I’ve never been much of a gambler.
…Okay, so I’ve never gambled ever, but the title sounded cool. The post has very little to do with real gambling, though. Set that one up to be disappointing right from the start, didn’t I?
This “grown-up job search” thing feels a lot more like making a wager with a bookie than anything else, and to put it plainly: It sucks.
After owning a business, you’d think I wouldn’t feel so daunted by the job search/application process. I’m qualified to do lots of things, right?
A while ago, a friend posted a Snapchat story about moving to Denver. I was intrigued because Denver seemed like the front-runner for “places I should move, like soon.” More people in my age bracket, a lifestyle more in line with the things I like (the outdoorsy, active aspect, not the pot. Everyone thinks the only reason to move to Denver is pot), and I have friends and family out there, so the transition would be smoother. Also, some kick-ass travel adventure companies have offices in Denver, and right now, those are the kinds of jobs that interest me. So I asked about the move, the job search, and apartment hunting. Here’s what I found out:
“Just googled consulting, applied to this job, and randomly got it lol. So weird and easy, but hey, I’m not complaining. They flew me out and then flew me back home and called me that morning to say I got the job, so a fast process. And I looked for apartments when I was out here cuz they paid for all the out-of-town people to be in hotels and all that.”
My jaw dropped. How do I find places I want to work for who do that?
He elaborated that the position involved data entry for a software company, doing something called configuration consulting, whatever that even is.
He majored in finance, so this line of work was all new to him. Still… I wondered how to land something like that, minus everything about that actual job. Math-related things make me break out in hives.
During the conversation, I relayed that I hoped I’d have some of that same fortune, to which he responded, “I’m sure you will. Your resume is definitely a million times better than mine.”
While I don’t know if that’s entirely true, I do have a long list of varied experiences. I have worked in the service industry, I have written for online publications (not just this little thing), and I have held two different positions of leadership for large university organizations. Oh, and there’s that whole “started and ran a business while doing undergraduate work” stint that I had for three-ish years. I also spent two summers playing in cornfields. My work history is weird.
And yet, somehow, every time I find a job that seems remotely interesting (or one that I think wouldn’t crush my soul entirely), I feel either incredibly overqualified or intimidatingly underqualified. Thus far, few positions have been those, “Aha! This is such a good fit! How could I not get it?” And for the select gems who have felt that way, I’ve either seen the listing way too late (rats!), or I am beat out by someone with the dreaded “x number of years experience” credential.
The entire process sort of feels like being a stand-in for a speed bag at a boxing club. Just taking blows to my ego left and right, and there’s nothing I can do about it but hang in there (I’m pretty proud of this lame metaphor, BTW).
I’m also finding that I don’t know anything at all about the “salary game.”
This is that awful part of the application/interview where they ask how much money you want to get paid, which, to me, seems ridiculous. “All the money.” Can I put that on an application?
Can I write a cover letter that says, “Hire me. I’m awesome”? I’d love to work for a company that appreciated my sense of humor toward this whole “serious grown-up job thing” that I’m apparently not taking seriously enough. But those companies are hard to find, and how do you even search for a place like that? “Cool place to work, nifty coworkers, creativity and innovation welcome.” Obviously, start-ups and entrepreneurial ventures are a good place to start, but searching under those terms also yields rather disappointing results.
While I could find *a* job, that would be settling, and I refuse to settle. “Eh, close enough” has never been good enough for me in any aspect of life. So for now, I’ll keep waiting tables and searching for something deserving of serious commitment.
So what’s the over/under on getting hired?
More than “not a chance in hell,” but less than “probably scoring the dream job tomorrow.” Sweet.