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Unemployed mainframe programmer needs help or advice.....

By ncsercs ·
Was laid off at the start of July but have been talking to several recruiters regarding job opportunities which never pan out.

I'm 45, white, male and live in the Chicago area. Also have no network to fall back on.

I'm a Mainframe Programmer with 20 yrs of experience mainly with COBOL, JCL, VSAM, SPF, CICS, DB2.

I also have 3 yrs of experience with Oracle 8, Crystal Reports 7, Visual Basic 6 but the last time any of these skills were used was late 2001.

I have a lot to offer and feel frustrated because I feel have good skillsets and a good resume but nothing seems to be open unless there is a "laundry list" of requirements that nobody could possibly have.

Bottom line, I need a recruiter in this area (one of you three or recommend someone in the area) to let me know what the market is like in the Chicago area compared to a few years ago.

I'm serious about this and would really appreciate any help or advice I could get.

What areas are good? I'd be willing to relocate if I had to.

Thanks for any advice. Like everyone else, I could use a break!

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My mother in law was in the same position after 9/11/01

by Why Me Worry? In reply to Unemployed mainframe prog ...

She was employed for Solomon Smith Barney here in NYC and shortly after 9/11 happened, about 90% of her department, which consisted of mainframe programmers, were canned and left unemployed. I suggest you pick up a new set of skills, such as SQL, so that you can become a DBA at the least, but the truth of the matter is that mainframes are being phased out and only very few financial firms and hospitals still use them. If you don't mind relocating to the NY metro area, you may be able to find work as a mainframe programmer in Jersey City or Downtown Manhattan for some financial brokerage or hospital that still has one. I know that Goldman Sachs in NYC uses consultants for their mainframe programming needs, so you may want to inquire with them. Look up Pinkerton Consulting, as they placed my mother in law at Goldman Sachs before she left to take a permanent job at Solomon Smith Barney before she was layed off in 2001. She now works for Brown Brothers in Jersey City and they may be hiring, so give them a call as well. Be cautious of headhunters, as they will get you all excited about positions that they don't even have or companies that they have no chance of getting you in. If they tell you about a position that has been posted on Monster, Dice, or Hotjobs for months, I would avoid them because these are the bottom feeders that don't have any direct relationships with any companies and usually try to steal business from other reputable recruiters. Good luckin your search and keep us posted of your progress.

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I know all about the BS on the jobsites.....

by ncsercs In reply to My mother in law was in t ...

and the recruiters. I'm trying to find a good one but how?

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The best recuiter you'll ever find is

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to I know all about the BS o ...


The only value they provide is their ads give you an idea of how you might be perceived by them.
Other than that, network, read the IT papers, google for X investing in Y. Work on cover letters, telephone manner, targetting your cv. Above all if you see something you think might be suitable for , hit it yourself, do not wait for one of these wankers to contact you about it.

Good recruiters, there's one called Mr Needle , works for a firm called Haystack.

Apparently anyway, in twenty years I've never bumped into the guy, there's a possibility he's a fiction.
The sort of recruiter you want to find doesn't exist for our level anymore. Twenty years ago we were as rare as rocking horse ****, now without soft skills and the skill to sell ourselves, two a penny, no matter how good we are technically or how experienced.

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A couple of things to try

by Tig2 In reply to Unemployed mainframe prog ...

Both Manpower and Kelly have IT arms. Consider a temp with either of them that will give you exposure to newer technology. I have had short term contracts go on quite awhile- enough to start networking.

Better headhunters will give you their status with a company. Tier One is best- a Tier One gets postings faster than anyone else and researches their candidates for hirability. That can be key as contract to perm is pretty common.

New projects usualy begin in October. Make sure that you are posted to the better boards and then renew your resume weekly to keep yourself in the freshest returns.

Download the Express version of VB and learn it. My partner is currently learning the downside of not staying fresh.

Good luck and tell us how you get on.

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VB, The guy can't be that desperate

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to A couple of things to try

I'd be emphasising the SQL and administration and looking at DBA positions. A lot if them still exist on mini's. 'Nix would help there a lot.

.Net. VB is dying niche market, the only reason it still looks alive is the current batch of recruiters don't know there was a version before .Net.

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Thanks for the tips but.....

by ncsercs In reply to A couple of things to try

How would I find a good recruiter? Seem to have no luck with Monster, Dice, CareerBuilder, etc. Tried Manpower and Kelly with no luck. Chicago seems pretty bad.

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If you accept the risk of getting hit for

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Thanks for the tips but.. ...

many completely unsuitable opportunities. Remove any restrictions you might have on such sites for location, salary, hours industry or whatever.
In the main recruiters are as dumb as the hole in a cows arse. I ended up contacting one myself , because he hadn't got in touch with me for what looked like a very suited and suitable opportunity.
I had location europe on my profile and the job was in london. This twit was either an isolationist or a bit light on geography.

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How about Migration?

by Kev_TX In reply to Unemployed mainframe prog ...

Have you considered looking at a mainframe application migration company that can take advantage of your extensive experience such as Clerity (

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Ask yourself ...

by kovachevg In reply to Unemployed mainframe prog ...

1. Do you want to stay in IT? Maybe you want to switch to something more laidback, like teaching in a community college, or a specialized course in Master's program somewhere.

2. If you answered yes on the previous question, try this site:

I worked for this recruting company last year as a Java developer and a system analyst. All the jobs that you will find are REAL - no gimmicks. I buit several of the system modules that you will be using to get a job.

Plan to spend close to 45 min the first time you visit the site. It is worth it. E-mail me if you have any problems.

If you know DB2, I suggest an advanced course in data warehousing. It is still hot and companies need more and more DBAs but call them Reporting Analysts.

3. If the answer to Q. No.1 is NO - try something new - you can start your own business and make even more money. It will be something new to you but after the fist year you will see it's not rocket science. To boil it down, having a business is about being comfortable making your own decisions.

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