The best decisions can feel like the worst ones when you don’t know what is next. I am a firm believer in the power of a back up plan but I’m at the mercy of life and its lessons like anyone else.
A week after stepping down from an increasingly toxic place I know physically and mentally I am doing better. I actually sleep soundly and my body is starting to correct itself in various ways. This has been scary. Let me say that clearly and consistently, this decision has not come without its fair share of fear. The feelings of anxiety and wayward wandering are also pretty prominent. I have found that financial security via employment is a ridiculously strong narcotic. I have had time to look back at where I was and how much I was willing to withstand to make sure my comfort and stability remained intact. To what degree I desensitized myself to get through 8am Monday to 5pm Friday. It is impressive and terrifying to know how far you will go to secure yourself. With that mixed bag of feelings I know what I can offer and what I refuse to give going forward.
As one would expect I have re-entered the job hunt pool fairly quickly. And OMG IS IT TRASH. I am saying that as sincerely and professionally as I can muster. The hoops that are in place now are ridiculous and I am now very clued in why positions never get filled. And the need to really take a good long look at who you are applying with is crucial. The following two questions are extremely common now:
While seemingly harmless on a first glance, the first questions has a concerning undertone. On one hand they want to know how hard of a worker I am and if I will go the distance. But on the other hand, they are gunning for someone willing to be “above and beyond” ALL THE TIME. It is the age of the “eager beaver” where we should be grateful for the experience. Except….we already have it. I’m not showing these to bash the hiring process (ok a little) but to make a point about being aware of who you are applying with. Nah, no preaching about “you’re interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you”. They are judging to see if you’re hungry enough to accept bottom of the barrel. If you’re unsure if that is the goal go back and really read the “job description”. You’ll notice a tone of self-importance and an exhaustive list of expectations from YOU with no mentioned contribution from them to match your effort. Often times coming in at the $11-$14/hr range.
This second question is trickier. You’re talking about a big project that you contributed to and ultimately championed. Be careful here a question like this is a perfect pitfall to over share and/or blow things out of proportion. Keep it modest and brief using buzzwords like: organization, results oriented, time management, process, efficient, team work, customer satisfaction, etc. While you want to show off, it just isn’t a good idea. Read up on the position on the company site if possible and align your narrative with their company culture. You don’t want the person reading your responses to feel threatened by your competence.
Excuse me bitch, whet? Yes! Of all the reasons you can get thrown in the no pile, seeming overly competent and ambitious can be one of them. Logically, an employer should want that. But think of it this way- the everyday jobs that we encounter (while we work on our dreams) are looking for someone who has no ambition beyond the company they are applying for/employed by. Complacency and good ole stability is what gets and keeps jobs. So slap that stick family on your back windshield and let these employers know that you are fine with life and will be staying and hope to support your family and all major milestones while carrying the company on your back. For $35,000 or less a year. Mmmmm the smell of mediocrity….
I made myself cringe. I wish nothing but the best of everything for all of you and whatever your goals are I fully support them. However, it is important to be realistic when it comes to employment. A few other tips:
- Do not share your address if you do not have to. Geographical discrimination is a thing (commute time, neighborhood, size of your home, etc)
- Do not share social media or personal websites unless they are directly aligned with the job description
- If you left your job for similar reasons as I did, answer the “why did you leave” with a simple “organizational changes that were not aligned with my professional goals” or something like that
- NEVER TRASH YOUR EX OR YOUR EMPLOYER– says more about you than them
- If you’re really interested in the job opening write a sincere cover letter
- DO NOT answer questions about your relationship status, parental/guardian status, etc. IT IS ILLEGAL
- Update your LinkedIn, companies are looking
My first week out to pasture and I haven’t had much luck. But this week, for you and I both, will be the one. In the meantime, I send so much love and light to you and yours because it’s hard out here for a competent and worthwhile person. You’re appreciated and you’re doing fuckin great. Thank you for waking up and trying another day.