Ahem.


Oh, universe. I’m sitting here killing time before I go out to turn in job applications, and I’m thinking about the nature of this thing I do — this thing, you know, this thing you’re reading — okay, fine, THIS BLOG. And blogs and blogging in general. The recent incident has me considering all kinds of things I never did before, like if something’s bothering me and I get all snitty about it, is it okay to post in that frame of mind or should I wait until it’s resolved and I can be kinder? And is this place even appropriate for working out my take on interpersonal issues, or are my legitimate choices either a) take it up with the person involved or b) shut up? I’m wondering all of this stuff and I’m considering writing a long introspective post about, because that is how I deal with things: I think, and I write, and the two have always been pretty tangled up for me. I clicked over to my WordPress admin site, and ha! I have been logged out. Clearly, that post was not meant to be.

So, yeah. Now I’m just killing time, pretty much. After I wrote that whiny post about how I can’t job hunt, and nobody’s hiring me, and the world sucks, I decided to try to do something about the whole situation. I called a friend who is also on the quest for employment, made Michael get up, and said, “Okay, you’re watching Connor and I’m going out to get applications, bye!” Actually getting out and asking people for applications was pretty disheartening — up to this point I’d been using the newspaper as my source for open positions, but it doesn’t give an accurate picture of the local market, really. Apparently, the only places that are hiring are fast food joints or hotels. Awesome. I am, once again, thrilled that I spent so much money and time getting an education and work experience in very specific fields, because right now my best shot at gainful employment is as a housekeeper in a cheap motel.

It’s depressing. I mean, yeah, hooray for me! I was proactive, I got out there and Made An Effort. I just wish that effort was going to pay off in any sustainable way, because I know how this story ends. This story ends with me taking the first job offered, even if it’s crappy, because I know it’s likely to be the only job offered. I’ll make noises about “putting up with it for a while” and “buying myself time to find something better,” but I’ll end up burnt out and still kind of poor, always too tired or too weirdly scheduled to actually find anything better. And I’ll end up quitting, after a while; I’ll get our finances back into the black, and I’ll keep trying valiantly, and one day I will wake up after three or six or nine months of exhaustion and boredom for paltry checks, and I’ll call in fed up. Lather, rinse, fucking repeat.

I just don’t get it. I know that the general economy is in the toilet. I know that my local economy is even more in the toilet, and may in fact actually be in the sewer. I also know that there are good jobs out there, though — jobs for which I am qualified, jobs for which I am trained, jobs for which I have largely already paid my dues. Why are they so far out of my reach? It can’t be that I’m too young; my friends manage to get and keep good jobs just fine. I have stellar references, no employment gaps longer than a year that can’t be explained away by continued education, and a fairly excellent professional demeanor. I should be able to start a career, you know? I want to do that, I want to get work I can stick with, I want work that’s going somewhere… and there’s no reason why I shouldn’t have it. What am I doing wrong?

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12 Responses to Ahem.

  1. Moose says:

    After my third job rejection in as many weeks, I SO HEAR YOU. It’s frustrating. And makes one want to slam one’s forehead into a window.

  2. Anne says:

    fwiw, I got my most interesting and fulfilling job through temping. Is there any of that around near you?

  3. Mer says:

    do you REALLY want the answer to that?

  4. sarawr says:

    Anne: None in my town — there are a few agencies in our neighboring town, but they often suck. I have applications in with them, but so far no calls; this is probably because I can only work in my town, and there just aren’t many jobs here right now.

    Mer: Yes.

  5. Mer says:

    Excellent. I’m always thrilled at the chance to tell people what to do, but it’s usually prudent to check first.

    Ok, first off, totally been there, and without the benefit of a degree. I feel you.

    Second of all, newspapers are nigh-on-useless for finding jobs where you use your brain more than your feet. Unless you’re in the service sector or a tradesmomma, you won’t find much there. If you want to go in an entry-level-industrial direction, go for it (they need admins, too), but from what I’ve picked up, your probably not physically compatible with the skilled labor sector. Monster isn’t much better, but AFAIK it’s more expensive and therefore the people on there will be slightly less likely to just be “keeping their options open”. For what it’s worth, a lot of jobs with high turnover will just continually run ads whether they need people right now or not.

