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Posts Tagged ‘job hunting’

As most of my readers know, Mali is not my real name. When I began blogging, I found that most of the blogs I was reading, and the bloggers who were reading me, used a pseudonym. I felt that I was in good company. There is a certain protection to anonymity that enables you to be honest – sometimes to a fault, perhaps, but usually I find this honesty has worked well for me.  (Honesty about me, that is, my flaws and issues, rather than honesty about others.)

Now though, I’m much more open about this blog. I publicise posts on Facebook, and know that many of my family and friends read it. A friend jokes that she doesn’t need to call or text to find out what I’ve been up to, she just checks the blog.

But I feel constrained here too, for precisely that reason. I’m job-hunting. I have been looking for work – directorships, contracting, consulting or full-time – since we returned from our overseas self-described sabbatical (though I did take about six months out earlier this year). It isn’t easy looking for jobs at my age. Assumptions are made, especially (don’t ask me why) about women my age, despite the fact that any organisation would be lucky to have me. Assumptions too, are made about people who have had time out, as my husband and I have had. Yet as a result of that and some other changes in my life, I feel refreshed, healthier, and more capable than I have for a number of years. I figure I have at least another 10-15 years (economy-dependent) of working left in me, so commitment isn’t an issue. Assumptions are also made about people who haven’t worked full-time, people who have dabbled in a number of areas, as I have. Over the last twelve years I’ve been a consultant, a trainer, a writer, a company director and the Chair of a Board, and a volunteer. All of these activities have given me valuable experience that mean I am more capable and valuable than I was when I was working full-time. Yet recruiters or potential employers may look at this with suspicion. I wonder about their lack of imagination, their own limited life experiences, that prevent them from seeing this. What is it about being older, more experienced and responsible and skilful, that is so negative to recruiters, so threatening to future employers?

I know that recruiters now may well look on-line for information on job candidates. Other than international travels, I don’t think I live a very exciting life. No-one is going to find any salacious photographs of me on-line, or get access to my FB pages (where sadly there are still no salacious photographs of me) to see how inappropriate I can be. But if they are determined, they may be able to find their way here, where I share opinions on a number of subjects. And another site where I am (or want to be) even more honest. Knowing this, I’m quite careful about what I say.  Maybe that shows discretion. Maybe it shows that there’s really nothing that controversial about me. Or maybe it means I can’t show you the real Mali (though you get about 90% of her).

So should I be so careful?

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We are not independently wealthy. A Lotto win continues to elude us, instead going to people who seem needy. We haven’t made career decisions that have seen us stay in the same company for 25 years, coming out of it with either a generous redundancy package or a healthy retirement plan. Companies or organisations with those are few and far between these days in New Zealand. Of course, there was always the government. We live and work worked in a government town, but neither of us have government pensions. I haven’t worked for the government since 1996. I suspect if I had stayed there, I’d have either gone mad, or committed a serious, violent offence. The husband didn’t have the option to stay in the government either. Restructuring and privatisation of his industry meant that he has moved around and had an interesting career, but one which hasn’t offered long term stability. I quit my directorship (once I resigned as Chair, I really was only getting coffee money) to go overseas this year, and consulting work has dried up. So here we are. – two well-travelled unemployed folks.

We’ve been home a month now. We’re procrastinating a bit on the job hunt, both of us as bad as each other. I found something that didn’t appall me, so I’ve thrown my hat in the ring. He is still procrastinating. There’s not that much about. I figure we have till after Christmas before it starts to get urgent. Maybe by the New Year we’ll actually feel like working again?  I live in hope.

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