Lori Montero and I met at a Pink Mentor Network workshop called “Rethink Your Job Search”. Together, the group explored the hardships of job searches by sharing our unique passions, and creative spirits.
Lori explained that she enjoyed writing and had a knack for it. She also shared the challenges of looking for work after relocation. It was clear there was more to this story so I asked her to tell it, allowing Lori to practice her storytelling talents and enter her creative mind.
She took on the challenge like the fearless woman she is. But then again, that’s seems to be the way she approaches all life’s struggles.
MIDDLE-AGED, RELOCATION, JOB SEARCH …
IT’S NO BED OF ROSES!
Submitted By: Lori Montero on 5/11/18
The 144th Kentucky Derby is in the books. Won by the unraced 2 year-old Chestnut colt, Justify. The victory is the 5th Derby win for trainer Bob Baffert, and the 2nd win for jockey Mike Smith.
While Derby attendees are throwing back mint juleps, others are celebrating Cinco de Mayo with margaritas, chips and salsa and queso. I, however, sit here lamenting the arduous process I’ve subjected myself to for the past 12 weeks … job hunting in a new city.
For the past year, I contemplated returning to the Charlotte area. I’d previously logged over 17 years living south of Charlotte, specifically in Waxhaw, where I raised my show dogs and campaigned a veteran smooth Collie to #11 (Hawkins’ system). Career advancement moved me to Maryland, family illness moved me to Florida, and lastly another career opportunity moved me to Texas. Reflecting on the past 3 years, my heart was not set on retiring or dying in Texas.
Thinking 6 months of savings and relying on a strong business acumen, solid experience and a passionate personality, the time came to pack it up and head home … North Carolina or bust!
Sending my RAV4 ahead on a flatbed, my household goods with a professional moving company, I hooked up a 6×10 Uhaul trailer to my ‘big blue bus’ (Nissan HD 3500 van), loaded the dogs and my cat and heading East, bound for a small lease home in Mooresville.
I had started my NC job search in mid-January and successfully landed an interview with a marketing company in Chapel Hill. The signs were positive an offer was eminent … let the packing commence! Notice given, movers scheduled, call received they were moving in a different direction and not filling the position at this time.
Devastated, but the show must go on.
I was committed to returning ‘home’ and continued the monotonous task of online job searching. Indeed, Glassdoor, Ladders, Monster, iHire … applications completed via taleo, workday, and individual employer website. Cover letter? No cover letter? Include job history for the past 30 years or just the last 10 which were industry-specific? Remove the dates from my educational experience in hopes to alleviate age discrimination. Load resumes on job boards, update LinkedIn profile, use keywords so I appear in searches, talk to a coach, obtain 2-3 recruiters to assist and network, network, network.
The nights I’ve fallen asleep with my laptop open or my smartphone hitting me in the face are too numerous to count.
My days are spent combing through the email alerts and notifications for jobs that may or may not match my skill set and logging an average of 2-3 AUTOMATED rejections a day. The bigger companies – Proctor & Gamble, Corning, Kellogg’s, Purina – have tedious processes … better yet, that’s how I console myself when there’s no response in 3-4 weeks.
How do those recruiters pre-screen? Where is my resume? Did I not submit a cover letter when I should have? Do cover letters even matter? Because I’m not currently working does that move my resume directly to File 13?
What the…???? The struggle is real!
Fast forward to Week 10 of the job search and I’ve had one … yes, one, full-fledged professional panel-style interview. I elected to side-step the expected compensation question by offering ‘let’s determine that I’m the right fit for the position; I know a company of your reputation offers competitive compensation plans and I’m sure the offer will be fair.’ At this juncture, I’ve had 3 successful phone interviews and (what I want to believe is) a fabulous on-site interview with the management team. Knowing I’m one of 4-5 candidates is concerning.
Am I competing with ‘millennials’? Does another candidate have more experience with the computer programs utilized in the position? Does any one of the candidates present as well as me? Can any one else establish rapport with the key stakeholders as well as I can? Will they consider my knowledge, experience and like-ability when making their decision OR will it be based on the evaluation forms the team completed while conducting the ‘behavioral’ questions during the panel interview?
The timeframe for a decision is next week. By the time this one opportunity comes to a close, it will have been 12 weeks … 3 months … since relocating back East.
The balance in my bank account dwindles and I seriously look at treasured possessions that I may have to part with in order to survive. Family heirlooms, jewelry, furniture, and even a vehicle are on the list of items to be liquidated. 401(k)s will be cashed in as a last resort.
The employment marketplace is no bed of roses. It’s a process that is met with lack of respect, lack of communication, and internal conflict causing you to question not only your abilities, but also your self-confidence. It’s shameful the process for finding gainful employment for someone that is gifted and talented is fraught with lots of brick walls, but this too shall pass and I WILL SURVIVE!
Lori Montero is a passionate and driven sales & marketing professional with experience in automotive, construction and real estate (has an active NC BIC real estate license). She enjoys writing, her AKC registered Collies, and gourmet cooking. She’s an incredible catch for an employer or a single, eligible businessman.
Even though Lori & I only recently met, she carried struggle familiar, reoccurring struggle. One I’ve witnessed frequently in the last 18 month through the Pink Mentor Network. One that women of all ages, races, backgrounds, and experience levels face. One that steals your sanity, savings, and self-confidence.
THE JOB SEARCH IS ONE OF THE MOST VULNERABLE TIMES IN A WOMAN’S LIFE.
It’s a challenge for only the most creative, resourceful, persistent, and focused. And in my experience, Lori is an extremely qualified candidate.
Thank you, Lori, for honestly & generously sharing your experience with us.