I had a few wins with my landlord and getting on a new campaign at work (which ensures job security a little more), despite little sleep.

Then my boss ruined my day by telling me I sucked out of nowhere, despite all evidence to the contrary. Unfortunately, everyone who could defend me has left the company recently. He walked back some of the shit he said after I confronted it, but it still made me feel weary about the future.

After that, I missed a meeting with a contact who is helping out with my annual review because of the pissiness I felt and technological issues. I didn’t get any other errands done and failed to call some folks I was supposed to (like checking up on imaging results from doctor). I kind of just stewed and reached out to people to complain and ask about jobs.

I know the solution is to not let it get to me, but it just really caught me off guard because I’ve traditionally been praised at best, ignored at worst (read: most of the time) at work. I just need a new job, but I’ve been trying since April with no luck. Colleagues are getting jobs making double me and I don’t know how because 95% of the time they’re folks who leaned on me for basics. Good for them and all, but…why am I unemployable in comparison?

Huge ass meh. I thought I had until next May for a cushion at least, doesn’t seem so.

Camarada Forte
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Colleagues are getting jobs making double me and I don’t know how because 95% of the time they’re folks who leaned on me for basics. Good for them and all, but…why am I unemployable in comparison?

Sometimes, it’s because they are sending their curriculum or w/e everywhere they can, doing interviews constantly, failing numerous times, until they succeed. The labor market is cruel, sometimes feels like a roll of a dice. Can you contact your friends or colleagues and ask them if they can get you on board as well?

FossilPoet
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Absolutely they are, and they even deserve the success they get and more. I’ve probably applied to 400-500 jobs since April though and had single digits of interviews. Nearly all of them went a month or two, a handful of interviews, then the big success immediately after. This ranged February to May for the ones I know of.

Unfortunately, on paper, we signed an agreement to not poach. They can tell me where they went and that’s really it. That doesn’t mean some sneaky stuff can’t happen, but I also don’t expect any of them to stick their neck out that far and ruin their own gig. None have offered either, but are just as confused as to why I’m falling on my face. I encouraged them and they encourage me now, not for lack of trying.

I know of some things working against me out of my control that aren’t terrible but raise questions (e.g., recent acquisition makes it look like I’m instead job hopping), and some things in my control that aren’t glaring either but could use some polish I just haven’t had time to review in-depth. I know for a fact my resume (double the experience, actual prior hands-on experience in tech) and background (actual STEM degree versus a generic business degree) are still a lot more appealing and broadly applicable on paper than those cats though. Might just have to pull an all-nighter soon and throw the polish on…I don’t know. I’d settle for even 75% what they’re getting. It’s not a contest, I just know I deserve better.

Thank you for the reply.

I’m sorry to hear you’re going through this. Job hunting is rough, and so is working for or with arseholes.

If you meet the job requirements, it may be the way you’re presenting yourself in the application forms.

I’m not sure about the application process in your field, so this may not be overly helpful, but…

In my area, applicants must respond exactly to what the application asks for. And they must do so in an expected format / style. It doesn’t matter if an applicant is the best person for the job if they don’t get past the screening. An under qualified person, or someone with ‘irrelevant’ experiences will pass the screening and get an interview if they can suggest / state how what they do know will make them the best candidate.

The same goes for the interview. A perfect applicant that doesn’t directly and succinctly answer the interview questions is less likely to get the job than a worse candidate that addresses the interviewers’ questions. You can practice answering questions that include buzzwords etc from the job spec.

It’ll be hard to give you specific advice without knowing more details, which I don’t want to ask for as I do not want you to risk doxxing yourself.

Another thing that might affect applications is references (if this is a thing in your field). They could be deliberately undermining you so that they can keep you (if they’re your current boss, etc).

At the same time, the job market is a terrible place. There’s nepotism, bias, racism, sexism, internal politics, classism, ableism, etc. Whatever you do, whether the above advice is helpful or if you already write strong applications, know that it’s not you.

You could do everything right and still not be given opportunities. Stay strong and motivated, comrade.

FossilPoet
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Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately, the application process varies for me from “just throw us your resume” to “fill out the objective facts of your entire life history.” I haven’t even been getting interviews past nonsense like “record a video answering a few questions for us!” because Iearned back in May that doing homework to help make their jobs easier isn’t worth my effort for a job I’m only getting to help pay the bills as opposed to one I’d love.

My colleagues are recommending just blasting applications in LinkedIn’s Easy Apply and saying it worked for them, and I’m unable to replicate that success. I’m thinking they may be looking at a slightly adjacent position though I’m unwilling to do but as a last resort. It’s a downward movement in my opinion, even if it pays more, and only leads into sales management, which I don’t want to develop into.

Sounds tough. I’m glad to hear you’re not throwing all of yourself at the applications, though. There’s only so much you can do and putting all your free time into it still might not guarantee anything. It can be a trap.

I hope your current job stays stable for you for a good few months at least.

Is there a chance that you’re making a false comparison with your colleagues? It’s hard not to compare ourselves with others, but it sounds like they’re not too fussed what they do so long as it pays more? If you’re more in it for a vocation (or are aiming at that) maybe you’re playing a different game to them?

These are quite personal questions. They’re more rhetorical than anything. Don’t feel that you have to respond. I suppose I’m trying to say: I’ve been there, needing to find a new job in so many months and seeing others around me find work before me, and things can work out, even if we can’t predict exactly how they will work out.

