The Work Thread

Now that so many of us seem to be marginally, or completely, unemployed I thought it might be nice to have a place to collect information, rejuvenate our spirits, and swap stories. I added a poll just to try and get some informal numbers on what wigber employment looks like right now as well.
Original Post
So the Girl is at work right now. I am not happy with the job she got due to the schedule but she needed to do something. It has been a point of contention in the house that she is out of work and not in school and just screwing around. I am not concerned so much with the money but lack of forward movement annoys me in myself or in those close to me. In Tampa we are known for our call centers. We have dozens of them, some large some small, some well paid some not so much. We have relatively flat metro American accents here, a decent education system, and cheap labor. For a person in Tampa, even a college educated person, the call centers provide some of the best and most stable employment. Girls can make more stripping, and there are enough shifts out there that you don't have to look like Megan Fox to make money at it but I don't want her doing that. Strippers tend to really start to dislike themselves after awhile I have found, having known a few over the years as friends. The girl and I both have done call center stuff before and she took a call center gig on contract for Verizon wireless. Training is 4pm-10pm which sucks. We hope she will get a day shift in a couple of weeks. we'll see. I refuse to go back to the call centers, I'll risk getting my car repossessed first.
Also looking through the listing for federal jobs that are in my field I have noticed some changes in the wording. This is for a gig with the Corps of Engineers.

quote:
Geographer

SALARY RANGE: 80,402.00 - 104,525.00 USD /year OPEN PERIOD: Friday, July 24, 2009 to Thursday, December 31, 2009
SERIES & GRADE: GS-0150-13/13 POSITION INFORMATION: - This is a Permanent position. -- Full Time
DUTY LOCATIONS: vacancy(s) in one of the following locations: 1 vacancy - KY - Louisville Metro area
WHO MAY BE CONSIDERED: US Citizens

JOB SUMMARY:
Challenge Yourself - Be an Army Civilian - Go Army!
Civilian employees serve a vital role in supporting the Army mission. They provide the skills that are not readily available in the military, but crucial to support military operations. The Army integrates the talents and skills of its military and civilian members to form a Total Army.

Periodic Cut Off Date: 15th day of each month

Organization(s):
Great Lakes and Ohio River Division (LRD) at Louisville District


About the Position: ******SPECIAL NOTE's: This position has been pre-identified for deployment overseas in support of contingency operations and is designated as Emergency-Essential. The expected deployment time during this 4 years is a minimum of 6 months months and maximum of 24 months. The initial targeted deployment location is Gulf Region South (GRS), Iraq but other assignments anywhere in the world are possible if needed to support of a military contingency operation or, other crisis overseas. Failure to deploy when designated for a contingency assignment may result in separation from federal service.


what the hell, unless they are going to let me play with explosives I don't wanna go to Iraq or wherever we are still fighting in two years when I get finished with school.

Offhand does anybody know anything about applying for federal jobs? When they give a salary range does that mean you will definitely get the lowest pay in the range to start?
Yeah but most of these gigs only require a ba in the field, I will be coming in with a master's but it looks as if that may just be a substitute for experience.

How is Louiville, Justy? That is your neck of the woods up there.

There is another posting, out of asheville. Research position with the div of forestry that looks more interesting. Although being a 'life cycle manager' in a war zone sounds like a blast and all.
Louisville's closer to Indiana than Tennessee. The closest Kentucky city to us is Lexington (Mr. Womack's hometown, so you know it's good), but I haven't been to either place yet, so can't comment.

I have been to Asheville, which seems like a pretty nice little town, though I suspect some folks in the surrounding area resent the hippie-enclave aspects of the place.
Somewhere between happily employed and not doing what I want. (Like most employed people, I guess.) I am doing a job I am reasonably good at and enjoy some of the time, but I sometimes feel pretty strongly that I'd like to do something else. However, I feel the something else might involve such incidental benefits as starving to death, so I don't think I'm going to be "moving on" just now.

Edit: And of course talking about not being satisfied with my job makes me feel like a total ass given I've got it so good...
I think a little of the 'grass is greener' sentiment is normal...

I wouldn't worry about that.

A friend of mine today talked to me about going back to school. She asked about it a few days ago. I was a little negative due to the type of school she was talking about, some sort of for-profit design school. Today I told her that she has to be willing to sacrifice something. She didn't want to go to school because she wanted to keep her job so she has all of the creature comforts she is used to. She was going to move a few months ago following her divorce but didn't want to consider getting a roommate. I told her that if she wants to move forward in life it will require that she give up something. I shared a crappy little one bedroom apartment with a very large rat that lived in my stove for a year when I returned to school.
Well she got divorced, and I think after being married and having two incomes and all that entails (house, cash, nice car) she is unqilling to part with that but wants to make a change.

