More adventures in finding a job

drhowarddrfine

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If you recall, I stumbled into a job for a manufacturing company recently and was told I had to pass a mechanical aptitude test before they would hire me to work on their web site. Needless to say, that didn't go anywhere. To be clear, I am not actively looking for a job but would be interested if something interesting to me came along.

Some of you may also recall that I used to own several Subway Sandwich restaurants. While I didn't manage all that directly, sometimes I would be asked to fill in if they had some special thing going on, shorthanded, or whatever. During those occasions I would run into people I knew in the past and, since a previous employer had offices nearby, those people were former co-workers and two engineering managers. I would kid with them about coming back to work there but their response was always more serious and they always encouraged me to contact HR and do so.

So, today, I was at the grocery story and ran into one of the mechanical engineers. He's now a project manager with nine other engineers beneath him. "Come back to work for us!", he said. "We have two openings coming up and I'll vouch for you." The engineering manager told me the same thing a few months ago and encouraged me to contact the VP of engineering.

So I tried. I knew they had been bought by Really Big Company You've Heard Of, Inc. (RBCYHO, Inc.) but they still worked out of the same address I was at plus one other one. I Googled for the phone number but none is listed. I tried the newer address and nothing there. I tried RBCYHO.com but they only show corporate numbers in New York. Then I searched for former owner of my original company that were bought by RBCYHO, Inc. There I was able to find the original phone number of where I worked.

I called that number but it asks you to enter the extension of the party you wish to reach and that's all it does. The web site listed the phone of the newer location and calling that number will get you phone prompts for "employment opportunities". Hitting that, though, redirects you to RBCYHO.com under "careers" where there are no listings for engineers.

Friends, I think I've found the reason for the engineering shortage companies complain about.
 

Phishfry

Beastie's Twin

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We got one of those. You have to press 0 to get an operator.
Problem is there is no operator. Front office tired of junk calls.
Last I heard we were maybe ripping out entire PBX for ??? Cell Phones?

So Doc, If the place was worth it, keep hurdling. The front office tasks these days in Manufacturing are handled by droids.
We had a company accountant of 30 years,retired. Now we have a new accountant every 6 months.
Those numbers used to be super sensitive and now the entire job is in flux.
 

Crivens

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Hrhrhr - sorry.

Once upon a time I applied for a job and was turned down because they had "decided for someone else". So on the next big recruiting event I ran into some nice guy who turned out to be their head of engineering. After some talking I asked if he had open positions, and he had. While he told me about the misery to not find anyone in half a year now, I thought I knew that description he had handed me. So I gave him my CV, and he was happy to finally find someone who would fit this place.

Then I gave him the reply letter on the official paper of TBCYMKA.com stating "But you already had that!"

I saw a stunned face, collected my stuff and wished him a good day, saying I would rather not make my career depend on HR staff like they obviously had.

When I was about 10m away he blew a gasket. Turning around I saw him yelling at a HR drone which he had by the lapels, using no uncertain terms to make his displeasure known about them only looking for the 20 year old PhD with 30 years of experience and declining everybody else.

That face warms me old bitter soul since.
 
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drhowarddrfine

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When I told the guys who worked for me that I was closing the business, he applied at a small company that reminded him of our place. After the interview, they called him two days later to say he got the job but, since they were hiring him for their expansion effort, it would be a month or two before he could start. That was OK with him cause i had told everyone it would be longer than that before we would close down.

A month went by without hearing anything so he called them.

"Hi! This is John Smith. I thought I'd touch base with you about where I stand with starting work."

"Who are you?"

---

I forgot how close that company was to where I live now so, tomorrow, I think I'll drive to both locations and see if I can walk in the door and talk to HR--assuming there is a HR to talk to. I might ask for my friend first.
 
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drhowarddrfine

Son of Beastie

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The stars may be coming into alignment.

