I am going to write today about getting older and searching for jobs. If you find this distasteful, I want you to stare repeatedly at this picture. No, really. I think it is important that you be entertained. For those who are going to stick with me, let’s rock and roll.
Since I moved to Nashville, I have been blessed with one of the most fantastic part-time jobs that a person could have. It’s really a joy and I’m probably one of the luckiest people on the planet. Yet, we live in a world that part-time isn’t enough. I know more people with two or three jobs than I do that just head to one place of employment in a week.
Which comes to my mortal enemy, the resume. Over the past several months I have sent my resume out in countless online applications. I’ve changed it up a thousand times. At the last count of sending out online applications, I’ve probably sent out hundreds. This is always new to me as when I started looking for p/t work, as I don’t want to give up the other job, I would go to the business and ask if I could fill out an application. They would send me to the computer to fill out the necessary paperwork online.
As I love to please, I did exactly as I was told. And being an optimist, I thought that was easy-peasy. This won’t take much time at all. And that, campers, is the beginning of the story when my optimism turned into a fiery ball of twine set on fire by my naiveté.
I also did what was asked and attached the resume. This, my friends, is an interesting concept. No resume can really describe me, what I do and what I can offer. It’s like throwing a piece of white bread into a toaster and I think this applies to a lot of people. White bread isn’t that exciting and neither are resumes quite frankly. As a former manager, I really hated sifting through resumes. I was more interested in meeting the person to see if they were a good fit. I understand its importance, but I still don’t believe it is enough.
I also think when people find out I’m older (yet awesome) woman, it does create a bit of barrier although no one is ever going to say that out loud. I know older woman aren’t supposed to say it because I have found we usually get crap for bringing it up, but let me tell you many of my friends in my age range talk about this. The thing is, no one else talks about it. Why should we talk in hushed tones about something that is very apparent and real to us?
You get to a point that the silence is not only deafening. it’s emotionally painful. When Lowes or Home Depot (add any company of your choice) do not think you are worthy of watering plants or stocking lightbulbs, it can be very disconcerting. And I’ve applied for jobs that are specific to my skill set. That’s been a bit better but it still more like crickets. You see, what I want to do is show them my bio.
I put up on Twitter the other day that if any one who is doing a job search be it for full or part-time work, it would be so much easier if our cover letters just yelled in all caps “PICK ME! PICK ME! I’M REALLY THE ONE YOU WANT!” yet that is frowned upon.
And the other issue comes down that so many people in the work force want you to do a lot of work and not pay you for it. I get these emails quite a bit. I appreciate that they think I’m groovy, but I’m at a time in my life that I can’t do things for free. I don’t even mind bartering a bit, but when this is brought up by yours truly, nine times out of 10 I don’t even get a follow-up email. (P.S. if you are candidate, this isn’t very nice so work on that please. Not all of you do it, but it happens quite a bit. Respond even if it is a polite no.)
This is just my observation of what I have had to go through since moving two years ago. The reality is that I have to find something and resumes are now being sent outside of Nashville. (The dreaded resume again.) And it isn’t just me, it’s a lot of people. As I said earlier this week, recovery doesn’t mean recovered. We are recovering but we aren’t there yet.
This is my story. I know there are a lot of people out there with similar stories. Men, women, college graduates, seniors and the list goes on. One bit of advice, no one is going to cheer you on, I’ve learned this, so you have to be your own cheerleader.
That’s what I’m doing.
Related from 2009 when I first lost my job I wrote a series on being unemployed in Tennessee. You can see that here, here, and here. The last post in the series was about the very real depression that occurs when a person is unemployed.