Monday, 27 July 2015

The Joys of Job Hunting

One of these days I swear to God my existence will be so simple and mundane that my posts will consist of nothing more than me showing off photos of my latest shoe splurge and bleating on about how I can never seem to pluck my eyebrows evenly.  For now however, it's still about job hunting, hooray!  I've always been really lucky in that pretty much every job I've ever had I've just kind of fallen into or created for myself.  Been in the right place at the right time and all that.  Which is wonderful but they've always happened more by opportunity rather than necessity.  The icing on the cake.  The jam on the bread.  Trying to find and secure yourself a job when you actually need one however is quite different.  In a nutshell JOB HUNTING SUUUUCKS!  IT REALLY REALLY SUUUUCKS!

The suckiest part isn't even not getting the job, it's never knowing what the hell is going on!  Ah yes, things have definitely changed since my bright-eyed, bushy-tailed school leaving days.  Gone is the thing formerly known as 'communication' where you would send someone your CV, they would say thank you and either call you in for an interview or let you know that the position had been filled. Whatever the outcome, however good or rubbish you were, your prospective employee always had the common courtesy to pick up the phone so that you weren't left hanging for days.  Not so any more.  Which is kind of ironic when communication is so much easier!  Employers don't even have to phone people any more, they can get away with simply sending a brief polite email.  That would do.  That would be enough.  But noooo.  Nine times out of 10 (at least in my recent experience) nobody lets you know your application has been received, you don't get offered an interview, in fact you don't get told anything.  Instead you're just left wondering for weeks on end whether you're still in the running until you see someone else doing the job you applied for photographed in the local paper or when you're out doing your shopping.  Apologies if it sounds whingy but come on, do employers think people apply for their jobs for fun?  Yeah, we don't actually WANT to work or need the money, we just send you our CV's for shits and giggles!

Of course a lot of the time it's not what you know but who you know.  At least half the jobs I've applied for have already been given to someone else before they're even advertised; it's just mugs like me don't know it so you apply thinking you're in with as good a chance as everyone else.  There are definitely pros and cons of being in a small town like ours.  On the one hand, everyone looks out for each other and are brilliant at tipping people off about new or upcoming vacancies if they know anyone is looking for work.  On the other though, it's really horrible having to go up against your friends trying to get the same job!

And I'm going to be honest here and it will probably make me sound like a pompous cow but I'm sure I'm not alone.  The worst stab to your ego is when you apply for a job that you are hopelessly overqualified for and could do with your eyes shut standing on your head and you don't even get an interview.  In fact you could probably teach the management how to do THEIR job!  Maybe that's the problem.  Either way it's pretty soul destroying.  I had a conversation with a shop owner the other day about my job hunting woes and she confessed to having the same trouble.  She actually said 'Qualifications mean nothing around here sweetie!  Before moving here I was assistant to the CEO of one of the biggest companies in Auckland.  I arrived in this town and the only job I could get was stacking bread at the supermarket.  If anything, you want to play your CV and qualifications DOWN!' I knew she was speaking the truth - but how crazy is that?!!  Why the heck don't people want highly qualified, capable staff?!  Aren't reliable workers already hard enough to find?  It doesn't matter how highly qualified an applicant is, if they want the job, they want the job dammit!

Still, like I keep on saying, whatever will be will be.  And it's not like I'm the only one - Liam has been struggling to find work in Wellington since he moved there in February.  His problem is the opposite to mine, lack of experience.  'I've applied for heaps of jobs - but they all always want experience', he said glumly.  'How am I supposed to get experience when nobody will give me experience?'  I know my son, it's crazy and hardly good for a young person's self esteem.  Even trying to find a summer job before he left for uni proved fruitless.  The bars wanted experienced bar staff. The restaurants wanted experienced waiters and kitchen hands.  The tradies wanted experienced labourers.  It seems learning on the job is a thing of the past - but if that's the case, how is anybody ever supposed to get anywhere?

