The Job Search Madness Diaries: What it’s Like to be an Educationed Young White Woman Job Searching During Covid-19

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Happy Saturday world and good morning!

My brian is reeling, yet again, from being hopeful that I’ve had interviews these past few weeks. But I’m also nervous because… The pandemic is going on. I have been saddened by the millions of Americans, especially service workers, who have lost their jobs because of the corona virus. It’s a very disheartening time. My nerves are bouncing everywhere like a roller coaster. Thoughts are jiggling around aimlessly in my brain, thinking over every intervew question I’ve ever been asked and answered. And the unemployment site isn’t working. Does any employer, including the unemployment department, ever think to have a website developer actually test links before the website goes live and forms don’t work? 

Is the unemployment department to the rescue in time of dire need? No. Many states in the United States are racked with decades-old technology. Hello people. 1982 is long gone. Why not give website developers jobs who know how to encrypt data?

For my recent interview (I’ll call it interview X) I was very robotic, calm and professional, to match the tone of the interviewers’ phone voice. My answers were good. Not too verbocious. But I’m not a robot. And I didn’t continue on to the next round. Okay – The robot woman didn’t like me. Oh well.

For interview V I had a month ago, my bubbly personality came out and that seemed to be liked by that interviewer. Did I continue on? No.

For interview Y, I was half robot, half human and I’m waiting to see the results…

I see I get close to getting offers. When my resume is submitted through a popular job searching site, I’m thrilled when I get a phone or video interview request. ‘Woohoo!’ I think to myself. ‘My stuff made it through the applicant tracking software. Yipee cay-yay! I’m getting traction during Covid. I’m SO grateful!’

Then the turmoil begins … again. The emotionally draining monotony of answering the same series of interview questions via, in person, via phone and video sets in … I’m getting leery. Every day is Ground Hog Day. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Lose sleep.

I did get a question the other day that I hadn’t been asked in quite awhile. But the question snuck up on me from the interviewer like a long-lost friend from the days of yore who isn’t really a friend because there’s a reason a long-lost friend became long-lost…

This is what she asked:

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

I know why she asked this. She wants to see that I will work for $X amount of money, will never ask for more money and will let them know, as my potential new employer, that I will be happy making that amount forever.

This is what I said:  I said something like I’d like to stay put for several yeas and I love data entry.

What I really wanted to say (sarcastically of course) was: “I’d be thrilled to look at invoices the rest of my life. Sure. That’s where I’ll be in five years and beyond.”

But yet she wants someone not to make errors. I won’t. So, she needs to balance what is most important to her: Low wage person forever OR slightly higher paid person who won’t make data entry errors now. In the present and the future. Employers want to have their cake and eat it too, but they can’t seem to keep people. Or make up their mind about this simple equation.

Where this is a will, there isn’t always a way.

There’s another phenomenon that has happened for many, many years too. Well, actually, it’s the anti-phenomenon. Because a phenomonen is supposed to be impressive and extraordinary.

The same companies post the same jobs each month and/or each year. I’ve seen thousands of job postings since 2008. I’ve seem dozens of the same companies post the same jobs year after year, but usually, month after month. They can’t seem to keep people because they’re either insane to work with. Or they hire over-qualified people who don’t want to stay, or they hire someone who has potential but they don’t want to train the potential new superstar. So the potential new superstar is let go, and the employer will post the same ad (no edits made) but they expect difrerent results. They must be insane because the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly, but expecting differnt results. And aren’t they tired of wasting their time and interviewees’ time by not thinking through of why they have such high turnover? Aren’t they tired too? Don’t they care about their own version of Ground Hog Day?

I am in that mix where people like me. My personality seems to shine. I’m not applying for jobs I can’t do. I’m totally qualified for those in which I apply. I’m not asking for $100,000 a year. But they waste my time and theirs when they realize they can get someone in younger, cheaper and not as good as me.

They like me, but hiring me for $39,000 a year is too much for them.

There are great job sites out there in which  interview tips are given to job searchers.

But, how come there aren’t sites out there to train employers? They need help too.

I’ve had so many interviews where I find out the my potential new boss really wants someone with an accounting degree and I think to myself: Well, why didn’t you write that in the ad? You know I don’t have an accounting degree. You’re wasting hours of my time (over several interviews) and your time, but I applied because I can do literally all 100 tasks listed in the bullet points, for a barely livable wage, and can do the accounting assistant duties too, but you still aren’t sure if you want to hire me since I don’t have an accounting degree? Couldn’t you have figured that out before you paid to have the ad posted on job board sites?

