I have been on and off the job market for the past ten or eleven years. After spending five-plus years as a full-time employee of Medidata Solutions, I have been doing one consulting job after the other. As soon as I activate my resume and say I am looking for a job, I am flooded with messages from recruiters about jobs all over the country, some of them having nothing to do with my skills or past experience. It is becoming tiresome.
This is how it begins. . .
My cell phone rings. It is an unfamiliar number, but I’m looking for a job, so. I answer it.
“Hello, this is Irene.”
“May I please spead to Irene Smith?”
“This is Irene.”
Awkward silence. And then, “Hope you’re doing great. I’m calling you about a sonderful opportunity. It’s a contract position for a [developer, technical writer, scrum master] would you be interested?”
At this point, I don’t know anything more about the job than I did before I answered the phone. If it is a development position, what languages do they expect me to know, what type of application will I be developing, and how long is the project supposed to last?
I realize they have to start somewhere, but for me, the major question before I can even consider the job is: where is it? It matters. Do I want to do a six month contract in Minnesota? Hardly. I’m not about to move across the country to take a temporary position and I’ve been offered temporary positions all over the country for anywhere from two months to two years. I am not going to leave my family here and go live somewhere in a room.
Once I know where the job is located, the next thing I want to know is what skills I’m expected to have for the job. Will I be developing Windows applications or websites? If the job is a writing position, what type of writing?
The next question is, of course, how much?
I am amazed at how often recruiters call me, knowing how many years of experience I have, and then offer me entry-level pay rates. I guess they figure that the worst I can do is say no.
Fair enough. But if I say no anywhere along the line, they always sound as though I stabbed them in the heart.
You mean you don’t understand why:
- I don’t want to drive over an hour each way
- Learn a new programming language before the interview
- Accept 20% of my regular pay
After all that, if we’re still talking, the next step is to be submitted to the client. And this is where things usually go awry.
The recruiter has read my resume, they think I’d be good for the job. I’ve read the job description and I agree. I say, “Go ahead and submit me.”
So we start all over again with the next job.
I’m not blaming the recruiters. Or maybe I am.
Do you suppose they put any thought into trying to select someone who is a good match for the job or are they just trying to meet a quota? It has become very difficult to find jobs directly. Most of the advertising for open positions is from agencies. I’ve tried randomly going to company websites and submitting my resume but it doesn’t work.
There has got to be a better way.
Who is Irene P. Smith? I am an author, programmer, and web designer. A former Contributing Editor to PC Techniques Magazine, I have written about computers and programming since 1989, and began publishing fiction in 2003. My home is in New York State, along the Delaware River, where I live with my husband and son.
You can also find me elsewhere on the web:
- My "other" blog: An Irene Thing
- My Author's Website: irenepsmith.com
- My Professional Website: irenesmith.com
- Flash Fiction eZine: Nimue’s Grotto
- Writing eZine: Dreams in Transit
- Facebook: IrenePSmithAuthor
- Twitter: @Story_Teller