My Reserve Nerve

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHave you heard the phrase before, ‘you are on my last nerve’? Most people have, it is a common expression, at least in the circles I run in. These days I am beyond my last nerve all wore out, it is blinking and causing the top of my head to tingle in anticipation of the next stomping. Yes, I am beyond my last good nerve, I have nary a single good nerve left. This is why there are folks about, hanging in the peripheral of my world who have now stepped into the region of MY RESERVE NERVE.

I only have one Reserve Nerve and I think it important I maintain this one in tiptop condition, doing so will prevent me from doing anything stupid or ugly. There are so many reasons I might do stupid, mean, unnecessarily ugly things right now; things that could have either short or long-term effect on my ability to earn a living in fact. I must watch my temper and my mouth; however, it is hard so very, very, very hard.

Before I go any further with my rage against the machine, let me first tell you a little about my real life self and the real life world I live in.

The Short and Not so Sweet

I work in a very specialized part of the IT world called ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). For twenty-two years, I have been working with the SAP product, though I have worked with all the others.

For sixteen years I have worked as a Program and Project Manager, this is even more specialized than simply working within IT.

Since 2008, I have been independent with my own LLC and have rarely been without work for more than 30 days unless it was by choice.

The above being said not to stroke my ego, truly. I simply wanted to establish a baseline for why my Reserve Nerve is on active standby.

My Last Nerve Gone

In 1999, the market blew up with the fear all the computers would stop (remember the millennial clock). All the greatest minds ran to Congress and said we need to expand the H1B program, there aren’t enough qualified Americans to fill the IT demands in the market. This wasn’t true then, it isn’t true now.

So Now to My Last Good NerveNerve Ending 1

I made a decision at the beginning of the year I wanted to change my life; well actually, I simply wanted a life. Part of this change was a career transition. I wanted off the road, out of airplanes and airports and chasing contracts; I want a ‘real’ job with normal hours, a real paycheck and benefits. Yes, working independently has its perks, but not enough anymore. I will tell you it hasn’t been easy, obviously since nearly four months in, I haven’t gotten close and I am beginning to panic. One of the reasons of course is employers are leery of people like me, people who have spent so many years in consulting, people who have been independent for as many years as I have; they think we won’t make the transition. The other reason? Well that goes to a little problem called getting through the RECRUITER.

Anyone know the rules of the H1B? In brief, for a company to qualify to bring a temporary worker into the US on an H1B they must have done the following:

  • Attempted to hire within the US first and be able to prove there are no qualified candidates.
  • A temporary H1B is issued for highly qualified (must have a university degree) in a scarce skill, these include; Engineering, IT, Science and Math

That is the short list. Given the above, tell me why nine (9) out of ten (10) recruiters do not speak English as a first language and have no manners at all? Here are a couple of my favorites over the past week, just to give you a taste.


 

Me: Hello this is Valentine

Caller: Speak to Logar

Me: This is Valentine, may I help you?

Caller: Logar, I looking for a MM Lead saw your profile on Dice.

Me: Well then, you might have noted I am a Program Manager not a functional lead. I don’t think I can help you.

Caller: You don’t want this then? Click.


 

Me: Hello, this is Valentine

Caller: Yes, yes speak to Logar is he in?

Me: This is Valentine Logar, he is a she.

Caller: Oh, sorry. Looking for a Project Manager knowing FICO and Development.

Me: Are you looking for a Project Manager that has managed these aspects of a project or one that also does this work.

Caller: No, my client wants the project manager to do the work and manage the project part time. Good rate, all-inclusive $55 an hour.

Me: I am sorry I can’t help you.

Caller: What is your rate?

Me: It is more than that; however, I can’t help you I am not looking for a project at this time.


 

Caller: Looking for Valentine Logar

Me: This is she

Caller: Looking for Program Manager, long-term project in Detroit.

Me: Send me the specification let me look at them.

Caller: First must establish your credentials, is that okay.

Me: What do you need to know?

Caller: What is your rate?

Me: $85 per hour plus expenses or all-inclusive $120 per hour

Caller: Might be too high I will see. I can get cheaper from India. Are you US Citizen?

Me: No Texas

Caller: Oh, do you have the right to work anywhere in US?


 

My Reserve Nerve is All I Have Left

Nerve Ending 2If you don’t know, an all-inclusive rate means they expect you to pay your own travel costs. This is fine if you live in the same city the project is, otherwise just no. Yes, they really will just hang up if you say NO. Yes, they really will tell you straight up they can get someone cheaper from India.

I am stupefied by the entire process right now. I do have a few good recruiters, truly I do. The number of calls and e-mails I get daily from random out-of-the-blue, don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground though, well my Reserve Nerve is on active duty. My level of frustration is on high alert, especially as I find myself at the point where I know I will have to consider contracts as a interim solution while I look to make the desired transition.

I am nothing if not flexible! I don’t know why, but it truly does seem to be getting worse out here.

