Thursday, February 10, 2011


Sidenote:  Wow... I've been away for a while now, eh?  It's funny how once you're unemployed you don't have enough time in the day to accomplish everything you want to.  How did I ever fit work in?

I'm in my second week of unemployment and this week I got a call for a staff accountant job position I had applied for in mid-January.  It's in the energy industry which should have a fairly good chance of being a stable industry so I accepted the offer for an interview.  And during the interview process two of the topics I hate to discuss during an interview came up: salary expectations and overtime.

The question of salary expectations came up during the initial phone call and again during the panel interview.  In both instances I gave them a dollar figure.  By giving them my expectation on the phone call I feel it already puts a limit on how well I can do during an interview, because they are already biased based on their budgetary constraints.  And then to ask again during the interview just confused me.  Were they hoping that I was going to change my mind?  Were they hoping I had been intimidated by some questions and the scope of the position so they hoped I would drop my expectation?  

The other question I hate is whether I'm willing to work overtime.  To me there is no option to how this question can be answered, and if I bombed the interview this would be the point.  I hesitated to answer for a moment and in watching faces I feel like this was not completely acceptable.  Now I am one who tries to leave work on time everyday, but I am a dedicated employee and if something has a deadline I will stay to meet that deadline.  But at the same time, I also have a life outside of work.  

Towards the end of the interview I brought overtime back up and explained that I wanted to discuss it further.  I explained that I have no issue working overtime at those times like month-end or year-end when deadlines are tight, but that if the job required overtime on a daily basis then this wasn't the position for me, because I am a dedicated father also.  The head of HR stepped in and explained their stance on work-life balance and that family is very important, but then she went on to explain a practice that is becoming all to familiar in Canada.

She told me that many woman, specifically, will take a laptop home with them and after they put their kids to bed they will work for an hour or two... Um, WHAT?  This is acceptable work-life balance?  I agree the flexibility to have a laptop to work from home is a great thing, but for it to be regular practice for someone to put their kids to bed and then go back to work is no work-life balance.  This is a clear sign that a company is understaffed.  Regular overtime is a sign of inefficiency or an unacceptable workload.

So now I'm at a crossroads in my mind.  I haven't received a second interview request yet, but they did ask for my references and whether I had any vacation plans in the next few months, which lean towards them considering me as a real candidate.  If I do get that call I'm going to have to ask some real questions to decide whether I will be a good fit for this company.  Or if maybe I continue in the process and if I attain the position work there until I can secure another job.

Oh this whole game causes the mind to race...

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