Aviators' Thoughts

My job search and business aviation as seen on AviationWeek

So Close…..Unemployment 1 Year 2 Months

with 2 comments

What a crazy couple of weeks its been. I was hoping to be able to post that I have a great new job but it was not to be….

I was contacted by a company up north about a week ago after I saw a posting of theirs on LinkedIn. It seemed to be right up my alley. I contacted them via email about the position and they asked me for a resume. In a very short time I had an interview! I was thrilled! It was my first real hot lead in months and I really felt like I had come upon a gem. I wont get into all the details, but I really thought I could be big part of their company. After a series of phone interviews I was invited up north for a more formal interview. Again, I was enthused! They even offered to bring my wife up. I figured I really had a chance at this point.

Once up north, my wife and I spent a rainy few days meeting the staff (smart, intelligent people) and the owners who seem to have good heads on their shoulders. I had a more formal interview and flight the next day. I cant say I wasnt nervous and a bit rusty in the airplane, but apparently I did well. At the end of of the interviewing process I was brought in the next day and OFFERED THE JOB!!! I was pumped….but….

The first sign something was amiss was when the offer(er) did not have much information as to salary and benefits. I did have a pretty good outline before that point, but when you are offered the job you want specifics. Also, after the verbal  job offer I asked several times for a formal written offer (a standard business practice). The first time I asked, one of the principals seemed surprised. This was strange since both owners were in the business world and I thought they would expect as much. For 3 days I still did not receive a written offer. I wanted to see, in writing, exactly what the salary and benefits were. I dont think I was unreasonable.

Secondly they asked me how long it would take to relocate. I told them 30 days since I own a house and its not that easy to just pick up your life in another state and leave ASAP. (Though I did want the job) This way I had time to rent my house, sell my stuff and of course find an apartment up north. The principal seemed surprised that I had not already looked for an apartment even though  I HAD NOT BEEN OFFERED THE JOB. I told him that we would drive around and look at different neighborhoods (which we did), but we were not familiar with the area. I was also a bit leery since I didnt have a written offer of employment and verbal offers are always subject to change. In addition, we were also leaving early the next day and did not have much time to look for a place.

After coming home, with no written offer and the owners in a hurry to expedite the process I decided to take a different tack. I sent a “letter of acceptance” to state that I did want the job, but I wanted to ask them some questions about pay and benefits and to make sure they were comfortable with my time frame so I could have a place to start negotiating from. They were kind enough to send a letter back with answers and finally I felt things were rolling along, but still never had a formal acceptance letter which was strange.

During this time, I began selling things I didnt need (which was pretty much everything). I sold a few items and was about to put the house up for rent. My wife wanted to know if she should give notice at her job and I said “no” until everything up north was worked out. I also began calling real estate agents to look for an apartment and research the cost of the area (which was quite high). The other good news was the one of the principals was going to be in my area so I invited him to dinner to talk about the position. To say my wife and I were excited was an understatement. Though it is scary to move to another place, we were also looking forward to a new life and new possibilities. The challenge of the position was great, but I believed I could handle it. I had not at this point given an absolute firm start date since we were still loose ends to be tied up, but I was doing much more than just going through the motions to move..

During the dinner, with one of the owners, he let me know that they needed me ASAP. I was happy that they needed me so soon, but still needed time to move. (Most standard practices for relocation are around 30 days out of state). There was a small relocation allowance, but I would be pretty much picking up the ENTIRE relocation tab. We had a very pleasant conversation and even talked salary. The principal said he wanted to keep his overhead “low” which I understood, but basically from what they had told me, I would be doing the jobs of 2 people AND help building the business.

After some thought, I constructed a long email with my ideas for the business, to add value to who I was and a progress report. I wanted to show that I was eager about the job and that I could “handle decisions on my own” which is exactly what the owners stated and wanted. I also pointed out the expense of the new area and that the salary they offered was a bit low, especially since I would be doing so many additional duties, but was still was eager to meet the challenge. The letter I sent was VERY positive, expressing my continuing desire for the job and ended with a proposal for a salary increase considering the larger scope of the work I would have to perform.  I was certainly not asking for the moon and I wanted the job.

After 3 days of hearing nothing, I was sent an email from the owners. They had decided that I was “no longer a good fit for the position” and questioned my ability to handle the logistics of moving. To say I was shocked and surprised was an understatement. basically the employer had WITHDRAWN THE JOB OFFER. This was difficult for my wife and I to take. I did not think at any point I was being unreasonable. In fact I had acted in a very professional manner befitting the status of and experience of the owners and they should have certainly expected some negotiation. Even in a bad economy a employee with a (verbal) job offer has value and I felt I had great value. In fact, in my previous letters I had agreed to all of their terms except the base pay.

So, what have I learned from this experience. Companies can choose to hire whomever they want,especially in a bad economy where there is a plethora of workers. I did come out of this entire episode a little wiser and here are the lessons I have learned:

1.) ALWAYS ALWAYS get a job offer in writing. Verbal job offers are always subject to change. You could easily start your new job and find your salary and benefits completely different and you will have absolutely no recourse. If an employer will not give you a written offer, you should definitely take this as a red flag.

2.) Know your value. Even in a bad economy, you have value. Yes, many of us are out of work and REALLY need jobs, but we shouldnt work for wages that does not allow at least a basic quality of life. Keep in mind if you relocate, that the place you are moving too might have MUCH higher living costs and that new wage may not go quite so far. Building value in YOU begins with your interview and continues through the job offer and negotiation process. After all, they picked YOU out of all the candidates. That alone is worth something. Show what you can do for them in your negotiation. Make it a win-win.

3.) Dont RUSH! Take your time. Even if its your dream job. Take your time to look over the ENTIRE offer (in writing of course). you’ll have a better idea of everything involved and you can take some time to research. You should also not just take the first offer that comes along, especially if you know the average wage for the new job you will be doing. Also with relocating, most employers shouldnt have a problem if you need a little time to find a new place and move, especially out of state or across the country. NO ONE can get an apartment in 1 day or buy a house in a few days. Pulling up stakes is never easy, but its even harder when your rush.

4.) Dont be afraid to ask questions. Even if you got the offer in writing, ask the employer about anything that is unclear. Dont forget to get that in writing as well. Better to clear up any confusion now rather than when you start your job. You can use an “acceptance letter” type format for any questions that you may have.

In the end I am not mad or bitter at what was to be my new employer. I wish them all the success in the world. I know that by not hiring me they have lost a great asset that would have worked his butt off to make the place grow and prosper. Its their loss, but another employer out there will see my value and I will be happy to work for them.

Just waiting for that next chance to come around because I KNOW IT WILL..



Written by tdwnds1

September 25, 2009 at 11:13 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Clint, read you latest blog post. I feel like you did the right thing. Every time that I read a bold type sentence, my head was nodding up and down. You stuck to you basic (very professional) job seeking values.

    Forest Lightle

    September 26, 2009 at 3:32 am

  2. I here you! I have stuck to my guns and asked for salary increases because I know once you accept the salaried offer there is no turning back and you may realize when you start the job you accepted too low of an offer. On the other hand, the economy is bad and maybe God sends us what we need and we reject it on the account we deserve more.


    March 2, 2010 at 9:52 am

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