This just in: I have a job! I don’t start until next month, but I have received and accepted a written offer of employment. What a load off!
I left my last job in the middle of May. It’s been a difficult few months. Fortunately I have savings, and a supportive partner, so I made it through without living like a pauper. But watching my bank account balance shrink steadily, with no end in sight, was scary. I’d never been unemployed before, really. I have worked more or less steadily since the middle of high school, when I got a part-time job working for a local photography studio doing digital retouching and other fun stuff. I found a work study job shortly after arriving on campus when I went to college, and I got an internship (which turned into my first full time job) my last summer before graduating.
I’ve always been very independent. With scholarships, student loans and work study jobs, I supported myself through college with virtually no financial help from my parents. I do not come from money. In fact, when my parents bought me a new computer to take to school with me (I remember, it was a 166MHz Pentium…ooh!) they borrowed the money from me, and paid me back over a year or two! Computers were not cheap back then. So, it was tough for me to have to rely on anyone else. For a few months I was in the 47%, and I wanted badly to get out of it. I bet Mitt Romney, up in his gilded tower, doesn’t realize how many people just pass through that territory temporarily when they hit a rough spot, or enter it when they retire after a lifetime of hard work.
Looking for a job these days is among the least pleasant things one can do in the developed world. It can be mind-numbing, soul-crushing, and self-esteem-destroying. I couldn’t count the number of times I submitted a resume and heard absolutely nothing back. I even had an in-person interview and was never contacted by the company after. What happened to common courtesy? At least a few employers had the decency to send me a form email thanking me for my submission, but telling me they didn’t have a position for me at this time. Those were the exceptions. The vast majority of the time it was like tossing your resume into a black hole. There were jobs I was sure I could do that I wasn’t even being considered for. After awhile I started to think I’d never find anything, that no one would hire me for something that I wanted to do. I doubted my own worth as an employee and as a person. At times I wanted to give up, but I couldn’t. It was just incredibly frustrating!
In the end, this employer found me, through my profile on LinkedIn. In fact, every real job I’ve had, the employer has contacted me, usually after finding my resume on a job site. Never have I found my own job. Even for my job in high school, I was approached by a teacher who was asked by the employer to recommend someone. I’m not sure what that means, but it’s an interesting factoid.
Well, the search is over and I’ll have a steady paycheck in a few weeks. I can now rest easy for a bit. If I’ve learned one thing from this experience, it’s that unemployment is something I never want to go through again.