Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Job Hunt

I've been back in the states for a solid month now... in Portland for a bit over two weeks. I haven't experienced too much 'reverse culture shock'. Mostly things seem comfortable and normal. While I was in Thailand it really felt like I'd been there over a year, but when I got back to Portland it felt as though I'd only been gone a little while. So at times I am shocked to see things that have changed. One of the grocery stores I used to frequent has gone upscale and I nearly made myself dizzy trying to place the old blue-print of the shop over the new design. It's been really great to meet up with friends again though.

The main thing occupying my time right now is looking for a job. I've signed up with (or tried to sign up with) about 4 different temp agencies, and as of this morning I've applied for 48 jobs. I'm pretty sure that's about four times more jobs than I've ever applied for in my life. Writing cover letters is killing me. It's tough to walk the line between confidence and arrogance when stating my skills (especially when I don't feel particularly confident in the first place)... and trying to manufacture enthusiasm for an admin job is no easy task. "Data entry thrills me to my soul and keeping files organized is my raison d'etre."

While I'd love to find a job with some kind of adult-education/training component there's not a lot of that out there so I've been applying for more general administrative or accounting jobs. The whole situation is just terrifying. In the past I've always been able to find a temp job within a couple of weeks and twice those have turned into long term positions... but I haven't gotten anything from the temp agency yet.

My next big task will be 'networking'. Whenever I read about networking I want to crawl under a rock and die. It's just so totally against my nature to call up random people and go talk to them. The examples given in all those advice articles just kill me (one guy walked up to the CEO of a company while the guy was eating breakfast and started talking about his strategy for the company's future), and they all seemed far more geared towards sales or marketing positions than general office work. I just couldn't imagine myself calling up the chair of a University department to discuss the formatting of his most recent grant application. But this seems to be the way one taps into the 'hidden job market' so I need to work on that. Anyone particularly good at this who wants to give me some advice??

Well, that's my exciting & adventurous life right now. I'm knitting again, which is good... but I knit too much the past few days and my hand hurts... which is bad. Gotta ease into these things I guess. Someday, when I have a job, and an income, and can get my camera fixed, I will take pictures of this terribly exciting 1x1 ribbed scarf, but until then...


Cate said...

Isn't being home weird, but in a good way? I know what you mean about it feeling like less than a year... thins are so similar in a lot of ways!

Good luck with the job hunt. I'm totally intimidated by the networking idea too. I just got my old (college) job back, which I'm way over-qualified for, but there's not a whole lot out there right now :(

gl. said...

find networking groups that support your goals; there are several groups in pdx. i found attending a "job club" helpful when i was first starting in portland, too. try .

Batty said...

Job hunting is hard. Are there networking groups out there? Also, can you volunteer (in addition to working your college job)? Maybe just an hour or two a week? I find that it's good resume padding, you're doing something good, and sometimes, a door opens.

Susan said...

Can you get unemployment?