Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Finding a Job

With unemployment at nearly 10%, finding a job these days can be a daunting task. Even in Texas, where unemployment is more around 8%, the pinch is felt, if not directly, in more subtle ways.

About six months ago, my husband and I decided to get serious about paying off our debt. I decided to seek fulltime employment to this end. For the past couple of years, I've worked freelance, which was great for being home when I wanted to be, but the stability just wasn't there. So, I started looking for fulltime work.

I've never had a problem finding a job when I wanted one. I don't say that to brag, it's just a fact. I started looking somewhat aggressively in December. Over the past six months I've had many phone interviews and almost as many in-person interviews. Most of those interviews were the kind where I walked out knowing I'd nailed it. I'd answered the questions I was asked, asked relevant questions and was friendly and intelligent. But a funny thing happened after these interviews. Well, ok, it wasn't funny, it was perplexing, then fear-inducing.

I didn't get any of the jobs. Not. one.

The first time or two, I shrugged it off as just "it wasn't the right fit." But by the fourth or fifth time I'd been rejected, it became personal. I nailed that interview. Why aren't they calling me back?

Then it hit me. There was someone else out there every bit as qualified as I was (and maybe more) who had also nailed the interview (and maybe better).

And then, the more terrifying part sunk in. There were probably a lot more people as qualified all going for the same jobs. A lot more.

It's a bad economy out there. A scary economy. And the experts are saying it's not going to get better for a long time. That means a lot of people are going to be discouraged, wind up in jobs far below their capabilities or on unemployment for a loooong time.

I fortunately found a new job, but the experience has left me with a lot of empathy for those still looking, and realizing that every job could have 500 applicants.