing could be fucked up company policy, which some people take frighteningly too serious, or maybe they’re thinking fresh college grad at 10% over mall/coffeehouse wages.  First part reminds me of yesterday’s Dilbert. 

    Good hunting, Les!

  38. unlike some above,I wont bother with the prayin’ dude! – i’ll just wish you the best of luck.Common sense aint that common,so i’m sure you’ll have no problems – you’ll probably double your wage! All the best mate.

  39. Les, 4 years sounds like a heck of a long contract to me. And you’ve been a great employee, but now that they have the money for a permanent staffer, they need someone with a college degree?? Horse-hockey!

    Something similar often happens in academic circles. PhDs who can’t get academic positions immediately often accept contract or sessional work thinking that once the money becomes available for a tenured position, they’ll have a leg up on the job. It doesn’t happen though. Regardless of skills, teaching record, publication record etc, universities never hire the contract or sessional prof. Any hire is always political and it is often easier to hire outside than to battle conflicting forces within the department. (And they always think they can do better!) 

    Give us some idea of the kind of job you’re looking for Les. I know someone in Michigan who MIGHT be helpful.

  40. Hey,  maybe you can give me some trash to use against quicken.

    They just screwed up my loan and I do not have homeowners insurance.

  41. I don’t have any trash to use against Quicken in part because I’ve never worked for them nor have I ever done business with them. As far as I know they’re a decent company.

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