I explained that this is not likely, and yes I know there are people out there that can work full time and go to school full time and make it work but they are the exception and not the rule. I told her that IMO a serious student puts aside material things and any hope of working full time if they hope to do well on a full time school schedule.
I had to pick the Bravus option because my situation is too hard to cram into one phrase. I've worked in the same place for thirteen years and hated it more each year. Over the same period my health has declined to the point that walking away from my insurance would be fatal; I'm 60 years old; I didn't finish college. Hey, hire me!

But I do at least have a job and insurance when way too many people don't. So I'm glad for that, and you can call me Bravus when the real one's not looking. Smile
quote:
Offhand does anybody know anything about applying for federal jobs? When they give a salary range does that mean you will definitely get the lowest pay in the range to start?

It depends on a few factors. But looking at that listing, yes, if you got the job, you're pretty well guaranteed to be at the bottom of the pay range, though those numbers probably don't include the 'locality pay'. Locality pay is a pay adjustment added to the base pay, based on an index of how white collar salaries in your area compare with other parts of the country. Not really a cost of living adjustment, but something similar.

I can tell you'd be at the bottom for this one because under "series and grade" they indicate it's a GS-13 position and they don't list a progression (e.g., GS-7/9/11/13). When they list a progression, you're more likely to be able to use your degrees or experience to get something above the minimum starting grade. For instance, if the basic requirement is a bachelor's degree, and it's a 7-13 progression, you're likely to be able to pick up a 9 or an 11 with a master's and no experience. Sometimes it will say explicitly that an MA qualifies you for a 9, a PhD gets you an 11, 2 years experience gets you a 9, 5 years gets you an 11, and so on. Keep in mind that even if the listing says that, they're under no obligation to honor it. If you have a PhD and they want to offer you a GS-7 job, then they're free to do that. Depending on the market for your degree, they may do so.

A 13 is a pretty hefty grade for a first job in the field. I'm not a geographer, but I started as a 7 with an MA from a top-10 school, bulletproof GPAs, and multiple offices bidding to hire me. Took me six years to get a 13, iirc.

If you don't want to deploy to a war zone, then do not apply for any job of any kind with Defense, State, or Justice, or anywhere in the intelligence community. There's little room there for folks unwilling to deploy during time of war.
I don't mean to discourage you about the pay, though. When I got hired in, budgets were insanely tight. The agency that hired me literally had not hired a single person for eight years. Very few agencies were hiring at all, so those that were were able to lowball everybody wanting to get their foot in the door.
No worries, every job I find in my field is 12/13 pay scale. Some want a years experience but mostly they do not...

I am really ok with limited deployments but I am not looking to do 2 years in the sand.

If I get the chance though I will totally take a year outside the US if it means I can get out of paying income tax.

Now there are several GS 11 positions available but they are in Hawaii so in my mind the lower pay may be worth living in Hawaii.
quote:
If I get the chance though I will totally take a year outside the US if it means I can get out of paying income tax.

Heh. Most agencies split your deployments up (bring you home on the clock for a couple weeks, then send you back) so that you still end up paying income tax, even if you're gone for 100 years. If you truly want to fuck the taxpayers, then contracting is the only true path.
I don't know where you are looking for govt. jobs Edit, but the main portal is: usajobs.opm.gov

which will often link you to the nightmare that is Resumix, where you put in all of your info. Like alot of databases, your selection is based on a count of certain words, so learn how to work your job descriptions so that they emphasize what's needed for the jobs you want.

****

I am happy doing tech editng and I really like the contractor I work for. Sadly I will never go TDY while on this task order and probably won't go ever, as my job isn't something one has to do out in the field. Frown

I am applying for govt Tech Editor jobs but my chances are slim. I don't have any preferential status, so being a contractor doesn't help me against a disabled Vet or a military spouse who has been in Civil Service before. But I continue trying, because I can't beat the stability or benefits of the Fed and government is where the money is, in this town.
Reschooling after working as a semi-skilled labourer for years. Got laid off from the last job, started receiving (un)Employment Insurance. I figured, why the hell not? Hopefully I'll be an journeyman electrician within the next 2 years.
Hmmm actually looking more at the federal jobs in Hawaii and they sound pretty nice. I am going to try and plan out my courses so I have some flexibility and will qualify for as many of the skills they seem to be looking for.

Hawaii gigs are more GIS oriented and would start at $46k a year. That would be fine here in Tampa but I don't know what island they are on and I don't know how far that kind of scratch really goes out there? TM you can give me any info?
quote:
Originally posted by colin:
Somewhere between happily employed and not doing what I want. (Like most employed people, I guess.) I am doing a job I am reasonably good at and enjoy some of the time, but I sometimes feel pretty strongly that I'd like to do something else. However, I feel the something else might involve such incidental benefits as starving to death, so I don't think I'm going to be "moving on" just now.

