I’ve applied for a number of jobs that I was really excited about and have gotten no response from. This is typical of the job hunting experience these days. There are too many applicants for every job for employers to respond to each one so the job seekers meet pretty continual radio silence until you hit the jackpot. Reading job descriptions is fascinating, demoralizing, funny, and often ridiculous. Here are some notes I’ve taken:
- Descriptions of copy editing jobs in which there are obvious and sometimes many typos my first thought is “No shit, you really DO need a copy editor!” and then I lose respect for the job poster because they are not even bothering to copy edit their job listing, like potential employees aren’t even worth the effort. I would suggest that employers work just as hard to impress potential employees as they are working to impress you. You are setting the quality bar with everything you put out there, including your Craigslist ads. Just because I don’t have a job right now doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be trying to impress me (theme continued in next note).
- Potential employees are also potential customers/consumers. I have discovered so many companies and products I didn’t even know about before I started looking for a new job. I found Evernote because a friend passed along their job listing and I checked them out and discovered I love their apps. They impressed me quite a lot and I really want to work for them. I think there was a fair chance of landing the job if I had lived within commuting distance. Other unnamed companies have managed to not only not hire me but to also lose me as a potential customer. There are a lot of us jobless people who are potential consumers – so remember to be thoughtful, smart, and respectful in your job descriptions.
- Employers asking for a bachelor’s or master’s degree for positions a monkey can do. Really? You think that college degree makes for a better janitor or office assistant? You can’t even graduate high school these days without already possessing the skills of an office assistant. I know why they do it and I still think it’s dumb. Ask for degrees where it truly is necessary or at least gives someone an actual edge. Bonus points for all employers who ask for specific degrees OR equivalent professional experience! Those employers are part of the real world and know that some people come by excellent skills without college degrees and are worth considering.
- Employers asking for a bachelor’s degree from a “top tier” college but not specifying any particular degree. Ah, nothing like realizing you don’t qualify for a job because you didn’t go to one of those exquisite colleges that give you a golden key to the exclusive clubhouse of “worth” upon graduation. George Bush + Harvard = still dumber than a sponge but less useful.
I would like to note here that an acquaintance on FB who saw me commenting about this had some really good perspective to offer as a person who has written many job descriptions: apply even if you don’t have the “required” degree because the people tasked with listing positions are often given a block list of requirements that is the company standard even if it isn’t especially relevant to the specific listing. The other reason you (and by “you” she meant me) should apply anyway is that hiring managers will look at your work experience first and your college education last. If you are professionally qualified and impress them with your experience they might not care about your formal education (or lack of it).
- My personal favorite are job listings that are really three positions for one salary. You think you’re applying for a writing/editing job but then you read the job description and you are also expected to manage customer relations as well as be the social media specialist. What they offer to pay you is the small salary of one of those positions. This is where a company can’t afford to hire as many people as they actually need and they can’t afford to pay one person enough to do them all. It’s a built-in recipe for failure to perform. No one can do the work of three people for very long before everyone’s dissatisfied. I may have to settle for low pay in a job market like this when I know I’m worth more – but I’ll be damned if I’m going to do the work of three people for the price of one!
Reading job requirements makes me hyper-aware of every quality I lack and experience I haven’t accrued. I find myself wondering why the hell I never became an agricultural commodities reporter or explored the glories of medical writing?
It’s so hard to keep from being discouraged. Yesterday I felt so blue I wanted to crawl back into bed by 1pm and not get up again. But I had to because I had to make my mom lunch and check to see if my kid is still alive up there in his eyrie and then administer my mom’s antibiotics through her pic line which is a detailed procedure involving many timed disinfecting wipes and saline flushes and ending with a heparin flush and then…
The most interesting thing I did all day was change my mom’s wound-vac canister. The nurse was supposed to do that earlier in the day. She was supposed to check on it and change it if it was close to full. The wound-vac started beeping. They make it persistent so you can’t ignore it because if you could turn off the beeping so your head doesn’t explode with annoyance you could also just ignore the fact that your wound is no longer draining and fluid collecting in your wound could become infected and for some people a little infection can quickly escalate to a life threatening one. So when the wound-vac malfunctions it will annoy you until you deal with it.
Even though everyone said I’d never have to do anything with my mom’s wound-vac (the thought worried me) the reality is that they don’t have any staff to send out in the evenings to change wound-vac canisters. So nurse Nancy walked me through the process on speakerphone.
I was totally out of my comfort zone right up until I started doing it.
I actually enjoyed learning how to change the canister of the wound vac. It wasn’t hard and it was pleasantly procedural. Everything about it made sense. Never mind the fact that I was discarding wound fluids which are weirdly crystallized in an attempt to make it less distressing to look at – I did something totally new and really useful in our current situation.
So maybe I didn’t get a job call-back yesterday or today but I was a useful person to the people I love and my mind got something fresh to chew on and my medical curiosity has been heightened. I can’t put that on my resume “Can change a wound-vac!” since it doesn’t relate at all to jobs I’m qualified to apply to, but it does go to show that I DO learn quickly. That even when out of my comfort zone I do what is needed with calm efficiency and purpose.
It’s time to go give my mom her antibiotics. A few more days of this and I’ll be purell-free and my mom might get her pic line out! I wonder what more I will have learned in that time?
If you have job-hunting thoughts, stories, or advice – please share! If you learned something new recently – share that too!