This is a continuation of my blog on climbing the gently sloping career ladder. I retired at 50, and it is my hope that my story will help you in your job quest. When I left off in my last blog, I was leaving for Maryland where my brother lived so I could hunt for a better job. I did a few key things that helped me before and after I got there.
For one thing, I watched my money like it was my very life. I had five hundred dollars in my pocket and the only thing I used the money for was the dry cleaners and gas. I was lucky too because my brother didn’t charge me rent or board when I was job searching.
The principle of watching money is still valid though. You don’t need cable, furniture or a television set when you are starting out a job hunt and unemployed. You keep costs down until the hunt is successful. As far as entertainment, libraries are still free.
Now I know this is much harder for those who have a family and are unemployed. Still, it’s surprising how many people when they are unemployed don’t cut back enough on lifestyles, relying instead on the false security of an unemployment check or a spouse’s second income. Remember, if you run out of money for gas because you kept your cable, Comcast won’t come and fill up your tank because you’re a loyal customer.
The most important key thing that I did was to put my resume in order before I left. I listed my old job because it was management, even though I knew I wouldn’t get a favorable review from the job I left. It was not my fault, and I won’t go into details, but if I did, trust me, you’d agree it was not my fault.
But this didn’t matter because the worst an old employer can legally say after you have left is that you were an employee and how long you worked at the job. And I knew what I would tell my new employer in an interview as to why I would not be getting glowing praises from my last job, and this is important to do.
If your resume is strong, which mine was for entry level employment, you can survive or even prosper with a lack of endorsement from an old employer. After all, a really good worker and employee would have done exactly what I did, quit.
To continue, In my search, and this was before the internet, I read the want ads every day and went to my job interviews with resume in hand. I also wore a nice suit with nice shoes.
I tailored my interview responses to the qualities that would make me a good employee specific to the job for which I interviewed. I learned a lot from the process, becoming more poised with each interview. Remember too with my approach of the gradually sloping career ladder, I wasn’t applying for President of the United States. I set my sight on manager-trainee jobs in the restaurant field. Once there, I’d put my time in and jump to a lateral field that was closer to where I wanted to be eventually which was a good paying job in sales or at a desk, not behind an oven.
Well, I got my restaurant job. It was as a fast food manager-trainee. When I got home from the successful interview, a want ad caught my eye. Another manager-trainee job was open that paid twice as much and was closer to where I wanted to be. It was in a lumberyard. The skills I could learn there would really help me to get where I wanted to be even better than fast food because I’d learn would blueprint reading, the use of product manuals and sales techniques.
Tired though I was, I put my suit back on headed to the employment site for an application. I wasn’t going to wait until tomorrow. That’s how you lose a job.