Just Lost Job - Coping/Job Hunting Advice Needed


So, I have two phone interviews this week for jobs that I don’t think I am completely qualified for. One is a step up from the position I was fired from, in more of a general administrative position, working with clients and their third party administrator, while the other position is a major gifts officer at a college.

So, I am a little anxious.

I did just apply last week for two positions that I feel more qualified for, so hopefully one of those will come through in the near future as well.


Hey man, don’t talk yourself out of a job you aren’t 100% qualified for - sometimes that person doesn’t exist and the company will hire with the best fit, and if you show you’re willing to stretch, to work for it, that can totally be you. I’ve done this myself, so I know it can work. Just remember the words of that wise man Parappa the Rapper, “I gotta believe!”


Thanks man, I will!


So, the job interview went well, and they liked me, but I was in competition with someone with 10 years more experience. They did want to keep me in mind for future positions for what that is worth.


So, I had a phone interview for major gifts officer on Friday. I think it went well, but my fingers are crossed. Next week I will find out if I will be called in for an in person interview in August.


Nice job man! I’m very impressed by how many call backs and interviews you’re getting this far. I know it hasn’t quite panned out yet, but at this rate? Sooner than later, I’d bet!


Thank you. I really want to make a career change, but as my brother pointed out, that is easier to do after I find work again, so a lot of the jobs have been in the 401(k) industry.


I’m still working but I’m looking for some input. I’m going to interview tomorrow for the technical writer manager position for the group I’m working with now. I’ve never had a manager position before. Everyone knows this.

They fired the manager in February, because he was a director-level position and the story is they just want a manager for my group. So I applied for the position and tomorrow I’m going to talk to a VP and someone in HR. The HR portion is to assess manager skills, not logistical. It’s a small loop because (they said) I don’t have to do a culture fit portion. There are more meetings than these two, but nothing on my calendar yet. They told me that it would take a while and be spread out over a few days because I’m an internal candidate.

So this is weird on different levels (former manager let go and the narrative around it, I’ve never had a manager position, internal candidate, etc), but I wonder if anyone has had similar experience or even experience with interviewing for a manager position, and could offer me some clues for tomorrow.


Maybe think about some good managers you had in the workplace and what qualities you liked about them and also if they did a good job. This will help guide you to figure out what sort of manager you would want to be.

I have personally managed teams myself and I always try and abide by treating my staff how I would like to be treated and to have an open door policy. It is always best to lead by example in my opinion.



A good manager should support his team members in doing their tasks and ensure they look good doing it. Contrary to what some people think, having your team succeed actually reflect very well on you as a manager.


Be wary of that, I’m sure you know how that reads, but if it happens to more execs, that’s a sign.

As for managing, it comes to a lot of us as we get older. As I tell my manager coworkers, it’s the one thing that classes and book study tell you about, but it’s quite another thing to do. I’m with @Chappers, lead by example. Delegate decisively but support them as you can. Encouragement goes a long way. I try to lead with teaspoons of sugar when things go well, not with promises of ipecac if they do not.

#1 rule: As much as possible, have your employees’ back. You are their only insulator from the rest of the company. If you turn on them at a moments notice, and let the shit roll off your back directly to theirs, you will NEVER overcome that in their eyes.

#2 rule: As they told us in the military, it’s okay to praise in public, but always criticize in private. I would add to that, if you have introverted employees, you might want to keep the praise at a minimum in public as well. If the criticism becomes serious, always have another manager sit in with you. Or HR if it comes to that, but make sure that things do not become a later HR event where there is no third party to verify what happened.


Thanks @Chappers, @marxeil and @Skipper. These all seem like really good ways of framing this kind of move and it’s basically what I think I’ll be talking about in the interviews today.

The managers I’ve enjoyed in the past have been good at giving me plenty of autonomy to do the job. Also, I like knowing a manager that’s good at divining what the corporate priorities are, so that I can use that info to make good decisions. So I guess it’s about being a good facilitator of communication. I hadn’t really thought about it, but I’m glad you mentioned rule #2. I know that rule, but it’s the kind of thing I take for granted, until it doesn’t happen (and then I’m outraged). So, yeah, good thing to point out. #1 is like that too. I guess I’ve been pretty fortunate with all the managers I’ve had so far.

It’s hard to imagine a school of thought where an unsuccessful team reflects well on a manager? I guess there were some directors in previous organizations where they were billed as executives unafraid to lay down the law. So maybe that’s the idea? A new sheriff, willing to clean house kind of thing? Oh, wow, that’s not me. But, hahah, how cool would it be to have a hatchet man on staff?


Be prepared to answer the “what is your management style?” question. Which is a dumb question, but one you’re going to be asked. Be ready to talk about performance management. Understand what you think are the current strengths and weaknesses of the team.

“They fired the manager in February, because he was a director-level position and the story is they just want a manager for my group.” is not the whole story. Find out what it is, if you can. Be circumspect if you can’t.

Know why you want the job.

Treat it like an external interview. Dress appropriately, etc.


@Chris_Gwinn’s advice is very true on all counts. They will treat it just like an external interview but with you in it. Expect that. You’re going to get quizzed on why you want it and why you would be the best fit for this. An answer of, “well I know the team well and I’ve been doing this for a while,” isn’t going to cut it. Show why by discussing things you think will make the team better and roughly how you think you can do that.


Huh, seeking a management position, well I wish you luck but can’t advise. Carefully avoiding any hint of management responsibility, yeah I’ve got a career’s worth of that.


Unrelated to individuals here, I have some general advice. I think this is the best place for it.

If you’re seeking a job in development, and you do not have a job right now, then please learn some technologies. Time and again we get an interview, and someone tells the same story. The conversation goes:

“Yeah, I was stuck programming in (old system/esoteric technology no one uses). So I’d really like to do some new stuff and move my career forward.”

“Ok, what have you been learning these last X months (since unemployment started)?”

“Oh, for the last week I reviewed what you guys had on the job listing. I’ve done a hello world program.”

You’re done right there with me. I’m not one of those people who expects you to live and breathe programming. We have room for rockstars who spend every second developing and career people who work hard at their jobs but treat it just like a job that ends at 5 every day. But if you are specifically applying to our job posting with the intent to learn the technologies we use, then learn them! No one is stopping you! It’s never been easier to find answers and everything is free. Do some shit, put it on github, and then put your github on your resume. I’ll already have reviewed it for our interview and I might even talk to you about it. You can tell me about the problems you encountered, how you solved them, what you liked and didn’t like, and how much fun you had learning it. Then you’re in. So far, no one does this. Around and around we go.


Also appropos of probably nothing, there’s little that will make me tune out during a meeting or interview faster than hearing this word. In my experience this is a buzzword representing those who will burn the rest of their life down to fuel advancement of their career. I’ll stick to being a roadie myself.


I agree with you actually. It’s a pretty stupid word now and I should have avoided it. :)

Edit: And I don’t use that in an interview. So I’m safe there.


It’s just a pet peeve of mine. I’ve worked at several places where that’s used as a weird motivator, like don’t you want to be a rockstar? And I’m like no, I’ve got kids, can’t work another 80 hour week for you. I’ve probably got some kind of weird PTSD or something.


That’s exactly why I should be avoiding it. I think it went from meaning “a really good developer” to “a developer who can handle the full stack and maybe devops” to “a person who can do anything for you and is the best ever and does nothing else”. And everyone who hears it is going to think a different thing and for that reason alone it’s enough to stop using it.