    Now, the trend over, say, the past ten years or so is to increasingly use temp agencies to staff their cube-monkey-level positions. It’s cheaper, easier, and corners in larger companies are often cut in human resources. I’ve discovered a couple of (successful) tricks to working with temp agencies. Their suckitude varies widely, therefore you should be maintaining a relationship with many at a time. I prefer local agencies to national ones (like Manpower or Kelly, for instance) because in my experience, they pay better and they’ve gotten me more jobs, period.

    When you sign with an agency, usually you are selling your soul to a particular person in that office. You want that person to know your name, and like you. I’ve had great success calling my agents once a week on Monday mornings. Chit-chat with them, see if there is anything in the pipeline, ask what sort of jobs are coming in, get into a conversation with her about whatever you can. Be nice, be helpful, be a pleasant distraction in her day. Whatever you do, you can’t just sit and wait for their call.

    Finally, you have GOT to be as flexible as humanly possible. Only working in one particular town is just not going to cut it. No, stop arguing. How far has it gotten you so far? That’s what I thought.

  6. sarawr says:

    I love that advice, except for the part about commuting. How would you suggest I do that with no car?

  7. Mer says:

    You wake up at ass’o’clock in the morning, you kick your husband in the head until he is in the car, ducktape the kid to the roof, drop the kid at his place of holding, drop the husband wherever he goes, and drive to work. Or, he keeps the car and drops you off. Or, if you’re lucky, you could carpool with someone in your brand new shiny job. You don’t have your own car, but if I’m not mistaken, you’re not a carless family.

    To be perfectly honest, though, I also totally understand that the cost of child-holding and driving XX miles per day may not make financial sense against your cube-monkey salary, and may in fact make fuckin pizza hut a better financial choice. I don’t have any answers for you in that realm, other than the fact that as long as you’re not operating at a loss, you’ll probably be better physically as a cube monkey, and over the course of the next few years, you have way more earning potential. It’s rough. I’m sorry.

  8. sarawr says:

    Heh. I don’t think you understand the nature of the nearest commute — it takes over an hour round-trip, if you count drop-off time. On the mornings when Michael works at 6:00 I wouldn’t have a ride to work (unless I want to get there at 5:30 AM), and on the days when he works the afternoon/evening shift I wouldn’t have a ride home until 8 or 9 at night. It’s a feasible idea for someplace where towns are closer together, but… this is New Mexico. That and, at 11 miles to the gallon, our car isn’t the best for 90 miles+ every day. Also, I can’t drive the car. We are not a carless family in that one of us has a car, but that one of us is not me — I am not to drive the car, for reasons of stupid family politics, so… I’m pretty dependent on him for rides.

  9. Mer says:

    … man, you got bigger problems than finding a job.

    Also, hour round trip including drop offs? no love.

  10. sarawr says:

    Yeah, the nearest town is 21 miles, town-edge to town-edge — meaning about 25-28 miles, my house to somewhere in other town. Then, you know, a couple of minutes for the drop-off, etc.

    Basically, my problem is that I can’t drive our car and my husband works a ridiculous, ever-shifting schedule. Couple that with the fact that our car is very old and gets terrible mileage, and it’s really just better that I stay in town for now.

  11. Mer says:

    no, i mean no love TO YOU, you big wimp. I’ve done way more than that.

    But you’re only a wimp before the mileage is taken into consideration.

  12. Anne says:

    You guys seriously need some decent public transport over there! It takes me almost an hour to get to work (walking, train, tube, walking) but no car required.

    A friend of a friend works from home typing up audio tapes for a law company, and I’m thinking about something like that to make extra cash if I don’t go back to work fulltime, which is pretty unlikely. Anything like that around? – it wouldn’t matter where the company was, and I imagine they could get you the ‘tapes’ digitally if needed.

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