In Between Jobs

It’s been over a month since I lost my job.  It’s funny.  I wondered how long it would take me to go from “hopeful that I will find a great opportunity” to “desperate for anything.” The answer is: about a month.

Every weekday afternoon, I load up all the job search sites on my browser.  I open new tabs for every job I’m interested or think I am relatively qualified for.  Then, after I read through the qualifications, I apply to the ones I think my skills and interest match up best with. I’ve applied to over 30 jobs so far.  Those 30 or so resumes have resulted in three in-person interviews and one phone interview.  That’s a pretty shitty average. If I was a baseball player, I’d be on the bench or out of the league altogether which, I guess, is how I feel.

One thing I have learned (more like confirmed) is I am a horrible interviewer.  When I am asked what my greatest weakness is, I should be honest and reply, “Talking about myself.” I’m just not good at.  This doesn’t just apply to interviews.  Try and have a conversation with me on the phone or over IM and see how quickly I turn the conversation back to you. This ends up being my strategy in interviews as well.  By the end of the interview, I know a ton about the company and the person interviewing me.  I don’t know how much information they gleaned from me.

What makes it hard is not really knowing anyone out here.  If I was in New York, I could get a new job in a heartbeat.  Before my last day of work, I’d have been in contact with ten different colleagues and they would have put me on the path to my next opportunity.  Here, I’m on my own.  I met with a recruiter a few weeks ago and she told me getting a job via a company website is almost impossible these days.  I don’t know if that’s true but that’s sure how it feels. My inbox is littered with e-mails like the one posted above.

I’ve been unemployed before but this feels worse.  Our wedding is less than seven months away and instead of putting money away, I have to take money out of my wedding savings to help pay for bills and rent.  When I moved out here a year ago and didn’t have a job, it sucked but I wasn’t really that stressed out about it.  I felt I could survive a few months before it became a real concern.  Now every week I don’t have a paycheck, I feel like it takes six months off my life.

We’re pressing forward with all our wedding planning believing that ultimately everything will work out but I can’t pretend that I don’t lose a lot of sleep over it.  I’m one of those people who doesn’t typically remember his dreams but lately I can.  I can’t remember details but there have been a lot of dreams where I was embarrassed to tell someone I’m unemployed or I still didn’t have a job with only a few weeks until our wedding and couldn’t pay anyone. Needless to say, they are the kind of dreams you’d like to forget the moment you opened your eyes.

Now that a month has gone by with little hope, the question has shifted from “what kind of job are you looking for?” to “what kind of job can I get?” Dreams and hopes of this setback leading me to a better opportunity are quickly dissipating.  It’s like being well-to-do man stuck on a deserted island.  First, you dream of the fine meal you’ll have at home when you get rescued. But the longer you are stuck on that island, the less specific your fantasy cravings become until ultimately, a cracker would make you the happiest man alive.

Anyone know where I could find some crackers?

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6 thoughts on “In Between Jobs

  1. dude, I feel ya! After being unhappy at previous jobs I was determined that this time around I would find something fulfilling in an environment that encouraged creativity and learning. I set out on a mission to explore all of the careers/industries that I’ve ever found interesting to determine which one was the perfect fit for me. I’ve learned a lot over the last ten months about what I do and don’t want to do, but I am starting to feel like I may not have the option of choosing either.

    Right now I’m reading “What Color is Your Parachute” and it’s actually quite inspiring! I’ve found it to be a really good tool for interviewing, salary negotiation, and with overall tips on job searching. I know that sounds like a plug, but I really have found it helpful. 😉

    I would kill for your resume, but you are actually spot on that having the right contacts in the right places will get you further than a piece of paper with your experience and skills listed.

    Good luck with your search, doll!

  2. Hey there. Sorry to hear things are rough. I’m with you on feeling inadequate during the interview process. I am pretty introverted so it can be incredibly uncomfortable trying to sell myself to someone I just met! One thing that helps me get over that hurdle is practicing the interview process with my friends over and over again. If I say it enough times with friends I believe it, and the script kind of creeps into my head. Then I’m actually talking to someone new it comes out more naturally, which makes me feel more confident and creates a positive feedback loop during the interview. It’s a lot of work, but at least you generally know what people are going to ask so you can prepare some stock answers.

    As far as the multiple job search engines, have you thought about using indeed.com? Their iphone app is pretty great too. My therapist always suggests it to people because it’s an aggregator, and you can set up some keyword searches that will just send you an email whenever there’s something relevant. It will save you some work.

    Also I love Glassdoor.com as well. It’s great for getting an idea of what to expect as far as interview questions and rigor, employee satisfaction, avg salary etc.

    Good luck!

  3. at once point, i was down for 9 months. it took every resource i had and every connection i could work to get ANYTHING going for me. at first the time off was fun, especially with a savings account and other checks coming in. but then the checks stop coming, and you just start to feel bad. i understand.

    key is: Keep your motherfucking head up at all times. And do not give up. Keep your eyes open for all options ahead of you. I know it might be futile, but dont be afriad to reconnect with your people back in NY. see if anybody knows anything or can offer any option for you.

    I know it might be patronizing, but please know youre not alone in it sean. count the blessings you do have… the lovely future wife who loves you regardless, all the awesome future babies you guys are gonna have, the friends and family around you who love and support you… your health. when shit hits the fan we forget that those basics are all we really need to get by.

    also, glassdoor and indeed.com. like person said up there. try it out. also, LAJobs.com. i have a few more if you need them.

    bless you guys and good luck. i know youll be fine. seriously. i really do.

  4. Dude, I feel you. It’s been quite some time since I was laid off and it’s a whole lot of frustration: frustration with yourself, frustrating to be around other people even socially. The topic of the job search always rears its ugly head in conversation. While well intentioned, it’s the last thing you want to talk about because it’s always on your brain. A couple of notes on the job search (and feel free take ’em or leave ’em):

    I’ve found keeping a spreadsheet with the jobs I’ve applied to, any leads, any follow up, and all contact info extremely useful. Any promising interviews I’ve had are through networking, not applying to jobs on job boards. I feel lucky to even get some semblance of a response via email from those applications. For your sanity, think of the job search as a job and try to segment that as much as possible into a particular time window, keeping structure and productivity. Obviously, you’re going to network while socializing and it’s hard to NOT think about the job search when you are budgeting, but try to compartmentalize if at all possible.

    I think putting this very articulate post was a great step in the process and took cojones. As others have said before, you have talent and a great resume. Just be sure to keep the faith in you. Keep blogging. There are great things on your horizon.

  5. I can completely relate to your situation as I’m currently in the same thing. Minus the whole saving up for a wedding thing.

  6. I can relate to you. I thought I was the ONLY PERSON on this planet feeling this way. I have been searching for a temporary position for 3 weeks – but honestly, it felt like 3 years. I am trying to keep my spirits up so reading about your experience makes me think that I am not alone. I will not give up.

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