Well, it’s time to relax for now. I’m trying to keep my sanity and remain hopeful. Hope sometimes is all we have to cling to, especially during econominc depressions.




Calif. Non-Profit Drivers for Survivors to Host Virtual Sixth Annual Black and White Ball

-Emily Parmigiani

Drivers for Survivors, a non-profit in Fremont, Calif. is hosting its Sixth Annual Black and White Ball virtually this year on Aug. 14, 2020.

Executive Director Sherry Higgs has the details in her press release:

Drivers For Survivors: Sixth Annual Black and White Ball

Mission Statement:  Drivers For Survivors is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charitable organization that provides free transportation service and supportive companionship for ambulatory cancer patients, from suspicious findings through completion of treatments.

This service is provided for ambulatory cancer patients living in South, Central and East Alameda County. DFS provides not only transportation, but also the companionship element that presents essential support, stress relief and therapeutic presence to allow cancer patients to focus on their health and required treatments. Since its founding in 2012, DFS had expanded its service areas to central and east Alameda county, has provided over 21,000 rides for over 600 ambulatory cancer patients.

Friday, August 14th, 2020 

virtual event time: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. VIP Pre-event 5:00 – 5:45 PM  (VIP cost and details will be announced later  at

Free Event Registration.

Sponsorship opportunities, live/silent auction donations welcome.

This year’s signature fundraiser commemorates our 7-year anniversary serving the community!

Join our mailing list for more updates on events and future news!

What you can expect:

Drivers For Survivors (DFS) founder Sherry Higgs, and the D.F.S. board are honored to invite the media to our annual fundraising gala: Sixth Annual Black and White Ball. This event will be held on Friday 6 p.m., August 14th 2020 as a virtual event. The gala registration is free this year.  We will also be adding, for an additional purchase, a very special VIP experience at 5:00 PM prior to event. Our VIP reception will feature a special performance from our guest artists and a chance to mingle (virtually!) with fellow event attendees. To register or learn more about the VIP experience, visit

Time magazine 2016’ TIME100 honoree and internationally renowned breast cancer oncologist Dr. Laura Esserman, MD, MBA, Director of Carol Buck Breast Care Center at University of California San Francisco will be returning as our keynote speaker! Our entertainment for the night will be performed by Marcie Dodd, Carol Weiss and Fay DeWitt. Marcie Dodd is an American stage performer, known for starring as Elphaba in the Broadway, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and both national tour productions of Wicked. Carol Weiss is an accomplished musical director, teacher, pianist and composer. She was music director for the ABC TV series General Hospital. Fay DeWitt created the starring role of Kay Goodman in the highly acclaimed, “Nite Club Confidential,” in New York and Los Angeles. By her 18th birthday Fay DeWitt had done three Broadway shows: “Pardon Our French,” “Alive And Kicking,” and “Flahooley!”

Pre-show musical entertainment will be provided by one of our favorites, the Newark Saxophone Quartet. David Smith, Mayor Emeritus of City of Newark, California will be our emcee.

Included in our program, D.F.S. proudly will pay tribute to our esteemed honorees:  Dr. Richard Godfrey, MD and Alameda County Supervisor, Scott Haggerty. There will also be special recognitions awarded to Jan Vincent & Richard Ahlbrandt, Barbara O’Leary, and Deasy Lai for their outstanding contributions to DFS.

We are thankful for our growing list of sponsors: Washington Hospital Healthcare System, Fremont Bank, Fidelity Insurance Service, F.H Dailey Chevrolet, Kaiser Permanente, Stanford Health Care, Republic Services, Horizon Financial Associates, Genentech, Safeway Foundation, Morgan Stanley/Richard Huber Financial Advisor, Alameda County Supervisor Richard Valle, Coach George Wang, Union Bank, Newark Rotary Club and Autopia.

Event registration and VIP tickets are available at: For more information, contact  or (510) 369-5770. Visit, follow, and like our Facebook event page and learn more about the event.

