Thursday, August 23, 2012

Job Settling

I feel like I'm just getting my first job again for how hard it is to get a job out of college.

During high school, I had a lot of extra curricular activities (and okay, was probably lazy) so I never held a job. It was when I went to college that my dad starting bringing up getting a job. He was non-stop about it and it made me feel bad those first few weeks when we would talk because I hadn't gotten a job yet. Not so much because of him yelling or anything, but because I felt like a failure.

This feeling is a common one when job hunting.

Being eighteen at that time and not having held a job before, I got a lot of confused employers not knowing what to do with themselves during interviews. And that was just the interviews I got -- there were countless times I'm sure my application took me half an hour to fill out and thirty seconds to see the trash can.

The worst happened when I applied to a big department store. I filled out the application and waited to be interviewed. It all went well, introductions were made, my awkwardness was kept somewhat in check, and then he started going through my application. He got to the previous work experience section, stared, looked at me, and then laughed. I could tell he was trying to hold it in and he looked marginally apologetic when he said "I've just never seen this blank before..." but it kind of threw me.

And then of course, I went to apply with my friend to this clothing store she loved. I'd never heard of it, but that's because Maurice's is mainly in more rural areas (closest one to where I lived before was fifty minutes away). The friend I went with is pretty shy when it comes to groups, and it was pretty slow in the store so it was just the two employees, my friend, and me. While I filled out my application it was pretty dead conversation, but while my friend filled out her's I began talking about having never even seen their store and the manager began telling me about the kind of company they were, etc.

I think it was this connection that ultimately got me the job. A few days later I had an interview with the store manager (quite the character he was) and that went really well.

It's always surprising to me when interviews go well, because as my friends will tell you, I'm ridiculously awkward (and honestly, a bit neurotic). But when I think about it, I somehow manage great interviews. I say "like" too much and when I get a question I haven't thought about long enough I use my hands too much. Overall though, I think it's my storytelling ability that gets me through.

So anyways, after almost a month, I finally had a job for the first time. Also, let me just take a minute to say that you should never go apply for a job with a friend. I did it because I was nervous and she'd asked me to go job hunting at the same time every day, but in retrospect it could've damaged the friendship. Especially as a freshman in college (not knowing anyone), I'm surprised it all worked out okay. Not to mention that between the two of us, she was way more qualified for the job.

I think that's the hard thing about job hunting though. It may not always be the best person for the job. It's the connection, sadly. That's why people will always tell you networking is so important, or "who you know". Now, moving from Norman back to Dallas (cheap rent with the folks, sigh) I know absolutely no one. I have no contacts in this area in my field, and that field is incredibly small.

Dallas is not a literacy hub. There are magazines and entrepreneurs trying to change that, but if we're being honest, that's the sad truth. So after a week of trying to take the editing experience I do have to get a job...I gave that dream up. It was time to settle for whatever came my way. Now I'm applying for random tutoring jobs and clerical work. (The depressing part: still no luck.)

At this rate, I'll take the first job that hires me. Actually, at this rate, I'll probably be going to grad school come next year. (Did you know you have to have a master's to become a librarian now? And most NY publishers hire PhD's for their editors?) What they say is true, it's like a college degree is the new high school degree.

I'll keep pushing...

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