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Starting from scratch
Old 08-28-2009, 01:03 AM   #1
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Starting from scratch

Registered here over a year ago. The idea of being able to retire early is a novel one to me. I was going to hold back, but figured sharing my story would put some perspective on things.

Hello, I am 26 born and currently living on Long Island. On August 1st I left my job working as head teller to pursue other interests. Basically, I was doing a job that could have been done out of high school without the six years of college. In addition, I spent a whole year supervising a bunch of people I really didn't get along with. Going through a Catch-22 with many potential employers wanting someone with experience, yet how does an entry-level mba graduate from a non top-tier school get experience..

Not to make excuses, I know there will be numerous challenges along the way. I've sent a few resumes out here and there, but nothing that I really feel would be an ideal match for me. I have worked for a total of two companies since 2001, showing slight advancement, but nothing I would consider extremely noteworthy. I am reading a book 'how to interview like a top mba', demonstrating many useful bits of feedback on what to do / not to do in the job interview process. Networking with others is of particular interest to me, not just because of job opportunities, but the ability to genuinely learn something.

I'm not about giving up the good fight, have (10k) 6-8 months worth of an emergency fund at my disposal and though it has crossed my mind to simply find something that pays some money to avoid going in the red financially. Being that I left my previous job voluntarily, I do not qualify for unemployment. Part of me figures that if I take that long to get a decent paying job, regardless of the state of the US economy, I deserve to burn through my savings of the last few months.

One friend suggested a headhunter, I have never dealt with one and wonder if it truly be beneficial to hire one since my resume basically speaks for itself. At this point, I wonder if finding a niche and delivering as much value as I can truly offer would be the best option.

I owe roughly 40k in student loans and 9k on a car loan. My loans have been prepaid till feb 2009 and november 2008 respectively. Parents couldn't help me pay my loans and really the only money I got was after my father died, close to 40k from a life insurance policy. $4k of that went toward braces, then I sold my 10 year old car for a 2 year old one and 3 years later after having some issues with that one I bought a new car. Other than that, I used much of that money to live off of. At the time (2004) I was making about $9/hr PT . When I left my last job I was grossing about 38k/yr.

My networking skills are what I'd consider average. I try to make new friends, but for one reason or another many of them don't last long. There are surface friends and close friends. I'd rather cut my losses and stop wasting time / effort trying to impress people who don't really matter.

Soo....I know I haven't always made the smartest financial decisions, but I need advice from someone wiser than me who may have been in a similar situation. My mom and stepdad are close to retirement age, but not technically retired.

Any help you can give me is appreciated!!
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Old 08-28-2009, 10:34 AM   #2
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I think you have made some mistakes, but they are fixable.

First, the best time to look for a job is when you have a job. By leaving voluntarily you have put yourself in an awkward position. Prospective employers see lots of unemployed people looking for work. You are just another one. Prospective employers see lots of people from financial industries just now. You are part of a flood of people all chasing the same jobs. Some people who were laid off are terrific employees who were caught in a RIF, some are deadwood who were strategically "laid off" to get rid of them. Prospective employers have a had time distinguishing between them. For many employers it's all about risk aversion and they are looking for a safe choice, so hiring people who are still employed can feel safer to them.

You need to either get employed pronto, or you need to have a good reason WHY you left voluntarily, such as finishing your degree or relocating. If you don't have a good reason you give employers another reason to suspect you are a bad choice to hire. They will think: What is so faulty about your judgment that you would voluntarily leave a position in the middle of the worst unemployment in recent years. Hubris? Unaware? Bad financial judgment? Any of them are bad indicators for future employment.

You mention that you have been working for 8 years and have no friends or professional contacts. This is very surprising. You might want to think long and hard about why this is so - perhaps even talk to a professional about it. To be successful in MBA career tracks you will need to be able to relate to people in many ways, some of them difficult. That you have NO contacts you can rely on after 8 years suggests that you need to work on your skills.

