In my continuing saga of searching for a job, I have secured a rare bird indeed: an interview in the fourth quarter.
It’s on Friday, with a fairly large local employer. I’m qualified for the job, I think. I’m a little rusty on some of the fundamentals, since I’ve been out of my field for about a year. But, I’ve been buckling down and doing a little cramming to bring myself up to speed. I’ve alerted my newly-overhauled references that they may get a call in the near future, and who it may be from. Tomorrow night I’ll press my suit. Friday morning I’ll give myself an internal pep talk.
The pay is not so great, but slightly better than what I am making now. It’s steady work, but there would be little hope of internal advancement. It’s unionized, so it’s fairly secure. There would be access to health insurance and some tuition reimbursement (hello, Master’s Degree). I could see myself hanging in there for a few years until the economy gets better and I get me some more learnin’.
It’s been interesting to watch how my acceptable criteria for a potential job has declined over the past year. I used to be all: “I want to make more than I did at the nonprofit!” Then, “Well, equal to what I was making or a little less would be OK.” Now, I’m down to “Oh, a 25% pay cut from what I used to be making? That will have to work.” Health insurance is non-negotiable. Tuition reimbursement would be a veritable godsend.
I’ve been struggling about how to answer the perennial interview question: “where do you see yourself in 3-5 years?” I know that employers want someone with some ambition, but not too much. You don’t want to scare a potential boss with the idea you want their job, or that you’ll jump ship as soon as a better opportunity comes along.
I used to have a good grip on where I wanted my career to go. When I first busted out with my business degree, I was full of ideas and goals and gusto. But this year of underemployment has rocked my world. To plaster a smile on my face and say all the things I used to say, about wanting a job with growth potential and opportunity, seems insincere and hollow. I’ve tweaked my answer a bit to reflect my changing attitudes, but it’s tough when all I want to say is: “I just hope I’m still working in 3-5 years.” Because frankly, for the past 3-5 years, it’s been hard even to accomplish that here in Michigan.