When Your Job Search Becomes an Unfortunate Punchline

Stop looking

This summer is shaping up to be another scorcher. And I don’t meant the unforgiving rays of the sun.

I am describing the current job market that refuses to flex any muscles that indicate this troubled sector’s willingness to get back in shape.

As for me — I’m in great shape.

Physically — I couldn’t ask for more. I basically visit the gym every day of the week which sounds admirable and even boastful but it’s really a strategy that is aimed at protecting my weary mental state — that keeps elevating the incline of expectations — that could lead to landing the dream job that has taken me twenty years to garner.

Okay. There is no such thing as a “dream job.”

There is however the possibility that you could be employed to do the kind of stuff that keeps you contentedly occupied — while you figure shit out on the side and also adequately polish your responsibilities.

Sounds so basic and promising but from where I’m jogging as I check my unyielding inbox — and greet the spam emails that are relentlessly pouring in — I am convinced that it would be easier to win the lottery than to get hired as an editor who actually writes and edits.

As opposed to posting and reposting.

As I toss my phone away and continue pounding the treadmill with renewed vigor — I contemplate the irony of my predicament.

After spending the best years of my life trying to keep my head above water in New York City as I funneled through thankless corporate jobs — I also pursued my dream of being a writer.

I patiently waited for that big break until I decided to stop waiting and just go for it.

After three years of honing in my skills — the payoff has come in the form of much-needed recognition and a few well-proportioned gigs under my belt.

But now. Right now. I’m in limbo.

You see, I totally get that even though I’m talented, passionate and diligent — those attributes may not be applicable to the current climate of viral confectionary.

Social Media Coordinators, Implementors, Managers, and Directors are in demand. Writers are now becoming extinct — in fact who the hell has the audacity to classify themselves something that no longer holds much relevance.

It’s almost time for me to claim my burnout for the day — 500 calories!

That used to be a feat I looked forward to but lately it’s just like back in the day when I would clock in and clock out with the same damn expression on my face — each time.

Something has to change.

I need to either become an expert in the realm of manhandling the masses with precision and generic offerings laced with incoherency — or ascend into the position of control by planning an independent coup.

Time to check the phone. Again.

Oh snap! An email with “Disney Editor Role” in the subject line. Okay. This is new. The interview I attended earlier this year ended up being a bust. So…perhaps this is my lucky day!

Open. Read. Read again. Get off treadmill. Whimper away.

Damn it. Could it be possible that things could get much worse?

It’s not the fact that the role I was being considered for was passed around to all three job agencies with only one of them securing me the honor to prove my qualifications.

Weeks later — I was encouraged to anticipate that a home run could be lodged in my favor.

And it absolutely wasn’t the disappointment that followed a month and a half later when after being told that a decision was going to be made — the story shifted to the company’s decision to demolish the sought-after position until further notice.

And it wasn’t even the annoying reminder of an experience that I wanted to erase from memory but couldn’t — because one of the stash of recruiters obviously had no clue that I actually interviewed for the position she thought she presented to me. For the first time.

Are you with me? Good.

No, it’s the flighty way in which she dashed my hopes that had already been assaulted but despite undergoing that treatment — I was forced to endure a second round.

Her email was upbeat and severely lacking in the essentials that normally litter a message that bears bad news that took approximately three months in the making.

She seemed to find humor in the fact that it took an inconceivably long time for her to get the information she needed to finally convince me that all that waiting and hoping was in vain.

The crazy part is that she just merely alerted me to the open position at Disney. She didn’t actually facilitate any phone screenings or face-to-face meetings.

To sum it all up — it took a month and a half for me to understand that the role I interviewed for was no longer active.

And it took three months for the recruiter at the other agency to gleefully confirm that the same role was definitely not an option. Anymore.

As I stepped into the afternoon sun and surrendered to the heat merging from my body with the sky light — I was struck by the insanity of it all.

Tears from laughter streaked my face as I tried in vain to gather myself.

The joke is on me. The joke is on them. The joke is on us.

Since then — I’ve stopped looking for a job.

I’ve been too busy not working.