Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Unbearable Lightness of Being...Unemployed

I have an interview at Harvard Business School (HBS) tomorrow. It's a group interview with two interviewers and who knows how many fellow job applicants. It'll be my first time doing such a thing.

For interview prep, my three-step plan to success consisted of:

Step 1: Read about group interviews.
Step 2: Re-read the job description.
Step 3: Read about HBS.

The process made me reflect on my previous interviews. I only had three so far, and have not heard from any of them. The last one made me happy because the interviewer called me a "strong candidate," but I haven't received any communication within the timeline explained to me during the discussion, which means someone else likely got the job.

I realize that no matter how I prepare, key things remain out of my control. Oh, I can take care of any number of variables -- I can dress snappily, and I'm usually articulate and cheerful. But someone else could have more experience than me, or dress snappier, and be so bloody bright as to eclipse the sun. Or I can make a mistake and shoot myself in the foot.

Here, again, chance plays a role. I've applied to jobs where the description matched exactly what I've done in the past, only to be passed over. Typically, the first question that pops into my head is, "Do I suck that badly?" and I guess the answer could be yes or no. The point is, it's out of my hands, so why worry?

I saw an article yesterday on Slate about how the long-term unemployed have a harder time getting jobs. I feel for those people. I've only been unemployed for a month, and it feels... well, both awesome and awful. The awesome part comes in when I plop myself down on the couch and peruse job listings. I turn in my applications, so very hopeful and positive. Then I go clean something in the house.

The awful bit follows after, when I hear the chirping of crickets from the companies I want to join. My self-esteem goes away and takes a nap. That's when I find a recipe for a new drink. I know how to make sangria now! Go double on the brandy, mommy needs to forget the pain.

Black humor aside, I'm pretty okay. I've achieved a state of semi-homeostasis. I have a routine. I write out goals for the day, and get them done. It could be something like, "Apply to one job today," or "Put together list of items for amenities basket for wedding." I reward myself afterward by playing a game or watching TV. Oh, and my first unemployment deposit arrived today, so I'm all, Now I can pay for my ridiculously expensive healthcare!

Seriously, that healthcare subsidy is a primo reason for the nine to five. When I worked, it cost me a bit over a hundred bucks per paycheck. Now it costs me...hold on to your fashionable hats...SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS a month. I'm paying full price because no company has my back. FML.

I shall be sure to report on how tomorrow's interview goes. If no post comes within a week, assume that I have thrown myself dramatically into the Charles River, and cannot type anymore due to a horrific mutation resulting from the icky waters.

And if I do write a bubbly post about how I totally aced it, reserve judgment until the inevitable followup post -- possible titles include, "I Was Wrong About Everything," "How to Maintain a Delusion Until Reality Kicks You in the Face," or "F***, F***, F***."

Ding! Lunch time.