The Job Search

Job search is a full-time job in itself..

When you are searching for a new job – for whatever reasons, it is the same story all over again. There are two sides to it – one,  when you do not have a job and you are searching for one, and two, when you already have one and you are searching for another one (for whatever reason and there are innumerable). 

Here I am focusing on the not so worse – second scenario, which still comes with it’s set of dramas:

The dramas: 

  1. The new prospective employer has the same working hours as your current one  –> You have to sneak out to make calls to them –> You have to keep an eye on your phone in anticipation of their calls –> You have to take time or days off  ‘at short  notice’ to attend the interviews. And all this happens a few times, the alarm bells go off in your boss’s head.
  2. The recruitment agencies work the same hours as you –> the same story all over again.
  3. You have to hide it from your current boss. If not –> every move you make will be seen with suspicion –> Your leave requests will not be approved –> Your sick days will be questioned and innumerable urgent calls made –> You will asked to back to work ‘urgently’ –> Your boss WILL make your life hell when you are at work. So bottom line – you cannot be open about it.
  4. You cannot give references from your current employer – which is what every job application asks. Yes you are fucked!!
  5. You don’t get anywhere: No communication from the advertiser, no inputs, no calls, no interviews – just dry.
  6. Your boss finds out: And then numbner #3 happens!!! Technically he can’t fire you – but that happens too in one or the other form. Then you move to the first category – the more painful kind – more on that later.
  7. The new guy wants an immediate start: How the fuck am I supposed to immediate start when I am required to serve a notice period. And where the fuck were these jobs when I was jobless and could do immediate start…!!!???

The tried and tested applying-for-job rules:

  1. Change you resume as per the job.
  2. Do write a cover letter.
  3. Give them a prompt follow up call.
  4. Keep following up.
  5. Contact recruitment agencies.
  6. Don’t give up. It takes time.
  7. Do your 100% at your current work.
  8. Write the name of the HR or recruiter or contact person in the letter.
  9. Be patient.
  10. Proof-read before sending.
  11. Make the cover letter specific to the job.
  12. Keep it to within certain words.
  13. Resume should not be more than 3 pages long.
  14. Stick to basic font.

Yes please go ahead…tell me how to type too…

The frustrating bit and the truth:

  1. The recruiters don’t give a shit.
  2. They are not interested in answering your calls.
  3. They will not return your calls.
  4. They have the right to be rude.
  5. Oh they judge you.
  6. They will contact only shortlisted candidates = The person is already decided, they have just advertise for the heck of obliging to the legal requirements.

3 weeks + near 30 quality applications + follow ups + non-responsiveness from recruiters + giving up everything else in pursuit of new job + getting frustrated every minute at current work + talking the same shit to every potential recruiter later + hearing the same shit from everywhere ….. I have no enthusiasm left in my job search.

And the thoughts that run through your head:

  1. Is it something in my resume?
  2. Was it my follow up call or email?
  3. Is it my name?

Is it my name? Well, being an immigrant, my name certainly stands out as a non-native one. I can see the eye rolls of the reader….oh god…another one..!! And no.. I did not come in a boat. I have all the rights to work in this country and I am twice as smarter than an average native of my age with the names of who you would happily call for an interview, had it been the same resume.

I get tempted to change the name and apply just to see if I start getting any calls – but I would rather work for an employer who is sane enough to see talent beyond name and accent. My current work did not care about my name or origin when they saw the skills – but still it is a discriminating workplace. There are ‘jokes’ made when I don’t get the slangs, there are generalisations made based on just a few people they have encountered, and there  sentences starting with, “I don’t meant to offend…but…. ”

Finding a job in an immigrant country is a million times as hard than your native one. We all have reasons of living in a different place – you love it, you have friends – you have studied here – you grew up here – you were born here- your 3 previous generations were born here – but it’s your name that determines the weight of your application for a job.

You would be kidding yourself if you think that the name does not matter – your name is the one that builds a picture in the readers head – and your accent strengthens it but accent doesn’t matter much because the picture is already built and the judgement already made and the prejudice already set in the recruiters mind.

The receptionist at my work passes on the calls to me and says – this person called, I can’t remember her name but she had an accent. And I asked her who doesn’t?  That dim wit had a hard time understanding that every single person has an accent of some sort, even she does, so do all the natives. It is just a different accent than yours. F*****kkkkk why do people have to be so dumb!!!

4. Is it my gender?

The females have a harder time finding a job and the questions that you face in an interview are not the one you would have if you were a guy – are you  married? do you have kids? when do you plan to have kids? seriously??? are you fucking serious??? You are asking about my family plans?? In an interview??? Here’s a fun fact for you – You are not my gyno to be even borderline qualified to ask me that question. I do sometimes feel like asking very politely – oh! I didn’t know you were a gyno too (big smile on my face), what would be the procedure to be added as your patient (getting pen and paper ready)? Whether I am married, engaged, gay, just had a break up, cheating on my wife/husband, separated, divorced, is none of your business at the interview stage – which is to gauge whether I am suitable for the vacancy in your company – and my relationship / family status doesn’t contribute or take away my skills.  You can ask these on my induction to know more about me as an employee…not to goddamn judge my worthiness for a job. Does a guy get asked – do you have kids and when are you planning? what next the recruiter wants to know – my menstrual cycle history?  what brand contraceptives I use?? It is time you leave your interviewing-for-a-brothel skills behind you…this is not that!!! Now ask me some sensible questions, will you?

5. Is it the way I look?

It has now been painfully accepted by even the millennial generation that dress and presentation matter a LOT But it is outrageous that people with good looks have a better chance of landing a job that one with the average ones. I have seen people being hired just for their looks – they can’t fill out a simple form, they can’t follow a simple instruction, they are incapable enough not to know the basics of using a computer – managing their inbox is a far fetched idea. Yes, they do NOT get affected by performance feedback sessions – just suggestions to improve and the pep talk that they can do better and they have it in them to move forward. Yes sir, that happens!! And I have seen it.

So what do you do? Pack you bags and go back to your country? Get a plastic surgery to improve you looks? Change your name? Get a sex change operation? Give up your job search and be complacent in your current one?

Unfortunately, we all know the answer to it, as we do for the other dramas in life – suck it up and get on with it.

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