It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. How can I get over my bitterness at being laid off?
After a lot of uncertainty, my position at a nonprofit is being downsized and I’m being let go. I’m taking it pretty hard because it’s opening up a lot of painful uncertainties in my life and I feel like my dream job is being pulled out from under me. In short, I’m very bitter. Plus, my organization is very conscious of projecting a positive image so there’s pressure to hide my being let go under “We taking a hiatus for that project.” I have a month left and it’s hard to muster any energy for my final projects because it feels like “letting them get away with it.” I know I should be professional and end on a strong note. How can I overcome my bitterness without pretending that I’m okay what’s happening?
Well, this probably doesn’t help, but it’s not personal. When positions are eliminated, it’s because it no longer makes financial or strategic sense for the organization to fund that work. In the case of a nonprofit, it’s particularly important that they be rigorous about how they’re using money, and they may not be able to justify the expense for legitimate reasons. That might not help, but it sounds like this is feeling very personal to you, when it isn’t.
The other thing to keep in mind is that you’ll be hurting yourself if you let your work or attitude slip during this final month. You’ll be relying on the people there for references in the future, and going out on a low note is really damaging to references. Particularly you since you’re facing a job search right now, your reputation is really important. Don’t let hurt feelings sway you into compromising it.
2. Say no to a networking request from a friend of a friend
I am three months into a great job at a huge organization in my field. A friend and former manager who helped me get the job (my first out of college) just reached out to me with a friend of hers who is trying to set up informational interviews for when she’s in the city. Having just gone through 100 information interviews, of course I’m happy to meet with her and be on the other side of the table. However, they both asked if I would set up information interviews for her with some higher-ups in my organization. I felt really uncomfortable about this request, as I have never met this person and I am still brand new to this organization and developing my own relationships within it.
Am I rude for saying no? It just seemed like such a strange request.
Nope. It’s totally reasonable to say something like, “I’m still new here so don’t feel like I’m able to ask other people here for favors yet, but I’d be glad to meet with you myself and be as helpful as I can.”
3. My job significantly changed my schedule after I started
I am a psychiatric nurse and was solicited by a home health agency to do psychiatric evaluations with home based patients. Considering the job is somewhat stressful, I was told that the psych nurses did not work on weekends. This was actually advertised in the job description and it was one of the significant perks that attracted me to the job in the first place. After all, I have worked weekends all my life, not to mention every shift imaginable in the nursing capacity.
In any event, during my probationary period, they found out that I had worked in a previous home health agency doing medical surgical nursing, like wound care, and that my skills were more eclectic even though I am a psychiatric nurse by profession. Upon this revelation, they told me that I would be placed on their weekend rotation. What this involves is working every fifth weekend and basically a 12-day stretch without any break. The stress is unimaginable because I am 60 years old and this involves me getting up at 4:30 am every morning. Many of my patients are hospice and are actively dying and I am burning out and this is tearing me apart. I find these “bait and switch” tactics by this company unconscionable, yet it is hard to find a full time job with good benefits. Unfortunately, I cannot find the original job description as I thought I had this in writing. Do I have any recourse in this situation or is it their word against mine?
It’s not really a question of your word against theirs, because even if you had the original job description, an employer can change your job description at any time; job descriptions aren’t legally binding. Instead, I’d recommend just talking to them about it: Explain that the schedule was something that attracted you to the job originally and that while you’re willing to pitch in in a pinch, you’re not interested in the type of work or schedule that they’ve moved you to. Say that you’d like to go back to the original role and schedule that you accepted.
It’s possible that they’ll refuse, but then you’re no worse off than you are now (and can at that point decide if you want the job under these terms). But it’s possible that you’ll be able to able to get back to what you originally signed up for.
4. I showed up on schedule but was sent home without pay an hour later
Can an employer schedule you to come at, say 6 pm, and when you get there, he says it’s not busy enough, don’t clock in yet. So he makes you wait around for 45 minutes to an hour. Then he comes to you and says it doesn’t look like it’s going to pick up so he sends you home, never having clocked in. I’m in Washington state and work for a restaurant/bar. Is that legal?
Nope, you need to be paid for that time that you were there, on schedule, ready to work.
5. Will employers care that I’ve lived in a bunch of different places?
How do you not look like crap online to employers if you’ve lived a bunch of places in your life?
When I Googled myself, as I imagine an employer might, different “find this person” sites show my maiden name, my ex-husband’s last name (which I never changed so what the hell?), and my husband’s last name. Since they list your whole life for where you’ve lived, for me (I’m 39), that was 6 different states, 8 different places total. I probably look like a flight risk with romantic issues or something. I’ve been with my husband for almost 16 years and don’t regret any one of the moves. One of them was for my husband’s work, two were for my work, and the rest we just hadn’t found the right place. Now we’ve found our true home, bought our first house this past May. We don’t plan on moving away ever, we adore it. As you know, I can’t be putting all of that stuff into a cover letter to explain.
I know I need to get on LinkedIn, maybe that would help, but I dread it, not being the social media type. I had a Twitter account, it got hacked and I closed it. I keep being turned down for even an interview at the library system I’d love to get into. I’ve applied to similar sounding jobs with this county-wide system with no response whatsoever. I have years of professional experience, professional memberships, current continuing education and skills, the appropriate degree or above, volunteer experience in the field, yada yada yada.
I actually think you’re worrying about it too much. Employers don’t usually look too closely at those “find this person” sites (if at all). They look at whatever online presence you have (social media, blogs, articles, etc.), but those “find you” sites don’t generally have much that’s of interest to employers. So I wouldn’t worry about this.
Instead, I’d focus on making sure your resume and cover letter are truly awesome (read this). Go ahead and set up a LinkedIn profile — you don’t need to be a social media type to do that; you can be pretty damn inactive on LinkedIn and still have a presence there. But really, your cover letter and resume are the big things that are going to determine whether you get interviews or not.