Since I was laid off from my ad agency job, I've had fun. I've also hustled...I got three freelance projects on my own, became an eBay seller and wrote a book. To potential employers, it should say "I'm a problem solver who created my own jobs when there weren't any. And I'd be an asset because there is no way any of these things would've happened if I wasn't driven."
Unfortunately, potential employers are seeing it more like this, "Wow. She's been outside the agency system and has found other work and interests. I don't know if I could've survived in her shoes. She'd be a strong employee. One who might take my job. I'm better off with the person who is sad and has been dying to get back to their life from before."
If you can sense my frustration, you're on the money. You see, I'm a New Yorker. who interviews like a New Yorker. I want to show them that I'm the best. That's how you get a job in NYC. I should know, I've gotten plenty of them. Even after 9/11. (At one point, I felt like a professional job interviewer.) With competition being what it is, I thought my "best" approach and deep pre-interview research was the way to go. Nope.
This theory is not just in my head. I saw a recruiter and she said, "All of these interviews and no offers?" And at the end of our interview, she said, "You're great. I can see that you could be intimidating. Whatever you do, don't say anything about the book. We have to find the right company and/or boss for you. Someone who isn't sensitive to their job security." Huh?
My theory is that some people who retained their jobs during the downturn are scared. They've been afraid of losing their jobs for two years and don't want anyone who can come in and shake things up. I get it. But at least two of those agencies have seen clients scale back on their assignments to start working with other agencies. If they're afraid to step out of their box...hiring wise and creatively then this is precisely why someone like me is needed. I'm not here to take. I'm here to ADD. Some fresh blood may do some good.
We know that the economy has messed with a lot of people's heads as well as their finances. I just didn't think it also applied to those that never received a pink slip. I call it Economic Ironic.