Lastly, you need to know what you want to do. Having an MBA is great if it advances you toward something you already wanted. Just wanting "MBA stuff" is not clear enough for you to make progress towards it. Getting the ideal job you want is VERY unlikely to happen unless you know exactly what you want, and even then it's rare to be hired into it. Once you know what you want, you can work backwards to what you need to do to get it, and usually that means working several other job(s) at the company to build up to it and make your case.

Gook luck.
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Old 08-28-2009, 11:04 AM   #3
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I think the reputable headhunters make their commissions from the employers, not the people they recruit. So check that out.

Also consider working with a temp agency for finance/accounting/whatever--if you can get placed, you might make some contacts that way.

What about the school you went to for your MBA? Any alumni groups you could join?

I understand the NY area is a hard place to find work in finance/banking/business right now--good luck and don't consider anything to be beneath you. Or anyone. Remember the people you consider not worth staying friends with may be the people who can help you (and vice versa) a few years down the road, if not now. And being friendly with people doesn't mean you're going to marry them.
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Old 08-28-2009, 11:29 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by MBAVisionary View Post
At this point, I wonder if finding a niche and delivering as much value as I can truly offer would be the best option.
This should be the core of your approach to work. Have you identified industries where the product/service intrigues you? Have you considered free-lancing? What about consultancy? By that I mean as an associate in a consulting firm where you can gain additional industry knowledge?

MBA's work in lots of industries besides banking. You have many opportunities to provide service to an employer. Your resume should show how you added value. Financially, you need to be doing something that will continue to add to your resume. It doesn't have to be full-time work.

As others have said, head hunters work for employers and even the best are interested in solving their client's (the employer's) problem, not yours.

I made a career out of finding a niche and creating value. It works, but it takes patience and perseverance.

-- Rita, MBA
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Old 08-28-2009, 11:42 AM   #5
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Read Quietman's post again and again.... it is spot on IMO about the mistakes made...

You did not (or at least I did not see) your first job.... was it in the bank?

And you left Aug 1st... it is now the 28th... even in a good market that is not a lot of time to find a job... at least a good one... as was mentioned, you left in a market (ie, New York area) where the number of financial people that have been laid off has to be the most ever... and I would bet there are a lot of them that have a better resume...

Why did you not move up in your bank? From head teller to branch manager? From branch manager to regional manager? I am sure there were a lot of opportunities at the bank before the meltdown... did you pursue them?

Also, what do YOU want to do? That can make a whole lot of difference in your pursuits...

Find a good headhunter.... they can be good or they can be bad... just use them as another means to find opportunities....
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Old 08-28-2009, 12:00 PM   #6
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I have big doubts that a headhunter will be a lot of help to you just now. Conpanies hire headhunters and pay the fee to get superior candidates for important or hard to fill jobs. I'm not an expert in entry-level MBA work, but I doubt companies are going to pay headhunters to fill those positions in this market. Also, be very cautious. People who promise they are headhunters can sometimes turn out to be just desperate for a fee and faxes your resume all over town. Your name gets known as being inappropriate or desperate and it can hurt you further.

I'd suggest trying to reconnect with past coworkers and see what you can find out with networking. Look for local professional events and societies and work on your networking there too. Remember lots of people will be trying to find jobs. Have some REAL reason for contacting people and have some actual mutual interest in something. Just working the connection for nothing but future employment will usually be considered boorish. You want people to get to know you as someone with knowledge and an ability to do things, not just as the guy who's desperate for work.
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Old 08-28-2009, 12:06 PM   #7
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I also agree with quietman's post. You will need to put in the time, learn to work with all types of people and get experience with a company to in order to provide the value add of being an MBA. Not sure what an MBA can to add to a company/business if they don't understand the company/business.
Good luck and keep a positive attitude.
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Old 08-28-2009, 02:54 PM   #8
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I also agree with quietman's post. You will need to put in the time, learn to work with all types of people and get experience with a company to in order to provide the value add of being an MBA. Not sure what an MBA can to add to a company/business if they don't understand the company/business.
Good luck and keep a positive attitude.

