Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Applying... For... Jobs... Is... FRUSTRATING!!!!

I was applying for jobs at a company and the website proceeded to tell me about what a great company it was and how many interesting things they did. I already knew most of what they did, so I was reading the description, like I read every description, hoping that it sounded like a good fit. It did seem like a fit. As much as a fit can be without explicitly saying they wanted X, Y, and Z which would be exactly what I have. After the description the required qualifications section proceeded to describe the different qualifications that were necessary with all sorts of different qualified paths to the same job. Then below that the benefits were described.

Why is this frustrating?

  1. As much as I would absolutely LOVE to have the job of my dreams doing something interesting and innovative that has never exactly been done before, I'll settle for run of the mill and boring right now.
  2. I have a feeling that I come off as ambitious, and also ambiguous. In the 1950s a handful of pilots wanted to walk on the Moon, but of course they didn't talk about it in public because that was ridiculous! No one would ever walk on the Moon! Do companies want me to say that I desire to sit behind a desk 50 hours a week the rest of my life?
  3. Companies often post multiple job openings with the same title and description, sometimes in multiple locations, often in the same place. I have applied for all such openings from companies in the past, but now I only apply for a few. If someone sees my application with any interest they will get to me. I am guessing that one person often manages the hiring of multiple positions. So why exactly are there four postings for Entry Level Mechanical Engineer with exactly the same descriptions at the same location. 
  4. The entire job application process is absolutely the opposite of applying to colleges. When I applied for colleges I made it into about half of the schools I applied to. Considering my backup school was a private college and my top school accepted something like 1% of applicants I think I did well. I sure ended up where I was supposed to be. For the eight or so schools that I applied to I was accepted into several. I honestly thought that if I applied to a similar number of jobs I would at least get a few interviews. 200+ applications later, no such ratio of interviews or offers to applications. I'm batting like 1% for applications to interviews.
  5. Benefits! You want to tell me about benefits! I have been living without health insurance for the last seven weeks. I have way more debt than I would like. Things like full dental care and a 401(k) while nice to consider, are so far away from my priorities right now it is not worth me reading on their websites. Salary expectations give me a similar reaction. Give me half of what I expected I would make with my education and experience in 2008 and I'll take it.
  6. Control is totally out of my hands. For colleges I had enough offers that I had my choice of where to go. Now, the following sentences are totally self-centered, if you are offended I'm not making you read this. I thought, and still think, that what I have done in a mere 24 years is at least a little impressive. I mean a master's degree, some patents, I saved a big company some money by discovering some things they did not know. In fact a month after I discovered one issue they changed their processing to change that issue. I never received any credit, someone else probably solved it independently of me, but I was there and I did mention it. The point is, I always thought, and I still struggle with this, that companies would want someone like me. I thought I would have a choice in my future, and the time to make a choice. The first offer I receive will be where I go. The advantage of this hard time in my life is that I am really starting to understand those less fortunate than me. For everything and every opportunity that I have been given I am probably in the top 1% of the world for fortunate people. So while I really struggle with not having control of my career, many people in the world never have any option of choice. From my perspective it is hard to understand how many opportunities I have had compared to billions of others around the world. Why me?
I might work until the day I die just so that I don't have to worry about being unemployed. Ha! In the words of Tommy Williams from the Shawshank Redemption, "Just give me that chance."

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