The Question of Salary

Dear employers,

Please include a salary with the job description that you posted, even if it’s a general number, a minimum amount, or a range. Just give me a number.


I recently went to an interview where the salary was not listed with the job description. I thought I did really well at the interview: I got along with the interviewer, I had enough experience, and I believe I showed confidence that I could do the job well.

The woman I interviewed with asked my expected hourly rate and I told her a number that I didn’t think was unreasonable for the position. It was also a comparable rate to a similar position I had at the time. After the interview, the woman told me that I could expect a call from her the next day (Wednesday) to set up a second interview on Friday. I was stoked.

Two days passed by without a call. On Thursday I sent her a friendly email just to ask about the second interview. I got a response back stating that I was no longer being considered for the position. Needless to say I was pretty crushed. I later found out from a mutual friend that the reason I wasn’t asked to the second interview was because I had asked for too much money. The position was entry-level (which also wasn’t written on the job description) and was paying just over minimum wage.

I was actually pretty relieved when I found that out. It wasn’t that I wasn’t qualified for the position. They just wanted to pay less money than what I know I’m worth. Had I known initially what price they were willing to pay I wouldn’t even have applied.

What a waste of my time and yours, Employer, that we had to sit through that interview and send emails back and forth when we both should have known that I wasn’t going to be hired anyway. Who knows how many times this has happened to others as well. I know that hiring someone new can be an expensive process for companies and can take a lot of time, but you can make it a bit easier on yourself.

Posting a salary or hourly rate that you’re willing to pay can weed out candidates immediately. If I see a job is willing to pay $100k a year, I know that I’m likely not qualified for the position, even without reading the job description. Likewise with a job that pays minimum wage; I won’t apply because I am over-qualified. Providing a salary range to potential candidates can allow them to gauge if the position would be a good fit for them before you, the employer, ever has to review their application.

So please, employers, post that salary for both our sakes.

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10 Things You Do When You’re Unemployed

1. Check your favourite job boards and companies for any new job openings
I get some automatic Current Opportunity emails from some larger companies that I’m interested in, but I also check job boards that are more specific to my career interests (e.g., goodwork.ca and workinculture.ca)
2. Google jobs that are reasonable for you to apply to and bookmark an unrealistic number of jobs upon first glance
This Director of Marketing position looks awesome! I don’t actually need 5-7 years of marketing experience, right?
3. Take a break and browse Facebook
Surely some of my friends are posting about a recent job opening and not just cat videos
4. Tweak your resume and cover letter in order to better target specific jobs, and prepare to apply to job postings
Because I have learned that not everything you’ve done career-wise needs to be put on your resume for every job you apply to e.g., My casual dog-sitting experience will never be relevant for an executive assistant position…unless it’s at a dog kennel or something. That would actually be pretty cool! Maybe I’ll just add that position to my Jobs to Google list.
5. Take a break and browse Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
6. Eat snacks
It is important to stay properly energized
7. Google jobs that sound cool but are actually nowhere near realistic for you to apply to, or are halfway around the world
a. Personal assistant to a celebrity
b. Professional couch model
c. Chocolate taste-tester
d. Event Coordinator in Madagascar
8. Browse iTunes and download music
A Google search is only as good as its soundtrack
9. Watch Youtube videos
Ummm. Okay, I don’t really have a defense for this one. There is just no way I can justify watching episodes of Tipsy Bartender while I’m trying to find a job.
10. Apply to one or two of your realistic bookmarked jobs
Bam! The day has been productive!

This is meant to be a humorous post. Of course I don’t actually do any social media browsing while I’m looking for a job. That would be silly and such a waste of time. This is serious work and I’m obviously super focused on finding my next job. Instead what I do to procrastinate is write blog posts about procrastinating…

Where I am Now

So. It’s been a while since my last post.

I last left off wondering whether or not I was going to stick with my current job, or go back to a previous job that I had. I decided to stick it out with my current job, although neither job is worth the stress and anxiety that they give me.

And I have actually just decided that I’m going to hand in my resignation. I’ve been at my current job for exactly a year now, through the slow periods and the crazy busy periods. I had been hoping for some sort of redeeming aspect of my position; some interesting new task or some new responsibility.

I waited a year and I’ve decided that I can’t wait any longer. Life is too short to waste my time on something that is so frustrating and unfulfilling.

A couple days ago I purchased a book called “Roadmap: The get-it-together guide for figuring out what to do with our life.” Now, I’ve only looked through it briefly, but I’ve found it to be really eye-opening. My current career path is not cutting it for me. I need something else, something more fulfilling.

This book is from the creators of Roadtrip Nation, a documentary series. This group of people travelled around in RVs asking successful and fulfilled people how they got to where they are now. This book uses advice from those people to create a dialogue within the reader. I have found myself thinking, “It’s okay to hate the job I have because it’s getting me closer to figuring out what kind of job I actually want.”

This book makes the reader ask herself insightful questions about what she wants out of life. What do I like to do? What am I good at? Not every path toward success will be the same, and success won’t even look the same for every person.

I want something more out of life. I’ll be damned if I stay stuck behind a desk all day doing administrative work.

