Job Seek and You Shall Not Find

Today marks the two month "anniversary" of losing my job. I’m not celebrating unemployment, although it’s wonderful that I’m no longer in the worrying stages of this unfortunate situation. In the last two months I’ve submitted countless resumes and applied for various positions in a variety of fields.

There was the bank teller position that I wasn’t "exceptionally" qualified for. I discovered this when I received a rejection letter in the mail stating, "We regret to inform you we have selected a candidate better qualified in the operations of a financial institution." So what, you chose a person who can add, subtract, count money and fake-smile like Miss America at every single customer? Even the really bitchy ones? Okay. You’re right, I’m not qualified for that. I only smile at every tenth person I meet.

I sent my resume to an insurance company, a field in which I have plenty of experience considering I was a licensed Accident & Sickness insurance agent for several years. When I didn’t hear anything from the Human Resources Department within few weeks, I called to verify that my resume was received.

I was very polite and courteous, yet conveyed some excitement in my voice. Ms. Cranky HR Woman explained that several submissions didn’t make the first round of interviews, because "there were so many" and they "just had a difficult time weeding through them." I could sense the brush off in the tone of this woman’s voice. She assured me the company would keep my resume on file for future hiring. Uh-huh. Sure.

I applied for a job as a food demonstrator at Wal-Mart. Just for giggles, mind you. It was an experiment to see if they’d take practically anyone.

I got a call from an employment recruiter named Mr. Johnson (very original), and he wanted to complete a preliminary phone interview. He told me that if he liked me, I’d have another phone interview with the Human Resources Manager and if that guy liked me then I’d have a face to face interview. For freakin’ Wally World.

The first question out of this man’s mouth was, "Tell me why you would be excited to join the Wal-Mart team?" I couldn’t carry on the charade any longer. Lucky for me, they require their employees to work rotating weekends which isn’t feasible for me (my husband works every weekend and we have no childcare available).

Next, I filled out an application for a department store (the name rhymes with holes). I have tons of retail experience and I figured it would be the perfect part-time job for me. You know, because that’s all they were offering.

The hiring manager called me for a phone interview and I thought it went well. But when I didn’t hear anything back for several weeks, I called back to check on the status. The manager replied, "Oh gosh. I must have misplaced your application and the positions have been filled. I’m terribly sorry. As soon as I have another opening or someone quits I’ll call you right away." You forgot about me? I must not have been your first choice, that’s what you’re saying?

Seriously. Am I cursed? What’s with all this bad luck? And what is up with all these phone interviews? Don’t managers want to see what their potential employees’ personalities are like? Don’t they want to interact face to face? I mean, really, it’s a lot harder for me to fib when you’re staring me in the eye. I’m only kidding. Sort of.

These are four of the funniest job-hunting experiences I’ve had these past few weeks. It’s easy for me to make fun of the situation now, after the fact. At the time, I was a ball of nerves during this ridiculous process.

It’s stressful trying to think of the right answers to the questions I was asked. But honestly, there weren’t that many jobs available. The want-ads of years ago used to take up three full pages in the newspapers. Now they fit only half a page. Even Career Builder listings were few and far between.

It seems that not many companies are hiring during this recession, and some have created a hiring freeze until economic conditions improve. Which has me thinking I won’t be working outside the home anytime soon.

Thankfully, I’ve been given the opportunity to work from home and I couldn’t be more grateful. It’s nice not to worry about putting food on the table. My only complaint is that not every unemployed American can say the same. There truly are no jobs these days, and it sucks.