It’s been a long time. I know. I’ve been living life on life’s terms. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, to those in the know.
That’s funny. Jesus, you do have a sense of humor! Good Housekeeping tells me I can literally turn water into wine?
You all know I’m in a predicament of sorts right now. Looking for work, looking for work and looking for work. You also know that I’m dramatic and in desperate need of the right kind of attention right now. This post deals with the frustration and fury of job hunting.
I’ve listened to, and read them all-the blogs, the websites about the (add your own number here) things you can do to get hired or what to do while you are looking for work.
Let me tell you what my experience has been.
While trying to kill two birds with one stone (volunteering and upskilling) I researched what I thought would be a dream opportunity for me to help children in need, while developing and enhancing my communication and marketing skills, which I need to develop in order to get the jobs I want.
I found Children of Bellevue Hospital on Idealist.org contacted them about my desire to get involved-their mission to help children struggling with mental health issues is incredible and inspiring. It would be the perfect place to upskill, volunteer and get out of my house (and head for a while).
I was interviewed by conference call, which felt a bit formal for a job I wasn’t getting paid for. I expected them to tell me what I’d be doing and when to show up. Nope. I was told I’d have a second interview, but first I’d get an email with a packet I’d have to fill out and submit immediately. Are you serious? This was more work than a regular job application!
Fine. Got packet. Read it. Answered questions about my qualifications for “volunteering” which I found a tad pretentious. Also, I’d be expected to contribute $250 towards fundraising!?! Whatever. I’d cross that bridge when I got over it-I submit the packet and waited. After not hearing from them, I sent a follow up email, and was told my application was being “voted” on. If they were interested, I’d be invited for a tour of the hospital. I was never invited. It became frustrating when all of my attempts to upskill, volunteer or make myself more “marketable to employers” ended up like this.
I accepted rejection with gratitude-looked forward to them as if they were requests for interviews. In fact I had been rejected so often I had nothing to lose, so I called up a local newspaper (something I never had the confidence to do when I actually had confidence) and asked if I could volunteer with them-I’d do anything- I just wanted to be around writers.
The woman I spoke to was the editor-in-chief and she gave me my first writing assignment.
Finally I had purpose. I was working. I wasn’t getting paid but I loved what I was doing and it had meaning. I was now a published writer! The annoying advice and tips that workit.com and all those other career advice websites finally made sense. I knew this writing gig would open doors for me until it didn’t.
After the first article was published, I was writing my ass off. I emailed the editor-in-chief on a daily basis to check in and I never heard from her again. In fact, I never saw the newspaper on the stands again after that first editorial was published.
And so I’d have to say, going above and beyond regular efforts to find work, or to get noticed, yet still being rejected is what makes the job hunting experience humiliating. I understand job hunting is not what it used to be; looking for work, while looking for work is exhausting!
Of course it’s discouraging to hear nothing from the gazillion places you’ve submit your resume, or, like me you get a notification that only one person of the hundreds you’ve connected with on LinkedIn has checked out your profile. .
What I’ve learned about job hunting from a year of taking career advice is that career advice websites, headhunters, recruiters, hiring experts, may give what seems like groundbreaking, innovative ways to land your dream job and how to make yourself marketable while you’re waiting, they are all saying the same thing, and nothing new. Looking for work is work. And, as long as you are in a position where you need to find a job, that will never change.
My folks had a saying: raw meat must seek fire, which means (unless you eat raw meat) sometimes the fire isn’t conveniently close, but if you’re hungry you will do whatever is necessary to find the fire, cook that meat and eat!