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Notes from the Road #22: The Job Hunt Continues

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Like a lot of people these days, I’ve been job hunting aggressively these past few months, and really ramped it up in the past month. Some have gotten back to me, but most haven’t.

I’m done expecting any different from these companies. I’m sure they get tons of applicants as it is without me adding to it.

I know at least one has, and they took it out in their job posting. I won’t name the company or who posted it, but they told us not to even bother wasting their time applying if we didn’t meet their super-specific, long wish list of criteria they want for the role.

In similar words, and with that attitude.

It’s nasty hiring managers like this that make the season of job hunting that much more exhausting, emotionally draining, and hopeless.

On the other hand, I should really be thankful they outed themselves before I even wasted the two seconds it would’ve taken to apply to their company, and thankful they made it that much easier to give them a miss.

At the same time, I hope they find that one job seeker who does meet their criteria, and I wish them the best of luck. I mean that sincerely.

Others had tests they like their prospective employees to take as part of the hiring process. These include writing aptitude, math, logic, and other similar exercises they want you to complete within a set amount of time.

While I get the idea behind these tests, they essentially screen out applicants with learning disabilities in these areas, even if they’re otherwise wholly qualified and have the skills for the role in question. I speak from experience. The results I got from the tests weren’t surprising to me, but it did tell me that this company wouldn’t have been a good fit for me.

Whether companies that use these tests as mandatory requirements for any next steps in their employment process mean it or not, they’re basically telling us “no disabled need apply” without actually spelling it out in those specific words.

Why, that’s a form of job discrimination, and therefore, that would be illegal! Unfortunately it’s still a thing, and it’s really to these companies’ detriment, both from a legal standpoint and pragmatically speaking. They’re missing out on valuable assets for sure.

On the other hand, it’s probably for the best, since it frees us up for the companies that deserve us. Doesn’t make it any less easier, though.

I applied at another company that required these types of tests, and later on withdrew my application to save them the trouble. It’ll make their decision that much easier by taking myself out of the running. I wish them well in their business ventures and in finding that next great addition to their team.

I wouldn’t wanna work for a company that decides they don’t want me because of something like this. Time to keep it moving, and hunting for that next opportunity.

The judgment from other people over a season of job hunting also adds another reason times like this are so difficult. I happened upon this post talking about their experiences with others looking down on them for the rotten luck they’ve had in their job hunt thus far.

It often comes from people who’ve held their jobs since the Clinton administration, or before, and held those jobs during the pandemic. While I had my day job for like two years before the pandemic came along, and even though it took a hit during the lockdowns, I recognize that not everyone had that luxury.

As an aside, that’s some major job security! I wish we all had that luxury, tbh.

To go off of the original post in the link, I’ve also seen it coming from hiring managers themselves. That was during my season of job hunting back in college. Unsurprisingly I never got any callbacks from them after their interview where they sat there and judged me, with their smug demeanor as they needled me about my circumstances at the time.

I wouldn’t wanna work for a company that condones this kind of conduct from their employees. The way I figure it, if this is how they treat their applicants, imagine what goes on behind closed doors. Hiring managers should be the last people on earth to judge a prospective employee for their job hunt, never mind some rando who’s had the luxury of a long career that dates back to before we were even born, whether they know us from Adam or Eve or not.

For the randos who’ve had the epic job security, willing to judge others from their high horses, I hope that never changes for them, for their own sakes. If or when the tables turn (and tables can turn!), I hope they’re treated better than they ever treated us.

I’ve also seen judgment in the form of less-than-helpful advice, or even suggestions for jobs that amount to something wholly unsustainable regardless of where you live. Example? Someone I was talking to told me to try this one place, and this place’s quoted starting wage wouldn’t have been anywhere near enough to live on, even as a part-time job in addition to something full-time.

I’m sure they sincerely believed they were trying to help me, to play devil’s advocate. Fair enough. The message I got was that as far as they’re concerned, this is all I’m worth. Sheesh, what a burn! It also told me that I need to find a way to live without any help from them.

I can do this on my own without their help. I have to. I have to find something. I trust that the universe will see fit to send a job with a pay rate I can live on, even if it leaves me with maybe 5 bucks to play with when all is said and done.

In the past, this would’ve sent me back into my old ways of overeating to cope. That’s not an option for me now. I can’t go back to that. I won’t go back to that. I can’t go back to the Bangs. I promised you readers I’d quit those, and stay quit.

So, how do you respond when someone judges you for your job search? I’m basing this off of my own circumstances, and I know this is way easier said than done. Take their judgment with the tiniest grain of salt. I know, again, easier said than done, and it doesn’t make their unwelcome comments any less hurtful. Nor does it make their suggestions for jobs that won’t pay you anything even close to livable any less frustrating at best, or insulting at worst.

Maybe you could say something noncommittal and bland like, “that’s nice.” Or maybe “I never thought of it like that.” Whatever you decide, it needs to be gray rock, all the way. They’ll move on and find someone else to look down their noses at for some other arbitrary reason.

Someone tries to tell you to try a place that insists on paying their employees a pittance and expects them to live on it? Maybe you could say, “there’s an idea. I’ll look into it.” And not. As far as they’re concerned, you are, and let it go. Or you could apply for shits and giggles just to say you did, but keep the job search going.

Usually they won’t pursue it any further, but on the off chance they do, you could always say you never heard back from them. If you applied there, more than likely you won’t hear back from them anyway.

Over to you, readers. Are you in a season of job hunting? If so, how’s it going? How would you respond when someone needles you over your job search, whether it’s coming from someone who’s on their high horse with the luxury of epic job security, a hiring manager, or someone who gives you less-than-helpful advice or job suggestions? What are your thoughts and takeaways? I’d love to hear ’em, so drop ’em like they’re hot below. Let’s talk.

Missed the previous installment? No worries, I gotcha covered, right here: 21

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