How to job-hunt after spending your entire adult life at one company?
February 14, 2014 3:18 PM Subscribe
My spouse has decided to look for a new job after working at the same (large, national) retail chain since high school. How do you hunt for work as a 30-plus-year-old who has never had to apply for a grown-up job, and who can't get a reference from any of your old bosses? Seasonally-appropriate snowflakes inside.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (13 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
The job in question started out as a high school summer thing, then it was a way to pay college tuition, and somewhere around graduation it turned into an actual career on a management track. Which is pretty great, but over the 10 years since, the hours have gotten longer, the appreciation from upper management has gotten pretty thin on the ground, and the stress keeps ramping up. For those and other reasons I totally support the decision to quit, but having never worked for anybody but this one corporation is making job-hunting interesting.
For starters, the company has a policy where current employees aren't allowed to give references for their co-workers, and every single supervisor The Spouse has ever had is still working there. The same goes for subordinates who have been successful thanks to Spouse's support and mentoring. Which is kind of an issue, because supporting and mentoring employees is the best part of the current job, with a bunch of success stories that nobody's going to be able to substantiate.
The other issue is that Spouse hasn't had to interview for a job since high school. No cover letters, no cold calls, not even a need to keep the resume updated. Part of the current job is interviewing applicants, so it's not like job interviews will be unfamiliar territory, but all the other niceties are going to be kind of rough, especially since we're talking about applying for positions on the level of district management.
This is completely outside my area of expertise - I'm a grunt worker, not a manager, and a string of bosses who quit or got fired means I've never had any problems getting references. Any advice the hivemind can provide, or resources for long-time company men/women who are jumping ship, would be very very helpful.