Monday, August 8, 2011

So I got a call from the secretary at church today, offering the email of someone whose company is looking for employees to work from home.  I called the woman and spoke with her about the position.  It's essentially a scheduling position, serving as an at-home call center for a company that owns 8 auto body shops in the area.  The hours seemed a bit fuzzy, as did the pay. 

I was trying to answer her questions honestly, and then we came to the point where she asked about my prior experience.  I tried to explain as simply as I could about being in grad school, teaching, and why I am looking for jobs outside of academia.  She asked if this was the kind of job I was hoping to find.  I answered honestly - no, not really, but the realities of my field are such that it doesn't make sense to not be looking for other avenues so we can pay our bills each month.  Then she said, "The thing is, with your prior experience, I worry that you would start working and then not like it. It takes a lot of work to train someone..."

Am I crazy for feeling a bit insulted?  I don't know what she intended to say, but it felt to me like she was saying, "I don't know if you're worth my time and effort."  That left a truly sour taste in my mouth.  I tried to respond as nicely and professionally as I could, and then said I would appreciate the opportunity to talk about this with my husband before deciding whether to pursue it further.  She said that was fine.

I feel like I'm going a bit crazy.  This might be a decent job - it would be a paycheck, at the very least.  Would I be a fool not to pursue it?  I'm not sure I'd get a lot of respect from this woman, who would be my boss, since she's already said out loud that she's not sure I'd be worth the great effort it would take on her part to train me.  I don't want to turn a good thing down. But I don't know what to do now.


-broken angel- said...

Hello! I've been reading your blog for a bit and have never left a comment. But I just felt that I had to say something about this one.

I understand how you felt. You're right in thinking that she was essentially saying, "I don't know if you're worth my time and effort". But let's be fair to her. She was being very honest with you. She outlined her concerns and I guess, she was expecting you to allay her fears. She hoped that you would tell her, "I'm not gonna jump at the next better position open for me."

So, it isn't that she's not respecting you. It's just that she wanted assurances from you.

At least that's my two-cents worth. I wasn't there listening to her tone so I might be wrong.

Whatever the case, good luck with the search. Hang in there! :)

Historian said...

Broken Angel - thanks for the comment. And I understand what you were saying as well. I think it was her tone that makes me feel so uncertain.

It's also a pattern I've run into of late, where people assume that since I went to grad school I won't stick around, despite my trying to explain that I'm looking for something long-term. It's hard to fight the assumption that I wouldn't be a good employee just because it's not in my field.

Anonymous said...

I already left this comment and it said I had to sign in and erased it so this will be a summary version :-)

1) I was in this situation as an ABD and considered not finishing. I finally realized I should NOT tell them all my work experience. It's not unethical to downplay, only lie about things you have not done. I eliminated my ABD stuff, used my master's (in English, about as helpful as history!) and played up my skills. It did help. In your case, "I got married" is sufficient reason to want a job with a master's--you love history. You don't have to say you were on track to teach it. I redid my CV into a boring resume and used "relevant work experience" as my heading.

Also, try a temp agency. You can work a few days a week while you figure it out and they pay more and you can turn down stuff.

Your posts pre-"seek ye first" sound like I did in that flux and I was terrified and 100% on my own... I know it's hard. It did help me when I made my resume look more commercial. It was all true but it no longer screamed "ACADEMIC."