The New Job Searching Reality

When I was a kid I had jobs that included mowing lawns, cleaning gutters and window wells, and delivering news papers, plus assorted odd jobs such as painting and pulling weeds or whatever. I came by those job via word of mouth, mostly.

When I was a teenager I just went from place to place asking if they were hiring and if they were they gave me an application.That was pretty much the deal for a long time, although when I was in college, attending Macomb Community College, they had a job placement office that had binders with job posting and you went through the different binders until you found something.

The last time I job searched was a little more than seven years ago. I created a resume and mailed them out along with a cover letter on really nice paper. I did find most of the jobs that I applied for via the internet, on Monster.com and careerbuilders.com. Now there are so many online job boards. I did find a few via the newspaper classifieds. Although the job I ended up getting, the one before my most recent job, was via family. Well, via my ex-wife’s family. My job at the library I found by visiting their web site.

Now, you have to submit your resume and cover letter via the internet, uploading your documents from your computer to databases. Although a more effective way to submit is to get a hold of someone’s email address and email your materials directly to them. That requires a contact usually, or some creative investigating, figuring out the email pattern and identifying a person and trying to create their email address. It can be a crap shoot.

Something else that’s different about the job search process I discovered  yesterday. It has to do with response time. When you mailed in a resume and cover letter you knew it would be awhile before you heard back. It was similar even with email, although the response time was  usually shortened. Now, with databases, the response time can be almost immediate. I applied for a job via a company’s web site yesterday and perhaps an hour or so later I got a call from a recruiter. And I had a phone interview right on the spot. It was a little jarring. I wasn’t really prepared for an interview. In my defense, the recruiter guy wasn’t all that prepared either. He asked me why I was attracted to the job, which was difficult for me to answer, but it was also difficult for him to “tell me more about the job” when I asked.  Perhaps because of that he cut me a little slack. I hope so anyway.

In any case, it was a response, which is always good. Yesterday was a good job-search day. I applied for 5 different jobs, got a call and phone interview with the possibility of call back later this week. Today: not so good. Was unable to find a single job to apply for. Sigh.

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Another day off

I took yesterday (Friday) off work and fared better than I did on Tuesday. I think because I didn’t spend all day in the apartment. First, in the morning I went for a walk — it was gorgeous outside. After that I did some job searching. Applied for 2 jobs, three less than my 5 per day goal but it was better than nothing, like on Tuesday. Then I got out of the apartment again. I went to see a movie, “The Tree of Life” at the Main Art Theater in downtown Royal Oak. And it was only five bucks. I love a cheap movie, although not as cheap as when I was in grad school at Western Michigan in Kalamazoo. Then I went to movies for 99 cents. One hot summer day I saw “Toy  Story” four (or was it five) times back to back just to keep out of the heat an in the AC.  “The Tree of Life” was interesting, of course, precisely what I’d expect from director Terrence Malick. It was long, but good. Perhaps a bit too long for the woman sitting behind me — she was asleep, snoring, by the end. Anyhoo… after the movie I headed over to my parents’ to hang out and grab some dinner. It was a fairly full day.

The trick is to keep busy, have things to do, which is probably pretty obvious. Anyway, in that tradition, since I could not sleep past 7am this morning I got up and hit the internet hard for a job. Applied for 3 jobs today. Soon I’ll be heading out to get my oil changed and do some laundry and grocery shopping. And who knows, perhaps another movie.

On a related job note: I got a friend who’s going to look at my resume and a sample cover letter. And she’s hopefully willing to work with me, possibly provide some contacts. She’s a connector, i.e. she knows a lot of people, and that could be a big help.

the urge to purge

I got it!

But I’m not talking self-induced puking. Ew! Gross!

I emailed a friend recently that I had the strong urge to just chuck out all my writing that I have stored on my computer and all the books on my bookshelf. This is not an uncommon impulse for me. I get it ever few years or so.

My friend interpreted my comments as a desire to simplify my life, but it seemed more than that. I really wanted to wipe the slate clean. To what purpose I can hardly say.

Perhaps it has something to do with my non-existent professional writing career. As an amateur, i.e. non-paid writer, I’m doing quite well. But as someone who banks Benjamins via writing not so much. In fact, not at all. I rarely, if ever, use my writing skills in my current job, which is a big part of the reason I’m looking for new working digs. Besides, 6 years seems long enough — time to fly away little birdy. Fly fly fly! Fly fly fly!

Problem: Michigan employment atmosphere sucks! They say it is getting better, and with an undergrad and grad degree I’m in a better position than most, but still… It doesn’t seem all the great.

Maybe my urge to purge has something to do with feeling as I’m stagnating, you know. At least chucking all my stuff would be something. Right now feels as if there is little if any movement in my life.

Or maybe it is claustrophobia. I moved from a 1,100 sq. ft. house to living in a single bedroom, and with all those books on top of the usual furniture and junk, it’s feels even smaller. And it’s transitory, you know, not really my place/space. I’m just holding up there while I save some cash and figure out my next move.

In the past, I wouldn’t have had a problem just chilling for a time, but now, I don’t know. Life seems more immediate, and suddenly shorter, and maybe that’s because technically it is.  But also time seems to be moving faster. Must be a thing that happens after you turn 40.

In the end, I know I’m not going to chuck anything out. I couldn’t even if I tried. Just need to channel this energy in a productive direction, you know. Like copy editing a piece of fiction that I just finished a draft of.

Something anyway.