The Secret Life of Melanie O.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Job hunting - the world's oldest profession
When Adam and Eve got kicked out of the garden, they must have been at a total loss for "what to do next." After all, they had spent their formative years walking and talking with God, getting an education, spending endless hours in praise and adoration, while God provided everything they needed. This is all they knew. Once forced to leave the garden, they had to find another way of providing for themselves. No doubt, they feel as we all do now when faced with unemployment and no cash flow. Scared, alone, and falling without a net, while God dumps a big bushel of manure on you just for giggles.

Eve could have sold her body if there was someone around to sell it to. But Adam was the only guy in town - this is why I dispute the statement that prostitution is the "world's oldest profession." It isn't - "unemployed job seeker" is the world's oldest profession, next to gardening.

It takes nerves of steel and a pig-headed determination to be a job seeker. It also means learning to take heaps of rejection. If you're over age 40, like me, you have to worry about age discrimination and the fact that you are competing against advanced university degree holders. When I was growing up - you didn't need a degree to succeed. Heck - Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy's, was a high school dropout and died a gazillionaire. We've all heard stories of people with enough determination and hard work who worked their way up from the mail room to the Board room. Those days are disappearing like the proverbial dinosaur. Now you need an MBA from Harvard in order to have credibility. Experience doesn't count for much - unless you are interviewed by someone who values skills and experience as much as that MBA.

In addition to competing against degree holders with little work experience who will be taken more seriously than you will, you have to try to look and act younger than your years. Nearly every advertised marketing position out there seeks "an energetic, vibrant person to join young team." I feel anything but energetic and vibrant. Mostly, we job seekers are feeling discouraged and depressed. We're just coming out of a rejection phase - even if we rejected our jobs, not the other way around. Somehow, you feel shut out of the whole system.

Looking for work is the emotional equivalent to a ride on the Roller Coaster of Death. I've spent the last 10 days or so flooding the market with my CV, and have made a dozen or more calls to agencies in the hope of at least getting some temp work. But I'm overqualified for everything. Finally, I did get a call from a recruiter, who told me that I would be perfect for a job that was listed with his agency. "That's great!" I told him.

The recruiter told me that he would have to call and set up an interview for me. "Fantastic," I said, not wanting to leave any doubt that I would be totally psyched (in a good way) to get an interview.

A few days passed. No return call about an interview. I emailed the recruiter. I called and left a phone message for him "to see how things were going." Nothing. No response. So, I did some investigating. The job I was asked to interview for was also listed with another agency. The other agency got their candidate in for an interview first. Not just a first interview, a second interview. I was rapidly descending that seven storey drop to the bottom.

A week went by. The recruiter called me again. "I bet you thought I forgot about you," he said. Ha! I knew that he had just been too cowardly to let me know about another candidate's second interview. I played it cool and nonchalant: "Oh, I just figured you were probably busy," I lied.

"Well, they want you to come in for an interview. How's tomorrow sound? And if they like you, can you start on Monday?"

Wheee! I'm in my little car, being pulled to the top of the next rise. I hope the next drop just thrills me, and doesn't make me want to pee my pants.
posted by Melanie O. at 12:03 PM -
  • At 11:02 AM, Blogger gardenbug said…

    The best of luck in your job interview. Or if you've all ready been interviewed, how did it go? I told you: women have to work twice as hard to get half as far. now you can add: and older wormen get only one-fourth as far. Speaking from experience...the Gardenbug

  • At 11:03 AM, Blogger gardenbug said…

    By the way, how do I get something I wrote out of DRAFT to edit and publish it? I can't find the button anywhere....Gardenbug

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About Me
Name: Melanie O.
Home: Durham, North Carolina, United States
About Me: Female, American health and beauty-conscious professional who has rekindled a childhood love of dolls.
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