I must begin with an apology. It has been an inordinate amount of time since my last post and for that I am truly sorry, not only to all of you but also to myself. When I decided to start blogging permanently I promised myself that I would post no less than once a week, and I intend to continue with that self imposed commitment going forward.
Having said that I do have a somewhat valid reason for my absence from the blogosphere. I’ve been relentlessly (I use the term relentlessly quite loosely, of course) searching for a new job. If you recall my last post, I have been the hapless victim of a restructure in my work place meaning that my current role will no longer exist in a few months time. Why is it that in times of increased stress the first thing you dismiss is the act that calms you the most?
It wasn’t all that long ago that I had to undergo the incredibly infuriating travail that is the 21st century job hunt, and to be forced to go through the experience all over again a mere 6 months later has been disheartening to say the least.
I think that there are few tasks that exist in the Western World that are more arduous than the job hunting process, and through my efforts I have discovered that although the whole business is atrocious there are certain aspects that perturb me greatly.
*N.B if you continue to read the rest of this passage I will warn you that it is about to become very negative, dare I say it is in fact a rant. So if you don’t want me killing your vibe please refrain from reading on.
I am the type of person that finds it somewhat cathartic to vent my frustrations in order to let them go, much like a person who chooses to burn all of their ex partners possessions, and thus I am now going to detail the aspects of job hunting that I detest in particular.
- The physical act of job hunting. At the risk of repeating myself there is nothing quite so laborious as searching for a new job. Firstly, you have to dust off your CV, dig deep within yourself to summon the eloquence to describe what it is that you have been doing all day, every day for the past X months/years. At which point you discover you’re not actually sure what it is you do and how it benefits the company that you are paid to do it for. After then cobbling together various paragraphs that overuse the words ability, skill and responsibility you then try to somehow inject your USP into the words on the page and hope to God that your CV is not as banal as it appears. The next step is to re-read and spell check what you have written as if spending the last 3 hours composing what is sure to be a fascinating read was not enough. Once this stage is complete you then get to partake in the sheer torture of trawling through advert after advert which have already had 100+ applicants (whoever told you the London job market was over saturated, was understating the fact), and specify you MUST have a list, of skills, as long as Homers Iliad. However you decide that you may as well take a chance and apply as ‘what do you have to lose?’ other than your sanity. By the time you’ve repeated this process a gazillion times, as you’ve chosen to adopt the extremely fruitful, it’s a game of numbers approach, your eyes start to feel as though they’re bleeding and your index finger has repetitive strain injury from clicking ‘submit’ so often.
- The second thing I hate about job hunting? The rejection factor. You may not be aware but there are actually 3 different ways prospective employers can choose to reject you. The first is the ‘if you do not receive a response from us within 2 weeks your application has been unsuccessful’ rejection. They say it’s because they receive so many applications they don’t have time to get back to everyone individually but the monster in your head screams that you weren’t even important enough to warrant a standardised ‘unfortunately, we regret that your application has been unsuccessful on this occasion’ email. You may not notice for weeks maybe even a month but suddenly the fact that you never heard anything back from that job you applied for hits you and for a fleeting moment it does make you blue. The second way could be viewed as slightly more polite I suppose. In this instance you receive written confirmation that your CV/experience was just not good enough. The pain felt upon receiving this email is quite acute as now there is physical evidence of your shortcomings. You then begin to wonder if maybe it wouldn’t have been better to not receive confirmation of your carefully crafted CV’s inadequacies and come to the realisation on your own some weeks later. But by far the absolute worst type of rejection is the kind that comes after an interview. Your CV has made the cut, you celebrate that you got to interview stage. You spend hours preparing as if you’re about to sit your GCSE’s all over again. If you have a morning interview you spend the whole night tossing and turning unable to sleep through sheer anxiety, if you have an afternoon interview you spend the morning working yourself into a tizz and by the time your interview is about to begin panic is so deeply ingrained, you almost forget your own name when they call you in. This is all before you are grilled by a superior person who questions every decision you have ever made and makes you feel as if you have to justify how and why you have reached this point in your life. To have to suffer through this unparalleled amount of stress to then be told that you are not being offered the job is a form of undignified torture like no other. Having gone through this experience very recently myself I was also forced to face the fact that I have a bit of an ego, if my disappointment at not being offered a job I thought I was a shoe in for is anything to go by and that is no easy admission.
- Being forced to suffer through this period of uncertainty, I found the most frustrating aspect to be when people told me using various trite phrases that ‘I’d be ok’. At the time I was in a constant state of distress and being reminded that at some unspecified time in the future I’d be alright didn’t really sit well with me. I can freely confess now that in some situations it took a lot for me to resist shouting “oh did your crystal ball tell you that?” at the undeserving individuals who were merely voicing their support and unshakeable belief in my abilities. In hindsight I am a little ashamed that I ever allowed myself to feel this way. I suppose I discovered that I’m not all that comfortable with being thrown into a precarious position and I’ll blame my atrocious initial reaction on my anxiety at being ‘at risk’.
Now I’m on the other side of this terrible ordeal and I am pleased to tell you that they were right. I am ok, and ultimately even if I weren’t it would not have been the end of the world. Fortunately no matter what situation we are in we can always strive and fight to change things for ourselves. Another fact I had to come to terms with is although job hunting is one of the most detestable activities I have ever experienced and I would rather spend my very precious time doing a million other things, it is by no means the last time I will ever have to look for a new role. So I think the most important lesson this difficult period has taught me. I just need to suck it up!