Monday, May 05, 2008

On persistence in job-hunting

This seems to be the time of year when lots of folks are job-hunting, especially new graduates and educators looking for a new gig. You send out resumes and cover letters by the ream, it seems, and get enough rejection letters to wallpaper a room.

Way back in 1988 I finally escaped grad school and moved out of state with five hundred bucks cash. I lived with my sister until I was able to find a place of my own. I put my newly-minted M.Ed to good use bussing tables and washing dishes on the night shift at the local diner. (This was actually a great gig - I ate free, had the days open to job-hunt or work temp, and it was a block from my sister's apartment.)

I signed up with a temp agency and got steady if varied work doing data entry and other semi-menial office tasks. (The upside is that I worked with many different computer systems in many different companies. This gave me a real feel for the user experience in interface design, as well as exposure to a wide range of working environments.)

I also joined the local NSPI chapter to get to know local professionals. I looked for companies that were looking for instructional designers. I finally found one that seemed to be doing what I wanted to do. So I applied for a tech writer job and was turned down after the interview. I applied again or another writing job - and was turned down.

I really wanted to work for these folks - they were rising stars. An opening appeared for an instructional designer. But by this time I despaired of ever getting in with them. But a wonderful wise lady at an NSPI meeting suggested that I try one more time. About the same time I had read the Bible story of the widow and the unjust judge. The old lady essentially pestered the judge into hearing her case.

So I applied one more time, and this time I got the job!

A couple of years later I'm working on a project at about 9 at night, and my boss Larry is puttering in his office. (Larry = cross between Gene Wilder and Albert Einstein with a dash of Groucho Marx.) He calls out, "Hey, Corrie - I was clearing out my resume' file, and came across yours. Now I know why we hired you!"

"Yeah? What's that?" I asked, wondering what golden phrase on my resume' had finally opened the door.

Larry replied, "There are six copies of it in the file!"


thekyleguy said...

Good story Corrie. Thanks for sharing it at a time when I am struggling along on the employment hunt. I know that eventually something will land in my lap and it will be a position for which I am perfect for.

I wonder about over applying for positions to the point of harassing the HR department. I try to keep a happy balance of letting them know I exist without flooding their voice mail and inboxes.

I believe that one must have faith that these type of major life experiences happen for reason, when they are meant to and eventually I will be given another opportunity to shine.

SkyDaddy said...

As a person of faith, I have become increasingly convinced of the truth of the scripture, "Commit your way unto the Lord, and he will direct your paths."

When facing uncertainty I've earnestly prayed, "God, I'm here to do what You want me to do. Just make it really obvious, because I'm kinda dense."

And it never fails that while a door might get slammed, a window opens.

And God usually tosses me through it. :-)