Monday, September 23, 2013

The Job Hunt

This spring,I decided to go ahead and get one of those permanent-type jobs, one where you show up at an office building in nice shoes every day and don’t have to hound your employer for payment since it automatically comes bi-weekly in check form.  I started the application process two weeks before school started, because I did not want to start a new job in the middle of summer.  I thought getting a job two weeks after sending out resumes was a plausible outcome.

That eager optimism is gone.  It took about six weeks for it to die.  Job leads have fizzled, interviews have led nowhere, and flat-out rejections arrive in my inbox daily.  I now have what you might call a “lack of confidence.”  I stay up late at night worrying about the future and feeling very sorry for myself. Desperate for affirmation, I sometimes, in the early hours of the morning, put my face about two inches from John’s and wait for him to wake up.  If he doesn’t wake up, I pinch his nose so that he can’t breathe. 

“What?  What?” he gasps.

“Do you think I’m smart?”

“Yes.  Let me go to sleep.”

“Do you think I’m pretty?”  By then he’s already dozed off, and I have to pinch his nose again. 

Needless to say, we are both cranky in the morning.

I loathe job hunting.  I’ll find a job advertisement and think to myself, "This suits me to a T!" only to be deterred by an arbitrary specification.  Here’s an example of a promising copywriting position:

·         Must have a minimum 4 years of total, technical writing or copywriting experience with track record of increasing responsibility  (I do!) 
·         Ability to convince and drive receivers of communication to take action (I have four kids.  Got this covered.)
·         Collaboration and team building skills (There is no “I” in teamwork.)
·         Superior English writing skills (I do not split infinitives.)
·         Writing samples required.  (I have those guys!)
·         Must speak fluent Greek.  (What the hell.)

How hard should it be to find a job that pays at least $40,000 for 20 hours a week?  COME ON.

Sometimes, friends will give me helpful suggestions.

“Working in the lunch room is a great way to keep an eye on your kids in school!” they say.

“I almost have a master’s degree,” I want to say.  But I don’t.  I smile graciously and start singing, “sloppy joes, sloppy sloppy joes!”  I would probably make a great lunch lady.

As I contemplate my future career in food preparation at the local elementary school, I begin ruing the day. 

I rue the day I decided to get my degree in Literature and not Marketing or Communications or even Library Science!  I rue the day I let my teaching certificate expire!  For now I am useless.  I rue the day I ignored the little voice in my head that said, “taking Greek language classes will really behoove you in the long run!”

And then, I think the craziest things:

Maybe I should have gone to law school.  Maybe I should get an unpaid internship at the age of 35, like Chandler Bing on Friends. Maybe I should become a doula.  Or an artisan of some kind.  Or a mystery shopper.  Or the person who does overnights with the Girl Scouts at the zoo.  Or a bank robber.  I hear there’s good money in bank robbery.

I spent this morning combing the internet for job possibilities, and then devising plans to launder the money I’m going to rob from banks.  Is it suspicious to pay for a new roof with cash?  Does the IRS pay attention to things like that?  Is the IRS hiring? 

Today, I had to get out of the house.  I went to Wegmans to eat lunch by myself.  I made eye contact with no one, because I was irrationally fearful that someone would blurt out what happened on the series finale of Dexter, and I had worked very hard not to look up any spoilers on the internet. Staying at home without my kids has made me weird and creepy.

At Wegmans,  I grabbed a sub, a diet Pepsi, a copy of ABC Soaps, and found a small, quiet corner where I could read in peace.  Robin is coming back from the dead, and ABC Soaps had the scoop.  Job hunting on the internet and General Hospital-watching go together like peas and carrots.  There’s no reason I can’t tweak my resume while watching Sonny descend into yet another bout of madness. 

Is ABC Soaps hiring?

It's really only been six weeks.  That's not very long.  And I have things to do, like hounding my freelance clients for money, sticking the frozen dinner in the oven, and chasing Kiah off of Mt. Laundry.

Why don't you just fold the laundry?  That way, maybe Kiah wouldn't be compelled to lay on it?

Sheesh.  People are so judgy of the unemployed.  


Toaster said...

1. Thinking that you should have gone to law school definitely IS crazy; and

2. I have been a mystery shopper, and it doesn't pay well, if at all.

Janet said...

You are so funny!!! I think you are awesome and I also think you should be published!!! Authors can make pretty good money right? Any employer that won't hire you is absolutely nuts!

NotAnneLamott said...

Authors make sucky money unless you're Anne Lamott. So do lunch ladies and elementary librarians. (Trust me on this.) If only we lived near one another we could do lunch at Weggies and commiserate. In your boat, girlfriend. It's a crappy place to have company, but I love you.

MGBR said...

I have felt this pain. Did I ever tell you about the time I half-convinced myself to apply for a position as a rabbi?

Anonymous said...

I second NotAnneLamott. Authors make sucky money. Pretty sure I've lost a lot being an author.

Good luck in the job hunt!

Unknown said...

First of all, working a daily grind is not all it's cracked up to be. You have very little flexibility, a mindless petty boss, and 5 days vacation for the entire year. Enjoy your girlfriends, do some consulting, MAYBE get a part time job. But if you're really determined to get a full-time job, check out Liz Ryan at: and stand out from the rest of the job-seekers. (I find her stuff to be very thought provoking and well-written.) And my wife says, come hang out with her sometime (we have 5 kids ourselves) and she is a stay-at-home mom too.

Holly said...

Thank you for the reference- I will check out Liz Ryan. My problem right now is that I have TOO much flexibility. I am not a person who sticks to her own schedule. A little rigidity would do me good. Also, I'm notpicking up a job as one would pick up a hobby- we actually do need a new roof. :)

I would love to visit your wife!