Monday, January 6, 2014

The Crushing Defeat of the Job Search

There is something anticlimactic and sad about receiving news that you have not been accepted for a job. It is an even worse feeling when you have applied, and received nothing at all, not a congratulations on getting the job or a rejection. Not even a rejection. Just an empty slot in your mailbox where that small notification might be to help you move on to the next thing.

And the next.

And the next.

Lately, my chest has been gripped with the empty feeling of defeat. I’ve applied for jobs only in a certain area, geographically or skill wise, that seem promising. But since entering the search, I’ve become unsatisfied with what has been returned.
If news reports are to be believed, there are thousands of jobs out there, even though our economy is not the best that it could be (supposedly). And there are hundreds of jobs that I have seen. It isn’t only that they require experience and expertise that I don’t have – they won’t give me the chance because of the old catch twenty-two of no job no experience – but that almost none of the jobs available interest me.

I’d like to be a copy editor, seeking out grammatical errors like a falcon stalking a prey slinking surreptitiously through a field of words, trying desperately to hide as my red pen strikes. But there are no jobs of that caliber, entry level or up, where I live. Only in larger cities. The issue with larger cities is the amount of money it takes to spend going there and taking up residence. Then there’s the issue of finding the job in the first place, or at least, convincing someone to hire you based on the promise that you are A) what they want, and B) are willing to relocate.

So far, no bites.

I can’t even get a preliminary interview. And as time goes on, I wonder how many other people are out there like myself, with good skills and a quick and agile mind, who can’t get a break because everyone seems to already be looking for the one thing we as a group don’t have: experience, at least, enough to qualify. The mystery that eludes me is how does one break in when no one is looking to hire a kid a year and half out of college wanting to take a chance and get the real-world experience everyone says you need.

But to be honest, if you want that job, you need to go out and get that job. Sitting there just putting out electronic application one after the other is, frankly, lazy. You just clicked a button. Whoohoo!

But where was the initiative to prove that you really want this job, are good for this company, even without the necessary years of experience? Where was the work?

And that was part of my problem. I applied for a job at a news station several weeks ago and figured I probably wouldn't get it. But a week later, I called the station manager back and left a message, telling him I'd be happy to discuss my resume with him. 

And I called him again the next day. And a few hours later, he got back to me. We had a lovely 20 minute mini-interview. Will I get the job? I don't quite know. But the experience of talking to a prospective employer, learning how to sell yourself, or just having that process of being asked questions you're not used to was invaluable. I have better idea of what to say when someone asks, "So tell me about yourself". 

Sometimes, taking the initiative pays off, in big ways and small ones, but in the end, it gives you the satisfaction of know that you tried.

My happy dance

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