My husband has a job. I am very thankful for the fact that he has a job that pays well enough that I am able to stay home with my kids, sit on my couch in my Yoga pants writing this blog, the occasional story, and cultivate a Facebook addiction that is bordering on a classifiable mental disorder.
See, as thankful as I am that my husband has a job, I want to throat punch the powers that be in his current company. They are working on transitioning into a management style that will result in at least half of the managers and supervisors losing their jobs. They announced this about a year ago, by telling everyone that for the next 18 months they should think of their work as one long job interview. They needed to "prove themselves" worthy of keeping their jobs. Really? When did psychological warfare become an acceptable motivation tool? They've already started trimming the fat, so to speak and have had 2 rounds of "lay-offs" which aren't really lay-offs, but more like firings. Those who were dismissed got 6 weeks severance and nothing else. And every time this happened, it reminded those that remained that they could be next. Just before the end of the year, the powers that be announced that of those remaining, one half would lose their jobs by April of this year.
Those that remain, will be doing 2-3 times the work that they are currently doing for the same pay. To make it easier for the company, they are providing laptops so that managers and supervisors can monitor the plant from home, during the shifts that they are not scheduled to work, in order to keep management costs at a minimum. On their time off. Without getting paid. So, yeah, we're looking for something else. And since we really miss "home," we are focusing our search around North Alabama.
My husband is a supervisor in a manufacturing plant. Or a manager. Or a "team leader". Or a "resource". Or whatever. See, in manufacturing, there is no "across the board" standard for job titles, so every company can call you something different (and the pay has a $40K range depending on what any given title means at that specific plant). You may be a supervisor here, but at that company you'd be a manager. Here, you may be called a "team leader" but at another company, the team leader is the head line worker. There is no standard. This sucks when you are trying desperately to get a new job in a new company closer to your "hometown" like we are trying to do.
I have been trolling job sites and submitting applications and resumes for the past few days. While he sleeps, I try to find a better company for him to work for. But, I am having issues with many of these company's application processes. Typically, this is how it goes:
1) Create a profile on their website
2) Upload a resume and cover letter
3) Complete their online questionnaire (anywhere from 3-12 pages)
Here's where I get annoyed. With the questionnaire. Seriously, who makes these things? I have completed so many of these and most of them ask for all of the information that is in the resume and cover letter to be regurgitated in their profile questionnaire. And they ask it...wrong. I have tried many approaches to these things. I've been humble and I've been cocky, and I'm always honest, but I'm really having trouble keeping my sarcasm in check lately. I started compiling a list of some of the questions that annoy me and a few of the answers that I would like to put down.
1) What are your location restrictions?
Well, as I stated in my cover letter and on page one question 3 of this same questionnaire, and again on page 4 question 7, I’m looking to relocate to within a few hundred miles of North Alabama. Perhaps you thought my desired location had changed in the 3 days that it has thus far taken me to complete this application.
2) My qualifications specific to this position include:
I am incredibly talented at being the translator between out of touch management who has no clue what actually goes on in the plant and the employees that think that the world revolves around them.
3) Please share your compensation expectations.
I’d like to get paid like a member of Congress -- free insurance, huge salary, and lots of time off. Seriously, I'd like my salary to be as much as you can spare really, I’ve always wanted a house in Tuscany.
4) Briefly detail your employment history, explaining the reasons for transitions between positions.
Again, all of this is in my resume and cover letter. Why did you ask for it if you weren’t going to read it?
5) We hope not to miss an opportunity with you just because the timing doesn’t work out. Where are you in your job search process? Do you have other interviews or offers pending? We will work to partner and consider your timing needs.
Is this a trick question? If I say I’m just starting my job search, you’ll jerk me around for a few months. If I say that I have been at this a while then you’ll assume that there is some reason no one has hired me yet. I'm keeping quiet. Why don't you just assume that you need to hire me. Quickly.
6) What was your most significant professional or academic leadership experience?
Well, since each experience is the direct result of the experiences that preceded it, I do not think that I can classify one as more important than the other. All of my experiences are equally significant.
7) Do you have experience working in a manufacturing environment?
Of course I do. What kind of question is this? Why would I apply to be a manufacturing manager if I had no experience in that environment? (And seriously, why DID you ask for my resume?)
8) Do you have experience mentoring, coaching, and developing others?
I have 4 kids. And I am a plant supervisor. This. Is. All. I Do.
And when they ask if I have any additional comments I'm always tempted to ask:
"What else could you possibly want to know? We aren't going to have anything to discuss if I get asked to come for an interview."
But of course, I would never actually answer the questions that way. I do want him to find another job where they treat him better. Perhaps I should write in to some of these companies and tell them that I will free-lance for them to re-write their employment questionnaires. I would not doubt it if some applicants pull these things up, take one look at how long and ridiculous they are, and say "Forget it, I think Wal-Mart is hiring." And now that I have complained, I must go and fill out more ridiculous questionnaires and try to keep the snark in its cage.