2019 Early Retirement Journey

10 Very Descriptive Statistics, Keen Observations from 20 Job Applications

Hello there!

So I quit my job on Friday. Today is only Sunday and I’m so confused. My lease is up in two months, but if I don’t want to renew I need to let them know in two days!!

Quitting my job was so anticlimactic. There was no big rush. There was no huge relief. Definitely no fanfare. I’m actually a little disappointed by just how insignificant my departure was to the company. As though I never even mattered. Not to assign so much of my value to my employee-employer relationship but geez! My 8 hour shift was the bulk of my day x 5 days a week.

Sometimes the subtle slights that happen to me  feel like some huge conspiratorial gaslighting attempt by creatures from a different universe. Then something equally small happens that reminds me I’m not the crazy one.

Example, I put in my two-weeks notice…well two-weeks ago. I didn’t expect much from my co-workers, but the management team didn’t even make a peep. Not even the polite thank you. Due to business needs, I’ve had at least 5  managers from the current management team. So that’s five managers who couldn’t be bothered to send me an email or stop by.

Then one of my old managers who hasn’t been my manager for about 3 years heard the news and immediately called me. He was curious where I was going. When I said nowhere, he expressed concern about me. Genuine or not, it was such a small gesture.  And there was also the offer of ‘if you need anything.’ He even agreed to be a reference and made sure I had his contact information.

Once, one of my current managers emailed me three times to cover a shift when I wasn’t even on her team at the time.  This is after no raise, no big bonus, no promotion, and after I’d been moved from her team to cover some backfill on another team. As she was leaving for the day Friday, she momentarily stopped by to say “hi” and “bye.” Her words. I don’t remember any thank yous for all the extra work I’d been given over the years and my willingness to do it. My line manager for whom I’m a direct report made such little noise, even I was starting to get confused if I was really leaving.

HR didn’t even schedule an exit interview.

My biggest regret is that I forgot to take the mouse and keyboard wrist pad. That’s a $50 value and I know they just junk it after the employee leaves.

People have heard me say, I’ll do anything for money. And I know their mind goes to the gutter. But in reality it just means I would and have put up with demoralizing life situations because I need money. I’ve so internalized the way I was treated there that I can’t even properly enjoy what should be a glorious break.  I thought this would be easier.

And it’s hard to soapbox about my big decision to leave because I know when I run out of money, I’ll go crawling back.

That turned into a rant when all I wanted to do was release some of the anxiety I feel for what I hoped was an early mini-break. But I find myself vacillating between actually taking the time-off and looking for my next job.  Not having something lined up and not knowing how long it will take to line something up is not exactly relaxing for me. What was I thinking?!

Enough of that. Here’s the data I came to share from the end of my Journey of 20 Job Applications.

Descriptive statistics from 20 job applications

1. Total number of job applications: 20
a. Unique first name: 17
b. Familiar first name: 3

2. Moved forward at least 1 step in the process: 4 total (20%)
a. Unique first name: 2 (out of 17 = 12%)
b. Familiar first name: 2 (out of 3 = 67%)

3. On site interviews (only): 1 total
a. Unique name: 0
b. Familiar name: 1

4. Hiring Manager phone/video screens (only): 1 total
a. Unique name: 0
b. Familiar name: 1

5. HR phone screens (only): 2 total
a. Unique name: 2
b. Familiar name: 0

6. Minimum time to first contact:
a. Unique name: 2 business days
b. Familiar name: 4 business days

7. Maximum time to first contact:
a. Unique name: 12 business days
b. Familiar name: 15 business days

Rejection: 20 out of 20
8. Rejection by email:
a. Unique name: 4
b. Familiar name: 2

9. Rejection by application portal update only:
a. Unique name: 1
b. Familiar name: 0

10. Rejection by silence:
a. Unique name: 12
b. Familiar name: 1 (the onsite interview)

This is a very uncontrolled study with some descriptive statistics, so most of my conclusions are personally biased. I am trying to trend anything that might help me now that I.Am.Unemployed.

I only submitted 3 applications with my more American (or familiar) name, and of those three, one led to an on-site interview right away. No screening. Additionally, of the remaining two, one skipped the HR recruiter and got me a video interview with the hiring manager. In both cases, none of the interviewers looked like me. One can only hide behind a name for so long.

Of the 17 applications under my real ethnic (or unique) name, I received no offers for onsite interviews. I got as far as 2 phone screens with an HR recruiter (both non white-men).

What do you make of that?

Antiquated myths about the job application process

This is a just a short list of things I affirmed for myself during this round of applications I always thought antiquated and not terribly useful. Yes, I didn’t get any employment offers, but I am perceptive enough to know that these things didn’t matter.

  • Cover letters. Cover letters are not required. With the advent of applicant tracking systems like Workday and Taleo, those cover letters largely do not add much to the application. From what I’ve read, most of these large business use some sort of keyword matching to select applicants.  Don’t waste your mental space.
  • Follow up emails. Follow-up emails do nothing. You’ll always hear that one story about that one applicant who sent a cover letter and 8 years later got a job. That’s not you.  Don’t waste your mental space.
  • Single people are desirable assets.  Wrong. Don’t be a single girl. This is a new one for me. Don’t be a single girl. No one can relate to you. Look like the interviewer. Whenever possible, be a white-man. Or in the positions I’m applying for, be a white-mom. It helps to demystify the experience if you look like the interviewer. Reality TV reminds us of this everyday but no one seems to pay it any mind.  I’m thinking the voting-off-the-island game shows. The workplace is like an island; people like who they look like. Before it breeds contempt, familiarity breeds alliance. Your interviewer is more likely to root for you, less likely to challenge your position or answers, and more inclined to feel “comfortable” if they can see themselves in you. And the best way to do that is to look like them. So do that!

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