Getting a job is a job in itself

Activity here has been light because I’m taking getting a job that pays a living wage seriously. Job postings have improved a little bit since the last time I went through this process with the same determination, over a year ago. The kind of jobs I’m applying for are by no means a stretch. My requirements, for now, are it should pay a bare minimum living wage, for me that works out to $15 to $20 an hour. That it be close enough that it’s feasible to get there on time even during rush hour. That’s about it. A few details below.

Two promising jobs were in the web publishing customer service business. Helping customers build websites using a cut and dry series of templates with additional support for existing customers. Both positions required passing a solid skills test, multiple choice question sets involving coding on sight in html and php, some general Java Script. Basic knowledge of DNS and CMD prompt tests, i.e., walking customers through an MSINFO or TRACERT and trouble shooting issues using that data.

It’s early in the process, but I’m already discouraged. I passed those tests with flying colors, in one case I was invited to a shindig of sorts where the company hired a band and provided snacks and beer while candidates who had scored above a basic threshold were given brief interviews. In that case I scored better than anyone else I spoke with at the event and fit all requirements like a glove, having every necessary skill and all the plusses listed too. This is a job that’s so far up my alley it paves a driveway through my garage and into my living room. But those candidates I got contact info from have already received letters of decline. I haven’t received anything, not a peep good or bad and it’s been over a week. Granted we had two snow days in that interval where local company’s may have been short-handed weeding out the wheat and chaffe, but hope for either job is now fading.

Passing all required tests and getting some interest initially, only to be followed by radio silence afterward, is a process those of us, especially at the bottom of the economy, have to come to expect. We jump through all required hoops, some taking serious time to complete properly, and hear … nothing. Queries for a yay or nay after a reasonable period of time go unanswered. We have no way to know what that means, are they done hiring this round, did they lose our file? Was someone let go who was handling our application? Are they simply overwhelmed, or was there something so glaring and awful in our resume or interview that they are consciously choosing to avoid any contact with us? The latter seems unlikely and more the in the neighborhood of conspiracy theries and paranoia. But the feeling that some of us have, somehow, gotten on the economic equivalent of the no-fly list hangs in the air. We don’t know how we got on it and we sure don’t know how to get off.

No way to know, not even a ‘thanks but no thanks’; that’s the land of opportunity as it lays stll frozen by the Great Recession. Maybe I’ll have good news soon. For additional needless stress, I’m into a my fourth week waiting for my first unemployment check. Texas Workforce Commission has been slow as molasses just processing a routine claim that is undisputed and a no brainer. They now tell me it should be all done by … Feb 10.

Here I was, up at the crack of dawn to check any new postings as they come and somehow, Morning Joe was on the TV. The program wasn’t on five minutes when Joe and a Bush stooge started harping on the poor for being poor. This time Joe’s angle was automated ordering devices being used by some chain restaurants. See, that was our fault, poor people’s fault, because by merely talking about the hardship if trying to live on minimum wages together with the burden of Obamacare, we were forcing restaurant owners, against their will by Jove, to go to the automated systems and displace even more workers making below poverty level wages.

On the bright side, my health is great. I have even lost some more weight and put on a bit of muscle. Knocking out 500 sit ups while bored is a common occurrence and I should drop below 150 lbs. in the next week or two for the first time in many years. I feel light, strong, alert and limber. It’s a wonderful sensation. It’s not purely vanity or insecurity driving this, either. If I’m going to have to stand toe-to-toe with twenty-something and thirty-something rivals for a mediocre paying job, fair warning kiddies, I’m going to do it wearing 28 inch waist slacks and packing some bulging shoulders and arms.

But today will be a rest day of sorts, several writing projects are coming up against a deadline, and I hope to get some good old-fashioned FTB blogging in for today or the weekend done as well!


  1. Brandon says

    Yeah man, it’s hard out there. I have a perfectly decent job at the moment, but I’m hunting for one in a different city so that I can move back together with my girlfriend and it’s just downright discouraging how hard it is to find anything. We’re in completely different fields (I’m an immunologist), but it’s kind of shocking when people that have degrees and expertise that most people would think of as “you can work anywhere!” kind of qualifications can’t find decent positions.

    Good stuff on the fitness front though! I’ve been working hard on running more (inching towards averaging 50 miles/week) and getting faster and it feels great to have something that I have nearly complete control over.

  2. Karen Locke says

    All that good physical activity, along with making you uber-healthy, is probably keeping you sane doing one of the most difficult jobs there is: finding a job. Hopefully a great job comes soon.

  3. lanir says

    I started getting into a position a couple years ago where people started contacting me to go work for them. Before then, even with the exact same qualifications, I spent years trying to get a decent job but could barely manage dead end jobs with a subsistence wage (and sometimes didn’t even get that which was terrifying). I still don’t know exactly what the issue was and I’m not sure I ever will. I honestly wish I were alone in having gone through that.

    You’ve totally got me on the physical side though. Congrats, I know that’s a lot of hard work. Because I know there’s no way I could even remotely keep up with that. :) All you health nuts are making me think twice about getting in shape again. Bother. Bad influences. :)

  4. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Well done and great to hear you’re doing well.

    I know all about struggling to find time for things with work too – no worries.

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