Jobs, Resumes, and Interviews…oh my!

So I got pinged on Facebook by the Friendly Facebook Stalker, who reminded me I haven’t written in forever.  There has been a lot going on and lot of it has been promising.

I’m in the process of interviewing with 2 different companies.  One company is the local cable/internet provider for sales.  Like straight up door-to-door sales.  I met a salesmen at the county fair the night after I resigned.  I originally approached him to see if there was a way we can cut our cable bill down.

Me: So I just lost my job, do you have any deals you can make for me?

Sales Guy: No but, what did you used to do?

Me: Well until last night I was a pastor of church for 10 years.

SG: Really?!  You know you pastor types make excellent salesmen, are you interested in a job?

Me: Hell yeah!

SG: Well the whole process takes at least 2 weeks before you start working.

We go on to talk ministry, and why I left the church.  I also mention that we were going to AZ for a vacation.

SG: Well I can tell right now, that you would succeed at this job.  Just the way you talk, stand up, make eye contact, and are easy with a smile.  Here’s my number, you call me when you get back from AZ.

Me: Count on it.

I gave him a call shortly after my return.  He directs me to his company’s employment website.

SG: So you’ll fill out the application online, then submit your resume.  From there you’ll have a phone interview.  If you pass that, you’ll be referred to the hiring manager locally.  Once you get hired you’ll be spending a few weeks with me as I show you the ropes, that is after your 6 weeks of training in [local big city an 1 1/2 hours away].

Me: Ok, I can do that but can you put in a word for me with your hiring manager?

SG: Absolutely.  I’ll tell her to look for you.

So I went to the website and filled out the online forms and uploaded my resume.  I got a call from a recruiter from somewhere else in the country.  I freaking nailed the phone interview.  Like I got her talking about her personal beliefs and politics.  She started answering interview questions for me.  We were laughing and chatting, and this is a professional recruiter!

Recruiter: (finishing up laughing) Well ok John.  Thanks for taking time to talk with me.  You did great and answered perfectly all the questions I had.

Me: Well thanks, this was fun.

Recruiter: Ok so a couple of questions I have to ask you:

  1. With this job, if you meet your sales goals, you should expect to make about $56k/yr.  Is that ok?

Me: Hell, that’s a raise!

Recruiter: [laughing] well that’s good!

2.  The benefits package includes medical, dental, vision, and a 401k that we will match up to 4% of you income. Plus, you get free cable.

Me: You know that’s like 70% of the reason I applied.

Recruiter: Obviously…

3.   If you are hired, you will spend 4 weeks in [local big city], and we will pay for a hotel room.  Are you able to do that?

Me: You bet.

Recruiter: What you can expect from us now is that I’m going to send you an email with a link.  That link is to an online assessment which you must take.  It is a pass fail assessment and it can take up to an hour.  So while you must finish it within the next 3 days, make sure you have plenty of time to actually do it.  Good luck John!

I’m starting to believe that I am cut out for sales.  I mean, I really sold myself quite well so far.  I can do this.  Even if it’s door to door, I might be able to actually succeed at this!

And then I got the online assessment, which crushed my hopes.  Why?  Because there was a ton of questions just like this:

When we talk to you previous manager, what will the say about your [random job performance question]?


If you talk to the church you will hear absolutely nothing good about me.  Especially from the board chairman.  I’m screwed.  If they talk to the church, there’s no way I’m getting hired.  I’m hoping they put more weight with my phone interview than the Church’s opinion of me.  At least enough to meet me face to face.  Let me sell myself, if I can sell me, I can sell your product.  Please just give me a chance!

I haven’t heard from the cable company in about 6 days.  Think I’ll need to call the salesman to see what’s up.


I’ve got another interview tomorrow with a different company.  It’s a sales job for a security monitoring company.  At the church, we were actually clients of this company.  One of the very few decent people who have maintained a close friendship with me and my wife, he actually works there and has basically set this whole thing up for me.

Anthony: John, you have to apply for this contract sales job.  I’m not just promoting this job to you because we’re friends, but because I think you would kill it at this job. You would rock this job, and help my company out.  Here’s the sales manager’s number.  Call him ASAP!

So tomorrow at lunch (at the brewery that never calls me back) I’m selling myself as a salesman.  So if you need fire/police monitoring at your place of business, I could be calling you to set up an estimate.

I really like the idea of working at a place I already have a friend at, while not working for him or under him.

Fingers crossed.

And in other news:

Since the Clergy Project granted me the “Transitional Assistance Grant”, I’ve been working with a career coach.  While I’m applying for sales, I don’t know if that’s really what I want to do.  My coach is helping me figure all this stuff out.  But my first coach was a disaster.  She never coached me.

First coach: So we need you to narrow down your job field so we can help you find a job. Do you know what you want to do?

Me: As I said before, I have no idea.  Ministry is all I’ve done in my adult life.  I don’t even know what I can do.

First Coach: Yeah, but have you thought about?

No, I’ve been sitting on my ass not thinking about how to get a job [sarcasm].  What the hell do you think I’ve been doing for months and months?! I’m trying to figure how to support my family, you dunce.  You’re a coach, how about you coach?

Me: Of course I’ve thought about it.  It’s all I think about.  I don’t know what to do.

First Coach: Well maybe think about it more and tell me what you think you want to do.

Awesome job “coach”.  And then she sent me some “hand picked” job leads.  You want to know what the first lead was?

  • “Worship Pastor” at K’s church!

