Sabbaticals and Employment Gaps

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by minnikin1, Sep 24, 2005.

  1. minnikin1

    minnikin1 Shepherd

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    ARRRRGH! :grump:

    Why is it that employers are so suspicious about gaps in employment history?
    When you take time away from employment to enrich your life, you are suddenly excluded from consideration for employment by certain companies.
    I've seen several job postings now that flat out state they will not hire candidates with a gap of more than 6 months...
    Those that don't have the restriction still require detailed explanations regarding any gaps.

    I can see me sitting in my next interview: "Yes, thats correct. This past year I spent quality time with my pigs. I wanted to jumpstart my homesteading spirit." :1pig: :1pig: :1pig:

    I like the idea of one year off every seven... Maybe if THAT one had made into the ten commandments, we'd still observe it?? Naw, we can't even manage to take one day off a week in this society....

    Anyone out there work in HR? I'd really like to know more about this gap phobia....
     
  2. katlupe

    katlupe Off-The-Grid Homesteader Supporter

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    I came across the same problems when I was job hunting. I was a stay at home Mom. Then I worked, then I went on the road with my husband who was a over the road trucker. But when job hunting, they don't care about anything, but the fact that your work record has gaps in it. So now, I work for myself at home. And I like it better.
     

  3. lilmommajnn

    lilmommajnn Well-Known Member

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    I think it has something to do with them not being able to verify what type of employee you will be...attendance, attitude, work ethic. Those would be very difficult to confirm without a business reference. I wonder if they have the same fear of "student" being the reason for unemplyoment...They want a stable, reliable worker, which is not to say that not having a job makes you unstable or less reliable, just harder to verify.
     
  4. pcdreams

    pcdreams Well-Known Member

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    I can tell you its the same for students. You wouldn't think it but its true. I been doing school full time for the past 2 years (just graduated) and they always ask "so what have you been doing for the past two years!! Hello!!

    Never mind I worked at the same miserable job for 7 1/2 years before that and missed maybe 3 days total in that time..

    And don't even get me started about how worthless degrees are today.... its not What you know but how much a** your willing to kiss and politics you're willing to play
     
  5. coventry49

    coventry49 Well-Known Member

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    Most all of us have some kind of gaps in our employment history. It's called "LIFE".

    What I normally have done on my resume is to list my past jobs by relevance, not by date. Then, for each past job, in the information blurb of my job responsibilities and accomplishments, I listed how long I was on that job. Since I am a "mature" employee, I would not want my prospective employer to notice that was well past my 30's. I also never used short-time jobs (like that ill-fated 3 month stint I did as housekeeping manager at Best Western. aghhh!)

    That way, the person reviewing my resume sees the most important things first. If they're interested, then they can call to get more information.

    I believe that the reason I managed to go to so many interviews was because of the way I set up my resumes. Getting through the interview is another story, though.

    Good luck!

    Barb in Montana
     
  6. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    barb- i will begin job hunting in dec, the moment i graduate from a third stint in college. i am just wondering if you were using what is now called a "combination" resume (starts out with relevent skills and education and then goes on to list jobs) or if you used a functional resume. thanks in advance
     
  7. gardentalk

    gardentalk Well-Known Member

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    Nowadays most employers do not give out any information about past employees, other than verified work dates and position. For the obvious reasons. I don't think that's going to help an employer much as far as determining a potential employee's work ethic, attendance, attitude, etc.

    I wish there was a background check that potential employees can do on potential employers. The job I took as mechanic for a vending company is turning out to be a nightmare. Every day I get to breath someone else's smoke (despite my asking them not to smoke around me), get to be called names (I find that highly disrespectful) and my input as a new employee seems to be worthless around these Mr.-Know-It-All mechanics.

    There really ought to be some kind of system in place where employers and employees can "shop around" for the best deal, so to speak.
     
  8. gardentalk

    gardentalk Well-Known Member

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    I hate to say this, but I fall in the same, exact category as you. Except I've never found an employer yet that I'd want to work 7 years for. Degrees today are completely worthless. If you don't know somebody in a company, you likely will never get the chance to prove yourself as an employee. Forget volunteering, it makes little difference employment-wise.
     
  9. edcopp

    edcopp Well-Known Member

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    When I became old enough to draw social security they did not hesitate to point out that there were years in my history where I did not pay any money into the system.

