Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tales of the Unemployed Bookworm

Time to get a little personal. If you're a friend or family member or if you follow me on Twitter, you know I'm not working right now. And I'm kind of losing my mind.

Some background on how I got here: I graduated from university with a degree in communications just over four years ago, graduated from a one year college event management program just over three years ago, and have held two "real and grown up" jobs in non-profits since then. Last fall I decided to take some courses in publishing because, obviously, I love books. I then decided to apply to some internships because I felt like it was a now or never type situation. I was lucky enough to get hired as a publicity intern at Random House of Canada. You can read my full recap here but the short story is that it was a hell of an experience that left me exhausted (ridiculously long commute) but educated. Then I fell into my internship at Project Bookmark Canada (recaps here and here). I loved it there (combined my love of books and reading with my non-profit knowledge) but that too came to an end in June. It's now October and I've been doing nothing but job hunting, reading, blogging, and watching TV and movies since then. Yeah, I know it sounds great but it would be a hell of a lot better if I didn't have to worry about money!

It's been a really hard road the past few months. I go from being angry to depressed to indifferent pretty much weekly (apologies to my boyfriend...I'm sure I'm not fun to live with). It's still not a great time to be looking for jobs which drives me crazy. I was in the same position FOUR years ago when I was applying for jobs straight out of university. I almost think it might have been I feel like I have a weird mix of too much experience for some things and not enough experience for others. I've been lucky, as people keep telling me, that I've had six interviews over the past three months. But...I've also had five rejections. (The last interview was just on the 11th.) And that hurts. Sure, my resume is getting through but why am I not getting chosen for the position? I've only had one real explanation of all the "thanks but no thanks" replies so I'm left to just guess. When I did get a call I wasn't really given enough time to ask why I wasn't chosen. And let's not even get into the number of jobs I haven't heard from. I've lost count of the places I've applied to. I couldn't even tell you the ones I still have a possibility of hearing from. I'm not sitting around waiting for something to fall into my lap. I'm searching every day and applying where I can.

Part of my problem is that I just don't know what I want to do with my life. I've never really known. I wasn't one of those kids who said "I want to be a 'insert job here' when I grow up!" Hell, I didn't even know what to choose for my major when I went away to school. So, here I am, at 26, still not knowing what I want to be when I grow up. The things I know: I love books, I like writing (but I don't want to write a novel), I could copy-edit but I don't think I'm good enough, I don't mind working for non-profits but I'd really like to stay away from the actual fundraising, I can plan events, I don't think I want to be a librarian (and don't want to go through a Masters program to discover I don't want that), I don't want to live in Toronto (where every single publishing job is in Canada), and I'm good at communications/marketing. So where does that get me? So far...nowhere.

I'm trying really hard to stay positive. I'm so lucky that family members are able to help me out financially and I've got my boyfriend, bunny, and a few friends at home (plus others elsewhere in the province) to keep me from going insane (though I'm sure I talk to Tonks more than necessary...but that's what pets are for, right?).

I'm happy that I've been able to make a huge dent in the books I want to read and have to read and I've been able to blog on a regular basis. I've also watched lots of TV shows and movies. I'm trying to enjoy this as much as I can because I know I'll miss my freedom once I do get a job. But it's still frustrating.

I know I probably rambled and overshared but I felt like this post needed to get out there. If you have any tips or suggestions, I'd love to hear them. I'm sure there's something out there that I haven't considered. Thanks for listening and putting up with me! Now, if you'll excuse me, I must get back to hunting for a job...

Update: Later on on the 16th, the day this was posted, I got an email telling me I didn't get the job I interviewed for on Friday. My feeling is the manager made the decision right away as he said he had a lot more interviews to do and we had a holiday weekend here. And, it was another email rejection (I've had three phone call rejections, two email, and one snail mail). Not only that, but it was a form one from head office so I actually had to look up which position it was - the one I had interviewed for or the one I hadn't heard from yet. Being completely honest: I didn't want this job. It was retail and I swore when I left almost 3 years ago that I'd never go back. Every time I thought about having to work there again I cringed and got depressed. Guess I don't have to worry about it now...


  1. Seriously, I could have written this.

    I got laid off from my job LAST here we are over a year later and NO JOB. I hated my job but it was a JOB. I was doing email marketing and social media which I LOVE but not in that industry/at that company. I have barely gotten ANY responses back and have only had ONE interview and I didn't get one of the big 6 publishers. It was on a whim so I was grateful to get an interview but was super bummed about it.

    I've seriously gone from SUPER depressed about it, days where I'm like fuck it I don't want to look for jobs, I cry a lot and then there are some days where I'm super enthused about the job search (not often at this point). I just am so sick of this. SO SICK. It's hard to find positions to apply for, because like you, I feel like I'm in the middle --- I'm way too overqualified for an internship but I'm not qualified enough for some positions. It's frustrating to apply to a job you KNOW you'd be amazing at and then not hear anything...and then look at their social media accounts and see that you have WAY more followers than them and could list 50 billion things they are doing wrong/they could be doing better.

