Thursday, July 30, 2015

Linked Out

Ugh. UGH. UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGH!  How much does it suck to apply for jobs? So. Much.

Everything I hate about the shallowness and empty posturing in contemporary life has naturally fucked up the job searching process as well. I understand that my desire for reserve, privacy, an authentic connection to nature comes across, these days, as less "friendly Walden-dwelling hermit" and more like this guy:

But honestly I don't care. The only thing I want to do less than toot my own horn about some meaningless miserable fake accomplishments is to participate in a circle-jerk of meaningless accomplishment-stroking for others. But is that the way to get a job in the twenty-first century? Naw, we got a shitty website for that.

Let me say that the whole experience of That Site is horrifying and everything on it reeks of either desperation or douchebaggery. I know resumes and cover letters have this incredibly stilted and formalistic language to them, but it's like putting on a suit and tie for an interview and everybody knows this is that formal thing you do. Making a website where you strive for language that comes across in that same incredibly stilted and awkward voice but also really really pretends that you believe in that tone and speak that way naturally just seems wrong. Too public, too permanent --- like you're tattooing that suit on out of love for it instead of wearing it only to the interview. Ick.

And I just don't get how you yourself writing words like "loves" "excels at" or "brilliantly exceeds" could possibly make them any more true than someone else writing it for you. They are only words. They are skillsets, not hobbies or fandom. Except for using Microsoft Office. I mean I love demonstrating my expertise at that shit. It's the first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning and the the last thing I think of at night. If you offered me a choice between having sex and implementing Exel, I'd have to go with the Excel. Because I am a proactive self-starter with a strong interest in synergizing deliverables in a fast-moving office environment. I am an Office Ninja and I authentically love your shitty and meaningless product.

Beyond the tone everyone seems to adopt on That Site is the problem with "connections" and "networking." I'm sure that if you, dear reader, are an educator, you have had the experience where some former student signed up for That Site and the first thing that happens is the motherfucking site spams Every.Single.Fucking.Contact --- which means every single person this student has ever emailed with including anyone they have shared an English draft with or had questions about when is the final --- and then fucking. get. hounded. for weeks afterwards because the only option is "accept this connection and join us!" not "I have no clue who this dipshit is I teach at least 120 students every semester." So when I finally bite the bullet and spend 30-40 minutes scrounging the site for a way to turn off the "spam the entire world" option, I finally decide to use my non-pseudonymous gmail rather than making up a new one. Not twenty minutes later as I am scrolling through the horrors of that site, I get a ping from a distant relative: Do I see you have signed up for ______? Is there a problem? Would you like to talk?

Shit. Shitshitshit. Shiiiiiiiiiit. I actually slam down the lid of the laptop, look guiltily around the cafe. I would probably be less embarrassed to be caught downloading porn. Earlier I'd already moved, gunslinger-style, to a table where I can sit with my back to the wall: don't look at meeeeee ohgod don't look at meeeeee! 

Twenty minutes more or so of scrambling frantically around That Site, and I push a button. I block my relative. And I leave everything off my "personal brand" page. I understand that's not how to use the site and it probably looks more creepy than a filled-out page, but how can I "tell my story coherently and persuasively" when I don't know what story I want to tell? What career field am I going into? I don't know! What skills should I emphasize? I don't know! What's my objective? I don't know! What are my previous jobs and why am I leaving them? Uh, I really really don't want to talk about that! 

I dunno what job I could possibly get without eating shit and doing the Unholy Networking Dance. Maybe Artisan Yak Herder? Hmm that whole "cabin in the woods" thing is sounding better and better. If only I could get my mom to bring me lunch every day.


Susan said...

The only thing weirder than tooting your own horn on that site, is having a college roommate "endorse you" for your skills n "higher education" or "teaching".

I do think that you can be broad in your skill set - education, communications, editing, analysis, you don't have to say, I'm looking for a job as X, but instead "where my abilities..."

Anonymous said...

I feel you very much on these comments. I have thought most of them myself! The job search "dance" is always frustrating. Hang in there!!

Fie upon this quiet life! said...

Thing is -- hubby has gotten two jobs from being head hunted on site terrible, so it's proven (at least to me) that it's got its uses. But I know. It sucks. Where you're living, though? Having an online presence is more important than actually being a person, it seems. If you're looking for jobs outside of higher ed, then you need to play the game, unfortunately.

If you're looking to get into tech in some way (project management or something like that), getting into a small firm to learn the ropes of the industry would be good. Something like this might be good: