Job Hunting Pet Peeves

Job hunting is the worst.

I am tempted to just stop there, because everything about job hunting is terrible and there’s almost nothing more to be said. But that’s never stopped me from saying more things anyway, so here we go!

I am in the uncommon position of trying to job-hunt several states over from where I actually live. I’ll be moving to Texas this coming summer — sooner, if I can get a job! — and it would be so much nicer to have employment before I get there, instead of moving halfway across the country in blind faith that there will be income available on the other side. The good news is, the area where I’m going seems to have a steady supply of openings. The bad news is that I’ve been applying for those openings for a few months now without getting a single nibble in return. And since job hunting is, as previously agreed, THE WORST, the process has reminded me of all the things I particularly hate about the application process. So: JOB HUNTING PET PEEVES.

(1) Listings that don’t specify how much the job PAYSDudes. I am not looking for a job because I’m bored, okay? I’m looking for a job because I need MONEY. Will your job pay me enough to keep the student loan people off my back, gas in my car and food in my belly? That is the ABSOLUTE MOST IMPORTANT NUMBER ONE THING that I, and anyone else looking for a job, need to know. Why on God’s green earth would you withhold that information?

(2) Listings that don’t specify whether the job is full or part time. ANOTHER REALLY FREAKING IMPORTANT PIECE OF INFO. It’s great that the position you’re offering pays $13.50 an hour! Like, seriously, you have ALL my attention! But if you neglect to mention that I will only be working 20-30 hours a week, without benefits, there went all my enthusiasm because, as mentioned above, I have an eating habit to support.

(3) COVER LETTERS ARE EVIL. Why?! Why do you do this people? What possesses a company to require every applicant to write a soul-searching letter about why they want this job? Surprise: I want the job because I need money. That’s it. That’s all there is. I’m applying to your company specifically because… you have an open position that I might be qualified for. That’s… that’s all there is to say. This is a transaction, my friends; you offer money in exchange for work, I offer work in exchange for money. What more do you want from me?

(4) Please attach resume. Now please painstakingly fill in all the information you just submitted on your resume. Seriously, what is this crap? I mean, of course I understand why you want this information. Which is why I just gave it to you! You already have all this! I am literally copy-pasting from my resume to fill in these blanks! I even understand that maybe you want to be certain of getting specific info I might leave off the resume — the phone numbers of all my previous workplaces, maybe, idk, little non-standard things like that. Fine. Then either make a note that my resume should include these things, or just have me fill in the blanks instead of enclosing a resume. It is STUPID to require both.

(5) Minimum requirements leading to rubber-stamp rejections. This particular pothole is new for me, at least in the sense of being a problem. I had previously encountered applications that had some hard-line minimum or other — 3 years experience, for instance. The application asks outright, “Do you have 3 or more years experience with X?” and if you answer no, you get a rejection email immediately upon submitting the application. This has even been a problem for me before when I did have enough experience but clicked the wrong thing and had to jump through an amazing number of hoops to get my application considered. But now it’s becoming a more serious issue. A lot of the Texas jobs I’m finding are requiring (for reasons I can’t really understand) that I have a Texas driver’s license. Of course I don’t! I don’t live in Texas yet! And though I’ve yet to get a rubber-stamp rejection email, I sure haven’t been offered an interview yet either, and I’m starting to really fear that I’m being automatically rejected without anyone even looking at my application. Are these people deliberately going out of their way to avoid considering applicants who don’t currently live in-state, or is that just a side effect? Either way it’s crappy, and either way it needs to stop. SO THAT I CAN GET A JOB ALREADY.

Security

I wouldn’t say my library is in a high-crime area.

would say that in the two years I’ve worked here, we’ve had several assaults (including one of a staff member), several petty thefts (including  box of truffles I got for Christmas, darn it, that is just low), quite a bit of vandalism, and one startlingly audacious car theft by a man wearing a vest made of license plates.

Did I also mention the cop that came by, looked around at our regulars, and said in an awe-struck whisper to the reference librarian, “You’ve sure got a lot of sex offenders in here”?

Oh! And the attempted kidnapping of a toddler in the children’s section, foiled by a coworker just weeks before I was hired!