IMO an MBA only adds three letters to your resume.... it tells me nothing of how good the person is at what they do...

and for reference, I have an MBA... learned nothing... and saw a LOT of people getting them that I would never hire in my life as they could not do a thing... one class pissed me off as I got a B, but was the best in the class... we were assigned a 'group' project... I got stuck with two people who could barely speak English... they did nothing for the project, so I got downgraded because they could not even read...
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Old 08-28-2009, 04:18 PM   #9
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Hi & welcome to the forum!

I also agree with what quietman said. To add, you don't hire into an ideal job. You work towards it. It doesn't matter if you have an MBA or not, you need to start somewhere than prove your skills. I think you need to re-adjust your expectations, especially in this economy as there are now many people with much more experience than you willing to take entry level jobs just to get any type of paycheck going.

But, as quietman said, you are young enough to correct all these mistakes. Like I said, just reset your expectations and you should be fine. If its any consolation, my first job out of college was a $30k/yr sucky customer service job...but I worked hard, proved my smarts, left that job for a better one, worked up the ranks, etc...I think it took about 10 years after the start of my career, to finally get in a j*b that isn't crap/gruntwork...so take a long term view!

Good luck to you!
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Old 08-29-2009, 01:51 AM   #10
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So much useful input from everyone here. I will reply to each of your posts individually.
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Old 08-29-2009, 02:27 AM   #11
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For quietman:

I heard that before from friends and family members. Eventually I reached a tipping point. Where I just needed to do something different. As head teller, the bulk of what I did was still basic teller functions. That was something I feel I mastered by the middle of 2006. Saw people with less formal education move through the ranks far more quickly than I. They worked in multiple departments, played the networking game to their advantage. One was hired after me, worked in 4 different departments in the time period I stayed in one. I even went on an interview for her position, it went to someone else who left the company not even a year afterward. It pays to play the game. One could argue I haven't been quite as up to snuff at playing it as they are.

Performance-based assessments also put a dampener in my plans. Starting out I made a mistake that basically stayed on my record for a year. Then I was good for a year and another mistake made would make me ineligible for a promotion for a six month period. I kind of felt like I couldn't get a break. There I was in a position to supervise others and lead by example and on a day there are two sick calls (worked with two subordinates) and staying over an hour late, I made an easily preventable mistake.

They say don't take it personal. Between that, what I feel was inherent discord amongst my coworkers. One having a health condition involving much coughing and calling in sick, another having constant temperament issues, the third always making comments that defy authority / are unprofessional. As someone who generally dislikes confrontation after a year I really couldn't deal with it anymore. We went through four managers in a year, for 7 months I worked with a guy who basically was forced to be manager despite not getting paid for it. Once it was all said and done, I was starting to feel like a babysitter. A coworker with two kids under 3 said they don't even talk back to him like that. I generally work best alone and not having someone breathing down my back about each and every little thing.

During my banking profession, I worked at 3 different locations. The manager at the first 'left to pursue other interests'. Generally not a friendly person to be around. The second was promoted and works in another department. Then his replacement was shifted around in the company as well. The third I am on good terms with, but am not sure how useful of a contact she would be for me, being that I left. I went on an interview with her in another location and didn't get the position. Overall I think we worked well together, but she said I didn't come across as being assertive enough.

Right now, I'm sticking with the need to pursue other interests / continued desire for professional growth as my reason for leaving.

My previous work experience contacts were in the supermarket industry. Many of those people didn't last long there, were fired or are a lot more blue collar when I'm looking for white collar work. So generally not a good source for a reference.

Grad school was at night and I worked during the day. Most of the people in my classes were a lot older than me. That or I was generally very shy around them. Some facts about me that define who I am others may not necessarily agree with, so I did my best to keep conversations very casual as to avoid conflict. Undergrad was a little better, I was president of a club on campus, and a member of another. Between business and IT though, two very different fields.

