Job hunting


It’s been a year now that I have been seeking the ideal work situation and my enthusiasm for the process is definitely jaded. I go through a gamut of feelings: starting with the dissatisfaction with the status quo; then the hopeful trawling through the ads; quickly replaced by disgust at the paucity of opportunities to suit my unique set of skills – and be under no illusion, although I’m a quiet, retiring sort, personality wise, I do have a well adjusted sense of my own abilities.

Eventually a vacancy will attract my attention, followed by a flurry of days of research, updating my CV, submitting my application to meet the deadline. The days waiting for notification of making the short list are days of suspended peace, knowing I’ve done what I can and nice though a new opportunity would be, at least I have a job, so i’m not a state of desperation. 

The phone call, answered with measured eagerness, I want to appear bright and enthusiastic without losing my sense of self preservation. Another flurry of activity days, mentally preparing for the inevitable questions about what motivated me to apply; how do I deal with stress; how do I cope in conflict; what are my strengths and or weaknesses. 

I well know the answers they are looking for, the trick is to provide a personal anecdote illustrating an appropriate scenario. I know they’re looking for team players with just the right amount of initiative to fit in, progress their enterprise, but not rock the boat. It’s a bit like a complicated dance: step together, step back, twirl, and hop; the knack is to not trip over one’s own feet.

“We hope to make a decision by the end of the week.”

How long is a week, what decision takes so long? But I know in these security conscious days, referee checks and police checks are standard. So I wait, each day heart stopping for every sound alert on my phone, knowing that if it is an email it will be a reject, so hoping for the call that hasn’t come yet. Two days down.

By day three, my referees haven’t yet been contacted and my hopes are starting to wilt. Friends endeavour to allay my self doubt by recounting how long they waited to hear about their jobs. It’s these days of limbo, neither accepted or rejected, that I find the hardest.

Day five and I’m reconciled with knowing that I’m not the chosen one, but my heart still gives a leap of hope when the phone rings and the voice on the either end pronounces the outcome. Regretfully, kindly, but still a no; they were very impressed with my presentation and enthusiasm and if they had two vacancies they would definitely have offered me one, but….

I thank them, say goodbye, take a deep breath. Some rejects hurt more than others, especially when I’ve felt that it really was the job I’ve been looking for. 

A day of licking my wounds, raging, despairing, then I throw myself into some hard physical work – the house might receive major clean, or the weeds in garden may be brutally torn from the ground. Exhausted, I feel better about myself again. 

Back to the daily task of scanning the situations vacant, maybe next time.

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