Due to COVID-19 pandemic, DFS is presently facing a major financial challenge which has thwarted our growth compounded by the post poning of our in-person signature gala from April 18th to virtual on August 14th. This fundraiser will greatly help us get our footing back. To donate/contribute or learn more about our program, visit

Feel free to reach out with additional questions.

Hispanic Chamber of E-Commerce Hosting Free Webinar Tomorrow

Courtesy of Hispanic Chamber of E-Commerce:

WEBINAR: Pandemic’s Box: Now that we’re working remote(ly), where do we go from here?


Where are we now? Needs in the Current State

– Communication
– Structure and Process
– Compassion

Where Do We Go From Here? Most Discussed Changes in the Future State

– Flexible Future
– Work/Life Balance
– Travel and Real Estate
– HR Practices
– Employee Expectations
– Sustainability
– Specific recommendations to prepare for work after COVID19


Jill Silman Chapman is a Senior Performance Consultant with Insperity Traditional Employment Solutions. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin, a Master’s degree in HR Management from Tarleton State University, SPHR and SHRM-SCP certifications, and has 25+ years’ experience in the HR and recruiting industry.

Ms. Chapman partners with clients in order to recruit and train staff with an emphasis on productivity and performance. Through presentations, webinars and podcasts, she helps businesses find the best talent with the latest in recruitment strategy, talent attraction methods and technology. Ms. Chapman has been quoted as a business expert in such media outlets as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and CBS MarketWatch, and has worked with such clients as Marriott, Fox Sports, and


FREMONT, CALIF – Office Space Available for Immediate Lease at Drivers for Survivors, Inc.

Courtesy of Executive Director Sherry Higgs:


Dear Drivers For Survivors Supporters,

As we continue to run efficiently and begin steps to make adjustments to our organization as a result of not having received the federal 5310 Grant, we are looking to sublease office space in our Fremont office with immediate availability.

Located less than one mile from the heart of Fremont’s Centerville District, we have two separate offices available for sublease. One unit features 333 square feet of workspace, while the other features 409 square feet of working space.

Both units can be combined via single connecting door, or left separate. Each unit has a private entrance. Ideal use for [the] space is tax preparation, legal work, or insurance agencies. Each unit is equipped with a reception area leading into an office. Tenants have access to [the] first floor conference room for no charge.

If you are interested in inquiring more, please contact us at or


Drivers For Survivors

39270 Paseo Padre Pkwy #355

Fremont, CA 94538


An Intriguing Look at Corona Virus

Dear West Coast Readers:

Here is a funny, in an ironic-sort-of-way, look at the Corona virus a graphic designer colleague of mine created.

I Had The Coronavirus

It would be great if governors would encourage their constituents to practice normal hygenic protocol, rather than urge them to panic. The spreading of germs can be catastrophic, but unfortunately a recession is starting. There is a happy medium that can be practiced in place of this full-fledged panic.

What about all of the people who die of the flu otherwise? What about all of the people who continue to sneeze into the air and not cover their mouths with their shoulders? Do they care? What about all of the people who take public transit to and from work? I am always cautious of germs (hand sanitizer, part of one!), but I think a national dialogue should occur to find the balance between panic and better health practices.

When Calif. Governor Newsom encouraged seniors to remain home-bound, an image conjured up in my mind of my grandfather. He’s almost 90-years-old. Is he a concert goer? No. He once was – I recall a story of when grandpa took my mom to a Led Zeppelin concert in the late 70s – but he is definitely not now. He’s very healthy, but he is staying home bound since he is elderly. This makes sense that he’s being cautious.

Oregon Goveror Kate Brown and Washington Governor Insee have similar thoughts on reducing crowds to under 250 people. This is great in theory to reduce the spread, but how does a crowd of 50 help? And a few people do have to go to work. For example, when people drive through a fast food restaurant (since many restaurants are closed to patrons for in-house dining), a contagious person still has contact with the emplyee at the drive-thru window.

While it is understandable for many governors to want to limit social gatherings and therefore have concert venues, and convention center events canceled, it may be more economically viable for these leaders to think about the economic repurcussions.

It is discouraging that our healthcare professionals are denying access to their offices. What if a kid is sick with a stomach ache or broke his leg? I completely understand that health care professionals are under duress and have a limited number of kits in which to test people for the virus, and they are our wonderful hygenic heros, but what able the general population who need check ups? Or physical therapy? Or knee surgery?

