Some Days Are Harder Than Others To March Forth

My sincerest apologies upfront to anyone who may have been expecting some sort of media insight or astute observation today.  As those of you who actually care already know, I’ve been mightily struggling to somehow make an earnest living from those skill sets, honed over decades of unique experiences having made companies billions and other executive millions, with one-time personal connections to some of the most successful and, yes, controversial people that have ever graced or shamed a boardroom or a live set.

And somehow, unfathomably, beyond all reasonable ability I have to comprehend otherwise, one day removed from three years since my previous employer chose to “move in another direction”, less than two months after I returned to work being reassured (in hindsight, falsely) that despite the near-death experience that was my Christmas vacation (one my superiors somehow were “too busy” to even acknowledge, while they both had absolutely no trouble sending other executives who were experiencing the birth of a child or simply enjoying a trip abroad congrats and dogwhistles) my position was safe, I got THIS lovely missive just as the business day was ending:

Hi Steve,


We appreciate your interest in the role of Research Director and for taking the time to speak with the team.


While your experience and work history is impressive, at this time we have selected another candidate for this position. Although it did not work out this time, we invite you to continue to watch our career openings on the (redacted) Site. If you see a new position later on down the line, please don’t hesitate to apply again.


Thanks again for your time and we wish you the best of luck in your search.

And there it was.  For the 777th time since this horrible journey began, I was rejected.

At least this HR person took a few seconds to send me an e-mail which apparently suffices as the culmination of applications, cover letters, recommendations from their top executives, several other letters of endorsement from colleagues and vendors that had personal connections to the actual hiring manager, who at least gave me the courtesy to spend a half-hour with him on Zoom, because these days it’s apparently beyond reasonable expectations to hope for an in-person interview.

I suppose I should be more forgiving of the somewhat cut-and-paste and impersonal nature of the rejection letter.  As you can see by the graphic, these kind of reassurances are often readily available for purchase or in a template to allow quick insertions of someone’s name.  That’s apparently all any HR person is required by law to do to justify their position and indemnify their employer should anyone rejected want to question their decision.  I imagine this person may have spent, oh, 10 to 15 seconds to seal my fate?  Well, that’s 10 to 15 seconds more than I’ll likely spend in this company’s employment.

That’s at least more than another company, in regards to another position referred to me by a good friend who claimed to have a great relationship with the hiring manager (NOT the HR person) that for many months has remained open–a position literally dozens of friends and acquaitances had sent me links regarding while the position was being advertised–that I was far and away the perfect candidate.  And I consistently reassured the employer that the salary and title were “negotiable”.   The good friend and I have been texting back and forth for weeks with him asking if there’s been any progress.  Nary a day went by without my roommate asking for updates, either.  My roommate has already been let go and hired by several companies since I’ve known him.  When he’s been let go on previous occasions barely 24 hours went by before headhunters were on the case getting him interviews where hiring managers were following up before the end of the day.

So these few people who actually care are even more stunned than I am when I am denied even that courtesy.  So with more than a bit of desperation fueling my bravado because that tends to be my vicious cycle after I pay my rent and such deduction is then immediately followed up by an alert e-mail from my bank thay my account, I made a phone call to the actual hiring manager.

Now before anyone castigates me for stepping out of line, the position is a support role for SALES.  Sales involves ASKING FOR AN ORDER.  I would contend that, if anything, having the huevos to go directly to the decision-maker is a sign of competence, not insubordination.

The hiring manager was caught off guard, flabbergasted, struggled to pull up the e-mail and application I had previous sent him, which he denied he had ever seen, and then, after a couple of minutes of this back-and-forth, finally found my info. This all happened on March 1st.  My application was filed through appropriate channels on SEPTEMBER 16th.  I know this because he made the error of muttering this while he attempted to find the words to try and communicate why I wasn’t a fit.

This person skimmed over my resume and immediately started to pick apart my experiences as being non-representative of exactly what he needs.  “I need someone who has actually done the job I am hiring for”, he stammered.  I began to give him several examples of how I DID do that job, even if the specific job descriptions he saw did not allow for such detail on a WorkDay shortform.

— “I need someone who can literally come in here and do the job from the outset”, he followed up with in frustration.  ”

— “Have you had a chance to review the spec presentation I attached to my most recent e-mail to you that shows you what I can do?  I was able to obtain some recent data which I was able to craft into a sample of my ability to do exactly what you’re looking for.  And I guess since the position has been open for six months, you’re still looking for that person”.

—  “Oh, look, there’s an attachment.  I hadn’t noticed it”. 

Color me surprised.

