199. How I find jobs for survival or It is OK to lie!


Dear Friends:

Two years ago I lost my my income, home, most of my golfing buddies and all material goods due to the obliteration of the housing and mortgage industry in todays financial tail spins. I was an early casualty, as well as a well paid six-figure a year former company executive. My reputation was good enough during the 1990’s and 2000’s that if I wanted to change positions all I had to do was make a phone call and never miss a beat.

In the fall of 2007 that all changed. I was faced with many bills and zero income after a job loss and lost everything.  I was not the only one though. I called everyone I knew for positions, the industry was and is a terrible mess. I emailed hundreds of resumes to all sorts of companies. Unfortunately, unless you were entry level they did not want to talk to you. Being in my very early 40’s  and a former upper mid level management I was considered too skilled and had earned too much for them to want to take a risk on. I heard more “we cannot pay you what you were making”, “we feel you will get bored here”, “you have a lot of experience”, and basically “we are not currently looking for some who is so obviously over qualified”.

Upon realizing that many were applying for fewer positions and that I was no longer in the employment target market I tried elsewhere and really lowered my sights.


We might be in a little bit of a pickle, Dick

 Jane Harper / Fun with Dick and Jane

I applied to WalMart, Lowe’s, Home Depot, grocery stores, retailers, and even to fast food restaurants…. trying to scrape a job to at least cover a portion of my debts and to keep a roof over my head. No Luck at all, former housing industry executives were not and still not in high demand.

So I turned it around and became my own hiring manager.. and reviewed what I was putting on these applications and realized I was not being hired due to telling the truth. SO I STARTED LYING.

Since most former employers will not give out more than your dates of employment I made up my job applications showing lower pay rates, lower position levels, same employment dates, eliminated being in management entirely on some applications, lowered the level of education that I had, and started applying for blue collar jobs instead of white collar to get back in the job market. Plus I needed and still need their cash.

Downplaying the application worked very well. A lot of managers do not want to hire those that might have more education, job skill, or held better jobs then themselves due to fear of you replacing them!

The lowest paying job I have had since then was $7.25 an hour and I  took that out of desperation of months of being unemployed to at least get something going, then moved to a $9.50 an hour job into a $11.00 an hour job as my new “blue collar” resume improved. None of these jobs are full time jobs as employers are not paying benefits nor wanting to hire people that will qualify on hours for them. I have averaged between 30 to 35 hours a week.

I have also gone back to skills that were under my supervision in management, a lot of us as former supervisors managed trades people and had some idea of what the work was or entailed. An example of this is: A civil engineer knows how to build a house. He might not be too great swinging the hammer or using the saw but he knows what has to be done and can jump in.  One thing that is important in an interview is being able to display some knowledge of the job  you are applying for, and be personable as well as act confident.

I went into cooking and retailing. Retailing is basically too boring for me but the people were generally nice but the pay scale is really low. Restaurants I have generally been able to make a decent living, not a great one but enough to afford to shelter myself, save up for travel and eat. There is also a lot of turn over in restaurants so they are basically always hiring. My income is still less than 60% less than I was earning, but making currently above average in comparison to many.

But the first step is always about clothes, food, and shelter. After you accomplish this then you can move onto other things, but a paycheck is what is needed to accomplish those things. My goal is two jobs to break the monotony and to improve standard of living. OK some jobs are very unpleasant but there is job stability if one keeps showing up. I have had jobs where it is constantly dwelling on how bad I hate it and have to force myself to keep surviving another hour since I could not afford to quit. Also I have found these jobs do have some flexibility since they are not as pleasant and they really will work with those that they feel are quality people plus it is hard to train new people.

The markets and positions that some of us once held will not be back for a long while yet.  There are going to be many more laid off and terminated to be added to the 13 million already unemployed as well as underemployed and searching. So it is about entrenching oneself to ride out the current economy and trying to ease all of the woes it is bringing. Something to remember, it is easier to get a job if you have a job. What it tells a prospective employer is that someone thinks you are worthwhile to have as an employee.



4 Responses to “199. How I find jobs for survival or It is OK to lie!”

  1. May 2, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    Can you help us locate research on the 90 bed domiciliary Colorado General Assembly did not fund?
    The War Widows

    We are researching trying to find this. If anyone knows of this, any input would help greatly

  2. May 2, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    90 bed domiciliary Colorado General Assembly did not fund? Any research? THe War Widows Veteransjustice@aol.com

  3. 3 Guest
    May 2, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    Great article. The idea occurred to me the other day and I found myself going round and round about how ethical it would be to fudge downward on resumes. Truthfully, I’ve long held that it’s better to say you can’t do something when you can than to say you can do something when you can’t.

    • May 3, 2009 at 8:18 am

      I have never set my sights over what I know I can learn/do quickly. I am never going to apply for brain surgeon. It is about competition, and getting the job over the other 13 million competitors. One thing about this is, it is about your survival if you are unemployed and need to eat, keep from getting evicted, and mentally getting depressed out of unemployment.


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