Looking for a job is like waiting on a bus

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I’m driving home from the dog groomer; my dog is overdue for a cut of her hair and nails because I’ve been unemployed for four months.

Four months.

Scary and frustrating.  With each potential job call, I’m forced to mull over how a company hired me and paid to move us all to a brand new building and then layoff of 25% of the staff six weeks later. It’s not encouraging to have a recruiter tell you that your old company is known for doing this. It’s distressing because I graduated college last year and found a perm job after 6 months of looking and 15 years of contracting. I was thrilled with the job because it was close to home, I was going to write all day for a salary that would allow me to pay down my student loans and pay my rent.

So, there I am in traffic pondering my unemployment when I notice someone waiting on a bus. It’s a hot summer day in Dallas with triple digit heat and really bad ozone, which means I woke up with ooze in my ears, nose running non stop, blood-red eyes and nausea. Looking at the bus stop though, I was suddenly thankful for my old, reliable truck with air conditioning.

At the bus stop I noticed a young woman seated on the ground neatly dressed in a short-sleeved, red cotton t-shirt and modest black shorts. She was peering left and leaning out as far as she could toward the road as if her neck could careen around the traffic to see if the bus was chugging her way. I followed her gaze a few feet and saw a young man covering his eyes with his hands and peering just as intently in the direction of the would-be bus. I glanced up the road where there was no bus in sight.

I flashed back to a time when I took the bus. I recalled that it took 1.5 hours and 3 buses to get to work in what was otherwise a 15 minute drive. Taking the bus is chore mostly because it’s often late or early, and because after the rush hour, they only run every hour. It’s not the best way to the grocery store either because you have to schedule your shopping so that you get back to the stop on time and aren’t waiting in the heat or cold for another hour. It was my only option.

That’s exactly how it feels to look for a job. You’re sitting there dressed neatly for the day peering out into the web at the list of available jobs as you simultaneously and impatiently wait for a job to arrive.

But unlike the bus that you know is coming at some point, applying for job requires more patience and determination. It’s endless loop of job applications and networking and tweaking your résumé. You get a lead and follow-up and many times you just hear nothing. The endless barrage of recruiters calling and emailing who have almost no relationship with the client is confusing and misleading. You network with friends and former coworkers, watch educational videos, maybe even take a class, read job alerts, and on and on it goes.

Somehow watching these two folks peer down the road anticipating a bus that is nowhere in sight is exactly how it feels to search for a job. I often find a great job and then notice the job ad is 30 days old or that I’ve already applied for it. I spend hours applying for jobs and responding to emails and calls only to learn its ten different companies calling on the same job.

I’ve grown weary of them asking what I earned and what I want to earn. Just tell me what the job pays, they aren’t here to fulfill a fantasy already!

I even had an interview and the company only told me after the first interview that I wasn’t interviewing with the client, but a 2nd agency. They ensured me the next interview was practically guaranteed to results in a job, but they gave me the wrong address, the wrong contact and when I arrived, the person interviewing me thought it was a phone interview and I was scrambling to find the correct office around the corner. The manager advised me that they probably won’t going to hire anyone, which made me question why there was an interview at all.

So many people know nothing about the company or hiring manager and struggle to explain the 2 paragraphs or 2 pages of information let alone the team and culture. So here I am, peering down the road anticipating my job and wondering where it is just like the people waiting for their bus.

I’ll be glad when my job arrives, even if it’s late.

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