Hump Day: Mid-week Musings

March 10, 2010 at 1:13 pm (Hump Day: Mid-week Musings)

Job Hunting in the 21st Century

In 2007, I made the decision to leave my chosen profession and began seeking a new career. I was, immediately, slapped up the side of my head–hard–by the changes in the job-hunting process that had taken place while I was safe in an established, 15-year career. Despite my intelligence and professional preparedness, I was like a fish out of water and have been gasping for air for most of the past three years. To my credit, I had the good sense to register with all the local temp agencies, so I have limped along with off and on temp positions. In addition, I have been able to work at things I enjoy with friends of mine who have their own businesses: when there is work, I work as an electrician’s helper with one friend and as a landscaper with another friend. I also saved money from my previous income and the sale of my shares in my previous business. However, times are hard. Resources are wearing thin and threadbare. I have days–and weeks, sometimes–where I become a bit more than worried. The main source of my frustration is the process of applying for jobs as it is now in the age of the information highway–otherwise known as the black hole of despair.

In my previous profession, I never really had to job-hunt. I was very good at what I did, had a strong reputation, and was offered jobs all the time. In addition, I could apply for jobs and get offers without much trouble at all. But, I also understood and was adept at the process then. You could walk in and talk to an actual person, provide a resume, and know right then if you were in the running. You could pick up the phone, make an inquiry call and get immediate feedback. You could send follow-up letters and make follow-up phone calls. The process was personal, professional, clear and timely. You could even haggle over the offers, hold out and negotiate. You could, back then, seamlessly move from one job to another, usually, better job without confusion or aggravation.

Those days are gone. As if changing careers were not hard enough, the process now makes any job application a nightmare. Everything is on-line, often poorly executed and difficult to maneuver, and it is often unbearably time-consuming. And, to put the cherry sloppily on the already feeble cake, the prefered format for resumes has changed greatly. I felt like I needed a second degree in resume writing. To add to that, the entire process of etiquette has changed: there is no real etiquette anymore because there are no real people involved. Even the email applications are impersonal and you never know what happened to them. So, I spend hours of travail scouring job boards and completing applications. The “submit” button quickly sends my application into a dark, nebulous abyss at the end of which lies God-knows-what…or whom.

I have these visions of little impish, troll-like creatures, sitting in a damp dungeon, giggling as they print off our desperate little applications, shred them, and drop them into little black bowls bearing our names. I can see them, drooling over our desecrated paper icons, pouring fuel on them to then set them on fire, murmur incantations and curse us to a never-ending cycle of applications made in earnest that never go anywhere productive. It is maddening.

It is hard enough, at my age, to transition into a new career–to try to market yourself, demonstrate your skill sets and experience translate across job arenas, and establish yourself in new and different areas. The current economy only makes it worse. Those of us who seem to struggle the most in this new environment are the very people who are most employable and have so much to offer. With hundreds of people applying for even the crappy just-get-a-job positions, employers can choose younger people who will work for less and accept fewer benefits [or none at all]. Despite all that we have to offer in practical experience and how capable we are, old broads like me struggle to get any job–let alone a position that is remotely compatible with our professional aptitudes. It is a degrading, sometimes humiliating process. It is difficult, at times, to maintain faith and hopefulness. No matter how self-assured I may be in general, there are times when my confidence and self-esteem suffer. This is one of those times.

I had recently applied for several jobs for which I am clearly qualified and to which I would have much to offer. I felt sure I would, at least, make it to an interview. And, yet, another week passes without a single call. And, I daily drop more applications into the black hole. I find my control over intrusive thoughts is failing. I run all sorts of unproductive crap through my head. Was I over-qualified again or under? Did anyone even see the stupid application? What in the hell am I going to do if things don’t change? How can I be a solid and dependable partner to Scin if this continues? How will I keep my house? How did I come to this? What does the God of my understanding want from me or expect me to do?

Thankfully, this never lasts long. I am, usually, very skilled at correcting errors in my thinking. I can, within a few minutes, quiet the shouting in my head, breathe for a moment, and get myself back on track–a few breaths brings assurance that the benevolent universe is still benevolent, that I am cared for very well, more will be revealed and all will be as it should be. All I have to do is focus for a moment and I can, again, see clearly all the abundant evidence that the Spirit of all things moves in my life and cares for me. I can see the blessings, recognize all I have been given when I need it, and I am restored. Ready to dive into the process again and have faith there will be the right job at the right time. We truly are transformed by the renewing of our minds–at least, I am.

So, that said, I will return to the dimly lit forest of job boards and send my applications to the impish trolls. I am–again–sure that there is a job out there for me. I know that, when the right job comes, an intervening hand will grab my application and snatch it safely away from the grubby little troll’s claws. And…the phone will ring.

NOTE:  This work is published here as proprietary and may not be reproduced, distributed, sold, or otherwise utilized outside the posting on this site without the express permission of the author; these works are the sole property of the author writing as Androgynonamous or DreadPirateRobert.


  1. Scintillectual said,

    My darling, I have said this to you countless times but I will say it again here: your commitment to the process, as maddening as it is, astounds me. You continue to get up day after day after day and fight the good fight. You put in applications for jobs that others with your experience would perhaps find demeaning and you go to interviews with the highest of hopes and the greatest of expectations each and every time. When any lesser person would long ago have attempted to hit the eternal snooze button, you continue to persevere…not just to make sure you keep your home but more importantly, to keep your home so that your mother has a place to live and someone to care for her, not just to have a job but to be proud of your abilities and your capabilities, not just to put food on the table, but to extend a warm welcome at that table to others in need. You are truly my hero. We may forever struggle, or we may get lucky and wind up (in a few years) as the well-known and respected owners of our own publishing company. Meanwhile, a foul wind doth blow…but I know in my heart of hearts that anyone with as much courage, stamina, vision, and Faith will be rewarded. Your day is coming, my sweet baby boi, your day is coming.

    • androgynonamous said,

      My dear, sweet lover,
      I am at a loss for words…but will say this: your support and encouragement mean the world to me and make a huge difference in my life. I am as astounded by you: by your courage, your ability to tackle the things you do on a daily basis, and still be the kind, giving, loving and present person you are. You are a wonderful mother, friend, lover and are valuable beyond measure. I love you, am grateful for you, and my life is a richer and brighter place with you in it. You are warmth and safety and assurance in the foulest and meanest of winds…I can only hope I offer even half the sanctuary to you that you give to me. You help me believe my day is coming and more…that our day is coming. We need only walk our walk together and the winds will, indeed, calm–if only as we shield each other. I will be talking more to you soon…

  2. Blazer said,

    I don’t know what to say. You are doing everything right and I believe that the perfect opportunity will materialize. You are too talented to go much longer without someone snapping you up. Hang in there.

    • androgynonamous said,

      Thanks to you, my friend, for the encouragement. It means a lot to have such a good and kind soul in my corner!! Hope you have a great weekend!

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