A friend of mine, who is a recruiter, suggested I post my story here.

Mine is a tale of frustration and I’m hoping some of the recruiters on this site can offer me some guidance. I’m not looking for you to get me a job, I’m just looking for a little bit of hope in a tough situation. The back story:

After graduating from the University of Florida in 2005 with a management degree, I was ready to take on the world. My situation at the time kept me in Gainesville and, as a result, I had to focus my career in a very narrow geographical region. After college I spent some time in a sales position and a retail sales management role before finding my first “real” job. I landed a position in the HR department of a large non-profit and my job functions included human resource administration, reporting, organizing career fairs, recruiting, and acting as a liaison between our corporate headquarters and each of our 20 branches in three states.

Life took an interesting turn for me at this point. My father, who suffered a stroke in 1996, and my grandmother, who is 92, lived alone and were no longer able to completely care for themselves. With a small extended family and being the only person who was mobile at that point, I moved with my girlfriend to the Daytona Beach area to assist them. Before you say it, I know it was risky to move to a new area without a job, but I had several strong leads before moving and I felt confident that I’d land a good position in relatively short amount of time. At the end of the day, family comes first.

That move occurred in August 2008…you might be able to guess how the rest of this story turns out. Shortly after moving, the bottom fell out of the banking industry and all my warm leads disappeared. My friend, the recruiter, said that this has happened before. He referenced companies going into hiring freezes shortly after the towers fell.

I searched aggressively in my area for five months before accepting a position in a very physical service role with a major landscaping company. I basically make sure lawns stay green. I’m working harder than I’ve ever worked in my life. My current role requires me to arrive at work at 6 AM and finish around 7 PM most days. I work in the blistering heat that Florida is well known for and I can’t remember the last day I didn’t come home drenched in sweat. Working Saturdays isn’t uncommon either. I’m not stating these facts to complain, I’m sharing them to illustrate my situation and perhaps assist you gain a better understanding of my psyche.

Although the work is hard, I’ve maintained a good attitude throughout. In six months on the job, I’ve been promoted twice and I’ve been recognized and received bonuses for exceeding customer retention goals.

I’m at a point where the frustration is starting to get to me, and that isn’t me. The majority of people I work with do not have college degrees and are happy with their place in the world…at times I envy them. My ambitions are larger than this company, but as I approach the age of 27, I’m starting to wonder where I went wrong. I worked hard in college graduating with a GPA close to 3.5, while paying all my bills and holding down 40+ hour per week jobs. I’ve given my all in every position I’ve ever had, but it seems like that’s not enough these days.

My desire is to return to a job where I use my mind. A place where I can be rewarded for how hard I work, rather than being purely compensated for working hard. It just seems like those positions aren’t out there these days…

Are they? Could I be doing anything differently? Is it purely bad luck? Or is the economy to blame?

I’m not looking to earn an outrageous base salary, but I am looking to earn enough to pay my basic bills, to have some kind of life outside my job, and to have some ability for forward advancement.

Well, I’m not sure what to expect here, but thank you for listening.

-Frustrated in Florida

Views: 119

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

This is a wonderful, straight-forward, no-holds-barred inquiry and I thank you for it.
You are using your mind.
You're using your mind to think of ways you won't have to use your body in this changed world of ours.
I don't think you did anything "wrong" - you got caught in this maelstrom of lousy timing, in my opinion.
But it is what it is.

You said something interesting:
My desire is to return to a job where I use my mind. A place where I can be rewarded for how hard I work, rather than being purely compensated for working hard.
Someone said something once (it may have been Michelangelo) that if you're a streetsweeper, be the best streetsweeper you can be. That notion may not appeal to you but if you think about it, and embrace the concept I have a feeling understanding might flow out of the experience - understanding that in your 27 years of life on this earth might surprise you.