What is great about this pandemic is that is should and is enouraging all of us to seek ways in which to think differently. I urge you all to contact our city and state governments with thoughtful approaches.



Fremont, Calif – Drivers For Survivors is pleased to announce it has received a $2,000 grant from Share the Spirit East Bay, a program of the Bay Area News Group – East Bay Times, administered by the Contra Costa Crisis Center. These funds will support the Drivers For Survivors volunteer companion driver program.

Drivers For Survivors (DFS) provides a volunteer driver program that addresses a door-through-door service for ambulatory clients who are diagnosed, or have suspicious findings, with cancer. We provide
not only transportation, but also the companionship element that presents essential support, stress relief and therapeutic presence to allow cancer patients to focus on their health and required treatments.

The funds will be used for Drivers For Survivors’ 7th Annual Volunteer Training and Appreciation Luncheon on February 7, 2020, [at] Massimo’s [Italian restaurant in] Fremont. Our volunteers are the most important element in providing service for cancer patients in need.

Share the Spirit awards annual grants through a competitive application and review process, and each year several awardees are featured in stories in the East Bay Times.

First Book Portland to Host Annual Fundraiser ‘Breweries for Books’

Come to Migration Brewery on July 17th in Portland. Entry is free!  From 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. they’ll be games for the kiddies, beer for the adults; trivia from ShanRock’s Triviology to play…

And you can purchase the children’s books of the local authors who will be inside, creating crafts with kids; You can also enter a raffle and win a prize!

50 percent of trivia proceeds from the evening will go to First Book Portland, and 10 perfect from Migration Brewing will be donated to boot. So come on buy, and get some awesome loot!

First Book Portland is an amazing non-profit and each year it hosts its annual fundraiser called Breweries for Books at Migration Brewing. Its mission is to distrubute free and low-cost books to children.

According to their press release, local children’s authors Brian W. Parker and Josie A. Parker will be leading craft activities for children. And signed copies of their books will be available to purchase on site as well.


Drivers for Survivors Hosting its Sixth Annual Black and White Ball Next Month

FREMONT, CALIF – Drivers for Survivors is a non-profit which depends on volunteers to take cancer patients to their doctors appointments.

Starting six years ago,  this organization began hosting an annual Black and White Ball to raise money to celebrate its success, join with sponsors and cheer on volunteers and meet donors. It will be held on Saturday, April 6, 2019 in Pleasanton, Calif., which is in Alameda County.

Drivers for Survivors also connects cancer patients with oncologosts and volunteers. Please fill out the form on their website if you or anyone you know would like to volunteer or can connect a patient with a doctor.

For more information on the mission statement, please visit

Question & Answer Session with Amy Varga, Non-Profit Extraordinaire

–By Emily Anderson

I met Amy Varga a few years ago when I was enrolled in the second cohort of the Willamette Valley Development Officer’s fundraising cohort. Always cool, calm and collected, I felt it worthy to share a brief question & answer series so we can all learn a little more about her, her business, and her love of the non-profit sector.

Why did you start your consulting business?

I started my consulting practice for a number of reasons. In 2008 while I was working full time, I created a set of community workshops and classes in fundraising and board development at Portland Community College. Through teaching, I discovered the mission I cared most about was building the capacity of leaders, boards and organizations versus advancing the mission of one particular organization.  In addition to that, on a personal level, I saw starting my own business as a way to craft a career that I had control over, that allowed me to be creative, and provided me the sort of flexibility I wanted.

When did you start your consulting business?

I incorporated in 2015 but I’ve been consulting, training and coaching leaders and boards since 2008.  First, I took on side projects while I was working full-time. I took the leap into full self employment in 2013 and in 2015 finally got my ducks in a row to make it official with the state.

My business is actually in the middle of a re-branding and growth stage right now.  Varga Consulting is becoming The Varga Group to better reflect the fact that the business is more than just me.  I have a small and mighty team of associates and contractors who work on different client projects as needed. The new branding and website (with loads of new content and free resources) will be launching in August.

How did you feel starting a new business while also teaching in the 2nd W.V.D.O. fundraising cohort?

I’ve actually been involved from the ground floor of creating the W.V.D.O. certificate program. Portland State University hired me to work with W.V.D.O. to create the learning objectives, curriculum outline, marketing strategy, and instructor oversight on their behalf — in addition to developing and teaching my own sections.

