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The scary corners of the World Wide Web, my hometown, and beyond September 12, 2008

Posted by Emily in Montana, moving, rants, working.
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I’ll admit that my posts of late have been a bit on the lame side. (Well, hey, so has my life.) There’s only so much one can write about days that revolve around walking the dog, researching jobs online, spitting out a cover letter or two, and then letting the dog outside. And back inside. And back outside. Repeat.

Today when I went to buy beer, the checker asked me if I was was UNDER 40 YEARS OLD. Stunned and little hurt, I mumbled an “uh, yeah” and handed over my ID. It was a new low.

The mailman’s arrival is quite often the day’s highlight, and I have been receiving nothing but frequent flier notices and pushes to join my college alumni association, when I get anything at all. A friend said she sent me a postcard from Romania about a month ago. It still hasn’t arrived, and I am starting to doubt it ever will.

As for job searching, it’s not like I’m the only one out there who’s going, or has gone, through it. I realize that. But that doesn’t make it any less soul sucking. Between the unpaid internships and the pyramid schemes and the companies that specialize in lifelike duck decoys (I kid you not), there are a few respectable professional postings out there. Many of the secretarial positions seem to require 10 years of experience and/or a Masters degree (wha?) but others set the bar a little more within my reach. They generally require an online application that repeats your resume line by line, but that’s OK. At least then you get an automatically generated response saying they received your application materials and, if they like you, they’ll be in touch. Who knew job hunting was so much like dating?

Many of the job postings require you to include salary requirements with your cover letter. I realize this is fairly common practice, but it’s one that perplexes me. Aren’t they going to be (theoretically) writing the checks? Isn’t it sort of their job to make an offer, one I can take or negotiate or turn down or whatever? It’s like when teachers would ask you what grade you thought you deserved–I may not have said A+ but I never understood the kids who gave themselves Cs. Are they idiots? Or just self loathing? Content with mediocrity? Maybe just clueless.

But in this case, the teacher figure is tricky. Aim too high and you’re booted right off the bat. Aim too low and you’re basically giving yourself a C. It’s a mean ploy.

In trying to figure out the cost of living in five or six cities across the country, I have been scanning some of the Craig’s List “roommate wanted” listings. Again, there are some people who seem real and who seem like they could perhaps be normal people in a cohabitation scenario. But then there’s the guy who “lost his live-in girlfriend” and is thus seeking an open-minded 18-30 year old female to share his pad. 1 bedroom, 1 bath. Don’t worry, he wants to meet first to “establish trust and chemistry.” He posts a picture, in case I had any doubts. Yikes.

Actually, there are a lot of guys who post no pictures of the places they apparently live, just photos of themselves. Seriously. Messed. Up. This isn’t chemistry.com, people.

That’s the update I can give at the moment. I’m looking forward to heading to Missoula in about a week to attend a reunion for a student group of which I was a member. It’ll be nice to catch up with some friends I haven’t seen in a long time, and others I see more often but not enough. In the meantime, there are cover letters to be written and creepy roommate ads to be avoided.

Wish me luck.

Comments»

1. Julie E. - September 12, 2008

I feel your pain sister! Talk about a lack of prospects. And I’m not sure what’s worse…being set on one location and job hunting there, or being mobile and looking to get set up somewhere new. But NOT set up on blind live-in romantic arrangements. : ) If you end up in the Phoenix area that’s were I am, and hopefully I’ll get a job myself one of these days.

(I usually say nothing about salary even when they blatantly ask for it as I have read various “career experts” say it’s more to your advantage to stay mute on the subject till job offer-negotiation time. Hopefully that isn’t knocking me out of the running.)

Good luck!


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