The Woes of Finding a Job

June 28, 2010

It’s getting ridiculous.

How many resumes have I sent?

How many interviews have I been on?

I’m not sure I can even tabulate.

I feel like I should somehow be exploiting this miserable process – a reality show?

A sponsorship? Kind of like one of those fundraising walks – you know, five bucks for every resume I submit, ten for every cover letter, and fifteen for every phone interview… Maybe it won’t help cancer, but it will keep me funded for all the coffee drinks I seem to need to fuel me through this ego-busting experience…

The problem is, when it’s been going on this long, finding a job starts to feel like a job, and you don’t really want to actually get one. Well, of course you want to get one, but part of you feels like you’re maybe getting used to the panty hose and the questions about your greatest weaknesses.

I think that even tripped me up a little on my latest interview.

The question came – What would your current employer say is your biggest weakness?

To which I used to kind of say something vague like “Oh, that I work too hard, that I’m a perfectionist.” I actually am a perfectionist, but I don’t know that any of my supervisors would complain about that. I don’t really know what they would complain about, and that question is so darn tricky. Who wants to talk about weaknesses to a possible employer?

I’ve been doing this so much, I actually was bubbly and enthusiastic about my faults, and I think it did me in.

The main hindrances to me finding work include –

  • the economy
  • my main job skills are extremely niche – web writing and strategy positions do not abound
  • the jobs that do exist in my general area of expertise tend to not pay enough to make it worth it
  • I’m overqualified for the jobs that are available – people are reluctant to hire me to be an admin assistant because they probably worry I’ll leave as soon as something better comes along, or won’t be happy enough to be productive
  • I’m pretty sure there’s a voodoo doll with my name on it somewhere

Okay, maybe not the last one, though sometimes it feels like there are forces at work that have nothing to do with the quality of my cover letter or the abundance of my experience. People have friends. Personalities have preferences.

I haven’t had the worst of it. If I’ve sent out fifty resumes, I have heard of professionals having sent out a hundred. If I’ve been looking for three months, I’ve heard of people unemployed for over a year.

To all you out there hitting the pavement – good luck and keep your teeth clean.

To all of you with jobs you hate – be grateful – at least you do not have to talk about your weaknesses to total strangers while sweating in your possibly running pantyhose while your bank account bleeds…


Workforce News: When it helps to be underpaid, underemployed

July 22, 2009

Apparently, men are losing their jobs more than women are during this “economic downturn.”

Not surprising, really – because most of the jobs lost have been in the construction and manufacturing sectors, which are mostly populated by men.

The USA Today article notes that

Women are more likely to work part time than men, perhaps making them less vulnerable. Approximately 25% of women work part time vs. 12% of men, Mission Residential chief economist Richard Moody says.”When employers are actively cutting hours for the workers they do keep, it could be that those already working part time have a bit more security … as they are not likely to be receiving benefits and in general, are likely to cost employers less than full-time workers,” he says.

It’s great to know there’s an upside to being the underdogs in the workforce, isn’t it?

Now, the NPR story did wonder if, as women become the primary breadwinners of US households, if employers will start offering more childcare/eldercare benefits – and if the equal pay cause will get a boost.

I doubt it. Not to be bitter, but it doesn’t look promising. If the reason women are more employed now is because they make up the majority of teachers, nurses, health aides, secretaries, housecleaners, daycare providers, etc., it’s not exactly like they’re in some power position to broker additional perks.

And those of us who are not in a two-parent household, while we may have that part-time job, well, while that’s better than not being employed at all (maybe?), not having benefits or the wages of a full-time job may push us or keep us hovering around the poverty line – and stressed out.

And, isn’t it funny?

– That women are still the primary caregivers for children and the elderly – when are men going to fully engage in this? Until they do, I don’t see employers adapting policies to help with either –

– We still have such gender-segmented workforce populations? Will that ever shift? Will the guys down in IT ever get more than one geeky girl? Will the construction crew ever feature a host of buff women? Our stereotypes are so intimately tied to the jobs we do – still…