Saturday, January 3, 2009

Who, What, When, Where, Why

Below you'll find a brief description of this blog and its author. Some of the content is repeated from section to section. I hope to correct that in the future as I figure out how to format, but I'm still new to this whole blogosphere.

Who needs the work:

“I need the work.” That’s a pretty common phrase these days. I realize that I am just one of the myriad Americans who are unemployed. According to the November 2008 Bureau of Labor statistics, over 10.3 million people are unemployed and the unemployment rate (6.7 million) has continued to increase.1 There is some indication that employment rates went up slightly in the month of December due largely to seasonal hirings, but even those staffing levels were down due to the poor economy. Forbes magazine reported that “department stores hired 88,000 fewer people this November compared with 2007.”2

So who am I specifically? I am a twenty-seven-year-old white woman living in Michigan. I graduated from Skidmore College in 2003 with a B.A. in Government and Women’s Studies. I graduated from The John Marshall Law School in 2008. I passed the Illinois bar exam and I am registered as an Illinois attorney, although I do not currently practice law. I have worked in student services for a small liberal arts college, as a research associate for LexisNexis, as a law clerk for the Illinois Attorney General’s Office and have held countless positions in retail and food service.

What type of work I need:

When I was a kid I wanted to be a dog trainer, a vet, a writer, a toymaker, a papergirl, an actress, a surgeon, a professor, a chef, a lawyer, and an Olympic swimmer. I love working with kids and animals and probably would have been a teacher had I not gone to law school. Well, I’ve gone to law school and I’ve had the experience of being a lawyer. I enjoyed being a lawyer, but I do not need to be a lawyer. I need the work. Period.

That said, I will apply for just about any job. My plan is to apply for at least one job per day and to blog about each application I undertake. I have applied for legal positions, I have applied for non-profit positions, I have applied for retail positions, and I have applied for office assistant positions. I will continue to apply for the aforementioned positions and more. I’m fairly certain that I will be under qualified for some of the jobs, in other cases, I’ll be over qualified. The goal is to find a job that I am both qualified for and that I will truly enjoy doing.

Where I need the work:

I’d prefer a job in the Lansing area. I’m in a one-car family and I don’t always have access to the car. My partner and I can work out a schedule for splitting up the car, and eventually we’ll have a second car. Until I get a job, I will not have a car, unless of course, I win the lottery or a car sweepstakes.

When I need the work:

I need a job like, last month. I have been unemployed and actively seeking employment since August 2008. I don’t have a lot of restrictions on when I can work, but I’d prefer not to work on Sundays.

Why I need the work (and why the I Need The Work Blog):

A paycheck would be nice. My partner and I have gotten by on our savings and her income for the last few months, but bills are bills, and the bank probably won’t take my awesome homemade rainbow cookies as a monthly mortgage payment.

I left my last job to study for the bar exam. I knew that following the July 2008 bar exam, I would be moving to Michigan because my partner got a job up here. When she got the job, we knew the Michigan economy was not, shall we say, at its peak. Both my partner and I were confident that despite the warnings, I would find work. I have a strong resume, great references, and a strong work ethic. I’m well educated. I’m determined. Who wouldn’t want to hire me?

As it turns out, quite a few employers were less than excited to see my applications. In the first job I applied for I was one of over 175 applicants. In the second job I applied for I was one of 89. In the third job I was one of over 215. In my most recent rejection, a very nice woman at the employer’s Human Resources Department assured me that I was qualified, but there were “hundreds of applicants” for the two positions being offered.

In my most humiliating rejection, I was told I was not qualified to work at a bookstore because I didn’t know enough about literature. I’d like the record to show that I worked at a library during high school, a bookstore during college, and started college as an English major. I’d also like to point out that there’s a lot more to a bookstore than just “literature,” like humor, sports, how-to, non-fiction, and cheesy gossip magazines, but I digress…

After spending several months looking for work unsuccessfully, attempting to network face-to-face (also unsuccessfully), and applying for jobs that I am unqualified, under qualified, qualified, or over qualified for and not getting any interviews, I’ve decided to take a different approach. I will apply for at least one job a day. I’ll let my readers know about each job I apply for and will take suggestions about the next job I should apply for.

1 United States. Department of Labor. Bureau of Economic Statistics. Employment Situation Summary November 2008. Accessed January 3, 2009.

2 Jeanine Poggi. “Seasonal Help Skimpy.” December 10, 2008. Accessed January 3, 2009.

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