Friday, April 11, 2008

Job hunting

I've been job hunting. Job hunting is my least favorite activity in the world. I would rather go to the dentist every day. I hate it.

For some reason, I have always been absolutely convinced that I am unemployable. When I was in college, I went to a group interview for Cutco knives. I honestly don't remember why I went to this interview, but I did, and I was offered the job. My mom made me turn it down, because it involved going into people's homes and demonstrating the knives. She thought this was unsafe. I remember crying, and saying, "But I got the job! No one will ever hire me for anything!"

To date it remains the only job I have ever turned down.

It's not that I don't think I'm capable or smart. I actually feel fairly confident that I could do most any job that does not require specialized education (like a doctor or rocket scientist or something). The problem is convincing someone to hire me. I absolutely believe that I am incapable of landing a job for which I am not the obvious candidate because of my experience. No one will think creatively about me. No one will even interview me to give me a shot at convincing them.

After I left grad school I spent several months in London. I had a 6-months work visa, and so was trying to find a job. I interviewed all over the place, generally for retail jobs, and couldn't land one. I was either overeducated or underexperienced, or both. Finally I got a one-month temporary Christmas season job. I took it. After it was over, I didn't even try to find another job. I goofed off for another month in London, and then continued traveling.

When I moved to New York, I found a job fairly easily, because I had gone to a publishing course over the summer. This was a way of getting a short track into the industry, a leg up on finding a job. I absolutely believe I would not have gotten a job otherwise. As it is, I only got offered one job, after I had interviewed at half a dozen, though of course this could be attributed to the fact that I took the first job I was offered.

Some years ago I was desperate to get out of my job, and I tried to apply to jobs outside of publishing. This was a miserable failure: I never even got an interview.

Every job I've gotten after that first job in publishing has been because I had directly applicable experience and, eventually, a network of people who knew me. Publishing is a relatively small world.

Now, though, I am looking for a job, outside of my little world. My sweetie and I are leaving for our honeymoon at the end of next week, and he has been encouraging me to relax until we get back, to not look for a job now. I haven't been able to listen. I am convinced I am unemployable. I got started early, because I figured this will take a very long time. I figured I would have to apply to a billion jobs to get even one interview.

Well, this week I have had interviews with two companies.

One is a job where my publishing experience is actually relevant. The other is a job for which I have absolutely no experience, but they like my resume and they are happy to train me. (Who knew companies with that attitude even existed any more? Everyone wants directly applicable experience these days; they figure if they get someone who already knows how to do the job, they won't have to train them. this is a total fantasy, but it's pervasive.)

The first job would probably pay me in keeping with my last job, and with my years of experience. The second job will pay me an entry-level salary, well below half what I was making at my last job. But the first job seems like it could be quite boring, and the second job new and interesting. I am torn.

Of course, I have not yet been offered either job, but I'm pretty hopeful about both. And, for the first time, I'm in a position where I might actually have to turn down a job. This is weird. I've always been so grateful to be offered a job, any job, that I've always said yes. But here, I'm actually a little worried that I will take the first job that offers itself just to have a job. But if I turn down both jobs, what are the chances I'll find another?

God, I hate job hunting.

1 comment:

The Beast Mom said...

Cutco Knives, eh? Now that's a surprise. I could totally see a mother objecting. I see her logic. I too would not want a loved one trying to sell knives to complete strangers. People get crazy sometimes. I used to have this job where I took the census. I was very scared of quite a few people I met. I can't imagine if I let them hold a KNIFE. ;)

I'm curious to hear how all this job stuff pans out.