So it’s a great thing we have a security guard at all times, right?

If by ‘all times’ you mean most afternoons and sometimes the weekend. And that there’s only one to cover a large-ish two-story building, and if you need them you call their cell number because the walkie-talkies aren’t worth the air it takes to speak into them. And that the weekend guy is half my height, twice my age, wheezes when he walks and has trouble leaning over. If there were ever a serious emergency in the building, I have a plan for how to get him and my other most vulnerable patrons to safety.

I just feel so secure in my workplace.

But you know, I talk a lot about my job, but I try not to think of myself as a librarian first and foremost. (Library assistant, rather. I aspire to laurels I hath not earned.) Working here is something I do to support my eating habit while I climb the long, arduous and by-no-means-guaranteed ladder to success as a writer. I’ve never wanted a career as such. I’ve only wanted a way to support myself so I can write. Can’t my writing support me? Um… eventually, maybe, if I’m extremely good and extremely lucky? Thus far, absolutely no freaking way, and I’m not really banking on it ever happening. If you’re getting into writing to make money, you are an idiot and you will starve. The one and only reason to become a writer is because you want to write, bad enough that you’d do it for free, because you mostly will.

I say this, of course, as someone at the very beginning of my writing career. I’m not exactly a fount of experience. But the fact that my writing career is only just now kinda-sorta taking off, when I’ve been writing feverishly for twenty years (so, since the age of 9), should probably tell you I’m right.

But where was I going with this? Because this post ought to have a higher purpose than “my day job’s going to get me knifed and a writing career is generally a joke.” I promise I’m more optimistic than that.

How about this: Even though my day job might get me knifed and I doubt I’ll ever make serious money as a writer, I’m going to keep writing anyway. Always. Until I’m dictating plot twists in a creaky old voice to whippersnappers who convert it to text in whatever magical way we might have in the future. Because I love writing, more than anything except possibly eating, and doing what you love is worth putting up with dismal pay and having Wheezy the Penguin for a security guard.

Let the Party Begin

On the one hand, I probably ought to introduce myself; on the other, you’re either at my blog because you know who I am already, or you’ve stumbled here by accident and don’t really care as long as I have something interesting for you to read. So I’ll get straight to that.

Yesterday I had an excellent day at work by virtue of not actually doing my job very much. I work in the children’s section of the library. This job requires endless patience and good cheer, a deep appreciation for and interest in youngsters, and the ability to cut out paper snowflakes for hours at a time without throwing a chair through a window. I possess none of these qualifications. I don’t know how I ended up here. Please help.

But yesterday I spent the worst part of the day – the hours of 2:00-4:00 pm, wherein the library becomes free daycare for a few dozen kids from the school down the block – in the adult computer lab, where people actually had their library cards with them, knew the difference between Word and Google, and refrained at all times from urinating on themselves. It was GLORIOUS.

I thought I would get some writing done, the ambiance being so calm and all. I didn’t, of course. I spent the time reading Harry Potter chapter analyses and TV Tropes articles, and fiddling around with my beautiful collection of virtual dragons on Flight Rising. (I have such a weakness for tundras. THEY’RE SO FLUFFY.) Because guys, at the end of the day, the hardest part of writing? IS WRITING. Is just sitting down and putting words together without distractions and interruptions. I’ve been most displeased to discover that this gets harder, not easier, as you achieve adulthood. Not because I can’t block out noise and ruckus – I’m one of five children, I could do that before I could walk – but because I’m not allowed to. I’m the adult responsible for controlling the ruckus. And that shatters my focus like nothing in the world.

In high school, I used to read an average of a hundred books a year. Yes, I kept count, and that probably tells you all you need to know about my high school years. Now, it’s probably more like 15 or 20, because I’m always at work, or driving to work, or going to bed so I don’t fall asleep at work. Or grocery shopping. Or screaming at my 19-year-old brother to get his microwave-sized shoes out of the bathroom floor before I break an ankle tripping over them.

Yeah, I live with my brother. And my older sister. And one of my younger sisters. But no parents! It’s like an orphanage, except we’re all ADULTS. Party time, right?

The party never ends, y’all. The party. Never. Ends.