Some advice is about as helpful as this piece of paper.
When I first started my blog, I invited anyone to write me and tell me their unemployment story. And I heard from one person in particular that has a very similar to story as my own (and probably yours) and she allowed me to share this with all of you. I was very grateful for this considering I don’t want to be the only standing on this podium bemoaning my life’s current state all alone.
And her story touched a nerve with me considering all the snarky implications I receive from people about how I am not doing enough to get a job. But it was nice to know that I am not alone in hearing this awful stereotype of what the unemployed are doing (or are NOT doing) to find a job.
To clarify, the rest of this post is written by Monica, and I am posting her story as she told it to me. A special thank you to Monica for letting me tell her story.
“I graduated college in 2011, took a break in the summer to travel with a friend, then got down to business. For a few months I had a hard time finding a job, then something opened up at a university in town!
It wasn’t great, but it was something to do until I found THE job (which is in education, by the way). After 8 months, the budget suddenly shrank…and I was the first to go. I had no big emotions…didn’t cry, didn’t get angry, didn’t get depressed. So, I have been out of work now for about 2.5 weeks, and I am already getting bored. I started to do volunteer work at the local animal shelter and literacy council. I am still looking for a job, sending out 10+ resumes a day (I even got fancy resume paper for my fancy resume packets!)
Like you, I have been doing the networking thing: setting up informational interviews, asking for career advice, meeting with hiring managers, even going to networking workshops twice a month. Nothing has really panned out.
Well, I have been getting a lot of help from my aunts as well. One has connected me with an editor who has helped me completely redo my resume and cover letter. We chat, she asks questions, and then gives me advice. Great.
The other, she is just pushy. She likes to call to “chat” and give some of her ideas about this job searching thing. “Have you tried volunteering?”
“Why don’t you just move to New York and work at McDonald’s?”
“Because I am living rent free and I don’t want to give that up for $7 an hour.”
“Well, what are you going to do when you go into an interview and they ask what you’ve been doing for the last six months? You can’t tell them you’ve been sitting on your ass all day doing nothing.”
Whoa! Admittedly, this infuriated me. We have had a dozen conversations like this. I know that I can’t very well tell the employer I am doing absolutely nothing with my life. I do appreciate the advice, I don’t appreciate the implications behind said advice.
In any given 30 minute conversation I will hear “But you can’t tell an interviewer you are doing nothing with your days. Then you just look lazy and stupid.”
Now, I do try and explain what I am doing. I do try and explain how many applications I put out in any given day. It doesn’t seem to get through. The last conversation we had put me over the edge. She just said “But you can’t tell and interviewer you are doing nothing with your days” one too many times.
To make it worse, she followed it with “Well, you can’t sit around all day and look for jobs, you have to get out there and hang out with friend. I’m surprised you picked up the phone. I thought you would be out with friends.” (it was after 10 p.m. during this particular conversation. Mind you, I am too poor to afford gas at this point. I get maybe a tank a month when I can find babysitting work.)
Job hunting is frustrating enough, and I certainly don’t want my family to imply that I am just a lazy college graduate who doesn’t know what she is doing. I appreciate advice, welcome it, even. There is always a fine line between advice and insults.”
– The offer still stands for anyone who wants to share their story with my readers or you can even just share your story with me if you want to remain private. I have a great listening ear. Click her to find out the details.