I’m happy to report that my search for gainful employment is over. I received a call yesterday and accepted a position at Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research. As part of my job, I’ll be promoting the graduate program in automotive research. I’m thrilled for the opportunity and look forward to taking up this new challenge.

This job search really humbled me.

First, I can’t believe the number of folks who said prayers and shared encouragement along the way. Words can’t describe how you helped me get through this. I am blessed. I am also so lucky to have a loving husband who encouraged and comforted me. There were times that he believed in me more than I believed in myself.

Second, it was a great reminder that the Lord does everything in His time. I was first invited to interview for this position the day after we returned from our family trip to Disney. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to enjoy that very special time with my family before I began work again. I have also learned that there was a very good reason for what seemed like a delay in the hiring process. Again, He was taking care of me through the whole thing.

Finally, this process taught me that we are all so much more than what we do for a living and that people shouldn’t be judged by their job title or employment status. It reinforced the importance of kindness and respect in our interactions.

I know the days ahead will be even more humbling. It’s been seven years since I started at a new employer. I’m vowing to cut myself some slack during the adjustment period. There’s a lot to learn and I won’t be perfect. I never am. There will be awkward and frustrating days. It will pass. I will get better.

I might regret this later.

You know those instances where you really want to say something even though you know it’s bound to get you in trouble later? Well, this post is one of those times. I should just keep these thoughts to myself until I’m employed again but I can’t help myself. Honestly, if even of this keeps me from getting a job offer, I probably didn’t belong there in the first place.

Looking for a job is harder and weirder than ever before. The economy stinks so employers have the upper hand and some, not all, of them are enjoying the opportunity to use it. I’ve interviewed with a great company recently and am hopeful that something will work out there but I’ve also had some odd interviews that have turned me off from a job I might otherwise want.

What do I mean? Well, there was the job interview that featured all behavioral questions. “What color would you be if you were a color?” “Name three historical figures you’d like to dine with.” I understand throwing one or two of these out in an interview because you get to see a person think on their feet when faced with a strange situation. But a whole session focusing on these scenarios instead of the skills required to do the job?  I think I handled it well. I didn’t get the job but then I wasn’t the most qualified person and maybe the new job holder decided on a better color than I did.

A few weeks ago, the interviewer I spoke with played with a stress ball during the entire interview. She didn’t make eye contact. She sat in her chair turned toward the wall throwing that little stress ball. At one point I thought about answering a question in Pig Latin. She wasn’t paying any attention to me and I didn’t want the job any more. That whole affair was a colossal waste of my time and money- gas and parking. I wonder if interviewers like this understand how this behavior reflects on their organization.

I’ve had great interviews and some reference calls and background checks recently; unfortunately, that was more than a week ago and I still haven’t heard anything. I’m not sure if they’re still in the decision making stage or if they’ve made a decision and are afraid to let me down. Anyone who makes it to an interview deserves notification, especially when its been promised. If X Co. is afraid to tell me they’ve selected another candidate, how do they handle hard decisions and difficult conversations that are just a part of doing business? If I’m still in the running but the process is taking longer than expected, just send a brief e-mail to that effect. It’s just the considerate thing to do.

Why do so many of you need my social security number before the first interview even takes place? In today’s world, we’re taught to fiercely guard those social security numbers and now I’m required to turn it over without a fight. I understand that everyone runs a background check but let’s meet for the first time before you get my social. I’d also like to know what happens to the paperwork containing my social, DOB and other sensitive information. In the case of X Co., there’s now a formal background check floating around in their offices. How can I be assured they’re handling this information properly?

Obviously, I’m frustrated. Some of it is just being worn down by the search and missing a job that I loved, but more of my ill-temper results from the way that applicants are treated today. We’ll surely see a return to common courtesy when the economy improves and job seekers are in demand. I just wish we didn’t have to wait that long.