Now, it’s not like I’m quitting my job and moving to the middle of the woods (is it bad if that actually sounds kind of appealing to me though?). I’ve already had one interview, with a couple more on the way, and hopefully something new will come to me soon. But even if it takes a little longer than I would like, at least it will give me time to figure out a clearer direction in my life.

In my life I’m going to learn as much as I can and find something that I love to do. So in that spirit, I’m going to leave you with a quote from the memorable childhood TV series Magic School Bus:
Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!

Creating a Career Plan

I realized why I’ve been feeling so uninspired lately (besides the fact that I hate my job and am supremely bored at my desk, day in and day out). During my final year at university I created a plan for myself – a direction my life would take after I graduated. This plan included taking a year off after graduation to work, save some money and travel; then go back to school and do an internship; and finally to work.

I am in the final stage of my plan: I am working full-time, in a job that is somewhat related to the program that I studied. But now I don’t see what’s next. I’m not working towards anything, I don’t have a current goal in my professional life. So I’ve decided to create a new plan. This one will be more detailed in terms of a specific career I want and how I’m going to get it.

I’ll be doing a lot of Googling and using a lot of sticky notes over the next few weeks, but I hope that at the end of it all I’ve got a clear path and that I can put a bit more purpose back into my life.

**************

And would you believe that just as I’m typing this blog post a work opportunity was presented to me. This puts a bit of a wrench in my  career plan. Isn’t this always the way life works? I have a chance to go back to the job I had before I went back to school. This job allowed to me to save up for travelling, buy a car, pay off my student loan, pay for grad school tuition, and made it possible for me to not have to work while I went back to school.

Current Job

  • REALLY LONG commute
  • Flexible hours
  • Boring and uninspiring
  • Spend a lot of time doing crosswords, playing sudoku, speaking to angry customers, working on the occasional project that goes unnoticed and unused
  • Working late some nights, working some events on evenings and weekends
  • Poor paycheque

New/Old Job

  • Stressful work environment
  • Tons of work to do, always busy (not necessarily fulfilling)
  • Reasonable commute
  • Dirty work environment and small office, no real washroom (port-a-pottie)
  • Really good paycheque
  • Early mornings (would mean no time for running, which I love)

 

Now I have an immediate decision to make. The good thing about this is that it will only affect my short-term career plan.  It’s important for me to remember that a career is a life-long work trajectory and that my current job will only be a stepping stone in my career. A career is a journey and one job will not define who I am or what I want to do. It’s never too late to change paths.

Is it bad if I really want the decent paycheque right now and I’m willing to sacrifice my career direction for a bit in order to save up enough money to buy a house and get an RRSP going? Is it so bad? Not many millennials right now are able to get a decent-paying job. Lots of people go for the bigger paycheque over personal-fulfillment. Would I be a sell-out?

Does this sound like I’m trying to justify going back to my old job? Does it sound like I’ve already made up my mind? Maybe I have.

Uggghhh! What should I do?

Let’s Start with my Unemployment

So I’m unemployed.

(Well technically I have a part-time job, but for all intents and purposes of this blog, let’s just say I’m unemployed because I’m only working about two shifts a month).

I finished my postgraduate program in December and since then I’ve been looking for a full-time job. I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that it’s tough out there. It’s tough to find a job that I’ll actually like and it’s even tougher to find a job that I’m actually qualified for.

I’ve been reading a lot of articles lately about how there’s a gap between what post-secondary schools are teaching us and what jobs require from potential employees. I agree with this completely. In university I learned how to write well and how to think critically, but what entry-level jobs are asking for are usually at least two to three years of relevant work experience. Even after completing my postgrad program, where there was a compulsory internship placement, I’m still having trouble finding something I’m qualified for and something I actually want to do.

So what options do I have now?

  1. I can do another unpaid internship and hope for employment afterwards, but I’ve done the whole internship thing, and I’m really at a point in my life where I want to be more independent. I’m sure I’m not the only 23-year old post-postgrad student still living at her parents’ house but come on, Mama needs her own place!
  2. I can take a job that I don’t like. I’ve actually applied for a couple of these jobs. Entry-level jobs that don’t pay well, involve a lot of travel and are not very fulfilling. I’ve seen quite a few of these job postings while looking for jobs in the marketing industry. I’ve even gone on a couple interviews for these jobs, but upon hearing more about the position I turned it down. After I finished undergrad I actually made decent money working as an office assistant for a small company, but I hated the work I was doing. I don’t want to be stuck in a job I hate again.
  3. I can keep plugging away with my job search and hope something good will come my way.

I realize that this post may perpetuate the stereotype that millennials and Gen-Yers are entitled. But why is it so bad that I’m not going to settle for something I don’t want? Why shouldn’t I be determined to land a job that I like with a decent salary? I know I may not get every single thing that I want and I know that no position will be perfect, but damn if I’m not going to try my best to find a great fit.

I’ve been getting more interviews recently and have fine-tuned my job search to better suit my wants. I know that I’ll find something soon. I also know that I’m just starting my career and I’ve got a long road ahead of me with a ton of options and different directions to take, but I still want the first step to be a good one.