Nothing to fight for (literally)

So I had started this blog on Google’s Blogger platform. But inability to add AdSense and a preference for the wordpress platform (more and better layout options) led me to move over to this site. So whereas it shows my very first post as having occurred earlier today, in actuality I wrote and posted it two days ago– I’m not a crazy minute-by-minute blogger. I save that level of unnecessary updating for my Facebook feed, thankyouverymuch.

It’s midday on Friday and to spare myself from going nuts, stalking indeed.com for job listings and generally feeling in a funk, I figured I would write this post, turn off the computer and call it a day. One of the things that I have heard about job searching while unemployed is that you have to distract yourself and inject structure into your job search. Sitting at my computer, doing constant searches for job listings typically ends up with me spending hours on Pinterest and having accomplished nothing.

At this point, I have not worked for just about 5 weeks, which I guess in the grand scheme of things isn’t that bad, considering the current economic context. Having gaps in my resume was my only real concern but I’m realizing that there’s only so much that I can do and that as long as I am putting in an effort to search, apply, network and interview– that’s the best that I can do. I spend the rest of my time reading, knitting and eating my mom’s homemade food. To be totally honest with you: unemployment has kind of an awesome experience for me (since I live at home, carry no debt, have hobbies that I have become re-engaged in); however, I do recognize that the longer that I succumb to this relaxing lifestyle, the less inclined I am to work and so I have to keep myself moving forward.

One of the biggest de-motivators to this job search is that the outcomes of months of applying and searching have been incredibly unsatisfying. I won’t name the companies that I have been interviewing at but suffice it to say that I’m residing in the SF Bay Area so most of the companies are tech companies, some established and others startup.

In many (dare I say a majority) of the interviews that I have been on, the outcome has not been the standard “we decided to go with another candidate– thanks for your time”; rather, jobs have been rescoped or deferred or outrightly deleted due to the company’s reassessment of its needs.  Here is my grand list of efforts and outcomes (company names shielded):

  • S***: I interviewed with this company while still in business school. The role itself was not clearly defined and so I flubbed a bit in my interview. However, I do think I was brilliant at defining the market that the company should be going after. They didn’t hire me (which is fine) and I found out just two months ago (almost a year after I’d interviewed) that the company was still trying to fill the position and as per my friend (who interviewed), still had their very ambiguous job description in use (which she also complained about). What annoys me is that they didn’t take the ideas I’d pitched (gave them to you for free!) and now the market that I had suggested has been spectacularly filled by another internet startup P***. Good job there.
  • B***: I did a phone interview while still in business school. Was scheduled for an interview which was then cancelled the day before it was to take place. Fine. Then I applied for a role (which the website stated was in the SF Bay area) and when two different recruiters contacted me (confusion much?) I learned it was actually located on the East Coast– city TBD.
  • Y***: This is one of the few interviews where the response was: we went with the other candidate. This was close but no cigar. Recruiters were pretty good at this company.
  • B***: I felt torn interviewing for this company. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to work in this industry. I interviewed with three executives and they just kept passing me through. Then I spoke with one VP and he told me I didn’t have the background– which I wish would have been told to me earlier in the process. They emailed me to end the process, which I did appreciate.
  • Y***: Had a number of interviews with recruiters for roles here. Since interviewing initially, this company has had a number of problems so the end of my candidacy was probably for the best for all involved.
  • Y***: I smelled some serious company strife during my interviews here. It’s probably not a great sign when the VP of one department flat-out says that the employees in the other department are “idiots” and “not very smart.” One interviewer asked me why I was interested in this industry and I responded; when I asked him why he chose to join this company, he admitted that he didn’t give a shit about this industry. I also sensed that he was hitting on me a bit. I never heard back re: this role but noticed another similar role being advertised so I’m assuming they rescoped. By this point, I am not super interested.
  • S***: A pretty hot company these days so was excited to interview. But again, palpable internal tensions and implication of company problems during interviews. Recruiters at this company were not exactly on their A game– I experienced problems with every single interview that was scheduled (in one instance, the recruiter told me the WRONG DATE AND TIME and I traveled to the office only to have to reschedule b/c I couldn’t wait around for two hours). Recruiter never got back to me on the role however I did see online that it had been converted to a temp position.
  • S***: Went through a day interviewing with 6 employees. In the end, the job was rescoped and made more junior.
  • S***: The company went with an internal candidate but let me know that they are in the process of creating more roles. Am on standby pending staffing decisions.
  • T***: Told I was too junior for this role. Recruiter was a nice guy.
  • L***: Interviewed with a ton of people and awaiting a response.

I think that’s about it. Looking at the list, it’s probably a healthy number of interviews so it’s not like I have been interviewing a ton, I guess– but this is just a list of the ones where I was more deeply into the process. There are also a ton where I phonescreened but wasn’t passed on to the next level. One company, A*** stood me up on a phone screen. In another case, the director for the company wanted to do a really casual conversation at 8 am at an SF cafe. I thought it was kind of strange so when I asked her if we could do something during business hours, I was dropped from the process. It all smelled really sketchy and more recently, I saw the role reposted. And then last week, a person from L*** contacted me about a role that I had applied to weeks (maybe months) ago where the recruiter had asked to schedule a phone screen and then disappeared. So I responded to this new recruiter, agreeing to a phone screen and now she has disappeared. Hot mess.

If the job search process was just about rejection, I feel like that would be an easier pill to swallow. But more often than not, it seems like it is an exercise for the candidate to serve as a guinea pig to companies as they figure out what they are doing. It also seems like a chance to have deep conversation with the burnt out, unhappy current employees at the company, who ask you “Why do you want to work here?” whilst simultaneous holding a sign that says “Run! Ruuuun! This company will steal your soul!” and throwing you panicked facial expressions and/or suffering facial tics. There have been numerous instances where I have contemplated faking food poisoning to curtail a job interview where it is blatantly obvious that that is a company where I will most probably be miserable. It is also a phenomenal opportunity to interact with recruiters, both good and bad. Mostly the bad, it sometimes seems. Well, I guess the bad ones are the most memorable– I think that statement is fair.

So, I guess the end of this rant is: job searching blows. It’s tough and there isn’t a day that goes by where I wouldn’t take the most God-awful of jobs just to avoid the process, if even for a little bit (it’s how I ended up in my last job, actually). But I mean, it is what it is and I have to gird myself to face the storm and (hopefully) emerge victorious and not too browbeaten and battered.

Happy weekend all!

— DOA

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3 responses to “Nothing to fight for (literally)

  1. Sounds to me like you’ve been putting in the effort. Good luck in finding the best work option!

  2. Hi Jen!

    Thanks for the support. Yeah, I mean I really do need to be less emotional about it and just keep looking. It takes a toll though.

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