Yes, Florida can be very, very HOT in the summer. It's unfortunate that your job requires you to be out in the sun all those hours and you're wondering why you're doing this along w/ others who haven't accomplished what you've accomplished in your life. You're wondering if the bar has changed and I'm wondering if maybe it hasn 't. I'm thinking that you're there for a reason and that reason is escaping you - you mention that in six months you've received bonuses for customer retention. I doubt very much if that isn't related to your management degree and I also doubt that those bonuses came because you aren't able to manage people.

Can the company you're working for HANDLE increased business? If it can, why not work to increase their market share - is/are the owner/s willing to have you work in a project management capacity where you oversee a job while working the "street" for increased business? A hand-out and a knock on a door from someone well-spoken (I'll bet) will go a long way towards increasing market share for the company you work for. Are they open to that and can they handle it? It seems to me that may be one way to earn more cash doing what you're doing now and I'm hearing that you need to earn more.

Listen, you never know where one job might take you. The experiences you're going through now, though physically taxing, are teaching you something - that something may not be apparatent to you right at the moment but as time goes on I'll bet you realize what these times brought you. What's happening to you right now may just turn out to be one of the most valuable lessons in your life.

Good luck and let us know how things are turning out for you.
Maureen

Here's a discussion that might be of interest to you - it was from a couple months back and called "6 months and no placements..no nothing...what's going on?" Pay special attention to Christian Fauchald’s answer on Page 4 of the responses…
It sounds like to me you're in your situation because of your commitment to your family. As soon as that's resolved-- if it can be-- you will have freedom to choose your next move. Stay the course-- and try to enjoy the little things a bit more in the interim-- focusing on the big picture too much in the here and now can be depressing.
When I read your post, I immediately thought the same thing as Maureen. Why NOT try and segueway your good customer service, management and HR skills with your current company? In this economy, large landscaping (or home building, renovation firms) are struggling to to increase their market share. Many people are choosing to stay put and are doing these projects. You mentioned it was a major firm, and one you've done quite well at. Do you think moving into more of a project manager/business development person is an option? Even HR or Operations- using your past experience in HR? When we've talked with landscape firms (and are now working with one), I've been impressed by people who come out and meet with me with exceptional service and great ideas. I am sure you can "use your mind" in this job- if you like the company overall.

Another thought I had- I am not sure of your local market (I am in CO) but I see many HR Generalist or HR Coordinator/Specialist jobs here requesting 2-5 years of experience. It is the more senior jobs that seem few and far between. ARe you willing to go back and do a more junior HR job?

I do think things are picking up and I think it is great that you have a position now (even if it isn't in your chosen field). I see far too many people who seem to be holding out for the "perfect position" these days and I admire you for getting in there and working hard.

Best of luck to you. I'm sure you'll get several good replies from the talents people on this blog!
I'm sorry that things are not going well for you at this time. You have to keep trying and beleive that things will trun around. You seem like a nice young man and good things happen to good people, just keep working hard on your current job, god will honor that and bless you with what you want in your next position. In the meantime try evaluating your life and try to improve yourself in every area.......read, workout, and do things that you love doing that does not require any money. It is the economy that is limiting your opportunities not your talent, so don't take it personal. Stay positive and remember, whatever good has for you.....nothing will keep you disconnected from it. ask god for wisdom and instructions and he will deliver. He's just preparing you for what;s coming to you.....making sure you are ready and do the right thing when you get it. Stay strong and positive.....things will turn around for you. God blessing be with you and your family.
Great advice!

Maureen Sharib said:
This is a wonderful, straight-forward, no-holds-barred inquiry and I thank you for it.
You are using your mind.
You're using your mind to think of ways you won't have to use your body in this changed world of ours.
I don't think you did anything "wrong" - you got caught in this maelstrom of lousy timing, in my opinion.
But it is what it is.

You said something interesting:
My desire is to return to a job where I use my mind. A place where I can be rewarded for how hard I work, rather than being purely compensated for working hard.
Someone said something once (it may have been Michelangelo) that if you're a streetsweeper, be the best streetsweeper you can be. That notion may not appeal to you but if you think about it, and embrace the concept I have a feeling understanding might flow out of the experience - understanding that in your 27 years of life on this earth might surprise you.

