In the past, as all of my older friends graduated in the years before me, everyone freaked out about the job thing. As graduation grew closer, the panic grew too- and then they all got job offers, and everyone was ready to go from school straight to the Real World.
It didn't work like that for me. I, along with the majority of my peers, graduated college in early May with no job. I had been searching for one before graduation, and after graduation it became my full time occupation. I applied to hundreds of positions, and most of the Washington DC metro area has my resume. Most companies, when they didn't like my resume, did not even bother letting me know. I just had to wonder if they'd even received it. As I received more and more non-responses, I got gradually less and less picky about the jobs I applied for- I'd apply for pretty much anything I was qualified for. I felt like I was in limbo- I had graduated from college, but wasn't yet out working. I was depressed and frustrated, and I took it out on those around me.
I did get a few interviews from all of this work. I began to joke that going on a job interview is a lot like going on a date. You pick out the perfect outfit to create exactly the impression that you want to give. You do you hair a half-hour ahead of time, so that you can make sure that all of the frizzy pieces have the chance to stick up so you can pin them down. You do your makeup carefully, and choose the perfect shoes and bag. The whole time, you're stressing. You want to create the right impression. You're hoping that maybe this time, you will meet The One. Whether it is The One person you want to be with or The One Job, you want it to be this time.
The rejections are hard, too. There was one job that I had three interviews for. The first was with the placement agency. That one was probably the hardest, because they subjected me to a barrage of computer tests. Really really hard computer tests. I thought that I failed and they were going to tell me they couldn't do anything for me and kick me out the door, but it turned out that no one gets perfect scores, and I did better than most. They sent my resume to the firm that was hiring. The firm, however, did not decide to interview me until the very last minute- I got a call on the day of the interview asking me to come in. I was in Virginia Beach visiting my parents, and I threw on a suit and drove all the way to Northern Virginia, hopped on the metro at Franconia-Springfield (closest stop), got stuck when the metro broke down, got lost from the metro to the firm, but finally made it. I was frazzled and exhausted, and I hadn't eaten since breakfast- but the job sounded so great that I didn't want to miss the opportunity. Apparently they were impressed- I made it to the next round of interviews. Then, however, I got a phone call from the placement agency stating that the firm had decided to hire another candidate. I had invested so much time and effort in this job- I was incredibly upset. Of course, I've had other rejections, too- this was just the hardest and the most memorable.
I was incredibly fortunate during my job hunt, because my parents were willing and able to support me while I searched. I really don't know how else I would have done this. I didn't want to get a part-time position, because I was afraid a full-time job would offer me a position, and I didn't want to quit any job two weeks after being hired.
I finally was offered a job on Monday. The pay's not great, but it's a job, and in this economy, who am I to complain? I'm employed, and will be working in a field that I wanted to work in.
So why am I talking about this now? It is extremely depressing to be searching so hard for a job and be so unable to find one. Although, logically, I knew that there were a lot of people in the same situation as I was, it didn't really feel like it. It felt like it was just me, all alone in this situation. I felt like a failure because I was unable to find a job. I felt like I wasn't good enough, and although I know that the rejections were not necessarily about me (someone else had more experience, etc), each one felt very personal. I was too depressed about the situation to want to tackle writing about it. I'm writing this for a couple of reasons: I'm hoping that someone who is in the same situation stumbles across this and maybe really, truly begins to understand that it's not just them, and that it will work out. I also am hoping that perhaps those more fortunate who are not frantically job-searching may better understand what it's like for those who do. I may only have a few readers, but hopefully this will help someone. It also feels really good to just get it off my chest.
For those of you who wanted knitting content, here's a consolation prize: the most recent picture I've taken of my St. James sweater:
I'm a little further along now, and I promise more pictures of this (and a new sock!) soon.