Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wonderlic(k) my **censored**

One of the tests that seems to be the "hot thing" for employers to be using these days is an evil little thing called the Wonderlic test.

Some questions are like this:

The ninth month of the year is:

October
January
June
September
May

And those are fine... I don't mind that...

I am even ok with these:

Assume the first two statements are true.

1. The boy plays baseball.
2. All baseball players wear hats.
3. The boy wears a hat

Is the final one:
True
False
Not Certain

I'm totally cool with these, too:

PRESENT/RESERVE, Do these words:

have similar meanings;
have contradictory meaning;
mean neither the same nor opposite?

But THIS? No! NO! NOOOOO!!:

In printing an article of 48,000 words, a printer decides to use two sizes of type. Using the larger type, a printed page contains 1,800 words. Using a smaller type, a page contains 2,400 words. The article is allotted 21 full pages in a magazine. How many pages must be in smaller type? (The answer, according to the key, is "17"... I have no freakin' clue how they got that and it makes me bleed from my ears to try to figure it out)

For the record, I am not stupid. I had IQ testing done in 8th grade (long story) and I assure you that I am not stupid. I admit I have a problem with math, mainly with word problems. I always have. To give you an idea... in the 8th grade I was scoring "Graduate School Level" in vocabulary and reading comprehension and 3rd grade level in math. I CAN figure things out but the Wonderlic is TIMED and you only have 12 minutes and if I get stuck on a math thing, that means that I am not going to be able to answer all (or even close to) 50 questions. Plus, while I CAN figure out math problems without the aid of a calculator, I am QUICKER if I can use one. (No, I am not one of those nimrods who would not be able to make change for you if her electronic cash register was down...by the way, would you like fries with that?)

Hey! Wonderlic people! I have a question for you... who is going to be footing the bill for me when I end up in an asylum because of your test? Ponder that and Wonderlic(k) my **CENSORED**

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Testing...

I've watched trends in hiring come and go. The current craze seems to be a combination of psych testing and something that closely resembles the SAT tests (vocabulary and bizarre word problems to test, I guess, math aptitude and logic functions?)

I don't have a problem with this, except I cannot fathom what most of this has to do with the job for which I am applying. The tests I had to take today had some other types of questions "Name the city once divided by a wall" was one of them. Is this some subtle clue that I will be tutoring the boss's kids? "Name the permanent home of the United Nations"... wait, what? Is this something I am going to be asked in the course of my daily work? Is it some kind of test of "were you paying attention in your high school history class?"

And everyone wants to pull your friggin credit report. Guess what, if you've been laid off and out of work for a while, your credit is probably suffering. Doesn't make you a bad person. Doesn't make you a deadbeat. And without a job, your credit isn't going to recover, so using the fact that someone has subpar credit against them sounds ill advised to me.

Plus, drug testing. I understand that companies don't want addicts working for them, but I'm going to answer your phones, not pilot the company helicopter.

But these all seem perfectly reasonable to employers and they just dangle the carrot and you jump through the hoops and humiliate and dehumanize yourself because you want/need to have a paycheck so you don't end up living in a van down by the river.

That being said, I hope that one of these days jumping through all the hoops will pay off for me.

Insomniac Thoughts

This is mainly fueled by something a friend is experiencing and it got me to thinking. I think it is very interesting how employers expect their employees to work hard, to go the extra mile, to provide excellent customer service, show up early, stay late, work overtime, sacrifice time with your family, friends, loved ones, be on-call, work weekends and holidays.... give, give, give... and they think that they can just take and take and never worry about giving their employees the chance to recharge and find subtle ways to punish people who take time off or are punitive to those who fall ill after putting in long hours.

I am all for putting in a good day's work and receiving a fair paycheck for that work. I am all for going the extra mile and providing excellent customer service. I'll take my lumps when I deserve them and once in a while, even when I don't. I show up early, I stay late, I work weekends but it is very, very rarely that I receive even a "well done" or a "thank you" much less any sort of real, tangible appreciation when I go above and beyond what is expected or even what is reasonable.

Is it really reasonable to have an employee be "on-call" for a week at a time when that means they will easily work 60-80 hours (or more) during the on-call week and then have to work their regular 40 hour week afterwards which puts them "on the job" for 12 days in a row? Factor in a call at, say, 1AM which keeps the employee out until 3AM and then they return home, get three hours of sleep (if they are lucky) and need to get up and get back to the job. Is that wise? Is that safe? Are we really looking at the best interests of ANYONE in that scenario?

Maybe this all made sense back in the days when people got a job after they left school (high school or college) and stayed with the company for 35-40 years. When companies had some loyalty to their employees. When your boss knew your name and your spouse's name and the names of all of your children. And your kid got a nice pen & pencil set from your boss when s/he graduated from High School.

But now? Now it feels like employees are a commodity. Use them up and discard them as quickly as you can and then gripe about all of the money you have to spend on training and how hard it is to find good help. Don't think twice about telling the employee whose Grandfather passes away that if she goes to the funeral, you'll consider it "job abandonment" and not to bother coming back if she leaves. Don't come right out and ask a woman if she has kids or a husband (because that isn't LEGAL) but hide the question by asking "So, if at five minutes to five we ask you to stay an extra hour or two, is that an issue?" Penalize the people who had no choice but to join the workforce after high school who were, at the time, told that what was important was work experience and now, 20 years later, the only thing that matters is whether they have a degree (which they don't). I understand that a college education can be a wonderful thing, but there's something to be said for 20 years of experience, too.

