Just a name on an application, another face in the crowd

I have been wondering, how many job applications are enough to make a job seeking week worthwhile? How many is too many?  Is there too many?  I wonder if I apply for a ridiculous amount of jobs will my applications become generic and fail to be appealing.

Sometimes I think that finding employment is like a children’s school yard game.  The cool kids, hopefully the ones with the most talent and experience get picked as the team Captains, or Managers if you like.  Then there is everyone else, standing on the sidelines jumping up and down yelling pick me, pick me.

Some people may have noticed my post ‘Totally Awesome Person for Hire.’ This was my attempt at finding a job through social media.  I linked this to twitter and it was retweeted a couple of times to no avail.

In all honesty, I didn’t expect to find a job this way. It was just a bit of fun and I wanted to see what would happen.  Nothing happened.

So far I haven’t applied for a ridiculous amount of jobs, although my search is still young.  I have tried a few different approaches: recruitment companies, online applications, responding to newspaper advertisements, cold calling and door knocking.

I have come to realise that I’m capable of writing a decent job application.  That being said, I am not prone to embellishing.  I would call my style ‘tell it like it is.’  When I get a job, I want an employer to know what they are getting, the areas I am qualified in and the areas I may need some up skilling. I don’t believe in pretending or faking it until you make it.

I received a phone call the other day about a job I had applied for.  The caller asked whether I had a moment to talk about the position.  I agreed, which was a rookie mistake in hindsight.  As the call progressed, I realised that it was a telephone interview.  I wasn’t prepared at all.  The position hadn’t even entered my mind since I had applied.  I must have done something right as I made it through to what I was told was an ‘information session.’  I was advised that the session would go for an hour. I would learn more about the position and could decide whether I was still interested. I was told that someone would also assess my ability to navigate a website.  If I was successful, I would then be invited to a face to face interview.

The information session did not go entirely as described.  The Information component of the session went for 10 minutes.  Then there were four pre-employment tests: a short answer test, a typing test, a spelling and then a grammar tests.  When we were being briefed for all of this, I was sitting there freaking out.  Do I really want to go through all of this? What if I try and fail? My internal dialogue then turned arrogant, “I have tertiary qualifications and they want me to do a spelling test” (my internal dialogue can be a little biatch sometimes).

Very quickly I had a light bulb moment and reality set in. I had left my former career. No one here knows who I am, my reputation doesn’t precede me and my University qualifications don’t matter.  I knew that this time may come, that if I wanted a new career it was likely I would have to start again.  Here I was at the bottom. My competitive streak kicked in and I was off.  I decided that if I had to do these tests, I may as well be the quickest and most efficient.

Some of the others crumbled under the pressure, a couple of minutes after the timer was started they were out the door.  The room was crammed; I was sitting shoulder to shoulder with the other applicants.  I realised something that I had forgotten since I had stopped working.  When I am focussed and in the zone, I like to hum.  It only occurred to me after I received rather strange sideward glances.  It’s pretty funny really.  Apparently I also like to whistle, which is equally annoying to others. My husband told me that I also whistle and hum when I am happy.  Maybe pressure situations make me happy……..

I made it to round four, the face to face interview.  It was a cognitive interview.  It was gruelling. The questions were complex and required me to give specific examples using my life and previous work history. I think I did okay.

I would like to think I would be offered a position, part of me thinks that they should be happy to have me (arrogant I know) and the other part thinks that I put myself out there and put in a lot of effort, so it would be disappointing to unsuccessful. I guess someone needs to be unsuccessful, but I’m not about to prepare for the worst.

Today is a new day, there are things to do, adventures to be had and perhaps a little waiting for the phone to ring.

The knockers

Recently I had a tough weekend at the office.  I say the office because I don’t have a job at the moment and some social occasions are feeling a little like work.

On a normal day I like to think that the world sees me as a strong, positive and outgoing person, but recently my spirit was given a little battering.