FossilPoet
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Thank you, I’m probably overreacting…I generally feel they need me more than I need them, but they seem to not like admitting that.

You make a good point about how they don’t care what they do. I sit somewhere in the middle: I have preferences, but I’m concerned about balancing comfort with pay due to other obligations. I am wholeheartedly still playing a different game than them though. Very good chance my standards and honesty are fucking me over for a general fit, but that’s also not a bad thing necessarily.

May is my deadline because they paid an acquisition bonus to “compensate for lost wages due to bonus structure changes.” I took a $17k hit from bonus structure change and they denied me an above inflation raise (I’d gotten similar percentages in the past). With a small bump on contract signing, I got nearly what I asked for but felt I should’ve gotten what I asked plus the bump, but meh. With acquisition bonus on top of those, I ended up at net $8k under OTE expectations.

Truthfully, I’m able to do decent on the present salary despite the cut (I’d done it years prior), but it’s both principle and that I’m paying for grad school out of pocket. I have to bust ass for scholarships, sell belongings (old collectibles mostly), serve tables part time on the side, and I’m ever considering starting up a side gig to ideally replace serving tables. If I just made expected OTE or was paid what everyone else my career level makes, I’d be fine, so it sticks in the back of my head. If I can pull half the salary increase my colleagues who left have gotten, I’ll be more than fine, and since they did I know I can. It’s just being patient and getting there.

Again, thanks for replies. I’m mostly just ranting into the void, so don’t feel pressured to be available.

EDIT: I should mention that student loans are off the table. I’m almost paid up on my undergrad ones, first in family to get a degree and I have no support network so I’m lucky as all hell. Unfortunately, the tumble back down is real if I ever trip or slip, so I want that extra cash on hand available because my partner and I are planning for kids and doctoral programs. I know about deferrals and all that, but I also know her field pays a fuck ton more than mine and I won’t be a burden on her. Thankfully all the PhD programs I’ve been aiming for are fully funded, so paying for school won’t be a problem long term.

I also know about burnout, but I operate on 12/10 most of my life. I’ve never not worked full time while in school in difficult programs. Time, energy, and capacity are thankfully not the things that are issues. My partner’s support network is greater, and having kids in school is strategic to avoid discrimination for her long term in career (“Oh, you haven’t had kids yet? You’ll want them so you’re a liability.”) because if I WFH (and I do) and we have her family available, she has counters prepared for their other nonsense (“Oh, you have kids? You’ll be more available to them so you’re a liability.”). Plus my PhD is less important or can be put on hold because I’m doing it for passion and hopeful eventual dream work.

It is a different game when you want to do something you love. And this will be used against you. Anyone with a ‘vocation’ not a ‘job’ will at some point be made to work for free or for less than they could otherwise earn because the boys knows they won’t settle for just any job.

Glad to hear you’ll still be able to pay your bills, but I know how frustrating it is to be under paid.

As for selling collectibles and the ‘tumble down’, IIRC there’s an obscure passage in Capital, Vol 1 about the working class occasionally making enough money to be comfortable, accrue savings (or collectibles), but it eventually comes back round and we have to sell these possessions to meet our essential needs when different kinds of crises occur. I try not to think about it too much. That’s not to suggest I am very successful at not thinking about the tumble down, though!

Sounds like you’ve had these discussions, but if it helps, as doing a PhD is such a massive commitment, ask whether you really need one for the job you want. If so, commit! It’s rewarding and I get the impression that you have support from your wife (it helps a lot going through it with someone else in a similar position). If not, try to speak to someone in the field who has studied in the same area. If you’re ‘only’ doing it for the passion, even fully funded, it might not be worth it. Depending on the subject, you could spend three-four years reading about a single topic. You’ll miss the supervisory experience and the collegiality, but you’ll be pursuing your passion and won’t have to worry about deadlines, a thesis, a viva, or write up fees.

I say ‘only’ because things change. You might start off with a job in mind, but change your mind through the project, or might not get that job after. And either way, with a PhD, new doors will open up regardless. So it’s never really a case of ‘only’ doing one for the passion.

Unfortunately, on paper, we signed an agreement to not poach. They can tell me where they went and that’s really it.

Do you mean a non-compete clause? Most of the time they are non-enforceable.

FossilPoet
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Nah, it’s non-poaching. We cannot steal people if we leave. We can’t encourage them to leave with us. It’s vague on general encouragement, which I feel they couldn’t enforce anyway, but if I left Company A for Company B, I cannot help other Company A employees go to Company B.

We didn’t sign any non-competes past “you cannot work for clients for eighteen months after leaving,” which is absolutely enforceable unfortunately.

You should put in the minimum effort to avoid being fired

FossilPoet
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Way ahead of you, been doing that since they gave me a piddly amount for acquisition and effectively cut my take-home $17k. I’d say that’s why my boss shit on me, but he actually praised me throughout that period until now. My bare minimum also still looks a lot better than most because I aim for my bonus even if it’s a shit amount, it doesn’t take too much more effort.

I don’t have anything helpful to contribute, but I’d just like to say that your boss can go fuck themselves and I hope things get better for you

FossilPoet
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Thanks a bunch, it’s still a meaningful sentiment!

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