Thursday, March 27, 2008


As mentioned in my last post, I'm unemployed. My former job, which, at the time I considered my "dream job," was with a start-up biotechnology company as the Director of Sales and Marketing. Yes, an executive position, and yes, under the age of 25. The experience I gained was definitely a blessing, alhamdulillah, and I am thankful for that. What I am not exactly tickled pink about is the fact that they unexpectedly axed me (and others) with absolutely no warning.

Chalk it up to my, sometimes, naive optimism, I thought that I had job security, and I thought we would be safe paying off my student loans, bills and other debts. I wasn't as careful as I should have been with spending as I assumed we'd be safe having minimal savings - as aforementioned, I thought I was pretty much locked in. The higher-ups praised my work. They even wrote a letter to USCIS for my DH (darling husband)'s immigration papers with statements such as "she is a great asset to our company and we look forward working with her long into the future." They included me in big money decisions, and handed me huge responsibilities (i.e. managing both the marketing and sales divisions) What I didn't, or couldn't foresee was the CEO, who, mind you, is already in big business in orange juice (laugh all you want, he's a millionaire), and has the financial capabilities to drop a project whenever he feels bored, would get cold feet as soon as the marketing numbers didn't match his outlandish goals. In a nutshell, he dropped us like it's hot, withdrew his finances and took some major investors with him. This lead to downsizing, and so goes the story.

Unfortunately this trend is happening all over the country. People in business, especially in real estate, technology and mortgage, are getting the pink slip, and thus, not spending money. This in turn puts us in an economic recession - though the big wigs don't want to admit it...until their fifth Mercedes is repossessed and summer home in Newport is foreclosed.

Granted, it's not 100% the economy's fault that I didn't plan ahead. Ironically, the week I got laid off, I had a financial meeting with my DH about our need for less spending and more savings. (Duh.) Too bad I didn't think of that sooner. *sigh*

Since then, I've spent pretty much every day pounding the pavement, putting in my application all over the city. Executive positions, management, retail - TACO BELL - you name it. I even applied to work in horse stalls - you guessed it - shoveling poo. I've gotten every excuse in the book: "we're overstaffed," "you're overqualified (overqualified?!)," "we'll call you," - all a buncha yadiyaduh yakety schmack. I've had seven interviews, three of which were with staffing agencies, but I haven't heard anything in reply. The problem is while personal taxes are due on April 15, corporate taxes are due March 15, so no one will hire before then. I just picked a fantastic time to be laid off. Now I can start re-applying to all those places in hopes of finding something soon, inshaAllah. *sigh again*

So, today while watching CNN, a particular segment caught my attention. I've always loved Jack Cafferty's sarcasm, so I love to watch him with Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room. I've always said that one day I would post on his blog. Well, today was the day.

Apparently, At&t, America's largest telephone corporation is having a terrible time trying to fill 5,000 customer service positions they've decided to bring back from India. Terrible time, eh? So let's ignore the fact that 60,000 Americans lost their jobs last month - those are people who already had jobs and are now floating around the job market (i.e. moi). What about recent college/high school graduates? New immigrants.....anyone...
.Bueller? So the question is, what does it mean if At&t is having trouble finding skilled US workers?

I couldn't resist. I burst out my laptop and began typing away. Being frustrated with the fact that companies look at my resume and see that I'm educated and experienced, but still won't hire me, I can't believe the audacity for a huge corporation to come right out, shrug their shoulders and basically say, "Uh...sorry guys. Back to India I guess. Heh...heh..." It reminds me of when I'm too busy/lazy to look myself for a lost item, so I employ one of my sisters who inevitably, begrudgingly walks to the middle of the room of the assumed location of said item, takes a panoramic view of the area and comes out to say, "I couldn't find it."

Randall L. Stephenson (Chairman and CEO of At&t) goes on to say that he's worried about areas of the country in which the high school drop out rates are particularly high (sometimes 50%) and says, "If I had a business that half the product we turned out was defective or you couldn't put into the marketplace, I would shut that business down."

So we should give up on American workers and move back to India where the total population literacy rate is 61%? No, that's not a diss on India. I'm just saying, Mr. Stephenson, where is your logic? You're worried about high school drop out rates? I think not. (Tangent: How hard is it to sit on your can with a headset and answer a phone and follow the flow chart for trouble shooting on a screen? A child can do that. Does it really require a degree or even a diploma? So what do you mean "skilled" workers?) You're worried that I, as an American, will demand that you not exploit me, that you give me good working conditions, proper hours, and that you pay me the right amount for my work. That is what you are worried about, sir. Let's all be adults and tell it like it is.

My reply to, "What does it mean...":

"I think it means AT&T is not looking hard enough. I am in my twenties and an unemployed American citizen with an education and 5 years of solid management experience and I've been looking for a job for months with no luck. I know several others like me who need to pay our bills. We'd work for AT&T."

(Now that I've made my point, I must relish in the fact that my comment made it. Like I said, I'm a long-time fan of Jack. DH and I were watching and couldn't believe our eyes when my comment was read. YAY! Okay, enough. My 15 seconds of CNN fame are over. If you want to see, go here and look under "Interested to see which ones made it on air?" Mine is the second one down.)