Up to now…

I was laid off in October 2009 and have been looking for a j-o-b ever since.

I’ve sent out HUNDREDS of applications and resumes for writing, reporting, pr jobs. I’ve sent out about 20 applications for “public information specialist” positions with the federal government. I’ve even gone out of my “comfort zone” and sent out applications and resumes for managers, directors, an assistant drug court coordinator, legal secretary, business consultant, archivist and retail sales person for Macy’s.

Most of the time, I don’t even hear anything, it’s like I send out a project I’ve spent at least a couple hours putting together (sometimes six or eight!) and then silence. You see, you can’t just send a blanket resume and cover letter out these days; you have to tailor each one for the job you are applying for. They teach you that in the resume and job seeking workshop at the Department of Labor.

Sometimes you do hear back. In most cases, in my experience, it’s a “thank you for applying for the blah-blah position, but we have hired someone else.” Every once in a while, you will get a “we would like to schedule you for an interview.” That’s exciting. I’ve been to a half-dozen or so of those and have even been called back for a second or third interview. On two occasions, the jobs were closed; they decided not to hire anybody. On four other occasions, they decided to hire someone else.

For me, that’s even worse than the deafening silence of never hearing back at all. It feels like, ultimately, they just don’t like you. You’re not smart enough or young enough or you talk too much or you don’t talk enough. Maybe you should have worn a different suit (or perhaps you should have ditched the man-tie, eh?). Different shoes. Maybe you smiled too much, didn’t smile enough.

It’s a real bummer.

In the meantime, I have forged ahead, sort of. I started a blog because I love to write and the world seemed to need a place for good news. Newspapers don’t have room anymore for very much good news and really, there is more of the bad than the good, although the good news does make a go of it.

I even wrote a couple of columns, branching out with my good news, for a couple of local papers and I am grateful that those editors let me do that. But none of those endeavors were profitable. I did not get paid.

I started a business, Trifecta PR, with my husband Bob, a highly gifted and talented artist and graphic artist and another out of work friend who is a highly gifted and talented writer and photographer. We did have a few clients — a couple of non-profits and a couple of local artists and musicians and one after-school program. But again, they all were pro-bono. We figured we would get some experience and some “case studies” and then — wammo! Look out world! Well, we’re waiting…

I’ve also picked up a few freelance writing gigs for embarrassingly and ridiculously little money, but hey, it’s better than nothing and I’m keeping my name out there, right?

Yesterday, I even taught a workshop class at the Center for Professional Development at BSU, “Texts and Tweets—Intro to Social Media.” Again, not much money but something.

It is depressing to think I have been looking for a job for more than a year. Only for one week did I make enough money to suspend my unemployment check (which, by the way, is going to stop coming pretty soon).

The purpose of this blog is not meant to be a pity-party for me. It is to document one person’s struggle in our current world. And to invite others in the same boat or anyone for that matter, to chime in.

I mean, it sucks. And I’m scared. But seriously, I have a roof over my head, food (yes, I qualified for food stamps, not a lot but it helps, and yes, I use them), I’m warm and I have a family I love.

And one of these days, I will have a job. In the meantime, look for more posts here about the journey.


2 responses to “Up to now…

  1. A great list and really long!

  2. Keep your chin up, Jeanne. You are a strong, capable, talented woman! There are a lot of people in the same boat who need someone like you to provide encouragement. If you ever want to shoot the breeze over a cocktail and talk about the bright side of life as a poorly paid creative, just give me a call. I’m sure we could come up with a great list. 🙂

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