As the economy is either going south or stagnant in Europe, leaving so many bright young things unemployed for reasons of being “really good but too analytical/unstructured/uncreative. But apply again.” (Oh, “sandwich” how we love thee!) here is a small musical guide to the highs and lows of job search:
1. The First Love
So you’re all pumped up. Your CV’s fresh, fonts squeezed to include all the minutiae of your achievements that you’ve become overbearingly proud of and you start referring to things you did as “experiences” and believe that your “skills” will help you. And then comes the day, after the drudgery of the Milkround and considering everything from accounting in Helmand to being a spirit healer, when your heart stops. Her reps are beautiful, her HR actually cares and the offices… you’ve found the one, the company that will carry your skills forward and engage you and challenge you at every point, while providing competitive remuneration. The world seems bright as you submit your cover letter and just imagine the warm glow of the contract with an appropriate header in your mail-box.
2. The Night Before
The night before the interview, you are more nervous then before your first date. Will they like your quantitative skills, yet appreciate your creativity? Will your dry-cleaned shirt fit perfectly, but not too perfectly and will your hair be ok? Anyway, you look into the starry skies, throw away the stash of FTs and promotional materials trumpeting diversity! global reach! impact! and while dreaming of being in their sweet embrace you think you feel it…it will be ok. Or so you hope…
3. After the interview
So the interview was ok… but just ok. The interviewer smiled….but also was a bit stiff after one of your jokes. The HR said they will call soon… but not too enthusiastically. And you roam the city for hours looking at your phone obsessively… and it doesn’t ring, even though it’s 10pm. But, ok, maybe they notify the rejects first (“If that guy from Durham gets it…” you think).
4. The Call
It’s all over. You were amazing, but not good for them (“How can I be good for anybody now?” you think). Sadness ensues as you stroke their brochures longingly: all those smiling people, all those glass high-rises… oh the training, oh the alumni network…but it’s all over and gone…
5. The Anger
“F**k them! There are many other who will appreciate my employability. They didn’t have that horizontal structure they promised.” And you start seeing others, courting them with enthusiastic cover letters, but the pain is still there…
6. Yet Another Final Round
The others betray you as well (yes, even being an accountant in Helmand): they make you believe that you are wanted because you have two final rounds and they are saying they are employing like crazy…
7. Yet Another Rejection
But not you. As rejection becomes a part of your life, you have little skits to explain why you got rejected again and at one point you just take it in the stride (or so it seems). What else can you do, really?
8. Giving up
At one point you think you actually don’t want to be employed and start planning a gap year. “Those working people, with their suits and power walks”, you think, “why would I ever want to do that?”
9. The Miracle
Finally, out of nowhere, an HR person does not start the second sentence of their call with “unfortunately” or “sadly”, or “I’m sorry to say…”. The sun seems to shine brighter. Yes, you are a productive member of the community now, and all the past months: the anguish, the pain, the disappointment – disappear. Until you start actually working, that is.