Friday, July 9, 2010

Good-Job Hunting

Job hunting is a tedious, all-consuming affair. You have to portray yourself as the greatest thing to hit the workforce since White-out; meanwhile little pieces of your once healthy self-image are being chipped away with each non-response to your resume dispatching.
It's a lot like dating. You show only your best qualities, with your beautiful, cosmetic-enhanced face and your most flattering outfit. You're charming and friendly and you say smart things. Then he doesn't call. You wonder what you said or did, or didn't say or do. You wonder who he did call.
It's a cruel truth that while we're in our most fragile state, fending off rejection and self-doubt, we have to display confidence and be intrepid. It's like standing upright after being punched in the stomach when your instincts are screaming at you to double over and clutch your gut.
Then there's the applications and questionnaires to complete. I struggled with the question, "Why are you leaving your current job?"
How do you say (succinctly), "Because trying to close home loans right now is like running into a brick wall over and over until I'm battered, bloody, and emotionally spent and I've done it now for far too long"?
I settled for the less dramatic, "I'm changing career paths in order to more fully utilize my administrative and creative skills."
I don't know what to say to the question, "What are your career goals?"
At one time, I would have answered, "To continue helping deserving folks attain the American dream of homeownership." With the housing industry slowly being overtaken by the big banks, however, I'm more inclined to answer, "To distract others in the home lending business while I make my escape in the last remaining lifeboat."
"Last remaining" is the operative word, since our state's unemployment is at 14%, the highest in the Nation.   There aren't too many jobs out there and the competition is fierce. I ask myself what in the world my chances are of landing a job I like with decent pay when I'm a non-college graduate, a week away from turning 45? Am I being overly optimistic?

Optimistic is one of the qualities I boasted on my resume, by the way.  I have an "optimistic, can-do attitude." Really, I do.
It's hard to know how much of your personality to reveal to a potential employer. Should you always opt for the conservative approach in your answers? Or should you stand out from the rest and throw a little humor in? What if they perceive humor as not taking the application process seriously? Just how candid should job candidates be? (See what I did there?)
Have you ever noticed that candidates is "candid" and "dates"? That's a bit of an oxymoron, isn't it? If my ex-husband had been candid on our first dates, he would have told me his goal in life was to sleep with as many women as possible and matrimony was not going to get in the way of that.

Then at least I could have thought it over before saying "I do." But I'm getting off-track.

We were talking about job-hunting.
Prospective employers like to ask what unique skills I can bring to their company. "Unique" conjures up things like juggling or water ballet. Are there any truly "unique" office skills? If I can file while standing on my head, does that qualify? Shall I learn to type with my elbows? Answer the phone without using my hands? What exactly are they looking for?

I've had to get creative with adjectives. I was going to describe my writing skills as "extraordinary," but that sounded a bit over the top. When you think about it, shouldn't extra-ordinary mean maximum ordinari-ness? Its synonym would be super-mediocre. Outstanding at being ordinary. The English language is perplexing, isn't it?
It's nerve-racking, this business of job hunting. I haven't been in this position in 20 years. I know I'm fortunate though since I'm here by choice, least for now.  I'm shifting gears, changing goals, taking a different path. That's a good thing. If we aren't happy in our circumstances, then we must change them. It's a simple concept, but a scary one.
I'm happy to say that I did get one response yesterday to a resume I sent out. That's given me some hope. I'm one of 60 candidates, narrowed down from 110. The 60 of us had to complete a questionnaire and do a couple computer tasks and  from that they are whittling the potentials down to 10 at which point they will begin interviewing.
I'm "cautiously optimistic"... which means I'm still sending out resumes and hoping I get called.
*Sigh.* It's just like dating.


Candidly Yours,


Tree said...

Oh yes....the dreaded job hunting! I know, girl. I left a job I had to move to AZ...only to come back to NJ a short 10 months later. And, of course, my job was NOT available, so the job hunting began. I lucked into finding one of the few State jobs left in this state, although only per diem. And although I'm a bookkeeper (for 25 years), I took a position as a receptionist to get my foot in the door. I can't complain really....I make the same rate of pay, but still after 3 years...only part-time (sigh). It's so hard to start over again when you're in your 40's....I'm askeered to try and find something else with the economy the way it is.

Anyway...enough about me! LMAO You sound like you did everything just right, and I'm sure you will prevail! Love the cartoons, by the way. LOL Good luck, and I hope that you are chosen from those 60 applicants to get the job! :)

P.S. You were tagged in a recent post of mine, Monday Minute.

Unknown said...

Urgh I just wrote a huge long comment and blogger ate it!! I have a feeling it ate the one I left on your last post too. Annoying much!!!!!

Anyways, it's been years since I was job hunting and i remember how soul destroying it can be. Hang on in there. tell them your unique qualities include a huge heart, being funny as and putting up with Fred. And if it helps, I'll teach you to juggle.

And 14% unemployment, serious?? That's huge!

BPOTW said...

Good luck on the job hunting. I know it's not an easy thing to do.

Lady Grey said...

Good luck job-hunting... the can-do attitude is what employers look for today... you sound like you have it...keep us posted!

Savira Gupta said...

Job hunting is tough but your attitude towards it is great and that is what employers look for, best of luck

Tracie said...

I'm glad I'm not job hunting or dating right now.

Good luck with your search! I hope you find something new soon.

Cheeseboy said...

Never thought about job searching and dating being similar, but they truly are. Luckily I have had to do very little of both in my life.

aladdinsane12 said...

you can do it! it took me 5 months to find a part-time internship, but that turned into a full-time job after another 3 months, so it can be may just take a while :( i'm sure some company will see the intelligent, wonderful person you are and give you a job soon!

Janet said...

Oh dear, I'm just starting this whole job hunting thing, and I'm not looking forward to it all! Ugh.

karen said...

I love the whole "extra-ordinary" re-definition!

When I was little I never understood why "awesome" was preferable to "awful" (seeing it in my head as "awe-full"). Wouldn't you rather be FULL of awe rather than just having some???

And I love toondoo ... so freakin' therapeutic! Who needs a shrink when you've got comic strips???