Comments

  1. One of the sad things is that when discussed by politicians, they refer to the ‘jobs shipped overseas’, and most people think of the call centers or factories; unless you work in industries like IT, you’re unaware of the vast number of IT contractors ‘off-shore people’ as they’re known. And not all of the ‘off-shore’ employees are ‘off-shore’. They work here, on temporary visas. The company Julian works for has a large percentage of ‘off-shore’ contractors, mostly from India, who come in, work on a project for six or eight months at a time, go home for a few weeks (to deal with the visa laws), and come back. I certainly don’t intend to demean them in any way, after all, they are in the market for a good job also. It’s the business models that are demeaning — where companies don’t look for the best candidates and reward them, but they look for the cheapest employees who won’t cut into profit margins.

    It’s a sad, tragic system we’ve built for ourselves, and, sadly, there’s not an easy or quick fix.

    Julian worked contract for awhile, because it was all he could get — so I can understand that your last nerve has vanished ….

  2. Keep your lips pursed as that little nerve keeps a twitching.. You never know Val it may break out into an even bigger grin you have given me with those dumb phone calls… Keep Smiling… because ” Your WORTH IT” 🙂 xxx Mega Hugs your way Val… The Perfect Job is out there just waiting for you.. Keep visualising it.. Its yours.. 🙂 xxxx

    • I continue to try to keep a positive attitude on this one, it is difficult some days though, you know?

      I just continue to write some of these down and keep them as fodder. They are funny in retrospect, but at the time, meh.

      • Yep! I know exactly what you mean…. 😉 Love ya you know too… 🙂 and life can only get better… As my sister would Sing Don’t worry be happy song… as she battled breast cancer aged 36… She beat it.. and is still singing…

        I know too you can find the job of your dreams.. you just need to keep focused in your intent and watch as the ‘Signs’ point you in the right direction… Keep following your heart Val,,, All is well.. I feel it.. xox

  3. LOL Val LOL ditto Australia. All our phones and computer services ran out of third world countries who are taught to read off scripts. Hell in a handbag.

  4. Oh, Val, bless your heart. I don’t know anything about IT or recruiting or any of these issues. I only know that I care a lot about you and hope you get what you need soon–that and the fact that the TEXAS part of this TOTALLY cracked me up! Love to you, my friend.

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

    • In retrospect, it was funny. I am a smartass, can’t really help myself sometimes. It will get better Kathy, it will. I may need to make adjustments to my plan, but it will get better.

      Thanks, I love you also.

  5. Happy, peaceful and Blessed Easter,

  6. I know the feeling, Val. Even though I’m a Texan, I also tell prospective recruiters that I’m a U.S. citizen. I’ve gotten to the point where I often ignore phone calls from those with heavy Indian or Pakistani accents. That’s because I’ve spoken with a few whose intonations were so heavy I couldn’t understand a damn thing they were saying. A close friend of mine told me a while back he felt most recruiters were jerks. I had to disagree, but sometimes, I get disillusioned enough to concur.

    • I am beginning to feel overwhelmed these days. I truly think it is getting worse. My issue is why are 95% of the recruiters not US Citizens, is this a scarce skill? No? Then why is it not being filled by unemployed US Citizens with our unemployment so high, including in the IT, Engineering and other skilled areas. Well, I actually know the answer but it is frustrating.

      There are so many frustrating aspects. My stock response of “Texan” is simply when they are rude. It is funny though, come on Alejandro, you know you want to laugh.

  7. The part about “are you a US citizen” and then “No Texas” made me laugh. And it went right over the caller’s head too. I understood the part about the caller being able to get cheaper rates from India. I am a freelance writer and many of us are being outbidded by people from other countries who can work for lower wages than in North America. It is not easy! I do hope you find a great project soon and that your heart continues to heal xxoo

    • It did go over his head. I have had other ones that were profoundly strange. I once asked a caller where he was calling from since his number came up as private, his answer?

      Floridia

      I asked where that was since I had never heard of it. He told me it was a state in the US. now I am pretty good, but I had never heard of “Floridia”, have you.

      Yes, I know all about the cheaper rates also, but do you have to tell me?

      I am healing Christy, slowly but I am. Thank you.

      XX

  8. I have experienced the same in IT recruiting. I’ve stopped replying to the countless requests that don’t begin to match my qualifications, but that sure does not stop the onslaught of “If I just throw enough stones, I’m sure to hit one solid target!” Ugh. We’re in IT. Why doesn’t the strategic thinking qualification ripple out? (Or for that matter, all the way in?)

    Wishing you luck, and sending love . . .

    • If they come through my e-mail, I simply delete them if they don’t match. I must get 50+ a day. It is simply to much. The problem? I get so few responses to the ones I do match, it is frustrating as can be right now, of course now that I have had two good recruiters tell me most companies don’t trust I can make the transition from consulting to permanent, it is even more frustrating.

      Love much needed. Luck it seems is needed also. It seems the idea of transition might be too lofty.

