The One Where I Write About Being Unemployed…Again

I’ve made a conscious effort of late not to talk about my unemployment too much in this blog. Partially because, completely failing in my goal of not taking things too personally, I reacted to a negative comment on one of my posts that I needed to find something new to write about. Which really stung, because I fear people are tired of hearing me talk/write about it, but it’s still very much my daily reality. Partially, and honestly, because I crave positive feedback, more than ever, and my “happy” posts seem to generate more interest and enjoyment.
But, the truth is, I am really writing this blog for myself. It’s been a way to effect discipline, and rigor, by keeping to my personal commitment to write and post every week. And that’s definitely been a challenge some weeks, especially with the extra, completely self-administered pressure of trying to find something happy and positive to write about, when I didn’t feel happy or positive. I am a positive person, but looking for work for all these months, interviewing and being rejected over and over again, worrying about money and keeping my house, these are serious issues that would suck the positivity out of the most stalwart Pollyanna.
On Dec. 31, the health insurance provided by my severance agreement ended. A few days after that, I received my last unemployment payment. And for the first time in several years, our federal government has not extended the unemployment benefits for the long term unemployed. I confess, I used to listen to those news reports with one ear, wondering what kind of person can be unemployed for months or years. Surely, it’s because they don’t want to work? Well, lesson learned, all I have to do to see that person now is to look in the mirror. And believe me, I desperately want to work, and spend most of my time looking and applying for jobs.
And it’s discouraging. I’m extremely well qualified, have a great resume, tons of experience, and would be an asset to any organization. People tell me that I have been fortunate to get as many interviews as I have. But an interview, or round of interviews in most cases, without a job offer, is tough. I’ve interviewed for dream jobs and “job” jobs. I’ve been told I was the final candidate, only to have the requirements for the job changed at the last minute. I’ve had recruiters and hiring managers tell me I’m on the “A” list, never to hear from them again.
Job hunting is not for the faint hearted! These days, the average hiring process includes a minimum of 3 rounds of interviews, and takes an average of two months. You have to be impeccably prepared to answer a host of complicated questions and scenarios. And answer them again with each consecutive interview. You must know about the company’s values and mission, and be able to describe how you can contribute to both. In detail. You have to be upbeat without appearing flippant and confident without being arrogant. One wrong statement or answer can end the process, and you may never know which thing you said was the wrong thing. Or, they already had a candidate in mind, and were just going through the company required motions of interviewing to meet their quota.
I was recently on an interview I thought was going brilliantly, for one of those dream jobs. The hiring director and I seemed to be really meshing; he even owned dachshunds and we spent a few minutes swapping tales of our pups. Suddenly, he asked me to name my three worst qualities. I always have one worst quality at the ready, that’s fairly standard in interviews. But three? Not that I don’t have three flaws, of course I do, but I didn’t have anything that I wanted to share. So, I stammered and stuttered my way through it, badly. Soon after, the interview ended, and I was not asked back for the next round. In racking my brain over it again and again, I can’t help thinking that that is where I lost the job, my inability to think of and share the worst things about me. Yeesh.
If you have read this far, thank you. I know it’s not a fun topic. It’s not that fun for me either. I know I will get a job at some point. I only need one! And when I do, most likely there will be days when I love it, and there will be challenging days. But I think it will take me a long, long time, if ever, to forget what a gift it is to be employed, and how precious it is, and how one should never take it for granted. And I look forward to having different things to write about, and think about, and, because it’s me, worry about. And next week, I will write about kittens. Or candy. Or something else fun, or funny, or just thoughtful. Because just like you don’t want to read about my unemployment all the time, I don’t want to write about it. And no-one will be happier, or more relieved than I am, when it’s no longer a topic of my conversation. Here’s to looking forward to that day.
The end, for now

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2 responses

  1. antoniofernandez221 | Reply

    I really hope you find a job soon! I will send you good vibes. Keep writing whatever you want. I really enjoy your posts. Have a great day. Just remember, every job that passes you up, sets you up for the one you really deserve!

  2. I’ve been there, Kathi. Thank you for being bold enough to be transparent and sharing the truth. Clearly, the person who stated that they want you to write about something else has never been in your shoes. Hang in there, the “right” opportunity will come.

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