I went to three different campuses in 6 years. One was a community college of all commuter students, the other a university with the majority of its students being commuters and grad school was all commuter students. I consider myself an average student. Did one internship that I was all pumped up about. Turns out it was in telemarketing and I quit on the 2nd day. Cold calling people about a product I had no interest in whatsoever. My professors were nice, but I don't think they'd extend themselves out for someone they thought was simply mediocre in performance abilities. Working about 30 hrs a week and taking 15-18 credits also really took a toll too. In retrospect I would have put more effort into the networking aspect of the college experience.

Your assessment of needing to work on my skills is a very valid one. Not quite knowing what I want though, I can focus on learning something, but question its usefulness. Why waste my time / effort on doing something I'm never going to use at all. I know it sounds like a cheap grade school student cop-out. I have a thick Corporate Finance textbook I was trying to read through in the library. I got caught up in the minutia, began to feel overwhelmed. To be honest there are times I feel developmentally challenged, my patience levels are low and I can become easily distracted.

I thought I knew what I wanted to do, be a manager. Then I got a taste of it firsthand and watched others and my beliefs have changed. All the ones I've seen are constantly bombarded with work and have to put in close to 60 hours a week to make sure everything works the way it should. I like your idea of working backwards. My mom would say you might have to crawl before you walk.
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Old 08-29-2009, 02:49 AM   #12
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There are alumni groups. I am in one of them. The job board lists 22 positions for the entire state. Looking at them, a few are either highly technical, education-related, want someone with years of experience or are very basic cash handling type jobs (ie teller).

I registered on a temp agency's website yesterday. No one has called me back. I will investigate further on Monday. Perhaps I have an uppity mentality that plenty of jobs are beneath me. It's a tough mindset to break. I just kind feel like after 10 years of jobs that basically involve me handling money all day I should do something different with me life. Supermarket work 99-06, then the bank 05-09. It's hard not to think things are beneath me when I feel like I missed out on some of the best years I had to challenge myself by settling for less than I'm worth.

NYC area actually has thousands of job listings in business / finance. Most of the ones I've come across though don't ignite any sense of passion from me or I'm under-qualified for. I applied for two customer service jobs. One company hasn't sent me any kind of reply, the other said that while my credentials were impressive, they are looking for someone whose skillset would be better matched toward that specific position. How eloquently put. I'm persistent though.

You're right though Bestwifeever. I don't burn my bridges. Even if I want to mouth off at someone I hold it back.

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Originally Posted by Bestwifeever View Post
I think the reputable headhunters make their commissions from the employers, not the people they recruit. So check that out.

Also consider working with a temp agency for finance/accounting/whatever--if you can get placed, you might make some contacts that way.

What about the school you went to for your MBA? Any alumni groups you could join?

I understand the NY area is a hard place to find work in finance/banking/business right now--good luck and don't consider anything to be beneath you. Or anyone. Remember the people you consider not worth staying friends with may be the people who can help you (and vice versa) a few years down the road, if not now. And being friendly with people doesn't mean you're going to marry them.
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Old 08-29-2009, 02:59 AM   #13
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There are many companies with products and services that interest me. Many seem to be in California though. Freelancing is an option I haven't completely discredited, there are many upsides. Downsides mainly is no steady paycheck and basically being my own accountant / manager. If I can't work, I don't make money.

Consultancy also interests me. A company like ernst and young for example.

I can talk myself out of basically anything, but looking at the upside is the only way the foot is going to go in front of the other. I have a low-level fear of talking to people face to face, which would be a challenge to overcome in many environments. I default to being introverted and believe I can come across as slightly abrasive / abrupt when speaking to people. Perhaps I'm overanalyzing, but at the root overthinking a situation is what harbors these thoughts. What if they don't like be because of xyz...