And if you asked them, the employers, how their employees feel about them and their company, most would be surprised to know that their employees feel shortchanged. I suspect most would not care. Employees are a "resource" to be allocated and discarded. You think no more of dismissing an employee than you do of throwing out a pen that has run out of ink.

The well has run dry. As my friend says... "all of the Care has been dredged from Giveafuck Bay"... I can only hope that something that resembles balance can be found/achieved again.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Where is the "OFF" switch?

I need to get to bed but I have insomnia kickin' my ass again. Tomorrow (today? ) needs to be a productive day which isn't going to happen if I don't get off of my posterior and make things happen.

Hopefully the Tylenol PM will kick in here shortly and I will go drifting off into dreamland.

I did get a good bit done today. Too bad none of it related to what I really NEEDED to get done.

Tomorrow (Today?) I need to make some files so I can get some things filed away, job searching, maybe run around with the vacuum cleaner? And get the laundry put away. Oh yeah... and deal with the litterbox that looks much like a small tactical (and icky) weapon went off. Bleah.

Also need to locate the accupressure beads. Can't seem to take enough pain reliever during the day to moderate the pain of a sore back... (pulled/bruised muscle? Perhaps sciatica?)

Well, it seems that that Tylenol PM are finally kicking in. Goodnight!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Two Weeks....

It's now been two weeks since my job ended.

Yesterday (Friday) I had two interviews. One was a face-to-face interview and one was a phone interview.

The face-to-face interview was for a data entry position and, quite frankly, the amount of micromanagement (their word) involved would likely make me very unhappy. Not to worry, though because yesterday was their first day of "2 to 3 weeks" of interviewing.

The phone interview was the typical sort of questions about why I can't seem to hold a job (I've been working CONTRACTS, people) and then I was told that further paperwork would be emailed to me. It hasn't arrived. I am not holding my breath that it WILL ever arrive.

So... two interviews and I am guessing I will never hear from either place again.

And, while I want and need a job, I can honestly say I am not too sad about losing either of these opportunities.

There is something out there for me... I just have to find it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Set the bar & still fell short...

To further add to the quandry I had the other day... the one about how could an interview go well and then... no job offer... I got a letter today from the person I had emailed with that went on about how I was the first person interviewed and set the bar very high...

Ok... so, you liked me, were even IMPRESSED with me, but gave the job to someone else? I don't understand. Still... 300+ candidates, I made it to the dozen who were interviewed and while I didn't make the cut and get the job, I guess I was impressive.

But impressive isn't putting money in the bank.

I've got to figure out what it is that I'm missing.

What IS The Right Stuff?

When you've done everything right and you still strike out, you begin to second-guess yourself. That's where I'm sitting now.

The last interview I had seemed to go well. We had a good discussion, none of the interviewer's questions stumped me or left me wondering if I had said the right thing. I even sent a bona fide snail mail thank you letter. (Important since some of our interview discussion dealt with technology being good but people losing sight of proper business etiquette). I dressed appropriately (in fact, I was dressed in business professional clothing, the others in the office were business casual). I made the cut out of 300+ applicants to get the interview. But I didn't get the job.

So, somewhere in the midst of all that I did RIGHT, something went WRONG. My job now is to figure out what it was so that I can correct it. So that the next time I'll get the job.

And also, I need to figure out how to get myself in more doors thus upping my chance of an offer.

I've got to step up to the challenge and get that counter reset!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Feelin' like a one trick pony...

I continue to jump through the hoops presented to be able to get unemployment payments even though I know I'm not going to get approved for them. I guess it gives me a focus for my feeling that I am ineffectual and at the whim of entities far bigger than myself. I know it is a losing battle but I continue to fight because giving up is the easy way and Lord Knows I've never been able to do anything in my life the easy way.

I am plagued by worry and self-doubt. I wonder if I will ever again make the grade and measure up. I wonder if all there is left for me is an unfulfilling succession of temp jobs where I will never be a part of the corporate culture, always on the fringes, the outside, looking in. At the same time I know that the conformity necessary for survival in the corporate culture just isn't comfortable for me so maybe it's better that I stop trying to be a part of things and just detach myself and get used to being a drifter.

I think back to every single job I've ever had and realize that never, not even once, have I been accepted as part of the group. I go back in my mind through my school years and realize that not even then was I a part of the social structure. Wondering if my failure to assimilate in those early years plagues me yet today and I just don't know/understand the "language" of being "one of the gang".

And if that's the case, then I have... what? Another 45 or 50 years of being lonely and an outsider ahead of me. Another length of time equal to or greater than the expanse that I've lived already.

I've begun to realize that the only thing worse than being a one trick pony is being a one trick pony who can never master even that one trick...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

It's been a week...

It's been a week since I was de-jobbed. I'd love to be telling you that I've found something new and all is well, but I can't do that.

In fact, things are pretty much more grim than they've ever been. Because, you see, I am not eligible for unemployment.

State I live in now says "You haven't worked here long enough to qualify for unemployment here, go apply for benefits from State you used to live in..."

State I used to live in says "You don't live here anymore AND you left of your own free will, bugger off, there will be no benefits for you!"

Agency I'd been working for has nothing.

I did have an interview on Monday that I felt went well, but they won't be making a decision until tomorrow (after having interviewed candidates all week) so I doubt that they'll even remember me. Which is sad, because I think I would have been a really good fit for the job.

But I'm looking. And applying. And even though I know it is pointless, I filled out the stuff to apply for unemployment in State I used to live in. Because maybe in OCTOBER, when I will be eligible to apply for unemployment in the State I now live in, it will make a difference. I hate bureaucracy BS.

So... at one week, that's where things stand.