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I feel like I am unemployable

Dear Deb

So I’ve come to a point in my career where I feel like I am unemployable. I’ve had several different jobs over the last 10 years, and it seems that I either get written up for mistakes and this last time I was fired for too many absences. I am starting to feel like I fail as an employee. Am I really that horrible? 

However, my life experience and other job experiences show that I am highly skilled, motivated and do well in jobs. I’ve realized that a lot of it has to do with the fact that I desire to work for myself. I’m meant to be my own boss, so I’m working on that now. I’m going to do a lot of contract work until I can go out on my own. But to find those jobs, I’ve had to cover up my short job stints with extended periods of temporary assignments. I just don’t even mention the jobs that last a year or less and I’m guaranteed to get bad references. This is now creating giant time gaps in my resume. But I feel wrong for omitting jobs. What should I do? 


Thanks,
Jobless in ‘Bama

Dear Jobless in ‘Bama,

Thank you for writing,  There are two parts to my advice.

1.) Your Resume

Because your resume is a marketing document, you are not required to show every job.  You can feature the jobs that are relevant to your career and that present you in the best light.  A series of short-term jobs can be a red flag for an employee/contractor that is less reliable.  Eliminating some of those jobs would be wise.  However, be careful that you not have gaps in your history.  It is very important to be honest on your resume. Do not be tempted to invent consulting jobs or other work history. It will most likely come to light and hurt you in the long run.

On an application you are required to share all experience for the time period the employer requests. So, you must include all positions on that document.

2.) Your Work History & Work Style

When you first start your career, it can take some time to get into “work mode.”   It takes time to adjust to corporate policies, working the 40+ hour work week, performing assigments as asked, and being accountable.  However, ten years into your career, you are expected to have adjusted and to perform as a responsible adult employee. The company is paying you for just that. Some of your behavior is sabotagging your success, your income potential, and future employability.  

You said that you “are meant to be your own boss.”  That may be the case. It may be more of an issue of calling the shots and controlling your destiny as opposed to the willingness to be responsible.  Keep in mind that when you work for yourself, your customers are your boss. You may have one customer; you may have hundreds.  You are accountable to each one of your customers – just as you are accountable to your boss now.  In many cases, you will work significantly more hours as an entrepreneur and without the safety net of a weekly paycheck. 

You may want to take an introspective look at what motivates you, what you value, and what you are willing to do to be successful.  That may guide you to make the right decision.  The resume is the easy to fix. Making a decision about your career may require some analysis and perhaps change.

I wish you all the best!


If you have a question for Deb, please email [email protected]. The Ask Deb column appears every Friday on our blog at the Careers Done Write website. 

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Dear Deb

So I’ve come to a point in my career where I feel like I am unemployable. I’ve had several different jobs over the last 10 years, and it seems that I either get written up for mistakes and this last time I was fired for too many absences. I am starting to feel like I fail as an employee. Am I really that horrible? 

However, my life experience and other job experiences show that I am highly skilled, motivated and do well in jobs. I’ve realized that a lot of it has to do with the fact that I desire to work for myself. I’m meant to be my own boss, so I’m working on that now. I’m going to do a lot of contract work until I can go out on my own. But to find those jobs, I’ve had to cover up my short job stints with extended periods of temporary assignments. I just don’t even mention the jobs that last a year or less and I’m guaranteed to get bad references. This is now creating giant time gaps in my resume. But I feel wrong for omitting jobs. What should I do? 


Thanks,
Jobless in ‘Bama

Dear Jobless in ‘Bama,

Thank you for writing,  There are two parts to my advice.

1.) Your Resume

Because your resume is a marketing document, you are not required to show every job.  You can feature the jobs that are relevant to your career and that present you in the best light.  A series of short-term jobs can be a red flag for an employee/contractor that is less reliable.  Eliminating some of those jobs would be wise.  However, be careful that you not have gaps in your history.  It is very important to be honest on your resume. Do not be tempted to invent consulting jobs or other work history. It will most likely come to light and hurt you in the long run.

On an application you are required to share all experience for the time period the employer requests. So, you must include all positions on that document.

2.) Your Work History & Work Style

When you first start your career, it can take some time to get into “work mode.”   It takes time to adjust to corporate policies, working the 40+ hour work week, performing assigments as asked, and being accountable.  However, ten years into your career, you are expected to have adjusted and to perform as a responsible adult employee. The company is paying you for just that. Some of your behavior is sabotagging your success, your income potential, and future employability.  

You said that you “are meant to be your own boss.”  That may be the case. It may be more of an issue of calling the shots and controlling your destiny as opposed to the willingness to be responsible.  Keep in mind that when you work for yourself, your customers are your boss. You may have one customer; you may have hundreds.  You are accountable to each one of your customers – just as you are accountable to your boss now.  In many cases, you will work significantly more hours as an entrepreneur and without the safety net of a weekly paycheck. 

You may want to take an introspective look at what motivates you, what you value, and what you are willing to do to be successful.  That may guide you to make the right decision.  The resume is the easy to fix. Making a decision about your career may require some analysis and perhaps change.

I wish you all the best!


If you have a question for Deb, please email [email protected]. The Ask Deb column appears every Friday on our blog at the Careers Done Write website. 

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