Plenty of you have found yourselves lately having to seek employment again. It’s a grim reflection of the times. And nothing’s quite so demoralizing as looking for work when there’s not much work to be found.
Over the past several months of job-searching I’ve run the gamut of disses: disgusted, discouraged, dismayed and disenfranchised. Frustrated that despite valuable skills built over a lifetime, I’m left undervalued in the marketplace.
But the more I delve into this job search thing, the more I realize that I’ve been viewing it all wrong. Rather than it being an experience to drag one down, it can be an adventure. Almost like a vacation (because who can afford one anyhow?), without leaving home. Consider it employing your vivid imagination to open yourself up to new (albeit perhaps unwanted) possibilities of who you can be.
Take my experience with Monster.com. After spending too much time filling out forms on the website in order for Monster’s algorithms to find the perfect career opportunity for me, I sat back and waited, trusting that their professional expertise would be put to good use. The next morning an email from Monster awaited me, with my future potential dream job listed on my screen: assistant manager at Spencer’s Gifts.
Now, for those who haven’t spent time lurking in dark corners of shopping malls, Spencer’s is the place you go to for puerile titillation, if you need, say, boob cubes (breast-shaped ice cube molds), or fake dog doo to fool your friends and neighbors. They traffic in schlock. A dream job for your average 14-year old boy, maybe. For me? Not so much.
Now at first, I was insulted by this career pitch, wondering who the jokester was sending me lowbrow job opportunities. Not that there’s anything wrong with the job, mind you, but it’s not exactly the place I imagined my skills would be put to best use. Plus there’s something unseemly about a middle-aged mom ringing up perverted products and re-stocking pop-up pecker lighters and blow-up love dolls.
Although I must admit I thought about trying to land the job, and then pitching a memoir to my literary agent about my year as a purveyor of raunch. Sadly it’s the kind of book that sells nowadays.
The next day, I got my trusty email from Monster, and realized their insult was nothing personal. Rather Monster hasn’t a clue. Because they suggested yet another job for which I was ill-suited: architect. I’m pretty sure it takes a bit of schooling to become an architect. Plus my mother used to always say to me (with the best of intentions), “Pity the person who has to drive over a bridge you built,” knowing as she did that a career as one who must build things safely was not meant to be in my future.
That suggestion was followed up by one that I apply for a lineman job. And curse them, because Glen Campbell crooning The Wichita Lineman has been stuck on an endless loop in my brain since I saw that listing. The thing is, I have no idea what a lineman is, other than the person who would climb up telephone poles to fix live wires, and with a morbid fear of heights—not to mention electrocution--no go there for moi.
Today Monster suggested I can be an occupational therapist, and once I figure out what that is, I’m pretty sure I’ll learn I needed to have studied something occupation-like in college to qualify. Although perhaps I need an occupational therapist to find work.
I gave up on Monster when they urged me to apply for a position as a senior in vitro neuroscientist/cellular electro physiologist. In Shanghai, no less.
Woe to the singles world if Monster was a dating service.
Craiglist lists a few vague jobs guaranteeing six-figure salaries, yet posts no information about the business. I think you have to meet them on a dark street corner at 3 a.m. to talk more about what they want. Another great career, killed before it began. I applied for a position in which I was then asked to send my credit record and bank information to complete strangers. I might be under-employed, but I’m not stupid.
I've definitely been held back in my ability to exceed my imagination, job-wise by living in a small town. I can’t fathom the fun job prospects available to shoot down if I lived in a major metropolitan area—maybe working a jackhammer atop a skyscraper, or being a nanny to Donald Trump’s daughter’s impending baby. In the meantime, closer to home, I’ll just have to pretend I can be a forensics fingerprint analyst, an airport ramp operator, a dog groomer, a postdoctoral research fellow, or a mattress deputy (don’t ask). Or the latest well-contemplated recommendation from Monster: driver of a Porta-John truck. I'm not kidding.
Granted, none of these rates high on the list of things I could or should do in my life, but hey, for a minute it’s fun to think I can truly do whatever I want. And actually get paid for it. Now there’s an idea whose time has come.