Holding Pattern

I’m feeling a bit out of sorts today. I’ve been chugging along on faith and optimism for the past month, but every so often it starts to flag and I struggle to remind myself that this is just a phase. I know that “comparison is the thief of happiness” but I’m not so much envious as wistful. There’s no one common denominator between my friends who are employed and those who aren’t. We all went to school and graduated, we all networked, we all had internships. It just seems to be more about luck of the draw.

Job applications are currently the bane of my existence. I feel like I’m an outdated model– the only things I’m an “expert” in are history (there’s no lack of social studies teachers) and law (these days, you’ve got to be licensed to do something as menial as document review). I’m a Renaissance woman who can do a lot of things with above average competence, but nobody wants that anymore. If you have to be trained, you’re out of the resume pool. Tex is actually back in Atlanta today, interviewing for two different positions at the same company. It would be highly ironic if we ended up moving back there and I’d miss Whataburger (lol) but I’m definitely rooting for him to succeed. I got a part-time job with a tax preparation firm, but I’d imagine they have some openings back in Georgia so I could transfer. Even if I couldn’t, I’m not making nearly enough to justify staying here if Tex gets the offer.

Today I interviewed for an office assistant position–shockingly, I hadn’t been screened out. I say that because I created a dumbed down resume that omits my law school experience precisely for applying to jobs that I would otherwise be overqualified for. However, I realized that I had accidentally sent in my real resume to this listing. After introducing myself the guy asked, “Why are you here?” and I couldn’t bring myself to lie. I was upfront about the fact that I simply need work, and have no problem doing administrative tasks. I actually enjoy keeping things organized and helping people out.* I figured that honesty couldn’t hurt since he already knew I was ridiculously overqualified. Surprisingly, he said he understood and even more, that he liked me. He told me he had several more interviews to conduct,  and asked would it be okay for him to forward my resume to some of his business friends in the event he decided I wasn’t the best fit. Of course, I said yes. I don’t expect to get that job, and I won’t be mad if I don’t. But it was nice to have a moment of authenticity and compassion, and to be seen as a person instead of Candidate #56.

Tex and I have agreed that applying for jobs all too often feels like selling yourself, except there’s no money on the counter when you leave an interview. Chasing down a customer? Dressing the part? Check. Pulling out your best tricks in hopes of eventually getting paid? Check. Psychologically, the process would be easier if you at least got a rejection email. Instead, you get really pumped up about any listing that even seems like a slight fit for you, craft an amazing cover letter and anxiously wait to hear back…until you forget you even applied because you do that every week. I really feel for Tex because unlike me, he’s had probably 20 interviews, all with different companies, since he got laid off. You’d think that at the point where you put on a suit and go talk to a human being they’d at least give you an idea of why you didn’t get picked, but that’s not the case. It’s always about the “right fit”. Why does fit matter if I can do the job? With the exception of domestic workers, who are around your home, children and personal belongings, the perfect personality shouldn’t be a big deal. It’s not as if you’re going to have work with that person for the next 20 years. That kind of career longevity is reserved for the big companies, and even their retention rates haven been steadily falling. Job hopping is fast becoming the rule and not the exception.

Ah, well. Just wanted to get some things off my chest. Trouble doesn’t last always, and it’s a beautiful day for a walk around the neighborhood.


*I could have been a librarian in a past life. Actually, I seriously considered getting a Master’s in Library Science. Except the idea of 2 extra years of school to learn the Dewey Decimal system when I already knew the local library like the back of my hand seemed silly.

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