Just Lost Job - Coping/Job Hunting Advice Needed


Almost a year since I got laid off. >100, maybe 150 applications sent in, maybe 5-10 phoners, no face to faces, no offers.

I have gotten a little freelance work. Driblets compared to what I made at Yahoo, but I guess it’s tough all over.


Well we’re going to be going on my shitty work insurance, simply because the ACA plans do not include family plans, they are per person.

She works for a custom cabinetry company. So she creates the schematics and design for your kitchens/ bathrooms/ wherever you install stuff. Unfortunately we are half a country away from you in Chicago.


Oh, sorry. My wife works for a granite/cabinet/tile company that’s looking for templaters.

I hope your wife’s situation works out.


Sorry to hear that, man. I’m sure you posted it above, but what type of position are you looking for? Sounds like it might be time to consider either a geographic move or taking steps to get into a different profession.


Been considering both all along. My job hunt from day 1 incorporated the Bay Area and NYC as well as LA. I will go back to school or boot camp if nothing else works but it’s hard to do with a baby to raise and a depressing prospect to be in your 40s with 20 years of work experience and no skills anybody wants to employ. Oh well, Trump’s gonna make it all better, right???


I am 45 with 25 years management experience in a few areas and having been made redundant 18 months a go am finding getting a decent job very difficult over here in the UK as well. While I am working it pays half my old job and with 2 kids under 10 things are frustrating. My wife earns good money so we are ok but from a personal career standpoint things are a drag.

I want and need a challenge rather than make work but nothing so far, agencies are a pain, getting in front of prospective employers is tough.


Hang in there Gordon. I was out for a year + myself after Microsoft. It’s hard to find a good gig, but eventually it happens. Good luck!


While I may not be (probably not!) in your field. if anyone would like me to look at their resume, as an old hiring manager of 30+ years, and give my FWIW feedback, I’d be happy to do so.


Name three negative traits…

My wife had an interview today and this question popped up. I thought people stopped asking that in the nineties, and I hope whoever came up with it is burning in hell.

It’s a question that only someone who is really desperate will wriggle and try to answer (“sometimes I care too much”) and it’s humiliating. If I wanted to talk with someone about my shortcomings, it would be with my wife, a close family member, a very good friend or a psychologist. I certainly wouldn’t do it with a complete stranger who obviously is an asshole and incompetent at interviewing.


“I feel unreasonable levels of anger toward people who ask me to talk about my flaws.”

“I sometimes lose control of my anger and fly into a murderous rampage.”

“I almost always forget to bring my murderin’ knife to interviews.”

Then, sit and stare at them, inching a hand toward your pocket/coat.


There’s nothing wrong with asking about negative traits or weaknesses. Part of being a good team member is knowing your own weaknesses.

The issue with the question is that we (every employer) haven’t come to an agreement on what we’re really looking for as an answer. Some interviewers want an honest answer. They literally just want to know where you’d best fit in a team role. Others want complete bullshit in the vein of “My weakness is taking my work a little too seriously and doing too much.” This quandary leaves the applicant in the position of trying to figure out which kind of interview they’re in.


I think that you can get this information by asking specific question related to the job. Generally asking about 3 negative traits without context reveals the interviewer is of the 2nd variety.


Hopefully, you can figure out the relative skill of the interviewer before they spring that question on you. The best interviews don’t have the interviewer reading questions straight off the prep sheet.

@marxeil, if you don’t mind my asking, how did the rest of your wife’s interview go?


Yeah, I think as an interviewer you want to approach that weaknesses question obliquely, because even if the interviewee is 100% honest (and who is during interviews) that kind of question requires a level of introspection that everyone may not possess.

I’ve tended to get (and use) questions like asking how the interviewer has dealt with challenges or even failure. It allows the person to open up, possibly turn it into a description of strengths but that can be educational too.


Most of those questions center on asking if the person is self-reflective and self-aware. I often approach it something like:

Q: Tell me about a recent project you worked on. What were the biggest challenges, technical or otherwise, you had to tackle?
Q: In retrospect, is there anything you would approach differently that you believe would have been more effective?

Alternatively, if the project or challenges are more ongoing:

Q: With your experiences so far, is there anything you are looking to do differently?

Pretty much anything to get them talking about themselves in a “not a sales pitch” mode. I find keeping the explicit subject to be a project, not the person, is effective at doing that.


Yeah, remember you’re selling yourself. When I interview Ph.D. candidates on campus, they always want to tell me all about their cool thesis project and how important the research is,etc. And I tell them, in a kind way, that I don’t give a crap about their project. If I think the technology is really interesting I’ll talk to their prof about licensing it. What I want to hear is how you faced a big hurdle and used some out of the box thinking to solve it. How you hit a wall and sought out someone who was an expert and got advice on how to move forward (Ph.D. candidates have been so focused on demonstrating how smart they are they think finding someone else who can help is a weakness!) What are the skill sets the employer needs and what examples do you have of how you’ve demonstrated those?

On the weaknesses question: I’ll ask an experienced applicant, what parts of the job really excite you and turn you on, and what parts do you know you have to do because it’s part of the job but you don’t particularly care for that aspect? When I have been asked that question, interviewing for a CTO job, I’ve been honest and said, I live for and love strategy (and explain what I mean by strategy) and have been a student of both business and military strategy since I was a boy. But when it comes to the fine details, I don’t have the same level of interest. But I know that the bullets and food and clothes have to make it to the front, and I know I have to work harder in the area of the tiny details, since it is not my natural bent, so I simply work harder on that part of the job and use various techniques I’ve found to ensure that part gets done. And, as a senior manager, I also find someone in my direct reports organization that loves the details but maybe isn’t very interested in the strategic side, and make sure they help me ensure those details get taken care of.

Everyone has a weakness, but that does not mean you have a “hole” in your skill set. If you get asked that question be prepared to honestly comment on an area that you don’t naturally have a strength in, but note that you are very self aware of that and here are the steps you take to make sure that weakness doesn’t have a negative impact on getting the job done. I interviewed a woman a year ago, and she said that she is very intense and has a hard time on a team with other team members who aren’t as intense as she is, then went on to tell me the techniques and training she has proactively acquired to deal with that. I.e. you can make talking about a weakness an example of your overall strength in terms of recognizing it and dealing with it.


My wife said that at her age and with her experience, she is well aware of her weak points and is always working to ensure they don’t get on the way, and she gave a brief example.
The interviewer said that’s it’s obvious she is not going to be straight with him and concluded the interview.

I fully agree that you want to learn about a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. I interview candidate’s myself. But there are so many better ways to do it, other then asking for a bucket list. There are great examples here that can be used for almost any job.


Yeah, that sucks. Sorry, man.

The good news is that she may have dodged a bullet with a corporate culture like that.


Most likely. She got her on time, and he made her wait for 40 minutes and then started the interview with this question.


Good lord. OK, yeah. Bullet dodged. That’s horrible. I’m sorry she had such a craptastic experience.