You hit the nail on the head with the value end of things. You add value and someone instantly becomes more willing to compensate you for the good or service being provided. You can make the best widget in the world but if the client sees no value in what is being offered, they aren't going to give you anything for it.

I am still working on this. My mind is not yet made up. Much of my education is general in nature that narrowing my focus would help me develop a core competency in an area and increase the value to an employer / customer tenfold. I just want to pick the right one.

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This should be the core of your approach to work. Have you identified industries where the product/service intrigues you? Have you considered free-lancing? What about consultancy? By that I mean as an associate in a consulting firm where you can gain additional industry knowledge?

MBA's work in lots of industries besides banking. You have many opportunities to provide service to an employer. Your resume should show how you added value. Financially, you need to be doing something that will continue to add to your resume. It doesn't have to be full-time work.

As others have said, head hunters work for employers and even the best are interested in solving their client's (the employer's) problem, not yours.

I made a career out of finding a niche and creating value. It works, but it takes patience and perseverance.

-- Rita, MBA
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Old 08-29-2009, 03:10 AM   #14
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I reread quietman's post and responded to it. Yes it was August 1st. I am very time focused right now. The majority of branch managers were hired from other institutions. I have worked with an assistant manager who was passed over multiple times for a promotion based on age and not being 'from the outside', meaning he couldn't offer a unique perspective they supposedly want. At the same time that is discouraging because he is an excellent employee all around.

Won't go into detail, but we didn't get dragged down so much with the whole subprime mortgage lending debacle. After it was said and done, mortgage volume increased over 300% compared to the same period the previous year. Lending requirements are fairly stringent there.

At my company we had to be in our current position for six months before being eligible for a promotion. My first 7 months in that position we didn't even have a manager who could observe. Then I worked with two managers who had very different styles. The common thread is that both physically in the same building with me very long. Probably 3 of the 6 days business was conducted.

I want to pick up some universal skills that will be a benefit to almost and firm I happen to work with. I was thinking of Internet Marketing, though those words can leave a bad taste in people's mouths. Scam artist, spammer, high pressure sales tactics.. I look at it though as a way of offering value. Understanding how Google Analytics works and what is required to pull traffic to a commercially viable website, etc. In addition, being able to think more strategically would be beneficial to me, which is in line with the consulting bit posted earlier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
Read Quietman's post again and again.... it is spot on IMO about the mistakes made...

You did not (or at least I did not see) your first job.... was it in the bank?

And you left Aug 1st... it is now the 28th... even in a good market that is not a lot of time to find a job... at least a good one... as was mentioned, you left in a market (ie, New York area) where the number of financial people that have been laid off has to be the most ever... and I would bet there are a lot of them that have a better resume...

Why did you not move up in your bank? From head teller to branch manager? From branch manager to regional manager? I am sure there were a lot of opportunities at the bank before the meltdown... did you pursue them?

Also, what do YOU want to do? That can make a whole lot of difference in your pursuits...

Find a good headhunter.... they can be good or they can be bad... just use them as another means to find opportunities....
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Old 08-29-2009, 03:23 AM   #15
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You are right. I've had several people tell me headhunters can be very shady people. This is definitely a market that gives employers greater control over who they hire. I had a call from Aflac and Primerica. Primerica someone tried to pull me into around 02 and upon further research I had no desire to be affiliated with them. The assessments of Aflac on glassdoor.com were not particularly favorable either. Mostly telephone sales and people trying to push whole life insurance policies when for most people term policies would be ideal...

I could pursue that route. Many of my friends per say are online and live in different areas of the country. Former coworkers I've lost touch with really. The ones I could get in touch with I don't know well enough to really make that kind of impression with. Never socialized with anyone really, other than for basic work purposes. Many people I worked with at the supermarket I see are still there or in worse financial shape than I am.

I tried to approach my extended family twice, but didn't get much support. I suppose it's not a shocker since they never bother to call or email me. I generally keep them at a distance, for a few reasons. Let's just say I like my privacy and don't think they'd accept my lifestyle...