Yes, Florida can be very, very HOT in the summer. It's unfortunate that your job requires you to be out in the sun all those hours and you're wondering why you're doing this along w/ others who haven't accomplished what you've accomplished in your life. You're wondering if the bar has changed and I'm wondering if maybe it hasn 't. I'm thinking that you're there for a reason and that reason is escaping you - you mention that in six months you've received bonuses for customer retention. I doubt very much if that isn't related to your management degree and I also doubt that those bonuses came because you aren't able to manage people.

Can the company you're working for HANDLE increased business? If it can, why not work to increase their market share - is/are the owner/s willing to have you work in a project management capacity where you oversee a job while working the "street" for increased business? A hand-out and a knock on a door from someone well-spoken (I'll bet) will go a long way towards increasing market share for the company you work for. Are they open to that and can they handle it? It seems to me that may be one way to earn more cash doing what you're doing now and I'm hearing that you need to earn more.

Listen, you never know where one job might take you. The experiences you're going through now, though physically taxing, are teaching you something - that something may not be apparatent to you right at the moment but as time goes on I'll bet you realize what these times brought you. What's happening to you right now may just turn out to be one of the most valuable lessons in your life.

Good luck and let us know how things are turning out for you.
Maureen

Here's a discussion that might be of interest to you - it was from a couple months back and called "6 months and no placements..no nothing...what's going on?" Pay special attention to Christian Fauchald’s answer on Page 4 of the responses…
We stand where we stand at each and every moment in our life because on some level we chose to be there. And while there, each and every day, lessons are provided us that will continue to teach us long after the classroom bell has rang and seemingly the class has ended.

You mentioned wanting to do more with you life. I'm pretty sure that you will. Just your level of committment to your family, willingness to work hard in a labor job and NOT turn your nose down at those you're working with, and who are happy to do this forever, says a lot about your ability to potentially be a great leader one day.

But don't forget. You're there for a reason and you don't need to understand the "why" beyond the obvious family reasons now. I believe each of us is delivered a curriculum in life and certain cards play out differently for each of us. But the truth of the valuable lesson to be learned is always greater and more meaningful if we are calm with the lesson, patient for the outcome, and continue to move forward each day with a good attitude that better days are always ahead. It's called having hope. You can give up on just about everything, but never give up on hope. But in the meantime, continue doing what you are doing, and be proud of your accomplishments and your ability to committ and support. But don't believe for a second that because of this, the "good" things that you are doing now will automatically be paid off as a reward for better things in return. Because they won't. You will make those better things happen when you decide it's time to end this particular classroom session and move on to the next one. At the end of the day only you know when that time will be, and when you do I'm pretty sure you will make that move more confidently because of the lessons learned from this chapter of your life. Your demonstrated conviction will take you far.

Good luck. Thanks for sharing your story.
What you are going through right now is what many individuals are going through right now. You are in a bridge job. That is OK as long as it gets you where you eventually want to be.

You mention wanting to use your mind. What I have found over the years is that there is a very delicate balance between one's body and one's brain. Working outdoors, getting a lot of exercise, you are probably in the best shape of your life physically. Being so healthy, your brain is craving some mental stimulation. You can provide this stimulation to your brain in a number of ways: education (depending on your interests and abilities); puzzles; gaming; job extension/development; inventions; and networking.

What usually happens after an individual goes back to a purely mental/desk job after doing such a physical position, is that s/he begins to feel like they have too much energy and that s/he need to use his/her body more. S/he might reminisce, "I was in the best shape of my life and had a great tan when I was in lawncare. Now I'm out of shape and stuck behind this desk..."

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Subscribe

All the recruiting news you see here, delivered straight to your inbox.

Just enter your e-mail address below

Webinar

RecruitingBlogs on Twitter

© 2020   All Rights Reserved   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service