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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

All the Voices and Choices

not the painting that sold. :)
Last week I sold a painting, and took it as a sign that I was to spend the money to travel.  Then all the exterior and some interior voices started again telling me to get a job and a few other things.  It's funny how everyone judges so quickly that there are jobs to be had.  Or should I say, jobs to be had by me. Or that I haven't been looking for a job.  I will spare you the things people say to me or my other unemployed friends on a daily basis.  (but I will beg you, that if you have an unemployed friend that you haven't seen for a while, please don't let the first thing out of your mouth be "so, do you have a job yet?".  thanks.)

I waited tables in 1986.  I don't drink coffee.  I worked in a flyfishing warehouse 1987-1988.  My extensive (bookstore, parts store, pharmacy, call centers, receptionist, admin assistant) customer service history doesn't even show on my one page resume since I started working when I was 12.  I have a 5 year $50k professional degree and 7 years experience in the interior design field.  Do you think I look good on paper to work for Starbucks, New Seasons or Whole Foods?  How about Zoom Care or Mercy Corp? How about the outbound call center 20 miles away that pays $9 to set appointments?  I'm competing with kids who have been waiting tables through high school and college, with coffee snobs, with people who have masters degrees in social service and with hundreds of other misplaced architects, designers, drafters and want-to-be-such college interns. I'm not strong enough to work in the woods.  I might be able to fight fires. 

I can count on one hand the number of jobs my degree qualifies me for in the last year and a half I've seen posted.  I have been fortunate enough to hear of some through the grapevine.  I've had three interviews.  One second interview. One thank you but we selected someone else.  This only counts the "design jobs".  Out of the other places I've applied to, only New Seasons had the respect to let me know they selected someone else and that I wouldn't be called in for an interview. 

Here's an example of someone who is obviously more organized than I am in record keeping.  Keep in mind we have the same degree and similar over all experience. 

In her own words "i started looking for a full-time job in portland last fall. i sent my very first resume/CV in mid-October. i didn't get anything (not even an interview) so in December i took a long extended christmas vacation with family. when i returned to PDX in january i started looking again in earnest. In early March I shifted my search to looking for part-time work, as I was offered a halftime position at my church."

Total places applied to (FT and PT): 52. Some places multiple times, a la Whole Foods, McMenamin's.
Total number of first interviews: 5; a yogurt shop, West Elm, Macy's, Jimmy John's, Moonstruck Chocolate (3 of the 5 were *group interviews)
Total number of second interviews: 2; West Elm, Moonstruck Chocolate

Total number of personalized hand-written thank you notes received after submitting my application: 1
; Sisters of the Road (Side note from Serena - If you are looking to donate to a great non profit, here's more proof!)
Total number of jobs offered that I declined: 1; Jimmy John's bike delivery driver. The hours they offered conflicted with my existing halftime job.

So, maybe the painting that sold isn't a sign to get my TEFL certificate(though I am planning on it) to,  travel or apply for every job I'd hate doing, but rather that I need to bust out more paintings and apply for jobs I'd enjoy. And just ignore the rest of the world who seems to have an opinion about what it is I should be doing?  Yes, I'm venting.  Yes, I'm trying to figure things out.  Yes, I've been crying all day.  :)  and this doesn't help with money or the house, but it might provide some much needed piece-of-mind in the decision making arena.

*For those of you who haven't interview as of late, the new thing to save companies money is a "group interview".  This means that you show up to your interview with 6-12 other applicants and sit in a group and go around the table answering the exact same questions.