With all the said, I think whatever steps I take will have to be done solely by me. If I build a network, it may be of strangers. I've honestly tried over and over again to be friends with people I've met over the years to no avail. It hurts, but no one ever said life was a walk in the park.


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Originally Posted by growing_older View Post
I have big doubts that a headhunter will be a lot of help to you just now. Conpanies hire headhunters and pay the fee to get superior candidates for important or hard to fill jobs. I'm not an expert in entry-level MBA work, but I doubt companies are going to pay headhunters to fill those positions in this market. Also, be very cautious. People who promise they are headhunters can sometimes turn out to be just desperate for a fee and faxes your resume all over town. Your name gets known as being inappropriate or desperate and it can hurt you further.

I'd suggest trying to reconnect with past coworkers and see what you can find out with networking. Look for local professional events and societies and work on your networking there too. Remember lots of people will be trying to find jobs. Have some REAL reason for contacting people and have some actual mutual interest in something. Just working the connection for nothing but future employment will usually be considered boorish. You want people to get to know you as someone with knowledge and an ability to do things, not just as the guy who's desperate for work.
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Old 08-29-2009, 03:35 AM   #16
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You're right, it's a lot of theory and textbook analysis. I found the managerial abilities / 360° Feedback components useful. Other than that, one could argue it was 2 years spent of my life I could have better utilized focusing on specific skills. I still like to adopt the view of an optimist. It was worth it, I learned a lot about myself in the process and ideally it contributed to my overall knowledge base. However it's so easy to think that after getting advanced degrees, the learning process it over. It's never over, and I think we both know why. The world is constantly changing. What's cutting edge today may not be in 5 years. Think of the entire iPhone economy. In 2006 it never even existed. Now it's a multi-billion dollar industry.

I read The Millionaire Next Door. A guy from Texas I believe who dressed in layman's clothes was talking about how he may not look the part, but he drives lots of cattle. The Texans I've contacted are a proud, successful bunch. There is sometimes no greatest teacher than real world experience. College often numbs us to this and the culture suggests higher performing students will get paid better, or those from top tier schools will be given a heads up in the hiring process. I didn't go to ivy league, had neither the determination, scholarships nor the finances to go. Getting into 100k+ of debt was very unappealing to me. Might I have learned more or had greater opportunities? Sure, but the risk of owing enough in loans to buy a small house didn't sit well with me at all.

Also yes, I have experienced that too, people accepted that barely speak English. One guy was fantastic with numbers though and you could understand him if you really listened. Our graduate program weeded out a lot of those people though. A writing sample was required. I also took the GMAT / GRE. My performance on both was average, but I didn't let that discourage me.

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IMO an MBA only adds three letters to your resume.... it tells me nothing of how good the person is at what they do...

and for reference, I have an MBA... learned nothing... and saw a LOT of people getting them that I would never hire in my life as they could not do a thing... one class pissed me off as I got a B, but was the best in the class... we were assigned a 'group' project... I got stuck with two people who could barely speak English... they did nothing for the project, so I got downgraded because they could not even read...
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Old 08-29-2009, 03:38 AM   #17
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It is both inspiring and humbling to hear your story caninelover. I appreciate you sharing it with me. I will continue monitoring this and other threads on this forum for whatever nuggets of wisdom that may prove useful along my journey. Thank you.

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Hi & welcome to the forum!

I also agree with what quietman said. To add, you don't hire into an ideal job. You work towards it. It doesn't matter if you have an MBA or not, you need to start somewhere than prove your skills. I think you need to re-adjust your expectations, especially in this economy as there are now many people with much more experience than you willing to take entry level jobs just to get any type of paycheck going.

But, as quietman said, you are young enough to correct all these mistakes. Like I said, just reset your expectations and you should be fine. If its any consolation, my first job out of college was a $30k/yr sucky customer service job...but I worked hard, proved my smarts, left that job for a better one, worked up the ranks, etc...I think it took about 10 years after the start of my career, to finally get in a j*b that isn't crap/gruntwork...so take a long term view!

