Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Resuming the Job Search, Or, Getting My Ego Tromped - Round Two

You may call it "Back-to-School" season; this year, I call it "Back-to-the-Job-Search" season. Or, if I'm may politely rant, the "Back-to-Being-Rejected" season.

Looking for a job last fall and winter was a fruitless and demoralizing exercise, so needless to say, I am not looking forward to JobSearch 2.0, which is actually already in progress.

I thought that I had an acceptable skillset, which, combined with my Holy Grail of attributes, the College Degree, made me a "catch" for anyone looking to hire a mature, reliable employee. I expected it would be difficult to get a good job, but I thought I was well-qualified to land an entry-level position doing something useful.

Reviewing the stats and outcome for JobSearch 2012, that did not end up being the case. Whether flooding cyberspace with my resume, performing a targeted application operation or just networking like crazy, the rejection notices piled up at an alarming rate. Other than offers to sell speculative products on commission or buying an expensive set-up kit to start my own business, none of my efforts panned out. The few interviews I managed to snag always felt so promising - I left feeling liked, respected and confident that I was in the running. Obviously, those jobs went to others. Follow-up efforts to discover what I could improve upon yielded only the confusing information that I was "fine," but the one who got the job was just "better." Qualified, that is.

I went back to square one several times in the waning months of 2012, but as the calendar got busier, I got more discouraged and suspended my search. Odd jobs and small writing opportunities led to a trickle of cash, making it easy to forget that I needed to be looking for something to produce a regular income.

So as back-to-school season is here, I find myself in back-to-job-search season as well. The daughter whose impending college costs were the motivation for the first serious gonzo job search is now just days from leaving to begin her freshman year. Her hard work and determination, in school and in our community, led to her receiving a large academic scholarship and some very, very generous graduation gifts, meaning Year One is costing us less than we'd originally expected. But, given the escalating cost of living, a second child to send to college in a few years, and the many other factors that strain our budget, I really need to land a steady job.

Therefore, I've re-entered the job-searching community, but this time I'm going to have to learn to leave my ego in the locker room. I need to learn to look at the competitive activity of applying for a job with a sports mentality, where "You win some, you lose some" is an acceptable and comforting answer to a long losing streak.

Why, just this morning, I received my first robo-rejection letter to kick off the new season. Six slow-moving tears and one drippy sniffle later and I was done with today's anguish over my prospects. I was judged by my online resume and a computerized sales personality assessment, and was found to be inadequate to work in a retail office products establishment.

I would aim lower if I only knew how.