Edit: And of course talking about not being satisfied with my job makes me feel like a total ass given I've got it so good...


Totally agree. I can do my IT job in my sleep and despite the exposure to new technology and having a great deal of flexibility and being trusted to manage my own team and the daily reponsibilies that go hand in hand with that, i would still love to be travelling, surfing and making a living from surf journalism/photography/shaping.

But then, my family would starve, so i guess i'm in it for the long run. I too feel utterly ashamed, given that so many good people are out of work
Employed at doing one of the things i want to do (webdesign and other related stuff), with the occasional opportunity to do the other thing i want to do (photography), for an organisation i really like (Oxfam). So all in all it is pretty good.

There are also down sides, though. The pay is pretty lousy (i work for an NGO after-all), and the commute is hella long. And then there are also the problems with the team manager, with the way the team works within the organisation and with the organisation's budget. So i've got an eye open for other opportunities anyway. But since the market seems pretty slim right now (duh), i don't know if i will be switching to something else fast.
quote:
Originally posted by editengine:
Hmmm actually looking more at the federal jobs in Hawaii and they sound pretty nice. I am going to try and plan out my courses so I have some flexibility and will qualify for as many of the skills they seem to be looking for.

Hawaii gigs are more GIS oriented and would start at $46k a year. That would be fine here in Tampa but I don't know what island they are on and I don't know how far that kind of scratch really goes out there? TM you can give me any info?


There are aircraft carriers full of federal jobs here, I think it's about 25% of the economy (tourism the other big slice). Many of my friends and relatives work for the government. One underground hip hop spitter guy I used to mix beats for on weekends started operating cranes down at Pearl Harbor after an eighteen month career-feeder course, bought a condo the next week. Well, he ran into money problems with that, I think ended up joining in the 2008 Christmas festivities and doing the jingle mail rock, but if he had waited till they bumped him up a couple notches on the GS scale, he probably would've been fine.

Cost of living in Hawaii, unless you are in the booneys on the Big Island, is a bit higher than Florida, but you will get the locality pay bonus with the federal job. Most likely you'll be on Oahu where 90% of the population is, and an even steeper fraction of the military/gov jobs. $46k is livable here. Not living on the Diamond Head cliffs sipping pina coladas or even buying a house here livable, but not dodging Yakuza and ice head gunfire while trying to score a geoduck pho from the Vietnamese escapee running his shop below your hole-in-the-wall livable, either.
quote:
but not dodging Yakuza and ice head gunfire while trying to score a geoduck pho from the Vietnamese escapee running his shop below your hole-in-the-wall livable, either.


So I could get a second job if I wanted huh? Wink

Not sure what the competition is going to look like for these jobs when I get out of school, I am imaging somewhat intense but the large number of vacancies and the frequency with which I see new vacancies added gives me hope.

The Girl wants to live the life of a kept woman for a bit. I think she will have earned it should she continue to tolerate me that long. I don't mind, fact is were I able to score crazy cash I would not care if she wanted to divide her time equally between raising the kid, cooking and cleaning, and lounging naked by the pool selecting native girls to bring back to condo with her.... to help clean of course.

Also these jobs don't have disclaimers about sending me to Iraq, that is a plus.

Honestly I don't think my focus will really help me qualify for any of the DoD related positions. They are really looking for oceanographers and physical geographers and I will be more of a Human and GIS geek.
So I have been job hunting nearly constantly for the past month and I thought I would dig up this thread for someplace to vent a bit and maybe trade best practices etc. It has been about 5 years since I really went out looking for work and I am getting disheartened.

I know some others are looking as well, I'm hoping this thread might be use to us.

I have retooled my resume, cut it down to a 2 page, bullited, clean looking thing that should be easy to read for the bots. Most of the jobs I am bidding on ask for a cover letter so I have one I alter for each app with langauge from the bid. I figured that my lack of experience in my field (geography, planning, GIS, community development, etc) would be offset by a) education (a lot of the jobs I am loooking for ask for a BA when I have a Master's) b) willingness to accept relatively low pay, c) extensive background in finance and d) willingness to move just about anywhere.

I have been bidding mainly on jobs through usajobs, idealist.org (non-profit jobs), apa planning. Are there portals I should be pursing outside of this? Is Monster.com still as much of a joke as it was before? I never had luck with those job resume posting sites, should I reconsider?

I am a worker, I have always had some source of income since I was 16 and started washing dishes. I have been looking for something temp since in May my funding runs out. The University groundskeeping dept is hiring but they pay shit, I might apply today for parking enforcement ($20/hr to walk about and write tickets is really pretty good) but I went to school to work at something interesting.