I then calmly asked “How do you know what I can and can’t do if you haven’t even allowed me the chance for an interview?  You’ve heard directly from a trusted vendor and one of your corporate executives about both my ability and my desire.  I’ve invested dozens of hours on my own time to do homework on your market, sift through raw data, and craft a compelling storyline.  And yet, here I am, more than six months since this process began, for a job that you still have not found someone to fill, that your website still lists as open, and you’re immediately coming up with reason after reason why I’m not even deserving of the courtesy to pitch you?”

My former friends have shriekingly advised me never, ever, ever to attempt to bring up the first thought that comes into my mind.  I withheld my urge to ask my follow-up question “Does any of this have to do with my demographics?”.

All HR applications make you go through an exhaustive list of checkmarks and acknowledgements to indicate your gender, ethnicity, military background, what I identify as both racially and gender-wise.  And yes, your age.  And we all know those details matter.  Sometimes more than anyone can fathom.

My current roommate, in a half-hearted attempt to lighten my mood, had sent me this little nugget from Karen Breslau and Kelsey Butler of Bloomberg News which dropped earlier in the day:

California is moving closer to determining what eligible Black residents are owed for generations of discriminatory practices, a key step toward potentially becoming the largest US jurisdiction to pay out billions of dollars in reparations.

The California Reparations Task Force will meet over the next two days in Sacramento to assess how reparations should be distributed, which could include direct payments and investments in education, health care and homeownership for Black communities. The group is set to deliver its final recommendations to the state legislature by July 1 and it will be up to lawmakers to decide whether to adopt them.

Tackling the issue is a complex task for the group of civil rights leaders, policymakers, economists and scholars appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2020, following the murder of George Floyd. One of the models under consideration suggests the state would owe a total of almost $640 billion to 1.8 million Black Californians with an ancestor enslaved in the US, which works out to roughly $360,000 per person.

And then, this little observation from Katy Grimes of California Globe:

Some of the recent proposals are cash payouts of $350,000 to every African American, and $250,000 for every black-owned business to help close the “racial wealth gap,” which is actually a social justice grievance, and not slavery.

Perhaps even more egregious than this pay-out proposal is the big lie about California’s history; California was part of the Union, not the Confederate, and wasn’t a slave owning state.

Ya know, I had a few ancestors who were prejudiced against, decades before I was born, by people I never met, too.  But, gosh darn it, I’m not Black.

Maybe I therefore don’t qualify for $360,000, which would more than make up for MY CURRENT experience of discriminatory practice.  But even a third would wipe out the debt that I currently have because of what I’M experiencing NOW, not what my great-great-grandparents experienced in the 19th century.

My little phone call with the flabbergasted hiring manager ended with his reassurance that he would speak to his HR person and arrange for a phoner.  I asked him when I should expect that call.  Twice, he assured me it would be before the end of this week,

It’s Saturday, March 4th.  I checked my e-mail and voicemail and mailbox.  Have you heard from this person?  I haven’t.

So forgive me if I’m more than a bit frustrated and frightened than usual.  HR people apparently don’t have the capacity to understand the implications of their template-laden correspondances.  Hiring managers apparently believe it’s more than OK to sit on an e-mail for half a year before even half-heartedly spending less than half a minute glossing over a labor of love that showed what I know, not who I am.  Or am not.

I spent quite a bit of last night crying and praying with strangers.  I had to.  And I did a little more homework.  Was there any meaning to the fact that all of this was unfoling after rejection #777?

Apparently, as this graphic shows, there is.

So that’s why I’m still writing, crying just a bit less as I do.  But trust me, you wouldn’t want to see my face right now.

Nor would you have wanted to be within ten miles of me when I screamed after seeing the tab that my attorney stuck onto my growing bill for a 30-page cut-and-paste that, even after reviewing half of it, revealed numerous inconsistencies that all but offset the provisions he was assuring me that I’d have.

See, the curse of having a lot of time for attention to detail is to hold people accountable for their actions.  God knows I have dozens of others who won’t hesitate to remind me of that.  I live in a state that appears willing to make 1.8 million people rich for something they never did.

So, once again, I’m left with no choice but to provide you with that link beliw that so many of you believe is beneath me to even have the guts to ask.  A number of people have already responded, you can see who they are.  And those of you who fit that category–humblest, sincerest apologies if this request seems pressuring and unjustified.

But I’m about to default on my account again, and somehow links to jobs on LinkedIn from otherwise hopeful and supportive people are about to celebrate their third anniversary of fruitlessness and disappointent.

And my tears are way, way more inconsolable than they’ve ever been.

I’ll take whatever solace I can in the significance of 777.  And I’ll at least vow that I’ll return to it to avoid doing anything drastic, at least until 778 is received.

I’ll merely request you reply to MY link, since y’all still seem to think yours actually matter.  Your reply to this one WILL.

And, dammit, I need it more than ever.

Because Gavin Newsom isn’t bailing ME out anytime soon.

Until next time…

Fundraiser by Steven Leblang : Steve Leblang (

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