Monday, January 04, 2010

More advice...Black Nerdy girl style.

Before I start out let me just tell you guys that I am highly tired.

Insomnia and I are having a thing. A torrid angst filled affair that could result in drugs.

So if I wander off topic too much or say something weirder than usual that's why.

Okay let's go.

Our Homie Corey says this:

Job hunting sucks...
... especially when the Evil Higher Education Monster rears its ugly, ugly head. Like you, I'm not at all interested in yet MORE school. In fact, I hated school. My eyelid twitches even now at the thought. So, I ask you, how DOES one sell oneself when more school just isn't in the cards, and you rather /like/ the entry level, not-a-lot-of-money-but-works-for-me kind of things? Now, me, personally, I love working in kennels with dogs. I'm not very interested in moving up in a company, or even getting a technician's license to do all the fun medicine-y things, that I already know how to do via On The Job training. I honestly would rather just stay in the back, fiddling with random behind-the-scenes stuff. Yet, somehow, I get passed over by those people who have more education, because they're shiny. Or they're teenagers who plan to go on to college. I mean, really, I'm so sick of it that I'm considering making a permanent career change to carnie, which I actually find I also like, for the travel aspect of it. Anyway, I look forward to hearing your take on things. If nothing else, you do make me feel better about being who I am: a geeky goth black girl.
*shock* They DO exist!

You my dear are in very much the same boat I found myself in (holy shit) a decade ago.

When I started out looking for a job outside of sex work (phone sex or stripping) and not working for the Evil Empire (Ticketmaster and retail) I found myself right there with you.

I do not have a college education and I decided that I wouldn't be pursuing one around the age of 20 and that is a hard hard choice.

Now back then my biggest problems were no degree and no intention of getting one. Also, my work history was peppered with things a lot of big employers aren't really into. Sex work and retail unless it's more retail you're looking to get into.

After lots of interviews where I left feeling like OH THEY LIKED ME and not getting jobs I decided to do two things.

First one was I was very honest about my needs and wants.

I wanted a job that was full time, had benefits and more importantly I did not want to work in a shark infested type atmosphere.

I got rejected a lot out of hand.

But, I lucked into the company I am still working for to this day. I started out doing customer service. not my favorite thing but what was (and is) more important is that I like the culture of the company and these days my darling that may be hard to find.

I think for you, finding someplace smaller and making a point to say that you are interested in on the job training for X thing might be a good idea.

I will say to take anything I say here with a grain of salt because I've never been super great at job hunting and my thoughts could be HELLA out of date.

After working where I do for the last few years I decided that I will probably never join corporate America. At least not without kicking and screaming or unless a company is born that is so awesome I can take nap and/or primal scream breaks. I've had some sour tastes of mainstream corporate America and quit frankly it can fuck off.

Any job I have I must be able to feel like a human. That means have bad days, not feel uncomfortable being who I am and most importantly I don't want to be bullshitted.

For instance.

I did a good number of temp jobs to learn office skills. 10 Key, touch typing etc. I had some really cool ones (working as a commercial bank vault teller was one) and one that was so bad I walked out.

That one was for Safeco insurance.

I worked in a sub basement and had to use this scary ass door to get in the building, had to wear "business casual" while putting paper checks in numerical order in tiny boxes on tables under horror movie quality flourescent lighting in dead fucking silence. During the orientation they gave this whole spiel about eveyrone being an important part of the customer experience and having to do their part blablabla.

One day while limping home in my heels and getting my ONE pair of nice slacks dirty because the door we had to exit and enter through had potholes and bullshit in the alley, I realized that not one Safeco customer would ever know I existed nor would they give a shit if I wore comfortable clothes while I was putting their checks into boxes. They would not care that we were not allowed to talk to each other, have music playing in the room (not even shitty Muzak over the loud speaker) not allowed headphones or other "personal" items. Or that I had to use a scary fucking door to get into the building.

Safeco made up my mind for me.

I don't think it's ethical or okay to make the people you pay the least adhere to the same dress code as your sales team.

Working for Ticketmaster left me with the same bad taste. Granted I could dress how I wanted but after being called a "fucking stupid cunt" repeatedly by a 12 year old girl and then both her parents because I could not sell them disabled access seats to a Britney concert I decided fuck that noise too.

So I went searching and searching.

And fucking searching.

I had some experiences.

