For a lot of people, the thought of being unemployed is enough to instill fear in them, but for me, it causes a sense of impending doom.
Unemployment is officially the bane of my existence. I will continue working at a miserable job before I delve into the world of job hunting.
Every job posting seems to require 10 years of experience, or any other variation thereof, none of which are the number of years of experience you actually have.
Then, there’s the dreaded online application designed to weed out the faint-hearted or easily defeated. The online application means you have to contend with technological difficulties, incompatible file types and lengthy forms full of fields to fill. If, by chance, you successfully complete the application, you still have to get past the HR algorithm that supposedly helps companies identify quality candidates. And by quality candidates, I mean those lucky people who coincidentally type in some type of super secret password into the section that asks for your past employment history or education or favorite color or astrological sign or whatever. That top secret keyword that breaks through the algorithm and forwards your application to the recruiter and hiring manager is like gold in the online job application process. It’s precious, and not everyone finds it.
When you do finally beat the algorithm and get recognized for the awesome person you are, you then have to complete a variety of menial tasks to test your stamina, endurance, patience and ability to meet deadlines. It’s more strenuous than trying out for the high school football team. I’ve completed writing tests, editing tests, graphic design tests, 45-minute personality tests, logical reasoning assessments and more. It can take hours, even days. It makes you question where you went wrong in your life. You’ll briefly consider applying to McDonald’s because at least you won’t have to go through this anymore.
You finally finish all the required assessments and quizzes. Now, job applicants sit by their cell phones and jump every time they ring. A text message notification is enough to cause heart arrhythmia. When you finally get a call for an interview, you’re genuinely excited. That is, until you stroll over to your closet and realize all of your interview clothes look like hand-me-downs, and none of them fit properly because your mom took you shopping or you changed sizes from stress or following the poor-man’s diet.
Reluctantly, you hop in your car and head to the nearest clothing store, where you try on a variety of potential interview outfits. Everything’s fine in the dressing room until you look at price tags. You try to recall how much money you have in your checking account before pulling out your credit card. What’s another $200 on top of the rest of your debt, especially if it means you get a job, right?
By the time you actually get to your interview, you’re frazzled, exhausted, disheartened and broke. Most hiring managers and recruiters are excellent at interviewing job candidates. They’re professional and good at asking the tough questions. They are your friends. Then, there are some people who make you question why you spent any time at all applying for the position. For example, I once interviewed with a woman who asked if everyone in Nebraska is bad at writing and why anyone would ever want to live in Nebraska. Because I’m a pro, I handled both these questions with all the grace and diplomacy of Queen Elizabeth, but on the inside, I was Nick Millering like there was no tomorrow.
Once the interview if over, you can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Your hard work ends when you send a thank-you note to the people who interviewed you. Now, you get to wait! You should go ahead and put some cayenne pepper on your fingernails so you don’t gnaw them off. Maybe also lock up all the junk food in your home so you don’t binge on it. The anticipation will figuratively kill you.
Consider calling your doctor for a prescription anti-anxiety medication or taking up a stress-relieving hobby, like boxing, or my personal favorite, eating cake.
If you’re job-hunting, I wish you all the best and want you to know that I don’t envy you, not one little bit.