    I pointed out that was the price that I had to pay to work for myself. It was difficult to get the government employee to understand that it is possible to be in business all year and not make any money. But I will accept that, and the smaller s.s. check that it generates.

    I am a homesteader, I know a lot about living on a little. :D
     
  10. motivated

    motivated Well-Known Member

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    How about a ministry opportunity, Caring for a relative, Locum Tenens, self employed?
    A few years ago I went to the library and checked out 2-3 books on power resumes. I picked out statements that relected who I am. The pros have a way with words that I do not.
    I have mostly cold called employers and have always gotten the job. Now I am even able to turn down those EMPLOYERS who are not up to snuff!!!
    PM me if you would like. Get what you need, and make them delighted to have you as an employee. :)
     
  11. Explorer

    Explorer Well-Known Member Supporter

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    :stars: Deleted by Explorer. Posted to wrong thread.
     
  12. palani

    palani Well-Known Member

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  13. pcdreams

    pcdreams Well-Known Member

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    and what really really burns my grits is my dad tell me how many doors this will open. Umm maybe back in his youth but not now, not in this area at least.

    You can imagine his disappointment when I told him I've decided to take up farming
     
  14. gardentalk

    gardentalk Well-Known Member

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    Again, we're on very similar paths. Just recently I took a 'vending machine mechanic' job, but being the "quick learner" that I am I found in less than a week that this job is maybe 20% mechanic work. The rest of the time is spent traveling from one client (factories that rent out vending machines and services), bullshi**ing with fellow-workers that are on-site at the clients' place of work. It's definitely not a mechanic's job in the traditional sense of the word. As much as I hate to say this, I feel like my job environment is NO different than working in a factory. The very reason I went to college was to someday get away from these redneck-acting turds. :rolleyes: Oh well, I tell my wife all the time that I have gotten FAR more enjoyment out of growing a garden and mowing my yard and maintaing our flowers, than I have in fudging around with computer software and hardware. Some of the best education in the world is free, and it took me $25,000 or so to figure that out. :rolleyes:
     
  15. clovis

    clovis Well-Known Member

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    Here is a suggestion for your problem:

    Instead of allowing these gaps to become a problem, turn them into an asset.

    I would consider answering the question about the gaps in this manner: "I am totally aware that these gaps may be a question about hiring me as an employee. Please let me assure you that as an employee, I will maintain an excellent work record and will preform flawlessly at my job." (This is the time that you need to brag on yourself.) " I show up on time, take my work seriously, am a fast learner, am very productive, will add to the company's bottom line, work well with others, get the job done on time, every time, etc. etc etc etc. YOU ALSO NEED TO REASSURE THEM THAT YOU WON'T BE QUITTING ANYTIME SOON, WHICH IS THEIR BIGGEST WORRY ABOUT HIRING YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    If the interviewer comes back to asking and pressuring you, stand firm. Tell them the truth. But also add this: "I am a confident individual. I love to learn about life and explore opportunities. Because I am a self reliant, confident, self assured, frugal and resourceful person, I decided to take the time in life to pursure and complete a goal of farming (the PC way to say homesteading). Now look the interveiwer in the eye, and tell them that this is the chance that they have to put all of your best personal characteristics to work--self reliant, frugal with company money, resourceful, good work ethic, etc etc etc etc etc.
    clove
     
  16. clovis

    clovis Well-Known Member

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    Gap phobia is simply this:
    They are afraid to hire you because they are afraid you will quit sometime.
    They think you might be lazy, or you have figured out that you can draw unemployment if you are pretty slick about how you do this to employers.
    They think that you may be unstable, mentally or physically.
    They know that training you will be costly (even if you don't see the cost yourself), and hate to lose you in a year, "just to be with the pigs."
    They think that you have gaps because no one will hire you.
    They think you will not be an asset to the organization.
    They think that you could be a problem as an employee, and paying you unemployment IS expensive.
    clove
     
  17. Pyrenees

    Pyrenees Well-Known Member

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    As a business owner, my experience is that job gaps usually indicate either:
    1. The applicant is lying about a previous job they got fired from and is trying to hide that fact from me.
    2. Intentionally got fired from their last job and have been coasting along not working and collecting unemployment and is now looking to do the same to their next employer.

    I am not saying it pertains to anyone on this board but rather just answering the question as to why it is important to employers. I don't mean to sound cynical, but I have been taken to the cleaners too many times not to be wary.