  9. I am just calling in with a whopping great
    Easter egg, I thought we might share it later 🙂

    HAPPY EASTER 😉

    Andro xxxx

  10. Have you heard the phrase before, ‘you are on my last nerve’?
    No, can’t say that I have (I’m in the UK: might it be a local US idiom? A quick search suggests that it is.) As ever, it’s not just the Pond that divides us: our common tongue often does, too…

    “Attempted to hire within the US first and be able to prove there are no qualified candidates.”
    No qualified candidates in a pool of, what, 310+ million? Tall order. Those who write the rules don’t seem to be be constrained by them, though: clearly the rule doesn’t apply when the successful candidate is sitting on the end of a ‘phone line half a world away and will end up being paid, comparatively, peanuts.

    • Quite right, our local lexicon is developed oddly over the years. Add to this our regional quirks, I suspect you would have quite a time with some of them. I was told once when working in Coventry, I spoke oddly. I laughed nearly till I cried then responded, “no you think so do you?’, all in my Texas drawl. From that point on I made certain to insert my Texas idiom’s whenever possible, such as, ‘I am fixin’ to go over to the local coffee shop for lunch.’

      The problem with the process is no one checks. The company, IBM for example puts in their order for 5,000 H1B Visas for 2014, signs an affidavit they have attempted to hire in the US and they are approved. There are 65,000 of them available, 85-95% of them go to the consulting firms each year, the remaining go elsewhere, education and research primarily. The reality is though, no one checks the records. No one validates whether there was due diligence.

      This goes on every single year.

  11. Val, I am glad that instead of beating your head against the wall you’ve written such a witty post, but I know this frustrating situation is anything but a laughing matter to you. I hope someone cuts you a break and you soon score that full-time gig you want at this stage.

    • Honestly? I could simply shift my sights back to contracts and consulting. It might still be hard, but I could. Take a lower rate and run with it. I simply don’t want to travel any longer, it is too hard on me physically, I want a real life and maybe someday better health.

      Glad this was witty though. I am trying to see the humor in the situation rather than doing self-harm!

  12. Are you US Citizen?

    Me: No Texas

    Caller: Oh, do you have the right to work anywhere in US?

    That is hilarious!

  13. First of all, the conversation made me laugh … on the other hand, the process is frustrating … so best of luck to you … and keep your head up!

  14. –The fork is in your road. All of these transitions. The unknown is scary as hell.
    All I can say is ((((HOLD ON.))))
    God has BIGGER plans for you, dearest. xxxxxxxxxxx

    • The unknown is scary as hell, yes. Holding on, might soon be entirely out of the question unless I want to live in a cardboard box. I try to see the humor, I do but honestly, I am running on short supply at this point.

      XXX

  15. The right opportunity will come along. Surely, there’s a position you’re destined to have. It may be in you field of expertise or something a little different.

    • Totsy, I am sure this it is out there however, my ability to hang on for it might be running short. That is money talking not patience. At some point we simply see the supply dwindle and have to say, hmmmm, must do something. I was hoping not to be put in that position. Oh well.

      • You may wanna try teaching at a tech college or see what their enrichment courses are and pitch yourself. I’m not as technically savvy as you but there may be a possibility there, depending on what is already being offered.

  16. Are you US citizen? No, Texas. ;-D I think I love you. I don’t think that can be considered either sarcasm or ugly. Maybe if the recruiter had understood I might be of a different mind, but that was apparently outside his scope of knowledge. Don’t even get me started on stupidity and the lack of even a basic understanding of the language you should be working in.

    • Why thank you, I am surely glad someone does. It is irony then, something? I will try not to get anyone started. My level of frustration currently is high, whine, not wine… something is called for.

  17. Those interchanges (while funny) don’t sound like fun. Best of luck in your search. If I had any idea how to help you, I would. =/

    • They aren’t funny at the time, in retrospect they are somewhat funny. I think this is simply an attempt to try my patience. Thanks Stacie. It will be fine I am certain.

  18. Val, wishing you the best and patience during this annoying search.

  19. Sounds very frustrating. I feel for you. Hopefully you can refrain from crawling through the phone line and wrapping your fingers around their necks. If you couldn’t, no one would blame you…

  20. Jueseppi B. says:

    Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat™.

  21. If all else fails, it looks like you might be able to find work as a recruiter.

  22. Val, my dear

    Reading this post, if I didn’t know you, I would have thought you were a Singaporean in Singapore.

    You see, this is exactly what is happening here in Singapore. Truly, nationality counts for less as it’s all about fat cats growing wealthier and politicians bending to them.

    You have my sympathies and for once, I can say I know exactly how you feel.

    • Eric, I am sad you know what I am talking about. I think even when I lived there it was moving in this direction though. I know your Prime Minister at the time reached out to the West and invited us in and remember part of this was the same issue, though if I remember correctly his public statements had to do with poor management of some of the larger business ventures.

      I know it sounds harsh when written, but truly here in the US it is bad. I am going to work with another blogger to put together some hard facts and numbers. It borders on millions and growing exponentially.

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