    And the root of the problem also lies in the fact that I also don't know what I want to do with my life. I'm 28..shouldn't I know this?? I've never had clear direction either. I LIKE a lot of things but I don't know what I truly want. It's funny some of the same jobs and reasons you list are the things I think HM maybe I could do but I might not be good enought TO do it or, with being a librarian, I don't want to go to school to find out I hate it or be stuck without a job like so many ppl I know who went to librarian school.

    Being unemployed you'd think I would have read a TON but I really haven't because I am too stressed about it. I'm looking for jobs a lot but I also just get BLAH about everything...even reading.

    Anywho..sorry for my own rant here...I just want you to know I feel like we are the same person here!! I feel ya. We should encourage each other in this because sometimes I feel like nobody GETS it. Like they think I'm not doing anything.

    1. Ah, I am SO glad someone else understands. But I also hate that someone else understands. There are too many people in this same situation. I totally get what you mean about feeling blah about looking for jobs. There are days I'm super energized and then I actually start looking aaaaand get all depressed again.
      It's too bad we can't hang out in person and help each other out! That whole being in different countries thing is a pain, eh? (And here I am showcasing that I'm Canadian lol) But, we have Twitter. Here's to virtually supporting each other through this absolutely crappy time! *holds up a glass to cheers* Good luck, my friend!

    2. We can definitely cheer each other on from afar but I agree...being able to hang out and bitch about the job search, have company while applying for jobs and getting each other pumped would be so nice. And when all else failed we could just drink wine and eat cake. :P

  2. The sad (and not really comforting part) is that this sounds like SO many (including somewhat, mine) graduates experiences :( It's just so hard to 1) get a job and 2) figure out what you want to do in life.

    From age like 8-17 I KNEW I wanted to be a Crown prosecutor, and then, a judge. Then, first week of grade 12, I freaked out and was like, I can't be a prosecutor, I won't be good at it!! Since then I haven't felt that same pull from a job. I like the thought of different careers, but it's not usually like a big desire to do that job. Plus, I don't want to live or work in Toronto, where it seems a lot of the "cool" jobs are :(

    Plus side is I've read a lot of books this year, haha.

    I know the range of emotions that can come when searching for work. I think it's important to have off days were you don't look for work, and also take time to do some self-care, make sure you get out of the house, etc. It's super easy to get bogged down in the emotions of it all. Oh and of course, you always have your fellow bloggers to lean on!

    All the best of luck to you in the job hunt Kaley!

    1. Thanks Rachelia! It is sad that this is so common. You're so right about needing to look after myself...I think I'm failing a little on that. I only have a handful of friends in the city where I am right now - the rest of my friends are elsewhere in the province or only online - which makes it hard to get out of the house. I do try to get out but I need to start going out more...but what can one do when one doesn't have any money? Good thing I like reading :)

  3. :( *HUGS* All of those companies are dumb for not seeing how brilliant you are! I know you are probably sick of hearing me say this but... You will find an awesome job eventually! I just know it! The perfect job for you is out there somewhere! My fingers are crossed that it will find you soon!

  4. Hi Kaley,
    Thank you for sharing your story with such candor. You're striving after what you want.
    I spent my entire career in jobs I didn't really want, because when I was your age, circumstances prevented me from pursuing a career as a writer. After an accomplished career as a fraud investigator, I "quit my job to save my life." then I began writing. And three novels later, I'm doing what I love.

    1. Sorry, I wasn't finished! Anyway, I wanted to wish you the best in your pursuits. This is a difficult job market, but you have a positive attitude, and the right job will find you.

  5. My husband has been struggling since he moved here with me 16 months ago, applying EVERYWHERE,and having no luck. The worst is when he went for interviews then never heard anything back. So rude! So for the past 16 months he has been just mostly working crappy part time jobs, BUT, we got back for our honeymoon this week and he also got 3 job offers this week after month of hearing nothing. One of the jobs is a great FT job with benefits so he is taking it. Anyways, I understand your frustration and am hoping to send you encouragement.

  6. I'm so sorry that you are going through this Kaley but I'm positive the reason you haven't gotten any job offers is because the best job for you is still out there. I'm positive you will find it, although I understand that you feel lost and maybe a bit afraid right now. So glad you have your friends, boyfriend, bunny and family to keep you sane. I was in my 30s by the time I knew I wanted to be writer and although I've always had a stable job (knock wood), I often wish I had the opportunity to start over and do something I am more passionate about for my day job. I am sure with your skills and interests, you will find the perfect job. Have you been to a recruiter? Or read that book What Color is your Parachute? Never read it but it is supposed to help you take your interests and skills to locate a complimentary career. Hugs! Can't wait to meet you soon.

  7. I was on the slippery path you're currently on. I was unemployed from September until mid-October, moved into my parents place, before that I was unemployed for a month in May (I think).. I finally found a position that I can say I love!
    I still don't know what I want to do with myself, but I figured as long as I have a "real & grown up" job, it'll help me figure things out.
    Best of luck on your journey :)
    - Krys


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