I (was) involved before the first cohort launched, doing these elements and have taught in it from the very beginning.

The first certificate program launched in September 2013, seven weeks after I had my second child. It was a truly wild and exhausting experience putting the final touches on the program, having a day job, getting ready to teach my classes and having a newborn and a 2-year-old.

I can still vividly remember day 1 of the very first certificate program: I left my tiny 7-week-old newborn baby and 2-year-old with my husband, pumped so I could be gone for a few hours without breastfeeding, somehow squeezed into my professional clothes and taught this new class for the very first time. It was surreal and looking back, I don’t know how I pulled it off but I’m glad I did.

 Are you still or have you been an instructor each year for the fundraising cohort?

I do still teach a few class sessions in the W.V.D.O. certificate program each year, but I have stopped the rest of the teaching I [was] doing. I had been teaching in the Portland Community College program as well as teaching master’s-level graduate classes in Portland State’s Master’s of Public Administration program and [the] University of Portland’s M.B.A. program in addition to teaching in the W.V.D.O. certificate program.

As much as I truly love teaching, I’ve had to make hard choices and trade-offs about how I spend my time in order to manage a busy client load, a growing business and a busy home life.

What are the most promising or profound changes you’ve witnessed in your clients after helping them with fundraising support?

I love seeing board members really connect with why they care about the mission, learn how to share that passion with others, and become energized and engaged ambassadors.  I love helping board members and staff think about fundraising differently — helping them see it as connecting and listening to donors and not “pitching.” I also love being involved with capital campaigns — there’s nothing like supporting an organization in bringing their vision to life.

On your website, on the “Resources strategy services page” you list your services. Do you have one service you love to teach clients about more than any other? Or do you enjoy providing all services equally?

Every project and client is different, and I enjoy all of them in different ways. What I love most is getting to know and support the amazing staff and board members that make our communities stronger.

You’re Oregon-based, but do you have any plans to expand your services outside of the Portland region?

While most of my clients are in the Portland metro area, I have had (and currently have) clients throughout the state as well as in Washington, California, and Colorado.  We are available to support organizations and coach leaders nationwide.

How do you balance family life with running a business?

It’s hard! I’m part of dual-working-parent household and both my husband and I work in demanding and rewarding jobs. I’m a big believer in what Sheryl Sandberg said once that “the most important career decision is who you marry.”  I’m able to balance it all because my husband is a full partner in parenting and in tending to our household needs.  He’s made sacrifices at work to forego advancement opportunities so that he can be available to be a fully engaged parent and partner. I also have my parents nearby and their help is also a big game changer.

I’ve also gotten extremely ruthless about how I spend my time, and have had to learn how to say “no” to many, many things I’d love to do but just can’t right now. That’s been a hard lesson that I have to re-learn all the time.

On a very practical level, I get up at 5 [a.m.] and work in the quiet, uber productive early mornings until 6:45 a.m. when I turn into Mom and get my kids ready for their day.  Putting in that dedicated early morning time has been my productivity hack. [This has allowed me] to be able to go to the gym after I get my kids to school a few days a week and stop working in the afternoons to drive them to their after school activities and still fit it all in.

If you have any advice for non-profit employees who sometimes feel burned out (they love the mission, but are understaffed, for example), what would you tell them?

The foundation of being able to make a difference in the world is to first take care of yourself.  Just like they say on airplanes, you have to put your oxygen mask on first.  You’re of no use to anyone if you burn out and are perpetually exhausted.  I want people to stay in this work for the long haul and that requires a marathon pace, not a sprint pace.

Creating and committing to reflective practices is so central to doing this well — whether that is regularly engaging in meditation or prayer, journaling, taking walks, reading, creating art, or [finding] other ways to connect with yourself and make space to take a broader perspective.

The work we do in nonprofits isn’t just about changing other people’s lives, it’s also an invitation for us to grow and change ourselves. The challenges we face each day are invitations for us to grow our resilience, our patience, and our capacity for reflection. Through the daily challenges, we have so many opportunities to practice how we want to show up and decide what kind of person we want to be.

Why do you do what you do? 

What I most want more of in the world is more empathy. I believe empathy is the heart of fundraising. Learning how to be a great fundraiser and leader means learning to be more empathetic. I hope that the work I do, and how I do it, inspires those I work with to deepen their empathy for themselves and others.

*This was first published on my blog*