Ugh, God I'm having a grumpy day aren't I!  My apologies, I'm waiting to hear back about a job and the not knowing is driving me crazy.  Let's finish today with something positive, a rather cute little story about two of my favourite people - an elderly couple called Maurice and Pat.  Now I know Jehovah's Witnesses aren't popular with a lot of people but I absolutely LOVE mine!  I first met Maurice and Pat a couple of years ago a few weeks after I bought Nawtypoo Cottage.  They knocked on my door and introduced themselves, saying they had just moved to the neighbourhood after years spent farming in Taranaki.  'Oh lovely to meet you, I've just moved here too!' I told them.  However it soon became apparent by the magazines they gave me that they weren't just introducing themselves as neighbours but also as my new friendly local JW's!  However they were so sweet and lovely that I was happy to chat to them and ever since then, once a month as regular as clockwork I get a visit from them.  Even in the most revolting weather we'll stand on the deck and have a chat and most of the time we're so busy talking about what's going on in our lives they almost forget to talk about this month's religious topic!

Maurice, bless him had been growing progressively more deaf for a long time until he could no longer hear at all.  As time went by he stopped leading the conversation and had to be content with standing next to Pat on the deck and she and I would do the talking while he just nodded and smiled.  Then a few months ago Pat had a nasty fall and was airlifted by helicopter to hospital where she remained for some time with a shattered hip.  During this time, even though he couldn't hear a thing, Maurice kept up their monthly visits solo as best he could.  Much of the time all he could do was smile and hand me a magazine and I would try and talk directly at him in the hope he could read my lips.  It was sad to see such a lovely, gentle chap reduced to a world of silence and he missed having Pat by his side terribly.

This morning however the sun was shining and I looked out of the window to see a familiar white car pull up in the driveway and Maurice hopped out.  'Look who's back!' he smiled, gesturing to Pat sitting happily in the passenger seat with the window down.  'She still can't walk but I drove as close to the deck as I can so she can talk to you too.  And look!'  he beamed, tapping behind his ear at a brand new hearing aid.  'I can hear!  Oh Jackie it's so wonderful!  Who would ever have thought such a simple invention could make such an amazing difference?  I have my life back - in fact, it's even better than it was before!'  The three of us had a lovely chat and just like the old days he almost forgot to hand me his magazines before they were on their way again.  I couldn't have been happier for him and Pat too.  Some people just really warm your heart and those two definitely do!


  1. Hi Jackie, I was missing your columns over at Simple Savings, so I went searching and here you are:) I have been catching up and can absolutely see why you are hoping to have a quiet life any day soon... all the very best with the job hunting, and you are so right, it is all about who you know and getting a foot in the door. My own - post-divorce, haven't worked in 23 years - job came about because I spent so much time volunteering as parent help at school that they put me down on their books as a teacher assistant, which has been a god-send. And both my young adult children have got jobs via word-of-mouth as well. But it is a hard slog. Took my son 18 months of hunting to get a part-time uni job.

    And like you, I want to write, so have to carve time out for that from working and parenting. Unlike you, I haven't ever been published. But I will!

    Several posts ago you talked about a potential book deal, but no time to write - would the publishers offer you an advance to cover your living costs for a few months so you can write your book?

    Sending all the good wishes and positive vibes winging their way across the Tasman to you. Some days all we can do is take a deep breath and get on with dinner. Also washing windows is a great stress reliever, I find:) And if all else fails, just think - you have so much material for your novel..

  2. Finding a great job right after graduation could be really challenging, as it is the time when you will finally realize what you really want to become or what you really want to do. I guess it is okay to feel confused at first, with all the different situations you’ll encounter during application. I believe patience is one of the keys for landing in a perfect job for you. Thanks for sharing, Jackie. Take care! :)

    Waylon Grimm @ All Force Labour Solutions

  3. Finding a great job that matches both your qualifications and experiences is easier said than done. The realities that you’ve pointed out truly happen. May I suggest that you broaden your perspective? Send out more applications, and check your network for people who also has experience in that line of trade. This way, you’ll find something sooner, I’m sure. Cheers!

    Mariano Flanders @ Andiamo-Group

  4. Nothing hurts your self esteem more than being left in the lurch and waiting for a response that may never come. I find job hunting is like texting a guy you went on a date with; has you wanting more but sometimes the other party isn't always interested. So you're left to move on and try again. Couldn't agree with you more, that's for sure!

    Celine Goodson @ RMS Recruitment