Job Search Frustration

I’ve got about 10 posts in drafts and can’t seem to complete them. My mind is all over the map and my anxiety is through the roof. I’m currently sitting on my couch with coffee and writing this because I’m avoiding my long run today.

I signed up for the Chicago Half in 3 weeks. Lord help me. I couldn’t even run 1 minute, never mind 1 mile a year ago – yet here I am about to attempt a half. I signed up for it because I’ve been so stressed and aimless that focusing on intense training is good for me. Last week I did amazing. This week I’m being an idiot. And there’s so little time between now and October 11th I can’t afford to miss training days and long runs. I’m going to get it done today even if I take my damn psyche into it kicking and screaming.

Why did I need to overwhelm my central nervous system with such intense training? Because I am in a complete panic mode. It’s coming up on 1 year with no employment. I am feeling scared and sick almost every day. I wake up with a migraine. I’m having persistent hot flashes all night long and up every 2 hours. I’m eating too much and gaining weight again. I feel like I am at the end of my rope and I’m terrified of a relapse of a depression I won’t be able to climb out of this time.

The short version is this: the last 6 weeks many, many relevant roles have opened in my industry. More than I’ve ever seen in my life at one time. At first I was hopeful – with this many jobs I’m sure to secure one of them. Then the interviewing started and kept rolling and the same thing kept happening to me over and over. I continue to hear I am overqualified for many roles. If I’m not overqualified and it’s a good match, I don’t seem to hear back from the recruiters. I have only made it through 3 interviews that got me close. 1 was perfect and I was excited – but they chose another candidate and the recruiter never got back to me with feedback (despite the fact I was an internal recommendation). The second I am now on my 8th round of interviews with about 15 people for a role that is so far beneath me and across the country in a city I don’t want to live in. If I wasn’t so overqualified they would have offered me by now but I know they are worried I will accept and then leave when a better fit comes along. The last was a fabulous interview for a role I want but in a location I definitely do not want. This last company is going through a major reorg so I won’t formally interview further for a couple weeks.

There have been many others. Some at the right level, some not. I never really know why I move forward and why I don’t because recruiters do not communicate any form of feedback which really sucks in this market. Every role except one required significant relocation and salary cut. I have my story down to a science for why I would move and accept a lower paying role or a less significant title/role than I’ve held previously.

I interview well. I know this. I research and practice before every interview no matter what the role is – I never wing it. I approach any interview as if it’s the best role in the world.

Yet, nothing is happening. Anyone who knows me is incredulous. they don’t understand either.

And the kicker is, I don’t have a back up plan. I’m too old to pivot to something entirely different. I’ve tried multiple times to move into adjacent roles with compatible or transferable skills but because the market is so flooded, no one is interested in me. While it seems I should be able to use my skills in other roles, it’s clear no companies believe the same and my frustration level with anyone telling me “it’s possible to change careers this late in life” is through the roof. I’m sure it’s possible with a different skill set than mine, or even with the right connections and someone who believes in you so strongly they are willing to train and take a chance.

I have looked into real estate and insurance. I don’t want to do either but it seems that real estate will be more accessible for me. I don’t have the money to take classes and I can’t teach as I don’t have a bachelors degree. I don’t know where else to turn for alternative jobs. It would make more sense to take a lower paying role within my own industry if I could obtain one.

The roles that are well below my experience level have consistent feedback: you are overqualified. Every single time. I expect part of that is ageism, I am considered pretty old for my industry unless I am an executive.

I’m so stuck. I’m sick every day. I’m stressed beyond belief. I’m going through my life savings. I committed to myself that I have to sell my home by January just in order to survive without work. I do collect minimal unemployment and that will run out in November. I do have my reasons for staying on unemployment – I need healthcare and I will qualify for a lower rate with no income. I am also trying to negotiate forgiveness on all the medical bills from my surgery. Once I have the healthcare squared away I will find a customer service or retail job if possible. At least it will reduce the amount of $$ I’m drawing from from savings.

My retirement saving withdrawals currently come at no penalty thanks to covid. But I have to pay myself back in 2 years or I will be hit with the significant taxes for pulling my funds before retirement age.

It’s all a cluster fuck.

I am losing all hope that I am employable. The only way I have found to stave off utter hopelessness is running myself into the ground. But, sooner or later, that won’t work any longer either.

Author: Madeline Harper

My journey through divorce and an emotional and sexual reawakening. Love, laughter, friendships, family and heartbreak included. And there is sex, lots of it, so close your eyes and turn the page if that's not for you! While I started this blog as an endeavor to journal my thoughts and feelings in an attempt to better understand myself, it has become an amazing platform from which I have met some of the most interesting and wonderful people in my life. My path is often crooked, but I hope you will share in the journey with me.

4 thoughts on “Job Search Frustration”

  1. Ok first of all – you are very employable. You are a hard-working, experienced woman who is always an asset to any employer. Here are my thoughts in no particular order: 1) go to the website askamanager.org. Alison has fabulous advice on all stages of the job search, etc. 2) I hear you on the over-qualified, relocation issues. That was me for my current job. I was able to convince them that I was looking for stability and a slower pace (delicate dance because you don’t want to look like a slacker). In my case, my boss is my age & she recognized that I wanted something stable as I head to retirement.

    I took a job that paid about 30% – 40% less than my experience warranted. It was a little less than my bottom line number. It has been fine. The stability is rock solid, the culture and people are amazing. I work my hours, no OT, no stress. My mental health has never been better. Why? I gave up on the $$$, stepped aside from the fast lane. However, those were my choices and they worked for me. Results will obviously vary. My point being that you have to do you. Maybe a new locale would be good for you. All the things you are describing relate to change. Perhaps that is a theme for you to embrace in these interviews. Talk about how you like change, cause change, etc. Stay strong. I know it’s hard, but also really look deep and define YOUR priorities- not society’s.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t either. I was just speaking to a friend about this and we laughed that I’m “on sale” in essence. But the bottom line is the feedback is consistent – the companies believe I will leave once I find a “better” role.

      Like

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