On Job Hunting

I’ve had quite a few positions in my life and I’ve always been a busy person, whether it was with paid or unpaid work, but I’ve never really searched for a job. Before now. As a younger woman I worked in restaurants and retail, did a brief stint as a flight attendant and then back to restaurants where I was promoted as a trainer and then front-of-house manager before staying home with my three children full-time. We were lucky that my husband made plenty of money for me to have that choice, and although I did supplement our family income with a doula business for several years, and staying home to raise my children is not a choice I regret, looking back, I do wish I would have focused more on my own career aspirations rather than assisting my spouse’s.

When we divorced after ten years of marriage, I was granted enough financial support to stay home with my children for a bit, returned to restaurant work while they were in school and started taking on some freelance writing gigs, all of which were handed to me without a lot of effort. I eventually re-partnered and had the opportunity to complete my education, spending six years earning two undergraduate degrees and completing graduate coursework for a Master’s in Fine Arts focusing on Creative Nonfiction. During graduate school, I went through another divorce and budgeted the little money I had to get me through the summer, giving me what I thought was enough time to look for the “perfect” job.

And that was five months ago.

Never did I imagine that devoting six years to my education would leave me over-qualified enough for some positions that I’m not even asked for an interview, and under-qualified enough for others that I get through the interview process, just to have the job offered to someone with more experience. I’m apparently at an in-between state, just hoping a contact will help me, or someone (maybe someone desperate) will give me a chance before I end up in financial ruin.

“Just take any job that you can,” a few friends have told me. But it feels irresponsible to me to possibly go back to restaurant work, or take a temp job, or even a position at Starbucks just to give notice a few weeks later, because something, something, something has to happen soon, right?

So far I’ve applied for nearly 80 positions and have had a handful of interviews, many of them quite promising. On several occasions I’ve been certain an offer was going to come, only to hear nothing. And then I follow up, and I continue to hear nothing, or even worse, I’m told “I’m so busy, I’ll get back to you next week,” and the next week comes with, again, nothing. Sometimes I will sit and refresh, and refresh, and refresh my inbox, just hoping an email will come in. Often when an email does come, it’s a form letter thanking me for my interest but other candidates better closely matched what they were looking for. When I don’t hear back, I follow up. I’m persistent but not pushy. I’m helpful. I offer information and am accommodating, and yet I am still left looking, hoping, waiting that something will come my way.

I’ve been told that the universe just hasn’t brought the right position to me, like the universe doles out careers the same way fate brings lovers together, and who am I to say otherwise, except I don’t have a love interest either because I’ve made a conscious choice not to pursue romantic relationships until I’ve secured gainful employment. I want my energy focused on finding the perfect job, not the perfect mate because only the perfect job is going to pay my bills and support my children. I can’t cuddle or have sex with the perfect job, but having a roof over my head and food on the table is a bit more necessary at this point. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and all that. (And yes, I realize that sex is part of the basic needs, but I’m not talking about just sex…) The fact that I’m prioritizing my needs, I suppose is healthy, so perhaps that’s what the universe is teaching me? Or patience? Or lessons in futility? Or creativity? Or maybe it’s just a numbers game or luck? Whatever it is won’t be solved by worrying or crying in my bed, so I just get up each day and greet each day as a new opportunity and hope for the best, and trust that it will all work out. Because it will work out.

I’m fairly certain.

Won’t it?

It will. Really, is there any other choice?

If nothing else, I’m learning valuable adult lessons that I won’t forget in the future that will hopefully benefit others. And as soon as I’m at my perfect (or even not-so-perfect) job, I’ll look back at all of this and wonder, “What were you so worried about? See, it all worked out!”

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