Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Employment Journal, Part IV

It was time to call in the professionals. In order to get some perspective on my job quest, I decided to talk to someone who provides staffing services. Fortunately, my next-door office neighbor runs a such a firm, so I sat down yesterday with Elaine Patti of Track Staffing Services to see what she thought my chances would be on the open market.

I went over my education and resume, and asked her if she thought I could find a professional job in the Lehigh Valley. Here's the good news: "Definitely. You have a higher degree. As far as I can see, there's jobs at the high end and jobs at the low end. If you don't have at least a college degree, you're out of luck. If you don't have a college degree, you need to go to CIT and at least have a trade."

What sort of job could I expect to find, I asked. Of course, she told me that depends on what I'm looking for. However, "With your experience, you could be an executive director of a non-profit," Patti stated. "In this area there are a lot of non-profits and human service agencies. I would think all of those organizations would be avenues I'd pursue." Could she help place me as an executive director? "No, sorry, I don't work with non-profits, but I could try to match your skill sets with companies I do work with."

I asked how long a professional job search would take, and what kind of salary I could expect. She felt I could find a job in 30 to 90 days as long as I was flexible, but that if I had specific requirements I could be looking a long time. The salary range she felt would be $38-$60K for communications professionals. Obviously I'd look at the higher end of the range.

What if I'd been looking for months, had applied to all the non-profits and hospitals and come up short? Could she place me in a temp job? "My temp positions are more in the book-keeping field," she explained, "so without accounts payable or receivable experience, no, I wouldn't have anything for you." I told her the tale of my travails at the department stores and asked if I could hope to be hired by any sort of retailer. She felt that I could probably be hired at one of the big-box retailers for around $12 an hour, but that I could only expect to be hired part-time because it would be clear that I wouldn't be looking to make a career in retail. That, she felt, was the problem in department stores. Plus, she said that she "didn't see me behind a counter at Bon-Ton." I concur.

Finally, we talked about what the market is like for recent college graduates (not that recent grads necessarily flock to the Lehigh Valley). It doesn't sound pretty, at least not for those working in my field. Patti explained, "I see kids out of college who couldn't find a job in marketing, so they're wait staff or tending bar at a higher-end restaurant, and they find it hard to leave because they're making more there than entry-level marketing jobs would pay."

In short, I'm locked out of mall-type retailing positions because no one will believe I want a career in retail, and I'm locked out of high paying restaurant positions because recent college grads have cornered that market. Can I be a greeter at Wal-Mart? Stay tuned...

1 comment:

Just Asking said...

Holy Shmoly, yous is just too smart!! you don't wanna be workin at no burger joint anyhow now. What about doggy groomer?? Doesn't Ms. Patti's daughter go to Susquehanna University, or Suckabanana as we like to call it? I wonder if she'll get a job? Hope she can tend bar!!