Thursday, September 21, 2006

Frustrated at the Incorporated

[Warning: Dangerous self-pittying ahead]

Can't sleep tonight. I think it's because I have an interview tomorrow morning. I'm not especially nervous for it, since it's only with a temp agency. Placing folks like me - you know, people who don't have a job - with firms on a temporary basis is how they make their bread and butter, so I'll probably get some sort of work (and thankfully, some sort of income) directly from this interview.

No, the reason this interview is keeping me up tonight is that it's really forcing me to come face-to-face with what has been a major struggle for me: unemployment.

The fact is, I don't have a job. And that has been a source of immeasurable frustration.

I suppose I could choose to paint the picture in a positive light: I've only been out of school a few months, I've put together a solid resume and it's really only a matter of time, I'm doing all the right job search things, there's a lot of people who don't have jobs yet, working in a temp position will get me some good experience while I keep looking, etc.

Although all those things are true, in my mind, there's really only the bleak reality that I don't have a job. And the truth behind that fact is even more disheartening. Despite doing everything right with my cover letters and resumes and so-on, I can't seem to even get an interview. Despite a good GPA and a great education, no one is interested in my services. Sure, I know some other people who don't have jobs yet - but when 95% of your classmates are doing something, they might as well all be; it is no consolation that there are others still looking. And maybe I'm only a few months out of school, but the honest truth is that I've been applying for jobs for well over a year, and two years if you count the fact that 2L interviews invariably lead to actual career-starting positions. That's a long time to go without landing a position. That's a whole lot of rejection letters. That's a whole lot of energy spent on ultimately futile efforts. And worst of all, that's a very long time to try to maintain a positive outlook; a lot of possible openings to get excited about, and a lot of dashed excitement.

Imagine 100 people of the opposite sex were handed a quick description of your best features, and asked if they'd have any interest in dating you. Now imagine that of those 100 exactly 0 had any interest in dating you, and at least 90% didn't even ever want to talk to you. Chances are, you'd feel pretty down about your love life.

I think that begins to describe how I feel about my lack of a job. The fact is, at first none of it was personal. I got a bunch of rejection letters back during my 2L year. Everyone did. That was expected. And I found a good job for that 2L summer, so I wasn't too worried. But then 3rd year started, and the interviews were fewer and further between. I really had to work to find the jobs out there, and when I did, I usually couldn't get an interview. A cover letter sent to a prospective employer simply meant another rejection letter. Soon enough, it all became personal.

Every rejection letter hurt. Every time I opened my mailbox and found a thin envelope, it felt like a slap in the face. Some hurt more than others - I really wanted some of those positions - but they all were personal. I suppose I shouldn't write in the past-tense; the fact is, the rejections are still coming. And they still hurt. Maybe worst of all, like any repetitive stress injury, each additional rejection just builds on the damage that's already been done. I can't imagine my confidence dropping much lower, but I'm sure when I check the mail tomorrow another rejection will accomplish what is beyond my imagination.

Why does no one want to hire me? Why does no one even seem to want to interview me? What is it about me - about my resume, about my cover letter, about my experience, about my education - that makes me so undesirable? I've been over these things, and over them again. I know with certainty that there is nothing wrong with anything I'm doing, with anything I'm sending out to employers. And yet... here I am. Frustrated, worried, hopeless.

I have worked so hard. I have tried so much. I have prayed so intensely. I have been so optimistic.

I am so defeated.

Put me out of my misery
I'd do it for you, would you do it for me?


Thinking Fool said...

I shall brainstorm. What are you interested in doing?

Matthew B. Novak said...

Actually, things are going well now. Well, hopefully they're going well. I'll know in a week or two.

Anonymous said...

Same problem. How about contacting the employer you worked for in the summer?