I hate job hunting. And I especially hate job hunting in a bad job market. Both times I’ve had to find a job, you got it, bad job markets. The first time was oh, probably 20 years ago, give or take. A couple of years out of college. And now is the second time. Mind you, while performing a job search is not my forte, working definitely is. I tend to be a very stable, hard-working employee who makes my employer very happy. I have an incredible work ethic – which also continued when I was self-employed. I find a great deal of satisfaction in a job very well done.
I live in a great area – I really love where I live (for the most part). I live on a small island outside a resort town. The beach is only a mile and a half from my front door, and the bay is just a block over; it’s a very peaceful place to raise kids, with an active, small community. However, it seems the only real industry in the area is the service industry. And while that wouldn’t be my first choice, I am not above doing whatever I have to in order to support my family. However, those types of jobs generally require you to work nights and weekends, and since I’m a single mom with no family nearby, I would be spending the better part of my paycheck on childcare if I had to work nights and weekends, if I could even find reliable childcare at those times. Therefore, it wouldn’t be cost-effective. Worse, it would take me away from my kids. And I can’t do that to them – leave them to be raised by a stranger. I can’t and I won’t do that to them.
So it seems there are a plethora of jobs you can do online – such as copy-editing and writing jobs. At least that is what I’m told. There are at least 2 sites (that I know of) on which you can register to be a contract employee and bid for jobs. One of them seems to have a site problem for I tried to register on it and never received the email from them to verify my account. A friend had the same issue. We both emailed them multiple times, with no response. On the other one, I’ve been actively perusing the listings and bidding on jobs. However, it seems that I’m competing with people all over the world, many of whom are happy to work for well below minimum wage, or write 300 word articles for 10 to 30 cents each. Now, 300 words is not much and doesn’t take much time. My present word count for this piece is 345 words. Piece of cake. But when you add in research, it takes longer. Not to mention that honestly, 30 cents for anything taking even 15 minutes is not worth my time. I am worth way more than $1.20/hour. The sad thing is I would be willing to take a lot less than I’m worth in order to have steady work. I have no problem working much more than 40 hours a week, especially if I’m doing it from home. Heck, for the last probably 14 or 15 years a 60 – 80 hour work week was the norm – from the time my daughter was born I was running a business, and even when I wasn’t there I was handling all of the administrative work from home, after she and then my son went to bed. So I’m not afraid of hard work or long hours. I just have to find it.
Oh, and that doesn’t even touch on the jobs I wouldn’t touch on there. I was looking under virtual assistant positions – I am a jack of many trades who can handle almost any task out there. I came across one such job in which the gentleman (and I use that term very loosely) was looking for someone to write flirtatious texts to send to his girlfriends. The interview process involved texting him in a flirtatious way, to see if he liked your style. His cell number was included in the text of the “job” listing, with instructions to start flirting with him if you wanted the job. While I had no interest in a job like this, I will say I was tempted to text just to see what he would say. Of course, my sense was firmly in place and I didn’t do it, for numerous reasons. But I did consider texting him just for the entertainment value. If I had an untraceable cell phone, it may have happened. There was also another person who was looking for females to send him naked pictures because his “client” required one new one per day. Um, no, not gonna happen. But it also made me question the professionalism of the site. However most of the jobs on the site seemed legit (even the ones looking for people to write erotic short stories). Just one more example of the ludicrousness were the people looking for someone to pen their novels (ghost writers) – 60,000 words for $50. Now, if I’m going to spend as much time as it takes to write a novel, I’m going to try to publish it under my name. I have respect for ghost writers. However, I’m sure the serious ones make more than pennies an hour for their work.
If it was just me in this position, I might chalk it up to my not being good at job searches. However, I have a number of friends in the same position – either not working at all but wanting and needing to, or under employed, some working freelance or contract jobs with no benefits and no security. And these people are also well-educated, intelligent professionals. I have friends cleaning houses, working in stores, running their own businesses but also working in retail or for other companies in order to support their families. All of this is fine, everyone does what they have to do to provide. It’s just not right.
Anyhow, there seem to be so many job listings out there, but when you take the time to respond and put thought into a well-written, articulate cover letter and do background research on the company to be thorough, it’s frustrating to almost never receive a response. I have a resume posted on Monster, and have received several calls from companies wanting to bring me in for an interview. However, when asked what position I would be interviewing for, they cannot tell me, as there are always a range of positions available there. After talking to others and asking many questions of the people trying to set up the interviews, I’ve ascertained it’s for insurance sales positions. I have nothing but respect for service professionals of any type, however, I don’t want to sell insurance and I certainly don’t want to drive an hour to interview for a position under false pretenses, as a friend of mine recently did.
So I’ll be going to sleep shortly, since it’s now late at night, so I can get rest to be energetic tomorrow to entertain my kids, do the laundry, cook dinner, and continue my online quest for employment. If you have any good ideas for those searching for jobs today, please leave a comment – I will be happy to hear them and pass them onto my friends who are in the same boat as I am.
Live, love, laugh – it’s what makes it worthwhile!