As of today’s date, it has been 940 days since I was last employed. That’s 2 years, 6 months, and 28 days (including today’s date). While I have no time to do a precise tally, I’m positive the number of interviews I’ve been on is well over one hundred, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of job positions I’ve applied to (be it through newspaper classifieds, online job banks, or Kijiji and Craigslist ads) is in the thousands.
I wouldn’t blame myself if I went into a tirade in this blog post about my job search. There’s nothing wrong with venting one’s spleen (provided it does not break any laws or cast myself in a bad light). I think I’ve earned the right to at least blow off a little steam on what I hate about my job search. Here we go.
I hate the fact I’m out of work to begin with. I’m not the type of person whose self-worth is based on what I do for work. What I hate about being out of work is the loss of routine and the fact it got me out of my home. I miss enjoying what I do for work because it was something I liked doing and was in-line with who I was in terms of ethics and interests.
I hate marketing myself in order to get a job. I’m not a product. I’m not a service. I hate using action words to promote myself like I am one. I’m a person with feelings and goals and dreams and aspirations.
I hate bothering people for help. I’m a strong independent person. I hate asking people to take time out from their lives to be a reference or to be on the lookout for any jobs. I’m grateful for the help, but I hate imposing myself on people. That’s out of character for someone like me. I also hate advice to build up my contact list and network with more people to improve my chances to find a job. I hate it because the reason why I’m trying to expand my contact list is not because I want to be friends with these new people, but to get a job through them. I’m being asked to use people for my own personal gain. That too is out of character, and it makes me so sick to my stomach I hate it.
I hate the phrase “networking with people”. You do not network with people, you talk to people. Networking is what you do with a computer, printer, or Xbox. I should know, I worked in the information technology field. I hate it when people apply computer terms like this to interpersonal relationships which have nothing to do with computers.
I hate the budgeting I have to do because I have no income coming in. I hate watching my bank account dwindle slowly and making decisions on whether the cheaper no-name brand of toilet paper, mouthwash, cereal, jeans, or dental floss is as good as the brand I used to go with. I hate finding out in some cases I should have stuck with the original brand because the no-name brand was terrible so I wasted money as a result.
I hate tailoring my resume and cover letter to fit a particular position or company I’m applying for. There’s only so many ways I can tell you I’m a hard-working 20 year veteran of the information technology field with amazing skills, integrity, a willingness to learn, and am a team player. In the reformulation process, I risk downplaying something that is my greatest strength for something that is completely meaningless yet I need to fluff up more with action words (see previous rantpoint) in order to improve my chances.
I hate interviews. I have having to show up at an interview only to be taken in 15, 30, 45, or even 60 minutes after the appointment time. I hate phone interviews, especially if they do not call at the agreed time and apologize for not calling, even though I put my ENTIRE JOB SEARCH on hold in order to be at home for the call. I hate the fact that my chances of landing a job are entirely based on whether or not I smile, sit up straight, talk with my hands, or have sweat, a blemish or a pimple on my face during the interview. Who care that my resume says I’m a hard-working 20 year veteran of the information technology field with amazing skills, integrity, a willingness to learn, and am a team player? Yes, I said that before, but I’m repeating it because I feel it is far more important than some interviewer judging me based on whether or not I smile, sit up straight, talk with my hands, or have sweat, a blemish or a pimple on my face. Yes, I said that before as well.
I hate weeding through the idiotic responses to my Kijiji and Craigslist ads from people offering me a chance to start my own franchaise when I clearly stated in my ad I did not want to run my own franchaise. I also hate the snarky responses I get when I politely tell these same people what I am looking for. Don’t get angry with me. Learn to read my ad or just keep your idiotic responses to yourself. I also hate the scams people try to pull on me. I hate taking time from my job search to tell these scammers I wasn’t born yesterday, even if it gives me a bit of smug satisfaction telling them that I wasn’t born yesterday.
I hate the lack of courtesy from potential employers after the interview or after I apply for a job. I write a sincere and thoughtful “thank you for the interview” or “thank you for the opportunity to apply for the position” letter, and I do not get a reply back. Any kind of reply back. I especially hate it when the potential employer neglects to tell me the position was filled 3 weeks ago after three weeks of following up.
I hate being told I’m over-qualified. There’s no such thing as being over-qualified. Over-qualified in my book means “I’m perfect for the job, but you lucky-so-and-so, you just found someone with extra work skills and experiences you might be able to use for your business down the road”. I hate employers who are picky at who to hire, especially if it is someone like me who is not being too picky at what jobs I’m applying for.
I hate job search centres and these so-called hiring experts and career coaches who think they know the best way to land a job. They really don’t. They are so disconnected from the real world one would need Star Trek warp-drive to traverse the vastness of that disconnect within a lifetime. I’m willing to wager with the scant funds I have left that very few of them have been out of work longer than a few days. Try 940 days. It’s not fun. It’s no picnic.
I hate the sheer amount of effort and resources and time and money I have to put into finding a job, and wondering what good it’s doing. I apply for job openings in as many various ways as possible, forsaking my IT career to apply for jobs at insurance firms, video processing houses, and grocery stores. I have a blog. I have videos. I have Kijiji and Craigslist ads. I was a client at many job search centres. I go to interview after interview after interview. I ask people to keep their eyes open for any leads. All of this I have done, yet the only thing it has come out of this massive war effort is this blog post where I’m venting my spleen about why I hate my job search.
But venting the spleen helped. It got the frustration out of my system. In addition, out of this frothing boil of steam, something else has surfaced. The job search has not been entirely unpleasant or fruitless (though it has been damn close). There were some moments during the job-search that I actually….liked. Something I felt a sense of pride in trying and accomplishing.
I liked trying new things, like the YouTube videos, this blog, the ads. I never tried writing anything longer than an Email. I would never have considered trying to make a video about myself before. I never had the time to go to George Brown College to learn a bit about Visual Basic .NET 2010. The necessity of my job search, however, pushed me to go do these things. As a result I learned something new, and enjoyed learning about in the end.
I like being able to challenge my fears. Going to interviews is unnerving. Trying something new to find a job is somewhat scary. Facing your fears, however, is character-building. Every time I face my fear of doing anything, I become a better person because I conquered something.
I like learning about new areas of the city I’ve never been to because my interview appointment sent me there. There were a few interviews I went to where a store or other place caught my eye, so I wrote the address down in my address book for future reference.
I like researching about a company I go to before an interview. Even if I don’t get the job there, the company might have a product or service I’m interested in, or I just found fascinating to learn about.
I liked self-evaluation, asking myself what I want to do for the job I apply for. It was a rewarding experience to re-examine the personal playbook I’ve used over my life, tearing out a few pages that maybe are out of date, or adding in new pages. Self-analysis is good for the soul.
I liked learning new things from people I encounter and work with in my job search. One person on my contact list told me about a site where you could do online jigsaw puzzles. I haven’t done a puzzle since I was a kid, but visited the site. It’s now on my favorites list in my browser because it’s addictively fun.
I liked what the job search has done to me. It made me humble. It’s amazing what having very little money can teach you about that is truly important in life, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing if your priorities are changed for the better.
(in a meek voice) Uhm, still wouldn’t mind landing a job though…..
Thanks for reading!