On my least favourite question
Based on a prompt from Plinky: What is one question you hate to be asked? Explain.
“How’s the job hunt going?”
At the moment, my least favourite thing to be asked about is my job situation.
As I briefly mentioned in an earlier post, I am currently unemployed. About 5 months ago, the contract I had been working in another province came to an end and, unfortunately, I have not been able to line up another job. Also unfortunately, this generally means that my state of unemployment is what I spend the most time talking about in social situations.
Not by choice, I assure you.
At first, talking about it isn’t so bad. It’s easy to be optimistic when you’ve only been unemployed for a few weeks. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably enjoying yourself: lounging around the house in your pajamas all day, catching up on some reading or some video games, or whatever it is you like to do that you often can’t make as much time for when you’re gainfully employed. The problem is, the lustre of “funemployment” doesn’t last all that long.
After awhile, you get bored, and the people who ask you about the job hunt every time you see them start to look at you a little oddly when you, yet again, tell them that you haven’t found anything. You assure them that yes, you really are looking, but no one ever believes you unless they’ve been through the same thing — even your closest friends.
The real difficulty comes when you are almost inevitably asked: have you been looking for anything outside your field? Something that will keep you afloat until you can find the job you want? This is really my least favourite part of the discussion, because no, I’m not looking for something outside my field. I know that some people can have a hard time wrapping their minds around this, but over the past few years I’ve realized that taking up a crappy job is a lot more difficult than most people think it is.
When you have an education like I do, a higher level of education than your average person that specifically trains you for a particular vocation, you become practically unemployable. Human Resources these days has become a game of bullet points — if what you have and what the job posting asks for don’t match up exactly, there are few people out there who are willing to give you a chance. This is particularly true for me, because there are so few people out there who know what archival work is, and there’s no chance for you to explain it if someone won’t give you an interview. The type of jobs I’ve had also make it more difficult for me to creatively dumb down my resume
The last time I was unemployed I applied for hundreds of jobs (I am not exaggerating) outside my field and did not get a single call back for any of them. I got job interview training, and had an expert help me design several different resumes for applying for different types of jobs. There came a time when I had to make a decision: focus my energy on doing what I really want to do or split my focus and face rejection and disappointment on all sides. I chose to focus on getting what I really want. I’ve gotten mixed results so far, but I’m determined to stick with it, at least for now.