Job Hunter’s Diary: Bridesmaid Blues

Bouquets are nice. They’re pretty, too, and some even smell okay. But flowers don’t bring home a paycheck. and they certainly do not boost my morale.

And now I know. I know why single women complain about being a bridesmaid more than once or twice, and what it means to them when they are. Duh. In the world of job hunting, being a bridesmaid stinks, and once it happened to me a few times the stank of it began to permeate my overall attitude. At first I thought it was wonderful. “Hey GREAT news! I had a super interview and they want me to come in” enthusiasm, that sweet feeling of hope springing eternal, that the job — the good job — is right there within grasp.

I felt like celebrating. Yes! Somebody does love me other than Mom, the wife having long since resigned herself to a sort of perpetual state of patronizing disapproval. I have the goddamn proof because Joe at The Company wants me to come in for another interview. The Interview. The One That Matters. It goes well, really well, but they choose someone else. Or they redefine the position. Or they hire an internal candidate. Or they put the job on hold. Or they decide to never call back. And all that sweet, fine love goes away, and you’re left with nothing but the smell of being second best.

I call it the Bridesmaid Game, and after two or three rounds, I’ve gotten a little sullen. Instead of joy, it’s more of a jaded feeling, something along the lines of “They said that they like me and want me to come in. Probably for a 7 hour ordeal with 15 people. Whatever. Is my suit clean? I think I need a new shaver. Dang. Does this mean I have to take a shower?

Four times – maybe five or six – I’ve had the honor of being The One Not Chosen. One company, after five interviews, decided to go with the dreaded internal dude. Another one, after a battery of tests, three interviews and a pony ride, chose another candidate. Or maybe they didn’t, and they were just telling me that. Either way it wasn’t me, so the who don’t matter. Only the why, which of course they don’t tell you because, well, it breaks the Unwritten HR House of Pain Rule: Make Them Feel Small and Feeble.

I know it’s a sign of the times. According to The Conference Board’s June jobs report, companies are being extremely picky because, well, they can given the large number of unemployed people out here with me. The report also implies that companies are holding off due to trouble in Europe.

That doesn’t make me feel much better. In fact it makes me feel worse, so if you’re a sweet little empty headed thing smiling at the cameras and spouting cheery lines about how I’m not a loser because EVERYBODY is a loser so therefore no one is but then again, wink, you ARE unemployed…

Just move on to the dead puppy story, ‘Kay?

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