The Job Hunter’s Diary

Looking for a job sucks. There’s really no better way to put it; it’s not terrible or horrid, not unsavory or difficult. It just sucks, man, and in fact it’s one of the worst things that can happen outside of the three Ds: death, divorce and detention. I know this because for the second time in my life I find myself out there hunting for that “next open door” or “great opportunity.” Bleh. I want a j-o-b, something I like, something that is preferably not at a soul-killing, swinish company.

It goes something like this: you get to know LinkedIn really, really, well. You try to reconnect with people who may or may not have the time or desire to connect with you. You scour job search sites and set up email notifications. You join groups and try to get yourself in the right time and place. It’s tedious work that most frequently ends up at a culdesac mixed with the houses of hope and rejection. The hard part? Getting over yourself, and resisting the urge to find a job at the bottom of a can of Simpler Times.

Yeah. Just kidding about the booze part. On the serious side, getting over yourself is a big deal. That and staying positive about who you are and what you offer. I know that I’ll get there; I know that it’s just a matter of time, of right place/right time/right contact-ness. This much I know. It will come, hopefully before I run out of money and my wife runs out of patience. It’s the when that drives me crazy, the act of tossing my resume — that paper symbol of all that I’ve accomplished (carefully curated to maximize interest) into a black hole without the slightest idea of whether anyone will read the pearls and if they’ll care enough to send an email or pick up the phone.

The waiting. That’s the hardest part. Through my journey to that next open door (whatever) I have had more than 10 companies express a sincere interest in my services. That’s the hiring manager, not the HR recruiter, and after my initial interview. Yet for a variety of reasons I am as unemployed today as I was yesterday, and the day before, and the day before…

I know that a few have faded due to the process of hiring the best available person. Someone else just fit the bill better than I. I know that other opportunities dried up because I didn’t perform as well as I thought I did. I can also surmise that some have put off hiring, or slowed down the process. That’s cool. But here’s the point: tell me. If I didn’t make the cut, send me a Dear John email so that I can close the books, thank you for your time and move on. If you’ve delayed the hiring, tell me that as well, so that I can properly assess the situation and make decisions based on facts, opposed to conjecture. One company sent me an email right after my initial interview, thanking me for taking the time and passing on my candidacy. Another told me all they could about the process, where I stood, and, when I fell short, sent me a note to set me free.

Then there are the other companies, like the one with the hiring manager who told me that I should be prepared to come back in three days for a final interview, only to drop off the face of the earth. Still another person told me that I was the person they were looking for, and that the next step would be to have me interview with the team. Hooray! Three weeks later, I am still awaiting the phone call telling me where and when.

Through it all, I have no doubt that I will wind up at one of the companies that expressed a sincere interest. Yet for those who took up my time and received the benefit of my expertise just to ignore the fact that I actually exist afterward, behavior like that is what makes looking for a job a somewhat less-than human experience.

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