Over the course of a day and night I felt attacked, berated and interrogated by a series of people who I had called my friends. I was put in the hot seat and pumped for information continually. Tell me about your life, what are you doing? Where are you going? Why don’t you have a job?  Are you looking for a job? How do you feel about not having a job? Are you ok? Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

I was criticised for my ideas not being creative enough or for not putting myself far enough out of what they thought was my comfort zone.

I had a number of demands from people wanting to read my personal writing catalogue, so they can provide me with feedback and then was berated for my writing being for myself and not wanting to share. Apparently everyone needs feedback……

Nothing was off limits. It was open slather on my life.  For most people who have been searching for something like a job for a while, you would relate to having some bad days. The self doubt, the frustration, the knock backs. It takes effort to not dwell on the past and move on.  Every week I feel proud of myself for not dwelling on the things that I cannot change, I am constantly thinking of new ideas or tactics and keep going. I am on a journey of discovery and I’m not looking for a quick fix, so I know it will take me a little while to get to where I want to be.

Although these were not the first people who had queried my life and my job choices, it was the severity of the attacks that left me feeling a little taken back.

Although I have since picked myself up and moved from the conversations of the weekend, things are still lingering in my mind.  I’m angry that I allowed the criticism and judgements of others to effect me so much and wonder why the opinions of people I know affect me more than others.

I have decided to distance myself from the people who are critical and judgemental of my life.  I think that your friends are a reflection of yourself and their attacks and negativity are not a representation of who I am and I would never do that to anyone.

In light of my weekend and my decisions to move on, I have decided to do something positive. I’m going to do something nice and brighten someone else’s day.  🙂

32 New things and beyond

I have started a to do list. There are more than 32 items on this list, this is because it is not a list of all the things I’m going to do; it’s a list of possibilities and suggestions. Some are a little out there, like having a baby.   Maybe that will happen one day, but right now it’s a little too much commitment for the sake of doing something new.

My list wasn’t easy.  I have travelled, lived in another country, jumped out of a plane, attempted to learn a new language (many times), slept under the stars, partied at some of the world’s biggest events and shouted Oh My God when in range of a celebrity.

I want my 32 things to be completely new experiences, but they also need to be things that interest me. I do love action in my life, but not all the things will be jaw dropping exciting.  I think it’s nice sometimes to have a quiet day or do something rewarding.

I have already ticked off items 1-4 below, who knows what else is to come. The big goal is to complete the 32 new things before I turn 33 on 4 January 2014, there is only 263 days to go.

I will refine my list at some stage. Here are my options for now. I would love to hear your thoughts and any further suggestions.

  1. Create a blog
  2. Sell stuff online
  3. Go scarecrow hunting http://barossavintagefestival.com.au/barossa-scarecrows/
  4. Visit Maggie beers farm http://www.maggiebeer.com.au/
  5. Donate blood
  6. Be a movie/tv extra
  7. Be a tourist in my own town and send postcards to friends and family
  8. Go to the Melbourne Cup http://melbournecup.com/
  9. Volunteer…….
  10. Have a Cartoon picture of myself drawn
  11. Get involved in the food truck craze
  12. Eat one of Adriano Zumbo’s creations
  13. Host a high tea
  14. Make Italian sausages with Dad
  15. Learn to cook an amazing sponge cake
  16. Take pole dancing classes, apparently its good exercise
  17. Learn a martial art
  18. Try Yoga or Pilates
  19. Go to a life drawing class
  20. Learn why people appreciate Chardonnay
  21. Read a Mills and Boon
  22. Brew Beer or Cider
  23. Go to Camel Races
  24. Go to a professional cricket match
  25. Participate in the Masters Games
  26. Make an old family recipe. E.g. cooking tripe with Grandma’s white sauce.
  27. Participate in a 5km fun run and smash it in under 30 mins
  28. Count my blessings
  29. Travel somewhere new
  30. Feature some way in a publication e.g photo, name etc
  31. Dine at a celebrity chef restaurant in Australia
  32. Grow something new
  33. Start crocheting
  34. Cook something crazy like a croquembouche
  35. Take a ride with my cousin while he does aerobatics
  36. Go visit family in Queensland
  37. Write my Will and departing letters to loved ones.
  38. Ride a new rail trail with my hubby (his suggestions)
  39. Borrow a friends kayak
  40. Have a baby (a suggestion from a persistent friend)
  41. Write a recipe book
  42. Audition for a reality TV show.
  43. Enter a writing competition
  44. Invent something awesome
  45. Participate in Tough Mudder http://toughmudder.com.au/
  46. Volunteer Abroad
  47. Complete random acts of kindness
  48. Take a drama class
  49. Participate in an amateur theatre production
  50. Go line dancing.
  51. Get a tattoo
  52. Be a model in a life drawing class
  53. Make cheese
  54. Make a patchwork quilt