I have bid on several fellowships that are short term summer intern things. 10-12 weeks with a stipend to live off of. If I took one of those it would mean leaving the family in Tampa and living in DC or NYC for the summmer. Do these sort of things typically lead to permanent work? If not, a whole summer apart from the family won't work.
Man, just looked at what GS 13 is supposed to make. Am I ever in the wrong line of work! (Actually, I just met someone who is apparently a GS 13 already last night and about 28-30 years old. But I'm not jealous—oh no. That greenish tinge you see is just from the government standard florescent lighting over my desk.)

At any rate, I'm doing something I'm pretty good at and enjoy. More importantly I'm doing it in a low stress environment and with people I enjoy working with. I do want to get into writing my own apps eventually, but this is sufficient and advances me towards that goal in the meantime with supplementary programming experience.
I have an interview week after next. For my own fucking job. Our whole department is restructuring, and combining with others. I have been assured during the whole process I was safe, fine, being slotted in blah blah blah. Then today they tell me that actually, there has been an applicant for my post - with more years of experience and currently doing the manager version of my job (her post, within a sister organisation, is being done away with). Oh, and she is also full time, where as I am only 0.78 of full time, as it's a full time post really.

I won't be out of a job, but if I don't get my job, I will be slotted into a lower band job doing basic admin. I'm really not very happy right now.
Applying for a really cool Fellowship with New York State based in Albany. Probably very competitive but I am shaking the trees for letters of ref and the like. The Chancellor of my old College already reponded positively. She is an associate Dean or something now.

Also emailed the director of a non-profit in Boston I'd applied with. I figured that I had a personal email for her so I sent her a polite note hoping to draw her attention to my Resume above the others. Allston-Brighton CDC works to protect these two hoods that are squeezed between Harvard and BU, turns out there is a very acrimonious history of land grabbing, foreclosure, student housing issues and several journal articles have been written on it, which I cited in the email. The work is right up my alley, hoping to hear back and at least score an interview.
Good luck, Mrs K.

Some Norwegians are trying to recruit me to teach at a 1-2 week summer school in Vilnius in 2013. I need to get my own employer to go along on with the joint venture, but I think it could be fun. As far as I can see, they'd pay all of my expenses and my employer would only be paying me the salary I otherwise get.
Sympathize enormously with you, Mrs. K. Always a fragile situation, when you want to keep a decent job while having small kids (adorable ones, I might add judging from the snow pictures).

Due to restructuring, I've been changing work functions, too. The stupid part of the deal looked OK, only now my new boss got an even better deal, so he's leaving taking all of his group - but not me. I've been doing the positive attitude for quite a while, but am feeling tired now ...
quote:
Originally posted by Azorno:
Sympathize enormously with you, Mrs. K. Always a fragile situation, when you want to keep a decent job while having small kids (adorable ones, I might add judging from the snow pictures).

Due to restructuring, I've been changing work functions, too. The stupid part of the deal looked OK, only now my new boss got an even better deal, so he's leaving taking all of his group - but not me. I've been doing the positive attitude for quite a while, but am feeling tired now ...


Damn, Azorno. Sorry to hear that.
I applied for several more positions today, I am down to looking at local community organizing shit for summer and fall political campaigns just for paying work that is local.

This chick who I can't stand and who doesn;t like me much but is one of those people ythat won't show it may or may not be helping me get a job.

Yeah, I know, that is a fucked up sentence.

She got her MA in Geography and Public Health and moved to Hoboken to take a PhD slot at CUNY. Dropped out first semester and got a gig with the Anti-Defamation League in PR. They have an opening for a researcher position which I meet all the quals for(except the Jew thing). I emailed her and she responded right away that she could try to help. The thing is I don't really buy it. She loves to name drop so she made sure I knew that she knows the director for my position and that she would speak to him but she is the kind of person that will tell me one thing and do the opposite.

We will see, maybe I am being too hard on her.
As mentioned in 'What happened...?', I just missed a phone call about the new job at 6 pm last night, and it was too late to call back. Waiting impatiently all night, phoned at 9 am but she wasn't in the office. It's now after 1:30 pm and I'm still waiting... this is just cruel!
Got a second email from my contact with the anti-defamation league regarding the researcher position.

Hardly a job yet, but I am hoping to score an interview.

Thinking I should email the rabbi and see if he knows anybody else there, although that is a teensy bit racist to assume he knows somebody at the ADL just because he is a rabbi.

The girl I know up there lives in Hoboken, which appears to have a lot of decent looking places to rent in the $1500 range, however that means the Girl and I would need to have a combined income of about $50-60k a year to be comfortable.

Google transit is a bitch about using the PATH train but it appears to be the best way to get into the city from Hoboken.

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