The Job Search Madness Diaries: What it’s Like to be an Educationed Young White Woman Job Searching During Covid-19

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Happy Saturday world and good morning!

My brian is reeling, yet again, from being hopeful that I’ve had interviews these past few weeks. But I’m also nervous because… The pandemic is going on. I have been saddened by the millions of Americans, especially service workers, who have lost their jobs because of the corona virus. It’s a very disheartening time. My nerves are bouncing everywhere like a roller coaster. Thoughts are jiggling around aimlessly in my brain, thinking over every intervew question I’ve ever been asked and answered. And the unemployment site isn’t working. Does any employer, including the unemployment department, ever think to have a website developer actually test links before the website goes live and forms don’t work? 

Is the unemployment department to the rescue in time of dire need? No. Many states in the United States are racked with decades-old technology. Hello people. 1982 is long gone. Why not give website developers jobs who know how to encrypt data?

For my recent interview (I’ll call it interview X) I was very robotic, calm and professional, to match the tone of the interviewers’ phone voice. My answers were good. Not too verbocious. But I’m not a robot. And I didn’t continue on to the next round. Okay – The robot woman didn’t like me. Oh well.

For interview V I had a month ago, my bubbly personality came out and that seemed to be liked by that interviewer. Did I continue on? No.

For interview Y, I was half robot, half human and I’m waiting to see the results…

I see I get close to getting offers. When my resume is submitted through a popular job searching site, I’m thrilled when I get a phone or video interview request. ‘Woohoo!’ I think to myself. ‘My stuff made it through the applicant tracking software. Yipee cay-yay! I’m getting traction during Covid. I’m SO grateful!’

Then the turmoil begins … again. The emotionally draining monotony of answering the same series of interview questions via, in person, via phone and video sets in … I’m getting leery. Every day is Ground Hog Day. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Lose sleep.

I did get a question the other day that I hadn’t been asked in quite awhile. But the question snuck up on me from the interviewer like a long-lost friend from the days of yore who isn’t really a friend because there’s a reason a long-lost friend became long-lost…

This is what she asked:

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

I know why she asked this. She wants to see that I will work for $X amount of money, will never ask for more money and will let them know, as my potential new employer, that I will be happy making that amount forever.

This is what I said:  I said something like I’d like to stay put for several yeas and I love data entry.

What I really wanted to say (sarcastically of course) was: “I’d be thrilled to look at invoices the rest of my life. Sure. That’s where I’ll be in five years and beyond.”

But yet she wants someone not to make errors. I won’t. So, she needs to balance what is most important to her: Low wage person forever OR slightly higher paid person who won’t make data entry errors now. In the present and the future. Employers want to have their cake and eat it too, but they can’t seem to keep people. Or make up their mind about this simple equation.

Where this is a will, there isn’t always a way.

There’s another phenomenon that has happened for many, many years too. Well, actually, it’s the anti-phenomenon. Because a phenomonen is supposed to be impressive and extraordinary.

The same companies post the same jobs each month and/or each year. I’ve seen thousands of job postings since 2008. I’ve seem dozens of the same companies post the same jobs year after year, but usually, month after month. They can’t seem to keep people because they’re either insane to work with. Or they hire over-qualified people who don’t want to stay, or they hire someone who has potential but they don’t want to train the potential new superstar. So the potential new superstar is let go, and the employer will post the same ad (no edits made) but they expect difrerent results. They must be insane because the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly, but expecting differnt results. And aren’t they tired of wasting their time and interviewees’ time by not thinking through of why they have such high turnover? Aren’t they tired too? Don’t they care about their own version of Ground Hog Day?

I am in that mix where people like me. My personality seems to shine. I’m not applying for jobs I can’t do. I’m totally qualified for those in which I apply. I’m not asking for $100,000 a year. But they waste my time and theirs when they realize they can get someone in younger, cheaper and not as good as me.

They like me, but hiring me for $39,000 a year is too much for them.

There are great job sites out there in which  interview tips are given to job searchers.

But, how come there aren’t sites out there to train employers? They need help too.

I’ve had so many interviews where I find out the my potential new boss really wants someone with an accounting degree and I think to myself: Well, why didn’t you write that in the ad? You know I don’t have an accounting degree. You’re wasting hours of my time (over several interviews) and your time, but I applied because I can do literally all 100 tasks listed in the bullet points, for a barely livable wage, and can do the accounting assistant duties too, but you still aren’t sure if you want to hire me since I don’t have an accounting degree? Couldn’t you have figured that out before you paid to have the ad posted on job board sites?

Well, it’s time to relax for now. I’m trying to keep my sanity and remain hopeful. Hope sometimes is all we have to cling to, especially during econominc depressions.




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