REALLY!?  REALLY?!  I specifically told her multiple times that I want nothing to do with religion. She told me that she’s worked with Clergy Project clients before.  You want to know what the other “hand picked” suggestions were?

  • Sales at local bible software company
  • Sales at local Christian radio ministry
  • Fundraiser at local Christian Charity

So I complained inside of TCP.  TCP got right on it and I now have a much better, and much more helpful career coach.  I hope she got fired.

A lot of other things have happened which I will write about. But this is all the time I got this evening.

Sorry for the lack of editing.

I hope I get hired somewhere this week.


14 thoughts on “Jobs, Resumes, and Interviews…oh my!

  1. Ride with all of this and try to keep your hopes up, but your expectations subdued. Also, be sure your potential employers know you left your last job due to theological differences, and not anything that reflected on your performance. Since you are probably knock-em-dead good in sales, I would go there, with the expectation that you may change your mind and go into some other field eventually. But deciding to do that takes time, and you need to give yourself the time.

    A friend of mine had a pretty long job hunt after his last layoff here in Silicon Valley; he is in his 60s, and it can be difficult to get hired around here with gray hair (even though he has amazing energy and persistence). He refused to despair, and threw himself into learning new things to keep his mind busy when not job-hunting. We had some very interesting conversations about stuff that was waaay over my pay grade, but they were technologies that had captured his imagination. At any rate, he finally scored an excellent job. It was a job-desert for forever… and then he suddenly had multiple offers to choose from.

    Patience. Persistence.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I can’t believe that coach! If it weren’t serious, it would be hilarious – in a how on earth does this one function on Earth sort of way. That craziness aside, it sounds like some progress is happening on the professional front and I’m glad to hear it. I agree about mentioning your theological differences. If they have any experience with church, they’ll get that that can be insurmountable. Whatever happens on the job front, I’ve always found it very useful to think of jobs as stepping stones. When you say yes to a position, you do it based on the circumstances you are in. If you love it, that’s amazing! If you don’t, you find something good to get from it and do your best work until the next opportunity comes up and then use it as a launching point.


  3. Depending in the state you live in, it is most likely against the law for your former employer to actually give a future employer any information other than to verify your employment, the dates employed and your salary. Anything further would have to be with your express written consent. Don’t let an online questionnaire worry you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Don’t worry about the “if we ask your previous employer, what would they say about you” question.

    This is just a standard question to know how you would describe yourself. They will not actually end up contacting them. I hope you didn’t say something like “they wouldn’t like me a lot” or something along those lines.

    Reason for them asking this question is for HR to know how you would describe yourself in a work environment vis a vis a superior.


    • the cable guy is right. your pastor skills are people skills. really all the skills you need. after all sales is not brain surgery. but sales is sales is sales. before you sold faith. now cable. piece of cake! in most cases companies are so afraid of suits the do not give bad references so not to worry.


  5. I had a similar experience with “career assistance” with my disability insurance company. The moment my transplant was done and I wasn’t bleeding through my surgery incision, they started asking me when I would be able to go back to work.
    That’s when I still had the staples forming the Mercedes logo (minus the circle) on my chest and belly.

    Anyway, when I received their packet all their job suggestions were all related to restaurant jobs. Never mind that my last restaurant job was in 1988 and since then I had 2 whole unrelated careers. Obviously their software just added up the years and spit out these absolutely dismal jobs I wouldn’t have taken even back in the day.

    Coach #2 sounds incompetent and all she did was let her software run. I could have done that for you on craigslist (i’ll bet a lot of the jobs were from there).

    As far as your two jobs, Cable sales door to door are very hard. My wife did it for AT&T for like 2 days. The trainer looked at the roof of the houses before ringing the bell. My wife asked him why. “If they have a satellite dish, we cannot match the price and service”.

    Good to know. We switched to DISH immediately after. Also in order to switch someone from one provider to another you need to have both better prices (rare) or better packages (depends on client). No one wants to switch their cable or dish service unless there is a big gain and if you sell cable, both satellite providers can undercut you.

    I’d put my money on the other job. I think you’d be good at both, but d2d cable sales are grueling and they have a high turnaround for a reason. But some people do pretty well.

    Alarm and monitoring are probably the least ethical businesses around. Competition is fierce and many salespeople straight out lie to sell you their wares, like telling you their company just merged with the one you are already using and with some slight of hand next thing you know you are paying double because in order to fool you they can’t tell you to terminate your old contract.

    But if you can come across honest and ethical and you know the company you work for is also ethical, then there can be good money in it.


  6. the cable guy is right. your pastor skills are people skills. really all the skills you need. after all sales is not brain surgery. but sales is sales is sales. before you sold faith. now cable. piece of cake!


  7. J.J., can’t remember whether you’ve said you’re signed up with LinkedIn…? I hear that headhunters actually use it — even retired me got an invitation to apply for a job after friends wanted me to sign up in order to endorse them….

    Never know what will turn out to be the live connection!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Good luck with the interviews!

    I recently heard about a brand new organization called Life After God, which seeks to help people who have recently rejected theism to explore their doubts and figure out their new worldview. I imagine that they’re new enough that they’re not currently hiring, but they might be. It’s founded by a fellow ex-clergy member and has some support from the Clergy Project, so your background would give you some common ground with them. I don’t know you; maybe this sort of thing isn’t your cup of tea and you wouldn’t want the job even if they are hiring. but I thought of you when I heard about it. Perhaps they have suggestions for employment possibilities.


    • (parenthetically — thanks for the tip, Alan… recently I enjoyed the video of Ryan Bell describing the “in-between” stage and appreciate the link to his site)


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