Job hunting sucksPosted: August 2, 2011
The longer that I go without work, the harder it is to preserve my self-confidence. Longstanding doubts about my educational choices and work history multiply. Maybe I should have been an accountant after all. Or maybe I should have conquered my squeamishness with blood and other bodily fluids (as well as my narcoleptic spells during Biology class) and gone into the medical field. I say that because most of the vacancies I see these days are for bean counters and health care providers. But then I remember that I’ve only met a handful of likeable accountants with a lick of personality, and I hate hospitals.
I see plenty of sales jobs, but most of those adverts are a) internet scams, b) part-time and/or minimum wage positions, or c) demand that you work an insane number of hours moving a phenomenal amount of product in order to get a taste of the illusory commission rate. In most cases, the type of wage slavery in Category C is an even bigger lie than the identity theft/marketing traps that comprise Category A. And I won’t break my neck hustling wares that I don’t believe in. I just won’t.
I’ve had several interviews. I’ve followed all of the recommended steps from the stacks from the articles I clipped from the Wall Street Journal. Get a haircut the day before. Wear a black suit, conservative tie, and polished shoes. Show up 15 minutes early. Don’t ogle the secretary, no matter how miniscule her ensemble is. Once I’m in front of the hiring authority, don’t slouch. Take copious notes and ask plenty of questions. Don’t trash your previous employers, no matter how despicable they might be. Don’t be the first one to ask about money. Don’t openly laugh or spit when the initial salary offer is a sliver of your old paycheck (I don’t need a lot of money – just enough to cover living expenses, workout supplements, guitar strings, the occasional book or DVD, and ammunition. For the most part, I just want to work my 40 years and pursue my boring hobbies. But they don’t need to know that, because I’ll never voluntarily disclose my utter lack of ambition during a job interview). And I try not to be overly pushy, but I am direct: how do I stack up against the other candidates, do I meet the requirements for the job description, and what do I need to do to get the job?
Inevitably, I get the phone call or email a few days later that goes “oh, you were great. But you’re overqualified/made too much money at your last two jobs/we found someone even more desperate than you, blah, blah, blah. But we’re sure that someone else will snap you up real quick, blah,blah, blah, because you were a wonderful candidate, blah, blah, blah. Now kindly go jump in a lake.” A pat on the back isn’t going to feed me, you #$%!!!
So the local job market is terrible, but it seems to be pretty horrid everywhere. Most of my fellow jobless friends around the country tell me their prospects are equally grim. That’s certainly not reassuring. As matter of fact, it’s a damning indictment that this economy is in even worse shape than advertised, and it will probably get worse before it gets any better. I even broke down and applied for contracting jobs in Afghanistan yesterday. Trust me, I got my fair share of excitement in Iraq…and then some. But no one else seems to be hiring, and KBR, Fluor, and Dynocorp always have vacancies. And not to be utterly fatalistic, but the only times I’ve made decent money are when I’ve had to relocate and expose myself to a fair amount of physical danger. Maybe I was never meant to work a halfway fulfilling job that’s 40 hours a week, with weekends and holidays off. Perhaps it’s just time to accept my fate.
I’ll keep plugging away. I mean, what other choice is there? I’d make for a hideous streetwalker.