I left a large consumer goods company in late 2004 following a re-organization. I expressed my disagreement with several aspects of the reorganization that included relocation of all shared services to a southwest location. The accounts payable procedure was so inept that vendors and 3rd party manufactures were not being paid and no one was addressing this issue. My job was to deal with these companies. In my personal case, I tried unsuccessfully to define my reorganized job responsibilities with my new VP and a co-worker with the same job title as mine. These employees were both from another business unit that was consolidated with my BU.I survived the reorganization, but the reorganized company was so onerous to work for that I forced my ex company to pay me severance. I’ve been looking for work for over a year. I’ve been very close- down to one or two other candidates and me, but no job offers. “Something” always falls through. I’m now considering that I may be “blackballed.”
I empathize with your plight. Many skilled people are out of work these days. Although the unemployment rate appears low, many of those looking have dropped out (that skews the numbers) and many new jobs are lower-paying service jobs. You are not alone!I think it’s possible but doubtful that you have been blackballed. Employers know that they can be sued if they say derogatory things about you so it’s unlikely that you’re being blackballed. It’s probably the overall job market that is creating the uphill struggle you’re in. I do have a few thoughts and suggestions:1. Have you worked with any employment agencies? Many can gather your work history, interview you, and try to find a job for you without charging you any fees. It can give you some valuable exposure beyond what you can do on your own.2. Are you using the online sources, such as YahooHotJobs, Monster, Career builder, etc? They all have great search engines that you can tailor to specific jobs or locations. There are even industry-specific job listings you can tap into.3. Have you tapped into state and local job boards and listings? These can also be helpful. Your state labor dept. can give you advice on these resources. 4. Have you talked to a career or life coach? Although they charge an hourly fee, they can help you target where you want to go, what’s best for you, and they can support you in your search. 5. You will need a positive, “can do” attitude to succeed. In any case, push those negative ideas away and look forward. Ask for help and support and tap into some resources you may not have thought of.I hope these ideas are helpful! Let us know how things go for you.Steven H. Carney Guest Respondent, Author, The Teamwork Chronicles The Workplace Doctors WEGO is using resources effectively to move forward! Feedback: Thank you for your reply. I am very close to dropping out. I tried selling refrigerators at Sears- what a poorly run retail concern. I’m now planning to work at Home Depot part-time.How would one ever know if they have been blackballed? I left after exposing significant internal business ethics issues. I was “severed”, supposedly as part of a corporate reorganization, and I had to sign a very lengthy a “legal” agreement, surrendering my rights to take future action against the company in order to obtain 3 months severance.1. Have you worked with any employment agencies?YES- Both full time and temporary. I’ve also worked with DBM (an outplacement agency).2. Are you using the online sources, such as YahooHotJobs, Monster, Career builder, etc? YES. I have job alerts set up, and I reset my resume weekly. I’m on the above job boards as well as industry-specific sites. 3. Have you tapped into state and local job boards and listings? YES.4. Have you talked to a career or life coach? YES- through Drake Beam Morris Outplacement. 5. I have had over a dozen very positive interviews, but -0- offers. I’m considering legal action against my prior employer, but I don’t know how to proceed. Would any “whistle-blower” protection cover me? I’d appreciate any suggestions you might have. My goal is to get back to work, be productive, and make contributions.Best regards. Still Frustrated Dear Frustrated: First, I want to say that you’re doing all the right things by tapping into the various job/career placement resources available to you. Keep up those contacts until you are comfortably re-established in a new position. Keep your spirits up too. This might not be about you at all.It does sound like there was a falling out of sorts in the last job, and that things ended with an agreement. Although it is hard to know whether your previous employer is saying anything bad about you, there is one way you might learn more. Have you called back any of the recent turn-downs? You can approach the situation this way:Call up the job interviewers you were most interested in working for and ask them a question like this: “I realize that you chose another candidate for the position but I was wondering if I should have done anything differently in the interview?” You want to approach the post-interview to learn more rather than to complain. You might be able to engage them in a conversation about whether it was your qualifications, work history, job fit, or whatever. If they are open to chatting, you could also ask if your previous employer gave you a good recommendation because you did a great job for them. This can be a valuable experience for you. You’ll possibly learn why some things didn’t work out, and you’ll also build some rapport with employers you might want to work for in the future. People don’t often use a post-interview as a way to build rapport and learn how things can go better. Employment and placement agencies can act as an intermediary in this, so feel free to ask them if they were given any reasons why you weren’t picked or if they can ask if your previous employer gave a good recommendation.If you do hear that there was a better fit with another candidate, and it’s a job you really wanted, see if you can keep the door open by staying in touch every few months. In the end, it’s could just be the tight market that you and millions of others are facing. It doesn’t mean that you’re undesirable or a bad candidate. It does mean that it’s harder to find the right connection. Be persistent because with all those resources behind you, something should happen in time.Hang in there! Steven H. Carney Guest Respondent, Author, The Teamwork Chronicles The Workplace Doctors WEGO is working with others and using your skills to get the answers you need!