New Shoes in the Rain

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The view from here

It's Thursday, everyone, which means the work week is about over for most.  I'm still on the hunt but have had another productive week and have made some inroads regarding my job search.

Have I mentioned that the house next door to us is a rental?  We've lived here for twenty years, and other than a couple of brief periods where both sons from a realty/property management family lived there, it's been a rental all of that time.  The most recent former tenants were nice folks, a family of five from south Florida.  They moved because they were finally able to buy a home, which is great news for them.  They told me that they had such problems getting the owners to do anything to the house while they lived there that they were going to move anyway, new home purchase or not.

So it seems that the owners of this house, comparable in size to ours, are finally doing some catch-up maintenance and repairs.  This began a month or so ago, when the decrepit fence that bordered our back yard was replaced in a big hurry with a cheap pine-plank model.  And this fence was placed about six inches into their property, which means that I now have that much more room in my yard, for what that's worth.

They also removed a large locust tree that annually filled our backyard with small leaves that were resistant to raking.  While I say good riddance to the micro-leaves that filled not only the yard but also our gutters on that side of the house, there is still a considerable pile of grindings in their backyard, which regularly are blown under the fence into ours when they mow the grass.  And the recent spate of activity appeared to have begun with a quick mow of the yard, followed closely by the removal of carpet.

Earlier this week I noticed out our kitchen window that the crew next door was using OUR garden hose to draw a bucket of water for something.  I visited later that morning and the crew chief cheerfully informed me that, no, they had used our water YESTERDAY, but not that day.  Correcting one lie with another is not a good strategy in my book, but that's where we are.

The funniest thing about all of this work is that the family who owns the house had shown it to four or five potential renters or buyers (it's advertised for sale or lease) before any of this work commenced.  I suppose they would have gladly put another family into the house as-is.

On a more pertinent front, my most current and promising job prospect has utilized current technology to speed up the interview process by employing videoconferences for interviews.  I had one with this company on Tuesday and have another scheduled later today.  Great approach and much more expedient than the traditional route of someone traveling to meet someone else!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

S L O W L Y making progress

Good Tuesday morning, everyone.  Hope the weather in your neck of the woods has been agreeable lately.  Here in central Kentucky we've had a little of everything--rain, snow, wind, thunderstorms, sunshine and warmth.  And that was in the last three days!

Remember the old Tom Petty song, "The Waiting," wherein Petty sings that "the waiting is the hardest part?"  I'm here to tell you this morning that this is a true statement.  True in general, but particularly when you're conducting an all-out job search, it's especially true!

Granted, when I'm on the other side of the equation, and am charged with locating and hiring a good candidate to fill a job under my responsibility, I don't rush things, either, but I work pretty steadily until the situation is resolved.  From my current perspective of unemployment, though, it certainly feels as though no one gets in anything close to a hurry to fill a position, even if it's the most critical job in the company!

I think the worst part is when you interview with someone by phone, which is common when the employer and candidate are not in the same location, and they indicate to you that they will recommend their boss then have a discussion with you.  And they say something like "expect her call early next week."  Subjective, yes, but I think of early as Monday or Tuesday, not another week later!  And, of course, once you're in touch with that person, and they weakly apologize for how long it took, you can't express yourself and your frustrations at all!

Deep down, despite my current situation, I know how this works, as I noted earlier.  The process of finding a professional position takes time.  I read somewhere that it takes a month for every $10,000 of salary that you seek.  I certainly hope not!

Anyway, after a lot of what I would consider fruitless effort, I had five phone interviews over a three work-day period, and three of them could be realistic possibilities.  And since I don't discuss work, I won't elaborate, but they all revolve around my core industry of most of the past twenty years, which is much preferred.

I've already had a number of false starts and situations where I realized that a job I applied for would not be a good fit, so better to identify those before things progress.  I also have received a lot of unsolicited inquiries from employers (mostly insurers, actually) who claimed to have seen my resume online.  Twenty years ago I was flattered when I heard that, but now, not so much.

One of these days I'll detail some of my experiences with the unemployment office, as I visited there three times last week.  But I'll save that for another time.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I need to look at another online job board.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


Good Tuesday morning from the Bluegrass State, where the residents are happy that North Carolina didn't win the men's NCAA basketball championship!

And if you think I'm kidding, stand on a corner in Lexington today and ask passersby their opinion!

Yesterday was Opening Day in Major League Baseball, although three games were played on Sunday.  MLB is really muddying the waters with all of this, and my Cincinnati Reds have not continued a long tradition of opening the baseball season with their first pitch for a long time!

But still, it's a great day, and almost a holiday in our family, as I've written in this space in the past.  The Reds played their season opener at home against the Philadelphia Phillies, who were almost as bad in the wins-losses department as the Reds last year.  But all of the teams start the season tied for first place, you know, so that's why we watch.  And Opening Day is must-see TV in our family, unless we happen into tickets for the game itself!

We did something a little different yesterday....I used our cable box DVR to record the game and our son came over when he got off work, so we started the game broadcast then.  Lots of food and fun, and best of all, the Reds came from behind with five runs in the 8th inning to win 6-2.  Always great to win that first one, although I'm sure statistically there's no correlation between a win on Opening Day and a good season!

I continue my aggressive career search.  Made progress with two opportunities last week and because of the volume of jobs for which I'm applying, I am having to fend off interest from a lot of companies for positions that aren't really my cup of tea.  Yesterday I received a phone call from a regional leader with a certain company and I accepted an opportunity to interview with her later this week.  I then did a little online research and found that it's a pretty poorly run company, so I'll cancel that one.  Suppose that's normal, to have to sort out good opportunities from mediocre ones (or worse), but that's part of the process.

Unemployment compensation is another part of it, and yesterday I had to make a visit to the unemployment office, because my account somehow got goofed up.  The end result is that it all should work itself out, but I learned that not only could I not request benefits for the most recent two weeks, but my request for the prior two weeks had also been negated via a system error.  I'm told that's all fixed now, so that will help keep things moving along here at the ranch for the moment.

Last week I did a volunteer session with a local organization that assists the underprivileged with the process of finding and holding a job; will continue to do that when the organization can use me and I'm available.  They are a fine organization and do a world of good in my community, so I am certainly pleased to be able to contribute my time and talent to their efforts.

Another week, another primary election in the presidential race.  This one may define how things go from here on, as Donald Trump had his most challenging week yet, and there is so much at stake for both parties.  Should be interesting to see what happens!