I was at the park across the street from me, walking my dogs, when a cameraman with the local TV station showed up to take background shots for the weather tonight. "Hey, I used to do your job!", I said. We had a nice conversation and, since we're the same age, we knew some of the same people from back in the day.

I get home and my phone beeps at me. I had posted my rant elsewhere and the engineering manager where I worked--a guy I have only seen once in the past 25 years--saw it and wants me to PM him. I do so within three minutes of him posting that. Haven't heard a peep out of him.

sigh

I know he was doing some consulting work with my former employer so I'm hoping he's got some inside info about that. We'll see. If I ever hear from him again.
 

roccobaroccoSC

Aspiring Daemon

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If you recall, I stumbled into a job for a manufacturing company recently and was told I had to pass a mechanical aptitude test before they would hire me to work on their web site. Needless to say, that didn't go anywhere. To be clear, I am not actively looking for a job but would be interested if something interesting to me came along.

Some of you may also recall that I used to own several Subway Sandwich restaurants. While I didn't manage all that directly, sometimes I would be asked to fill in if they had some special thing going on, shorthanded, or whatever. During those occasions I would run into people I knew in the past and, since a previous employer had offices nearby, those people were former co-workers and two engineering managers. I would kid with them about coming back to work there but their response was always more serious and they always encouraged me to contact HR and do so.

So, today, I was at the grocery story and ran into one of the mechanical engineers. He's now a project manager with nine other engineers beneath him. "Come back to work for us!", he said. "We have two openings coming up and I'll vouch for you." The engineering manager told me the same thing a few months ago and encouraged me to contact the VP of engineering.

So I tried. I knew they had been bought by Really Big Company You've Heard Of, Inc. (RBCYHO, Inc.) but they still worked out of the same address I was at plus one other one. I Googled for the phone number but none is listed. I tried the newer address and nothing there. I tried RBCYHO.com but they only show corporate numbers in New York. Then I searched for former owner of my original company that were bought by RBCYHO, Inc. There I was able to find the original phone number of where I worked.

I called that number but it asks you to enter the extension of the party you wish to reach and that's all it does. The web site listed the phone of the newer location and calling that number will get you phone prompts for "employment opportunities". Hitting that, though, redirects you to RBCYHO.com under "careers" where there are no listings for engineers.

Friends, I think I've found the reason for the engineering shortage companies complain about.
Indeed! My experience is, everybody talks about shortage of experts and qualified people but it's mostly just words. When the rubber meets the road, everything comes down to price and most companies I know are well staffed.
It's just they want what everybody wants - to have plenty of choices to choose from, and low prices.
 

Crivens

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I take it you don't need the money from it.
So how about joining a man-shed, learn the terrain, and open something like a boys-shed? There are way too many children growing up without a father or father figure around, and IIRC about 70% of them come into trouble with society and the law.

It might not pay as well, at least in money. But it might be worth it.
 
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drhowarddrfine

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There are way too many children growing up without a father or father figure around, and IIRC about 70% of them come into trouble with society and the law.
That's about 70% of my restaurant staff. Mostly poor, young, female with children. Sometimes with a druggy boyfriend. I bought a couple of them cars so they could get to work. They had to pay me back but I didn't charge interest and I made the payments easy on them.

I don't know what a man-shed is so I'll look it up but I'm more of a community helper than a charity helper, if that makes sense. What would you do if you won the lottery? I'd put that money into making a community better overall by improving streets, housing, the arts--things government should do. But I still have the business man's blood so this isn't something I'd be interested in now.
 

Crivens

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Imagine someone had shown these drug addicts that it is more fun to be a dad than it is sleeping in the gutter or being introduced to the prison culture. And taught them how to do it. Because I'd bet they did not know. Also these girls need a model to see what to look for in a guy for a stable relation. Chasing the local do-no-good may be interesting in the short run, but later they might think different. They also have stuff to learn about being a family that they can't learn from one parent alone.

