Sunday, July 13, 2014
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For (Or Perhaps They Haven't Found Me?)
I've often heard it said that "looking for work is a job in and of itself". I think there are parts of that statement that ring true. It takes effort, it takes diligence, and it's not a lot of fun.
I feel like I've spent the last year looking for work. Last year at about this time I began my quest in earnest. I wanted to venture out from teaching and look for a job that more closely matched my current area of study. I perused job search engines, networked, and applied for a lot of jobs. It was kind of fun at the beginning. The world was my oyster and the sky was the limit. I was sure there was going to be something that matched my skill-set and would give me great experience to combine with my master's studies.
It took a long time.
Finally, this past January I found what I hoped would be the perfect job. It was half time, it provided me with clinical experience, and I believed in the work I'd be doing. I breathed a huge sigh of relief that my job of searching for a job was over. I quit checking my job matches on the search engines, I stopped checking the "Careers" section of the Free Press, and I was grateful my hunt for work was over.
Just over three months later, that search began again, in earnest. It came along with disillusionment, sadness, cynicism, and heaviness.
I've been at it again for nearly three months. It's no more fun this time around than it was the last time.
Anyone who has looked for work for a significant amount of time can probably relate to the varying emotions you go through when you think you've found yet another "perfect job". After awhile, it doesn't even have to that close to perfect to fit the bill. First there's the excitement of seeing something that piques your interest that you know you can do. You're sure the job is meant just for you! Anticipation builds as you picture yourself in the job. You find out as much as you can about it, search your friends list for possible connections that can get your foot in the door, and begin the process of fine-tuning your letter and cv to fit the position. After you spend hours perfecting both and securing references, you submit it feeling optimistic and confident, sure you'll get an interview.
You wait. And wait.
And you don't.
It doesn't take long for rejection to hit like a good old knock upside the head. This is only amplified by the fact that you may have told people close to you about the great job you're SURE you're going to get an interview for, and out of kindness and curiosity they check in to see what the status is on the job. Then you get to tell them you've been rejected. Again.
It's a cycle that keeps repeating itself over and over.
Two weeks ago as I was about to hit "send" on my application to another one of those perfect jobs, I told Mike I didn't think I could keep doing this. If this one doesn't come through, I don't think I can do this again.
It didn't come through.
But this last week I did it again... because I have to.
After enough rejections you begin to look at that finely polished cv and the letter that highlights all of your strengths and you begin to doubt it all. It almost reads like something you've made up, after awhile. If it was true, you'd get the interview, you tell yourself. You start to re-read it with a healthy dose of scepticism. You talk yourself into it and write that next letter with a somewhat forced hand - as if you're trying to convince not only the potential employer but yourself that what you've written is true.
All I need is the interview, you think. And so you do it again and again.
Maybe this next one will be "the one".
One of them just has to be.