One of the things I was most surprised by when I got into the jobs business over a decade ago was the prevalence and practice of age discrimination in hiring right here in the USA. Oh, sure... we're not like some overseas markets where job ads explicitly demand youth, or a particular gender, or beauty(!), in the applicant, but there it is...
Doreen Livorine, a Michigan native and former director of finance in both the automotive and utility industries, decided it was time to relocate.
“I’d worked and lived all my life in Michigan,” said Livorine, 52. After her husband passed away four years ago, she’d been eyeing certain locales. “I wanted to move somewhere that was warm year-round, and I’d narrowed my choices down to either North Carolina or Houston, Texas.” She signed up with TheLadders in early 2008 and searched for positions in the accounting field in the geographic areas she’d chosen. It seemed a stroke of good luck when she was asked to interview for a position as a senior accounting leader at a large energy company based in Houston.
“As an accounting professional, I liked doing accounts receivable, accounts payable, cost inventories — all that type of work,” she said.
The company agreed to reimburse her for travel expenses, to assist her in selling her Michigan home and to help with some relocation expenses, Livorine said. She flew into town and had whirlwind interviews with 15 people, then flew home, excited about the opportunity.
Her Michigan house sold quickly, too, and in April 2008 (within a week of accepting the energy company’s offer) was relocated to temporary housing in Houston.
Too quick a decision
However, by August 2008, Livorine was beginning to think the fit wasn’t right. Instead of drawing on her many financial and accounting skills, Livorine said the position involved co-ordinating with other accounting groups within the energy company.
“I would simply make sure that the other departments were correctly reporting and sending those reports to the head office on time,” she said. “It was a sign, really, that I wasn’t in a good position,” she said. “I didn’t really take the time to understand what I was getting into.”
The second job search of the year
So for the second time in a year, she began her search again. Livorine rented an apartment, moved her things out of storage, and set about finding the perfect position for her. She signed up with TheLadders.com again in October 2008, and used many of the same tools and parameters that had helped her quickly find her a job the first time.
“Since I used TheLadders.com previously,” she said, “I was able to repurpose much of the same tips, expertise and knowledge from the site.” During her first search, she’d been told her resume wasn’t up to snuff and had applied the advice given to her by the resume professionals to help spruce it up.
Livorine said she was also very impressed by the number of top recruiters and headhunters using TheLadders, including many who contacted her after seeing her credentials and job-search requirements on the site.
“They have an entire ‘recruiter list’ section that I didn’t even have to use,” she said. “The top recruiters with the best jobs are already using TheLadders, and they reached out to me.”
Livorine began to receive calls quickly and fielded seven interviews in six short weeks, she said. After that, a series of second interviews followed.
A fresh start with better perks
On the day before Christmas, Livorine was offered an incredible opportunity with Maximus Coffee Group, a coffee procurement, processing, packaging and distribution company that was expanding its operations in the Houston area.
As Kraft Foods Corp. wound down operations and prepared to close its Houston-based processing plant — which previously processed Maxwell House Decaffeinated Coffee and Minute Rice — industrial engineer and grandson of Maximus Coffee Group founder Carlos de Aldecoa Buena stepped in and purchased it for his company, Livorine explained.
Livorine was offered a position as a controller and is in charge of the company’s financials, cost accounting, inventory and the other accounting responsibilities she loves. Livorine also now has 11 direct reports, and is pulling in a salary that’s even higher than what she made with the energy company.
“I told the recruiter that connected me with the job that I’d be happy making what I’d made back in Michigan,” she said. “The cost of living here is much lower, and I knew I’d be happy, but Maximus came back and offered me a 25 percent increase over that!”
Livorine said her future is bright with the company. The operation is growing, and in addition to providing decaf, instant, roast and ground coffees, it is also still processing Minute Rice for Kraft and developing new business with companies like Sara Lee and Folgers.
Maximus also has improved the overall job situation in Houston by purchasing a plant that would have been shut down, and has since increased the number of staff.
“I know it was tough, but I’m so happy now in my current position,” Livorine said. She said if it weren’t for the experience of taking the wrong job, she’d never have ended up with the perfect position.
“Everything happens for a reason, you know?” she said.