A man-shed is a place like a workshop, open to all who want to hang out there, a place for men being men talking about manly things in a manly language. You don't need to show youngsters how to change tires, repair a cuckoo-clock or solder some stuff. You might advise some in how to start their own business, what the traps are, how to cover your behind should things go sideways... I know several businesses which started like that. They were war refugees when they came here, knowing nothing about customs and the language. But eager to learn. Now they own a good part of the city.
 
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drhowarddrfine

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So...I was getting ready for bed when my phone dinged saying I have a message. It's my old engineering manager. Turns out the former co-worker I saw at the grocery store did mention me to him and my old manager is doing contract work at my former employer! He said he wouldn't be back in the office till Monday but would email me all the details. Hooray for the old boy's club!
 
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drhowarddrfine

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Monday came and went.
So did Tuesday.
Wednesday, I text my old boss. "Any info on job openings?"

...crickets...

Text him again this morning. Saw him on social media and posted to him there. Saw him again, later, and texted him.

...crickets...

What is going on? He contacted me. Not the other way around.

So there it's going to sit but I give up unless he responds. With the work I've done poking around finding something to do, I'm reaching the conclusion that the problem with tech employment in the USA is not finding employees but employer hiring practices. Perhaps too much reliance on outside services. Not quite related but, at my restaurants, my manager might get an application and might not call them back for a few days to a week as she discusses with others about whether they are suitable and how they will fit this person into the schedule. In the meantime, someone quits or gets fired and, all of a sudden, she's short handed and I'm getting asked to fill in.

"Why didn't you call Betty who applied last week?!", I'll ask. "We didn't need her then," is the reply. But turnover in this business is always going on so it's a dumb response. And, of course, people in that business are typically in need of a job immediately and won't be available the next day, much less a week later.

Of course, you all know that, as I write this rant, I'll probably get a call about that job.

EDIT:
Have you ever known me to be wrong?

Just got a text back from him, 40 minutes after I posted this, with inside contact info.
 
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drhowarddrfine

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So I send my resume to the inside contact who is the R&D manager--the same position my former boss had who gave me this guy's email. He went on vacation the same day I sent it so I waited two weeks.

--crickets--

Yesterday, I re-read the original text I got from my former manager where he mentioned Kelly Services handles the contracts for the company. I found the job listed there, and it's been there for quite a while so I assume they're having trouble filling it. I send them my resume....

--crickets--

To summarize: I have three engineering managers, familiar with me and my work, who are supporting my application for my former position at a former employer where I created their best selling product in the history of the company and I get no response.

I fully expect that, now that I've posted this, I will hear from someone within the hour.
 
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drhowarddrfine

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You owned your restaurants for how many years until you sold them? Sure, you may have dabbled here and there and kept up with technology, but you haven't been "getting dirty" so to speak, day-in, day-out.
I owned restaurants, yes. I did not run the restaurants except briefly in the late 1990s. My wife did that. I owned a web development company for 15 years. I also developed hardware and software for theatrical effects. So, no, I was not out of the game.

...but it seems employers want it "right now."
Yes. This seems to be a detrimental requirement I see everywhere now. Companies willing to shoot themselves in the foot--especially headhunters--to find someone who can walk in and do a job and then walk out. In fact, they will wait years to get immediacy.

I think my age may have something to do with it too. See gray hair and immediately think "old."
I would agree but, the difference is the three managers recommending me for the job are people my age and working there now and they approached me about applying for the job (over four years or so). It was only in January, after being encouraged again, that I decided to take them up on it. These three are not random junior engineers but, for example, one is even a "Fellow" within the company.

If I don't hear anything by the end of the week, I'm going to give up and spill the beans on which company and even the product.
 
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drhowarddrfine

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Kelly Services just emailed that the job, which they state was posted just five days ago, has been filled(!). But..but...but...

This has now stepped into the realm of stupid.
 

Phishfry

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Well I think you have done all you could.(Short of doing donuts in the parking lot at quitting time to get some attention.)
Personally I would balk at at temp agency.
They usually use those to weed out the unknown applicants.
This is a place you have worked and have already proved yourself.
That place sounds horrible.
 
