Finding a job is hard because convincing someone that you are the most fabulous thing to happen to them since that time Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams unearthed themselves, popped out of the ground, and joined Beyonce onstage at the Super Bowl is hard. Is this reference outdated? Sorry, it’s just something I will never be over. Without further adieu, I present to you the four very empirically-researched, very official stages of the post-grad job search.
1. The Realization of Pain
When you are not immediately successful at securing a job, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat, and Vine along with any other social media platform that you spend countless hours scrolling through will quickly become a graveyard of your shattered hopes and dreams. Seeing your frenemies secure great jobs before you will drive you batty with rage and you will very suddenly find yourself listening to a playlist that consists entirely of sad orchestral arrangements featured in Titanic as well as any Sarah McLaughlin song played during those really horrifying ASPCA commercials that feature the world’s most abused and depressed cats, dogs, and gerbils. You will consider becoming a recluse and stealing away into the wilderness a la Christopher McCandless. Who needs adulthood anyways?
Still, you will sometimes cave and endlessly scroll through Facebook, scoffing in disgust at everyone’s adulthood successes. This will motivate you in the way that you’ll really, very direly want to make good progress toward being employed, but you won’t actively do anything about it. It’s like those times in the wee hours of the morning when you suddenly feel inspired to run a marathon, or write a 15-book series, or become President of the United States. Then, once you come down from the sugar high you’ve attained from shoveling the better half of an ice cream carton into your unemployed pie hole, you debate whether these struggles make you a masochist or just a lazy asshole. Well friends, hold onto that spoon and strap in, because it’s about to be a very turbulent ride.
2. Hiding Your First-Name Self Beneath Your Last-Name Self
Beginning your job search fresh out of college you will still be struggling to transition from your first-name self to your professionally polished last-name self. You will begin to justify all of the different parts of your first-name self that you can reasonably keep while tricking prospective employers into think you are a full-fledged last-name adult. Part of pulling the I’m-a-mature-adult wool — which I imagine to be a blanket patterned with cheques, taxes, ties, and an NPR subscription — over the eyes of those prospective employers will be composing fanciful e-mails extolling your “deepest gratitude” for the opportunities to meet and discuss jobs that you didn’t end up being offered. Should you be successful at this feat, this will be the greatest achievement that your freshly-minted last-name self will accomplish because we all know your first-name self would have some choice words for those who are turning you down.
3. Battle Royal
With the fruits of your labor not immediately paying off, you will become a sullen and sour individual. “This is the twenty-first century for Pete’s sake!” you’ll think to yourself. “In a matter of seconds, I can download an App that teaches me Mandarin Chinese! Why don’t I have a job yet?!” You have a point. Everything in your life is immediate and you, in your spoiled naiveté, felt that finding a job would be the same. This is the point at which crotchety older people criticize you for being a no good, rotten, self-absorbed millennial. Meh.
Naturally, your lack of success and your status as a sad-panda of a person will cause your relationships with your loved ones to become strained. “I’m doing everything I can!” you will dramatically bellow. You aren’t doing everything you can, really, though. That’s just something we all say in order to justify the amount of time we spend watching cat videos on the Internet when we should be doing work.
The extent of your interaction with your family will fall into a vicious and specific formula: you bringing up and obsessively discussing your job search, loudly telling your family off for “obsessively bringing it up” and then you bringing it up again later only to fall down the rabbit hole once more.
4. Interviews: Rainclouds and Realizations
Finally, by some stroke of brilliant luck, you will secure a job interview. You will find your best last-name outfit and you’ll listen to some pump up jams in the car on the drive over, even if your go-to jam is as first-name as they come. It’s okay. Only your steering wheel has to know.
Entering the room, you will realize that this is a panel interview, which will cause a spike in anxiety. Eight people means sixteen eyes which means maintaining eye contact will cause a bobble-head-like appearance on your part. In a moment of panic, you will assure yourself that should they think your bobble head is bizarre you will explain it’s a performance piece meant to represent your fear-no-speed-bump attitude. Yeah. That.
You will fumble your way through the interview having mostly harnessing the adrenaline-fueled feeling that you’ve drunk ten 5 Hour Energy shots when you are asked the whopper: “What can you bring to our team?” Classic. You’ve read about this one in all the interview-advice giving articles you’ve been scouring. It’s the question that evokes in the interviewee a rare art form that, if not done right, is a disaster. You can’t boast too obviously, but you can’t undersell yourself either. It’s like balancing on a tightrope with Mother Theresa on one shoulder and Kanye West on the other.
Suddenly, the skies will open up and a torrential rain will begin to pelt the window. “W-Wow! This — this is a dramatic moment! I hope this isn’t symbolic! HA!” you will sputter. Your last-name-self armor will have cracked. Your first-name self has word-vomited a chunky, bubbling few sentences of inarguable first-name self all over the table. Your interviewers will uneasily chuckle, looks of bewilderment decorating their faces as they wonder how this babbling bobble head before them scored an interview. After you exit and close the door, you will will imagine their conversations. “My God. On paper he seemed so last-name!” When the boss calls a few days later, though, to tell you that they’d like to offer you the job, you will wonder whether this adulthood business is, after all, more first name than last. You made it. Quickly log on to all of your social media accounts and not-so-humbly humble-brag about how thrilled you are to announce your new #job #employment #work. What did you think the purpose of social media was, anyways?