    If I see an employment gap I just ask straight out, "What were you doing during the time you were not employed as listed on the application?" Most people are very poor liars and I can tell right away if the answer is legit. Housewives getting back into the workforce, people who took several months off to deal with a dead relative's arrangements and estate are the two most common legit reasons for employment gaps.

    IMHO opinion the the best way to explain an employment gap would be to say, "I took time off to be a homemaker, but am now ready to return to the workforce." This is a true statement whether you were raising kids, pigs, or crops. Maybe you would rather say personal enrichment...but unfortunately that would not fly with many employers.
     
  18. pcdreams

    pcdreams Well-Known Member

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    a bit OT but since you mentioned you are a business owner..

    What suggestions do you have for someone trying to land an entry level position?

    For instance.. I just graduated with an AAS in Network technology. I've dabbled with computers for the last 15 -16 years. Had my own company for a couple years and worked for another company for a while (which I have no way to contact - business is shutdown and owner in jail). But it appears that most employers don't consider any of this experience.

    I also hold several certifications, which I realize don't mean a lot but it should be some indication that I'm knowledgable about the subject, along with my gpa I would think this would be a strong start..

    I realize a strong resume is also a +. But it appears that whats a strong resume to some is junk to others.

    For instance.. I submitted 20 resumes and recieved 1 phone call for an interview. The interview went well, we talked for nearly an hour and things sounded promising. I sent a nice thank you letter and called back the following week as we discussed. No reply, called back a few days later... nothing. This went on for awhile (about a month now) so I've quit calling.. I suppose he has already filled the position but can't get a straight answer.

    Then this past thursday I recieved an email from one of the companies I submitted my resume to and they basically said it was junk

    "I am sorry but this resume does not give the impression of a detailed
    oriented computer capable employee. I would suggest you work on your
    resume to offer a better impression of your abilities. "

    I had submitted this resume in electronic format (a first for me) so I emailed him back to ask if there was a formatting problem, content problem.. etc. No reply of course. So I'm a bit frustrated at the whole mess currently.

    I'm thinking I'm going to end up working back at the pizza joint for $6.xx an hour. Just seems like a waste of money for an education these days, at least while the economy is still in the can.. But I guess any $$ is better than no money. By the time I pay for gas I should come out a couple hundred behind each month. But hey at least I'm working right :grump:
     
  19. Pyrenees

    Pyrenees Well-Known Member

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    Well you just took a degree in one the hardest fields to get hired in. My brother-in-law is a division head at IBM...when they post an openning he has hundreds of resumes faxed and emailed within 48 hours.

    General considerations:
    The applicants that get my attention are ones who show good experience and immediately state what THEY can offer/do to make my business better. Too many applicants just give me their past experience and when asked why do they want to work here and what do they have to offer the business that other applicants don't...I just get a blank deer-in-the-headlights stare. Beyond that, any further advice would have to be given by someone in your field, which I am not.

    If you are a network guy/gal, and if you're willing to do onsite network setup and maintenance and are good at it...why do you want to work for anyone besides yourself? I guess if you are interested in the development of new technology that requires a larger employer. Even as a veterinarian I am in major trouble if my network goes down. My network guy isn't cheap...but the few times the poo has hit the fan he gets onsite quick and gets me up and running, and the money I pay him is far less than the headaches I would endure if my network were down all day.
     
  20. pcdreams

    pcdreams Well-Known Member

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    thank you for your reply. I'm one of those people that do my homework on each company I apply at. That I feel accomplishes two things. First it lets them know That I am interested enough in the company to find out how they operate,etc, which allows me to write a better cover letter.

    Then once I get an interview I can answer questions like the one you posed with an intellegent answer. Something along the lines of " I see your company is utilizing/doing/supporting/etc this product/service/new technology and you have had great successes with your endevors in the past (throw in some financials here if possible). I enjoy working with leading edge solutions and feel I could be an asset to your company by (what I can do for the company)

    My problem is getting them to want to interview me.


    I would prefer to work as a consultant or contractor on my own however, the harsh reality is that the town I'm in is overrun with businesses of the same type. Unless I can find a niche thats not filled (haven't yet) then I'm sunk before I can start.


    One other question I have.. What should you say when ask "Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?".

    In 5 years I hope to have the homestead setup and paid for and be living on it and be mostly self-sufficient. But I certainly don't want to say that. But at the same time I don't want to lie and say something like "I hope to be working here and moving up to system administrator"

    I just don't know what the best middle ground is on that question.