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Scene reporter Tracy Moore caught this item on Craigslist
under the headline "Job Frustration (Nashville):
Somebody, anybody tell me that companies are actually hiring. I see the ads for the openings, but do they actually hire people?
Monster, Careerbuilder, Jobs.com, Dice, Craigslist, manually searching individual companies websites......AAAAARRRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!Jobfairs, looking in the classifieds until I can't see straight anymore. Interviews go well, there is great communication back and forth. I'm very comfortable in the interview and easy to talk to. I research the company and ask questions. Still nothing.
I have 15+ years in computer tech support. I have been in the military. I have great telephone and people skills. I've done all kinds of jobs on the side like driving a forklift, stocking grocery shelves and even pizza delivery. Still nothing.
OK...I'm better now. Sometimes it's good to just vent. Thanks for listening.
So Tracy emailed John Dillinger -- "yes, that is my real name believe it or not" -- to get his story. It turns out he moved from Detroit to Nashville in January with his family of four, hoping to find work. But given the nature of the times, Nashville hasn't proved any better. His sad story follows the jump...
I guess I could start by saying that I'm fairly new to the area. Me and my wife and kids had just moved to the Nashville area (Murfreesboro actually) in the middle of January.
We migrated here from the Detroit area. I was working at Chrysler (since 1997) as a contract employee. For the most part, in the Detroit area "most" I.T. jobs are contract positions. Well back in mid-2008 my boss pulled everyone I worked with to the side and said that we should get our resume up to date as "things" were going to start happening. He wouldn't or couldn't go further but I took that warning to heart.
Now, in addition to that we had an adjustable rate mortgage on our house. It was our first house, and we didn't buy a house that was lavish. It was in a suburb of Detroit, the house was a 50 year old 3 bedroom ranch; it was $160,000. Well it adjusted up, and we tried and tried to keep up. We did that for probably a year and a half but it got to the point where we couldn't break even.
Regardless of what you read or hear about mortgage companies, ours wouldn't work with us. My mortgage company was Citimortgage. I had contacted Citi many, many times to try and get the APR lowered. We were not able to get any kind of help because at that point we were not late on any payments but we knew it was only a matter of time. They wouldn't refinance us as by this time. Home values in the Detroit area had fallen and the house wouldn't appraise for what we owed. We tried and tried to get Citi to work with us, but they just kept pressuring us to just make the payments with no hope of ever getting help.
We tried doing the short sale as that seemed like a way to save our credit from a foreclosure. Problem was, no one is buying in the area. So we never even got an offer on the house even though it was listed at $50,000 less than we owed on it. I tried doing the deed in lieu of foreclosure but Citi dropped the ball on that one. The problem with Citi is that you never talk to the same person twice and nothing is ever documented. So you have to retell the entire story every time you talked to someone. Anyway, long story short, Citi said we didn't qualify, which wasn't true but by the time we found that out, it was too late to do the deed in lieu. We got a letter saying that our house was going to be auctioned off in late January.
I was thinking ahead of what may happen and had been sending my resume out to the jobs I found on Monster/CareerBuilder/Dice etc. for the Nashville area. I was getting several calls about the jobs I submitted for so it seemed that the economy was in much better shape here. So with us knowing the house was going, my job being in jeopardy, we made a decision of leaving the state. Staying in Michigan wasn't an option as there were no I.T. jobs available, and if one opened up there was hundreds of applicants.
The I.T. industry was all I had known. I joined the Air Force at 19 and had been doing computer work since joining. I worked at EDS after doing my 4 years in the Air Force. Worked there for 3 years then moved over to Chrysler and have been there ever since. I have picked up part time jobs along the way like I.T. work at a hospital and a bank. I also drove a forklift, worked stock at Sam's Club and delivered Pizza at Dominos for a while.
So over the Christmast break in 2008 we came down here and put money down on an apartment. Big change going from a house to an apartment. It's a very humbling experience; it makes you really think about whats important. We had some money saved but not a ton as we drained just about everything trying to keep up the house payment.
So we moved down here in the middle of January. Got the kids enrolled into school so that they would have some sort of normalcy. They are 8 and 12 years old. Also, not that it matters, but our one son is autistic. So this has been a huge move for him as kids with autism like routines and we completely blew that out of the water. New place to live, new school, parents with no jobs. That is a lot to take for any kid, let alone one with autism.
I started sending resumes out all over the place and got a few responses but never got an interview. I figured, it's January and hiring is slow, so I just kept on looking. Now I figured I probably wouldn't have anything solid until mid February so I wasn't concerned. At this point I was set in my mind that I could find an I.T. job here.
I didn't want to take a different type of job like something at Wal-mart for example. The reason being, if I get an interview for an I.T. job I'd have to work something around the Wal-mart job. I wanted to keep my schedule wide open so that I could interview at a moment's notice. My wife wasn't looking at this point as she had worked her job around mine in the past. That is only because my job had always paid more, so it was going to be easier for her to find something off-shift.
So February comes and goes and now I'm into March. March was good for jobs as I was contacted probably 2 or 3 times a week. It was either from a company's HR rep or a recruiter from an I.T. company. Sometimes it would go further and sometimes all I got was that initial phone call. Probably mid March I started actually getting face to face interviews. This was a shock, as the last "interview" I had been on was for EDS. All of the other jobs I had gotten since then were via word of mouth.
I must admit that the first interview I probably wasn't prepared. I didn't know what to expect as I hadn't interviewed in 15 years. I learned a lot from that first one and can honestly say at this point I'm totally comfortable in an interview. Very good dialogue back and forth, I'm relaxed and at ease.
Now April comes, and I'm starting to get worried. All of my friends back in Michigan keep telling me that it's OK and things will work out. I keep telling myself that, but am starting to have doubts. At this point I've only had a second interview one time, but didn't get the job. So starting last week I started applying for I.T. jobs that I have some qualifications for but might not have all of the qualifications. So I got another job interview this past Friday.
I think that was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. I knew going into the interview that I didn't meet all of the qualifications, but with a solid I.T. background, I might be able to learn what I didn't know. No one comes out of the womb knowing everything. I could tell 2 minutes into the interview that I wasn't going to get it. The straw was on my way out of the office. I was handed a flier on how to save my soul through God by the guy I interviewed with.
I thought about that over the weekend, over and over. Was that some kind of symbol to stop my search for an I.T. job? I believe that it was, so I started job searching on Sunday with the paper and the job boards. I have to start thinking about just getting any job at this point. Remember, I have not worked in 3 months now, no income, nothing. I have seen a few things that I will probably apply for, but the pay is going to be much lower than I had been making. I'm not a snob at all; I'm not one of those people that say "I can't work for less than $15 an hour" etc.
It's just that I.T. for me and my family has always provided for us, but no longer. I have to consider starting over, applying for jobs along with people half my age and making a fraction of what I used to make.
Life is tougher down here than I anticipated. I refuse to give up though. I have kids that are counting on me. And to be frank, we don't have much more time as the money is going to run out in the next few months.
I wish I had a better story for you, but in a nutshell that's what happened.