While not her exact words, the title of this post is pretty descriptive of what must be going through Alison’s head at this moment.
*I realize I am focused overmuch on this job search issue, and none of you probably care all that much, but my own major life events aren’t happening so I have little left to write about right now.
Apparently the federal government, or at least the USGS branch of the government, wants Alison. The problem is that they forgot to tell her that. In fairness, I’m sure they couldn’t exactly come out and TELL her they wanted her to make sure she got the previously posted position in her current office. That one, if you remember, was given to another candidate. You may also remember that candidates are not chosen by the office, but someone is Reston Virginia.
She spent a few days out in the field late last week, in various streams and rivers, sampling and collecting. On her return, someone passed on the information that her office was in the process of creating a job posting, with a fancy title, and that job is specifically designed for her. Apparently they don’t want to take any chances this time around. She learned that her answers to a list of supplemental questions about skills associated with the earlier position were what disqualified her. She answered honestly about specific tasks that she has never done, or had not taken a ‘leadership’ position’ in.
She didn’t get the impression that anyone was suggesting that she should have exaggerated the truth. She did get a distinct impression that, perhaps the folks she works with believe that she has skills aplenty and truly believed that she was using those skills when, in fact, she is not because she really hasn’t performed the procedures required.
I feel like using the word miscommunication right about now. Alison is not the best communicator. She also works with varied staff members who may or may not know exactly where her skill levels fall. She has also passed on to me numerous times that she rarely sees her official supervisor. Perhaps assumptions were made on their part. Perhaps Alison has never thought to clarify or document or in some way inform those who matter exactly what she has, or hasn’t learned over the last two years.
Whatever the case may be, it became clear that her office expected her to be awarded the earlier position. When she wasn’t they set to work to create a position with skill level and expectations specifically designed to meet her abilities.
I could do little more than shake my head when she told me this. She was doing much the same. In fact, because the office staff does not do the hiring, Alison voiced her concern to them that being hired for this position, ‘her position,’ was not guaranteed. I believe she went so far as to ask if they were going to direct her in exactly how to answer any supplemental questions associated with the application. Her use of sarcasm illustrates her frustration level. Or was it sarcasm?
I could do little else but look at her and ask, “Do you really want to work for the government?”
On the one hand I know that she feels comfortable there, safe may be a more appropriate word, and she likes her associates. I know she looks at the fact that this position would allow her to gain experience. However, it is a terminal position. She would be a federal employee rather than a contracted hire, but the position ends in one to four years. The process at that point…one can only imagine these same scenarios playing out again.
While I am so very glad that they like her, and feel that she is doing a good job, and don’t want to lose her, all those mom/experienced employee fears are smacking me in the face on her behalf. I am stepping away though. In this arena, at this time, she has to make her own decisions. She has to be allowed to have control, no matter how this all works out. I can be a sounding board, but not stick my nose into the mix as mom. Mom wants to tell her that simply because they want her, that doesn’t necessarily mean she should want them.