Sometimes, one has to look at her job hunt and laugh. Laugh at the silly questions employers ask during interviews. (How do you handle workplace drama? Why do you want this seasonal position at Macys?) Laugh at the silly ultimatums employers give you while you’re working those temporary, seasonal positions. (If your restroom break is longer than 5 minutes, you’re fired! If you don’t wear a long sleeved collar shirt instead of a short sleeve one, then you’re fired! If you refuse to work on Thanksgiving day, you’re fired!) Laugh at the entire process. My favorite part is laughing at the people you encounter through your networking strategies. The people I’ve encountered during my job hunt fall into the following categories:
The skeptic’s underlying assumption is you aren’t looking hard enough. Now she’ll never say this because she read my former post entitled “Are You Okay and Other Questions Not to Ask An Unemployed Person.” She’s slightly afraid you may blow up if she says the wrong thing, but she’ll ask questions that will reveal her underlying unspoken assumption. She’ll ask questions like “Are you sure you’re doing everything possible to get a job? Have you contacted the alumni offices of both your alma maters? Did you follow up with that CDC position you applied for five months ago, even though they turned you down twice? Did u go to the CDCs campus and camp out overnight to see if they’ll interview you again? Did you stalk the head of the department you applied for to see if he would give you another chance?
The skeptic is a nuisance, especially when you’ve gotten to the end of your rope. But one thing’s for sure, she sure does know how to challenge you, motivating you to find new approaches to a job search.
The Apathetic is usually in a position of power. He can get you the interview at the prestigious company you’ve been dying to work at since your days in undergrad, but don’t care to make the phone call necessary to get you in the door. Instead of offering help, he’ll sprinkle statements like “Yeah, it’s a rough economy. You and the other 8% of U.S. population are looking.” He figures that since he and his family own a yatch and summer home in Turks and Caicos he’s good and don’t need to pay it forward. After all he got his.
As far as he’s concerned, he’s in agreement with The Skeptic. You don’t have a job because you’re not looking hard enough. Your misery has no implication on him, thus he is not willing to leverage on his contacts to offer you the help you need.
Among all types of people featured in a job hunt, the Pretentious Gossiper is the most tricky to identify. She doesn’t come across callous like The Apathetic or as intolerable as The Skeptic. She comes across as genuine, understanding, and sympathetic. But be aware: she’s only buttering you up like a biscuit so that she can get you comfortable enough to spill your beans. Tell her your struggles, your shortcomings, your mistakes, your job strategies and she’ll use it against you. Soon enough, you’ll learn that she’s not only told her mama, grandmama and baby father, but she’s told your former boss, your enemies and other people who have no business knowing your business. And she won’t stop there. Just when you’re back on your feet, she remind you of all those ugly things you once shared with her in confidence.
The naysayer is a lot like the skeptic: annoying but motivational. No matter what you tell The Naysayer, she’ll always tell you that your strategy won’t work. Tell her your applying for a higher position that your previous one, and she’ll tell you you’re underqualifed and won’t get it. Tell her you need some money to pay off some bills, thus you plan to apply to a job a Kroger, and she’ll tell you “Eww! You’re going to ruin your chances of getting a good job!” According The Naysayer, your life sucks so bad, you might as well give up now, and resort to living off your parents’ income for the rest of your life. Any new business venture or project you try to pursue to help get yourself out of your rut, and they’ll tell you “It won’t work. Don’t bother.” Naysayers are my LEAST favorite type of people featured in this job hunt. I try to avoid them at all costs because they can really kill your spirit, but sometimes interacting with them is inevitable In those cases, I flash one of my devilish grins, little do they no that I love to do the very thing people tell me I can’t do.
This post was crafted in November 2011. My employment status has since changed. I will update you on my employment situation at a later date. Thanks in advance for your enormous support 🙂