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drhowarddrfine

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When I worked there, it was great. We were all buddies and it shows even today by what I said earlier; former co-workers trying to help me get back in. When I left, though, it was a time when outside management was being brought in and some quit because of that. Today, it's owned by a much larger corporation. I have the impression that's the problem here--it's gone all corporate.
 

Phishfry

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I have never worked contract work so I am only speaking for myself. In my opinion that's not really a job but a hired gun.
Once the project is done you have to go or renew?

What I wonder about is that mostly lower level jobs are temped out at my place. Laborers, Janitors and low end jobs.
R&D people being contract employees sounds odd in my world.
Maybe the company outsources all their workers to Kelly except C-class.
I really have to wonder how bad the place is. Maybe nobody wants to tell you how back the place really is.
Maybe it went from folksy to nasty.

I experienced the same thing with a big shipyard in my area. Family outfit with plenty of Navy work.
Then the sellout to SouthWest Marine then BAE and it really changed and not for the better.
Before they sold out the family stripped out the company(inventory). Beefed up the books. Made it look more profitable than it was. Two of the brothers got caught bribing Navy officials for contracts. So they had to sell as the two main brothers were in jail. The remaining family was incompetent. So they sold-out. They were also not allowed to bid for any more work.
 
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drhowarddrfine

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Well, I give up. Just had a PM with my old r&d manager and he gave up, too, so you know that's bad when a Bausch & Lomb Fellow can't get anything accomplished.
 

Datapanic

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They say that connections are the way about 1/2 the jobseekers out there get a job. Well, maybe. I like Indeed, Glassdoor and LinkedIn. I actually got a contract job at IBM via LinkedIn but then they cancelled my contract a couple years later. All the sudden, I had no job and it was tough (circa 2013) finding a new job and IBM brought me back in after 5 months. 8 months later, I found a permanent job at the university. I was really tempted to give IBM the same notice they gave me when they cancelled my contract, but I was nice. It's good to keep those bridges open.

Anyway, good luck with your job search!
 

tingo

Son of Beastie

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Kelly Services just emailed that the job, which they state was posted just five days ago, has been filled(!). But..but...but...
Internal candidate, most likely. Job position put "on the market" to please laws & regulations and to avoid any accusations of not following said laws & regulations. They usually prefer the internal candate anyway (he or she is known in the company - hard to compete as an "unknown" against that).
 

Crivens

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Your story sounds like the circumstances I lined out in my rant here. I would guess that half of your buddies went to HR with your papers and were told by some purple haired teen that hiring that straight white old male you are is off limits. But now they have this application from this person with a higher score in the oppression olympics disciplines at hand...

And usually, when I'm looking for the most cynical explanation for something I'm still some % short.

Tell you what, get hired by a 3 guys startup which is then sold to that company if you want to go back there. Bypass HR where possible.
 

Sevendogsbsd

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If I lived in Chicago, Dallas, NYC, Washington DC, or some other large metro area, my preference would be to work contract jobs. You can have a contract for 6, 12, 18, 24 months. If it is a short contract and you like the place it may be possible to extend the contract. Because the city is so large you could move from job to job and always have work. Unfortunately I don't live in a large metro area like that, but I still work for a Fortune 400 company as a full-time employee. I have worked 4 times as a contractor though, once for 2 years, another for 20 months, one for 6 months and one for 5 months. I also was placed by a contract firm for a full-time job and I quit after 5 months.

Agree, at least that has worked for me the past 13 years. I am on job #2 in that time and the first one was extremely long - this one will be 5 years. Will have to have a couple more until I can retire though. Used to worry about age and my profession because the stereotypical "hacker" pentester, whatever you want to call me is young. I have about 15 years of experience in cyber though, something purple haired teens do not have, and I remain current because I do this every day.

Hang in there, you'll find something.
 
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