Good luck to you!
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Old 08-29-2009, 01:04 PM   #18
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I don't know the environments you were working in as well as you do, but I can tell you from my experience in several other companies that what you describe is not all that unusual. Once in a while I work with a great manager and our department does amazing work. It often goes unrecognized and even the great manager often gets replaced. Many times I find I am forced to work for an idiot or someone with very poor people or professional skills. Ironically those horrible managers who can make any workplace toxic also seem to get ahead and get promotions. Who knew? It doesn't make me want to emulate their toxic behavior. I have to be able to work in less than ideal conditions, because some times every place will be that way. If it's unbearably horrible, I do try to find another job, but if it's just bad I have had to learn to tough it out.

At some point you are going to get hired into some job. When that happens (or just before that happens) you are going to need to provide multiple references. If you have no contacts at all who can vouch for your work, you best get moving now to reconnect. When I'm a hiring manager and I ask for references, having none or being unprepared for the question is a dead stop. I will not hire you ever for anything.

Every place I've worked, there are plenty of other people. Some are great to work with, some are sick, mean, smelly, stupid, time wasters, obsessed with their outside life, mistake prone, greedy, abrasive, judgmental, selfish, or otherwise unpleasant to be around. You have to work with them anyway. Every place you go, some of them will be there.
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Old 08-29-2009, 02:23 PM   #19
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Your assessment is dead-on. I contacted two people I worked with directly for letters of recommendation. I left on good terms so this should not be a problem. If it is, I still have a backup plan.

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Originally Posted by quietman View Post
I don't know the environments you were working in as well as you do, but I can tell you from my experience in several other companies that what you describe is not all that unusual. Once in a while I work with a great manager and our department does amazing work. It often goes unrecognized and even the great manager often gets replaced. Many times I find I am forced to work for an idiot or someone with very poor people or professional skills. Ironically those horrible managers who can make any workplace toxic also seem to get ahead and get promotions. Who knew? It doesn't make me want to emulate their toxic behavior. I have to be able to work in less than ideal conditions, because some times every place will be that way. If it's unbearably horrible, I do try to find another job, but if it's just bad I have had to learn to tough it out.

At some point you are going to get hired into some job. When that happens (or just before that happens) you are going to need to provide multiple references. If you have no contacts at all who can vouch for your work, you best get moving now to reconnect. When I'm a hiring manager and I ask for references, having none or being unprepared for the question is a dead stop. I will not hire you ever for anything.

Every place I've worked, there are plenty of other people. Some are great to work with, some are sick, mean, smelly, stupid, time wasters, obsessed with their outside life, mistake prone, greedy, abrasive, judgmental, selfish, or otherwise unpleasant to be around. You have to work with them anyway. Every place you go, some of them will be there.
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Old 08-29-2009, 04:25 PM   #20
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There are many companies with products and services that interest me. Many seem to be in California though.
I'd suggest you look at smaller companies, not larger. The larger the company the greater the probability you will find a work environment you don't care for. Remember, 80% of all business is small business. They can use your experience and education, too.

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Freelancing is an option I haven't completely discredited, there are many upsides. Downsides mainly is no steady paycheck and basically being my own accountant / manager. If I can't work, I don't make money.
I wasn't suggesting freelancing as a full-time alternative; rather like temporary work you can take on assignments to keep cash flow coming, be able to expand your experience, and selectively add to your resume as needed.

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Consultancy also interests me. A company like ernst and young for example.
Again, think small. Opportunities for advancement and gaining a breadth of experience will be limited at a larger consultancy. Check your local phone book (or internet directory), you'll find lots of consultant firms that are not large and in the Top 10.

Is it your goal to work in the top-rated, name-brand companies, often being constrained to a small area of expertise, or is it your goal to find meaningful career that brings you personal satisfaction?

-- Rita
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