My first jobless quarter

Its now April, so what have I been doing for the first 3 months of the year??

My job seeking future started with a visit to a Career Coach recommended by a friend. It was not at all what I expected. I was in a hurry, I wanted to be given direction and move on with the rest of my life.

The career coach stuff was hard. I had to reflect on my life, my family, my work values, lifestyle values, what I didn’t like about my former career, my skills and areas of interest. In the process I had to face some demons and some realities about myself.

I am a controlled person and I’m reluctant to let people in, so telling a complete stranger deeply personal information is not what I had in mind. Then there were the activities; the sensual walks, artist days, morning pages, letters to myself, stories about my future and a vision board. This was out of my comfort zone. I just went through life getting things done. I had never been interested in preparing and planning out my life.

We spoke about finding the perfect job, but I don’t believe there is a perfect job out there for me. I anticipate I will have a number of different jobs and that’s ok. My last career was for 10 years. I think that’s a good start.

I like that the Career Coach challenged me to do activities I would never have done on my own, but I left the coach after a few sessions. I realised that I didn’t want to continually plan for a new career week after week after week. I just wanted to live it.

My first thought was just to get a job, any job and the rest would follow. I signed up with a few job agencies for temp work and they seemed to really love me. Unfortunately the couple of jobs they put me forward for fell through. I wasn’t too shattered because they weren’t really exciting jobs anyway, but that being said sometimes you just need a job to pay some bills.

What else have I been doing to get a job or kick start a new career???

  • I have applied for a few contract type roles with no success. Apparently I’m a little over qualified for basic Administration.
  •  I have been working on my entry level course into the Real Estate Industry.
  •  I called some wineries because I thought grape harvesting would be fun.
  •  I approached some local nurseries for part time/casual work because I like to garden and I could learn heaps.
  •  I have looked into Volunteering Abroad.
  •  I have an appointment next week with the bank because I would like to build and sell houses.
  •  I’m researching the possibility of doing a course in professional writing or an apprenticeship in hospitality.

I was talking to my husband last night. I think its time to make a decision and commit to doing something. We currently live in Central Victoria and may have to move to Melbourne which is a pretty big deal, but sometimes you just need to take a risk and hope it pays off.

Selling stuff online #2 of 32

Recently I sold my first item online. Not new to many people, but this was my first outing.

I was a bit hesitant, but after some major ‘spring cleaning’ I had a lot of stuff I no longer wanted.

In some ways I would describe myself as techno deficient. This is a little different from technophobe in that I’m not afraid of technology. I’m generally not that interested or any good at it. I only got my first smart phone 12 months ago. Up until then I was happy with by Nokia 3210 (there was no internet or camera). Yep that’s right. It’s not that I couldn’t afford a better phone, I was just happy with keeping technology at arm’s length. I’m now at a place where I think I should be embracing technology before I fall so far behind I will never catch up

Anyway, I found setting up an online account for selling to be a little fidley, but I got there. So what did I sell? One of Mr Clips business shirts. Great brand, nearly new, worn twice, excellent condition.

Sold for $22.50 plus postage

It was worth about $60 new, so someone got a good buy.

Would I sell online again? Well, I have tried. Some things sold, others didn’t. I’m not about to start an online business, I’m just happy to off load some things I no longer need.