Thursday, March 14, 2013

Denial - not just a river in Egypt

Well, here it is March - almost April! - already, and my job search continues. I am about to submit two applications for openings in my own organization that pay about 64% of my current salary, only I may run into a snag because I do not have a document certifying that I can type 45 words per minute.

My typing speed is faster than 45, but I don't have a certified test score proving it. And it is not easy to get tested - I've been experiencing a run-around.

This is frustrating, but I'm going to do everything I can to submit these applications. Why? Why would I try for a job that pays less than I make now? Why would I put myself through the indignity of taking a typing test, at this point in my career?

Well, frankly, I'm doing it because it's one more option. I can look outside my organization, or I can look inside it. But I have to look, and I can only apply for what's there. Do I want a position equal to my own? Yes, of course. But there isn't one. There's only the two at lower pay.

While working on this yesterday, one of my co-workers stopped by my office. One of the peculiar things about my workplace these days is that everyone is looking for a job. 

Most people are looking for internal transfer opportunities, because they will keep their benefits. Also, many of my co-workers have been here a long time - some for decades. They can't imagine going off to another organization. There are three ways an employee can get an internal transfer -
  • Applying for a position and competing for it against everyone else
  • Applying for a "promotional list" and competing against other internal candidates
  • Submitting a transfer request to a vacant position of equal classification. Hiring managers can choose to consider only those on the transfer list
In all these cases, you have to fill out the paperwork correctly and go through an interview to convince the hiring manager you're the one they should hire. There are indeed clever ways a manager can manipulate the system to quietly move a favored person to another department without going through the process, but those methods are very very limited.

So far since August, when we were given the news, out of twenty-seven people, twelve of us have successfully applied for jobs within our organization.

T., from the operations team, hopes for a transfer to a permanent position. He's applied, and he got one interview, but the hiring manager chose a different person. Recently, HR has opened up applications for some "on-call" positions. These positions pay the same as the permanent positions, but they do not come with benefits.

"So, T., " I asked. "Did you apply for the on-call job?"

"No," he said. "I'm holding out for a permanent position."

"But, T., there aren't any vacancies. If you get an on-call job, at least you'll still be working. And you'd still be in the organization."

"I don't want an on-call position, I'd lose my benefits."

T. doesn't want an outside position, so he's not applying outside. He doesn't want an on-call internal position, so he's not applying for those. He knows what he wants, and even if it doesn't exist, he's not going to apply for anything else.

He's not alone. There's an implacable cult of fairytale mythology among some of my co-workers that believes when June 30 comes around, our benevolent organization will take whoever's still here, and just move them into another job.

We've done a lot to help people find other jobs. We've had HR counsel us; we've allowed our office staff to help people enter their job applications online, or edit their written applications. But even with this, belief in this fable is so strong it makes people behave foolishly. HR has warned us that an incomplete application will be rejected, but there are still some people who submit forms without filling in required information  - "I don't need to fill that out, they already know what I can do."

T. is waiting for a magical unicorn ride. "I know they're going to put us somewhere," he says wistfully. "I just wish they'd do it soon."

I have my own set of fairytales I tell myself. "You'll land on your feet, you always do." "Something will happen." But it's not magic. You have to do the work. You have to try.

So far my own track record has been dismal. I've applied for six jobs outside my organization, and interviewed for one.  I've applied for three jobs within my organization; interviewed twice, and still failed. Now I'm applying for anything internal or external that I qualify for.

I can't describe how depressing it feels to fail at an application for what constitutes a demotion. Perhaps my co-workers are trying to avoid facing that disappointment. But what else can I do? What else can any of us do?

 Note to concerned readers: T. is a composite, not a real person. And he doesn't read this blog, anyway.


Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

What a horrible development. It really feels bad when you see the organization you work for "go south", and not in the good way. Good luck with the job search.

Anonymous said...

Oh Aunt Snow, looking for work on the back-side of 50 is not easy. I think you are doing the right thing, a job of any kind within the organization keeps you within the organization, where you can eventually apply for better positions as they come along.
I love the flying pig, by the way. It works for so many posts and it always makes me smile.


Claudia from Idiot's Kitchen said...

Hoping that something comes your way soon. You've done all the right things and all the hard work. Someone will realize what an asset you are. I just know it!

Sharon said...

I'm sending positive thoughts to you from up North, Aunt Snow!

Kizz said...

Seems like your plan of taking some action is smarter than complete inaction. Some stories are just better than others. Looking forward to the happy ending on this one for you!

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Your frustration is palatable.