Earlier this morning I dragged myself from bed, shaved, donned the business clothes I had spent late last night ironing, and drove off into the bright cold looking for work. When I got into town I found the office structure where I was hoping to find employment. A tall foreboding structure, encased in iron, it looked like a prison. I pulled into the parking garage, pressed the button, and the machine spat out a ticket. After several minutes of circling the garage, I finally found a spot and made my way into the building and up the elevator.
At the front desk of the office suite where I was to beg, sat a large grumpy looking old woman. “Hi, good morning, is this _____?” “Yes.” “Ah, great, I saw that you had a _________ position open. I just wanted to show some inititive and submit my resume in person.” “We don’t do that. Go online.” “Oh, ok, well do you know who is in charge of hiring?” “Here’s his card. Have a nice day.”
After 10 minutes I was was back on the road home after having paid $1.25 in parking fees for the privilege of getting rejected yet again.
It’s like that everywhere. I’ve applied to so many places online that I’ve lost count. Just yesterday I drove two hours out to Greenville to go door to door. We left at 9am and came crawling back at 6pm. No dice. Exactly a week again I drove another two hours to Charleston for a job interview that lasted four hours, only to get a “we’ll let you know in 5-7 business days” and drive another two hours back home. (It’s now the 7th business day and they haven’t called.)
I’ve gone door to door all over town, up and down elevators, through parking garages, and traffic. Nothing.
What kills me the most about this whole process is how much having a job is starting to feel like a privilege. “Please worshipful masters! Please! Let me labor for you! I’ll do anything!” Employers are in a position where they can be extremely picky to the point of being cruel. You can spend hours crafting a cover letter that will take them a fraction of a second to delete. You show up in person and the tiniest aspect of your appearance displeases them? Forget it. You can drive for hours to go door to door and get nothing.
The effort to success to soul crushingly bad. But what else are you going to do? You don’t have a choice. It’s a choice between banging your head against a wall till it bleeds, or starve.