I had one interviewer tell me "you're so well spoken" in that awed "for a Black person" tone, followed by "you seem so intelligent for someone without a degree."

So Corey I hope since you've sent this you've found a job babe. Cause shit is fucking tough out there as you and all of us well know.

I myself am a lucky lucky lady.

While my job is not what I'd choose to do and get paid for I like it pretty well.

Would I rather be an on the rise hot ass NYTimes best selling author?

Fuck yeah.

But, what I've got works.

Now the trick is Corey to find what works for you and don't let anyone make you feel bad about what you choose to do.

When I took this job originally as a customer service person I had to endure some bullshit from people. People would ask when I was going to find a "real" job etc. Fuck them running.

As for the Black GeekGirlGothness.

Oh yes we are out there.

And let me recommend this article. It's old but seriously I had SUCH a massive girlcrush on Lucy Fur back in the day you don't even know.

And speaking of bein teh GAWWWWWWWWWWWTH I have some Gothy Fatty Fashion tips and stuff. Probably tomorrow darlings.

Also if I do some slideshow type (I can't make moving video) make up tutorials would y'all be into it?

I'm especially thinking about some gothy looks for my fellow Goths of color.

Uh yeah wow I'm spent. I'm going to make some tea and write the pattern for my next crochet projects. I have been making clutch purses/make up bag type things.

And as always I turn the floor to you my homies, can you commiserate with Corey? Have some fabulous advice?

Bring it.

Homo Out.


beatfreak said...

I don't know if this will help, but I'm looking to check out this book from the library. The author runs Autodidactic Press and is a big believer in life long learning.

Corey, never stop learning, but you don't have to do it in a school. I personally am going back to school because a bachelor's degree is one of my personal goals.

Piffle said...

I wonder if pet-sitting/dog walking or dog/cat grooming would work for Corey? It's sort of the same thing as kennel work, which doesn't need a degree.

Also, I've heard small business employers chat with each other about hiring; and someone intelligent and reliable who doesn't want to move up would be a dream come true. The griping I've heard about training someone and then losing them once they have a bit of experience was perpetual. I'd emphasize that you are reliable and want a long term job, you aren't looking for a step up to go work for someone else. So look for a small business, not a huge corporation.

Anonymous said...

From JennyRose -

Looking for a job you actually like is hard, hard work. Even harder in this economy. You have all my sympathy. I graduated into a recession and with a grad degree worked retail and other part time jobs for 2 years until I found a temp position that finally led to full time. Finding a job is hard enough but being broke makes it twice as hard.

You seem to have realistic goals. It is so hard to know what employers want. When I was looking it always seemed like although they liked me and the interview went well, there was always someone who had a slight edge over me. I was very angry. I felt I had spent a lot of time and money on my education which I viewed as vocational training and it wasn't paying off. I was also angry because I just wanted a decent job with decent pay and I knew I could do the work. It wasn't like I wanted some kind of long shot glamour job like network newscaster. I don't mean to discourage you but I do want to let you know that it is not your fault.

My best advice is to keep going and doing the best you can. Realistically, at some point, you will find work and you will not remain unemployed for the rest of your life. At least that is what I told myself and it gave me a little comfort.

The dog walking business sounds like a good idea. It would look good on your resume and the people whose dogs you walked could turn out to be good references.

I work in corporate America and it isn't so bad. Most of my complaints would apply to almost 80% of the places I would work.

The bureaucracy can be overwhelming and irritating but it really matters what department you are in and how you are treated. I have a lot of autonomy which I value. I cannot stand being micromanaged.

The Safeco job sounds like a horror show set in a labor camp.

Raven Nightshade said...

As a member of the Black Geek Sisterhood, I salute you.

Seriously, though, I know how you feel, except I have a degree. It turned out that for the field I was interested in(fashion/retail), they value work experience over any sort of degree. I wound up being overqualified for entry-level work because I had a degree, but I didn't have the work experience to be management or a buyer trainee.

So, I had to abandon my chosen field, having put myself $20,000 in debt for nothing. Now, I work in Corporate America as a contracted temp, but my contract's up in May. I only work for 2 hours a day, but I'm expected to dress "Business Casual" in the strictest sense of the word for those two hours.

So, basically, I understand. The best you can do is go out there and keep trying. If you don't have to be outright employed at the moment, find places to do volunteer work, like animal shelters and such. You'll gain experience(albeit unpaid), and there are a few places that value experience over a degree.

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