Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Diving Into the Job Pool

Looking for a job is probably one of the most depressing activities a human being can engage in. It's sort of like cleaning up after children or watching a movie with Kevin Costner in it. (Is it just me or does his acting just keep getting worse & worse?) It makes you want to give up hope. Add to that the fact that I never finished getting my degree and I may very well need to be able to support my family with said job AND the fact that I was somehow unable to make a go of owning my own business which has been a dream of mine for a very long time and...well, I'm getting even more depressed just thinking about it.

The resume in and of itself is just an exercise in misery. If you ever want to feel like you have spent the last 20 years of your working life engaged in fruitful endeavors, I do not recommend writing a resume. The very practice of condensing all of your accomplishments, skills, abilities, and intelligence into a one page document meant to get the attention of a prospective employer...does the word disheartening mean anything to you? Especially when it is not recommended that you use the phrases "freaking fabulous" or "smarter than most people you have ever dreamed of meeting."

And don't even get me started on the interview process. (Not that I've gotten any of those yet. I blame it on the fact that I can't use the word fabulous on my resume.) Just thinking about some of the interviews I have been subjected to in my job-search experiences makes me want to crawl in a hole and die. (Unfortunately I have yet to find the person or company who will pay me a living wage to crawl in a hole and die.) If you have ever wondered if there are interviewers who actually ask you what color crayon you would be and why, I can tell you that yes, yes there are. (Is fabulous considered a color?) I have also been subjected to a weeks-long interview process with an entire panel of people only to secure a job watering plants and running mail to the post office. True story. I've also been hit on, intimidated, and asked impossible questions. Am I more a hunter or a gatherer?? Um, I'm a grocery store shopper. And I actually don't even enjoy that.

Alas, I digress. The purpose of this post was to cheer myself up, not to become so dejected that I just give up and run off to join the circus. (Who am I kidding, though? I am neither bearded, flexible, or red-nosed enough for the circus. I don't think even they would want me.) At any rate, over the past couple weeks as I have been actively involved in the job search process, I have been thinking of about some of the jobs that as a young girl I thought I might have when I "grew-up." I thought it might be fun to revisit some of those imagined job prospects and why they didn't work out.

#1: Super-Model
As a preteen and teenager I was pretty much obsessed with super models. Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Claudia Shiffer, Helena Christensen. They were my heroines. I followed their illustrious careers. I looked at every picture I could find. (Which made for a lot of magazine buying & clipping since Google & Pinterest weren't really invented yet.) I loved them all. And what girl didn't dream of being the new Guess girl? I was convinced that I was just in my awkward high school (middle school, elementary school) phase and I would outgrow it in my adulthood. Just imagine the looks on all of those boy's-who-never-asked-me-out faces when I was gracing the pages of Vogue, Elle, and/or Seventeen (I wasn't picky.) Well, as it turns out you not only have to be incredibly photogenic to be a model (which I am truly not), you also have to be impossibly tall. How was I to know that at a whopping 5'4" I was already completely full grown? You mean people don't usually hit a 5 inch growth spurt in their early 20s?? Sigh. Oh well, NEXT.
#2: Witch/Advertising Executive
In my younger years, I was also obsessed with a little syndicated TV show called Bewitched (Also, Mr. Ed, although I never wanted to be a talking horse.) I would have loved the opportunity to be an impeccably dressed, beautiful SAHW (Stay-at-Home-Witch.) Entertaining my husband's boss and co-workers with fantastic dinner parties using the good china? Raising my darling little paranormal daughter Tabitha? Endless magical shenanigans with Endora and Dr. Bombay?? Yes please! However, much like my graceful beauty and height, I also never grew into my supernatural spell-casting powers. Bummer. That's ok, though. I'm flexible. When I realized I would never be the SAHW that I dreamed of I simply switched career aspirations to Darrin Stephens' occupation: Awesome Advertising Guy. Coming up with idea boards and slogans for new products? Fun! I could totally do that! (I even once composed a little Haagen-Dazs ditty for the holidays set to the tune of Oh Christmas Tree in preparation for the day that I would be the awesome advertising guy that Darrin Stephens was.) Admittedly, as a husband he was goofy as heck, but Darrin always managed to come up with those last minute marketing ideas that would knock the socks off Larry Tate. I thought I could totally do that. And possibly I could have. Unfortunately, as I got older I realized that the advertising business wasn't all glitz and glamour. And they don't really have people who just sit around thinking up cool slogans. And really it's all just about manipulating people into spending money that they often don't have to spend. OK, fine. Maybe not that either.
#3: Pediatrician
I attribute this career goal to the fact that I really loved my pediatrician. And she was a woman. I thought that was really cool. I actually told my high school counselor upon entering high school that I thought I might be a pediatrician. As it turns out, you have to go to a LOT of school to be any kind of doctor. And you have to get good grades in high school in order to get into the kind of schools that you want to go to as a medical student (which means not ditching to go to the beach or the outlet mall every other day.) And you have to have an aptitude for science. And you have to not mind blood and vomit and assorted other bodily fluids. So, yeah, maybe that one just wasn't destined to work out for me. It sounded good at the time.

That is a mere sampling of the occupations I once thought I might have. There was also Airline Stewardess (free travel!), Inventor (I'm not really sure what I planned on inventing, but something spectacular for sure), School Bus Driver (the kind that gave candy out to all the kids every Friday so they would love me), Fashion Buyer (those who can't model, shop), Weather Girl (before I realized you also have to be beautiful and tall to be on the news and that the actual word is meteorologist) and Rockette (again with the height & flexibility requirements, sheesh!)  I never really dreamed of being a front desk receptionist, a sandwich artist, a customer service representative, or an alarm dispatcher. And while such a random sampling of jobs doesn't make for a super cohesive resume, all of the jobs that I have had have given me countless life experiences and helped me to meet some of the best friends I have. And now it's back to the drawing board. Looking for a job. Again. Wish me luck. And interviewers who don't ask me what color I am.


  1. Librarian? Book jacket blurb writer? Fro-yo queen? Movie ticket taker? ("Theater number 3 on your left, ma'am." I mean, how do they KNOW that?) Or how about hilarious blog writer? Certainly someone would want to pay you for THAT! Don't give up hope, I know the perfect job is out there for you. And, if not, you can always come live at my house. ;)

  2. You should seriously write. Like a column. Reading your stuff is so comfortable, relatable, yet snappy. Besides, all your best friends know what a jewel you are. Here's hoping you find a potential boss that sees what we all see.

  3. To some people (who are actually qualified and get jobs) the job pool is a kiddie pool. To me, who has a lot of trouble finding a job (even tho I am qualified) to job pool is an endless ocean with depth not as of yet measured!! When I was growing up I wanted to be a race car driver or David Letterman's replacement. Obviously neither one happened ;-)