The Job-Hunt Grimness And How To Quell It

I was tweeting with fellow blogger Mara Eastern, who commented on the grimness that can be job-hunting, and I was inspired to write about it. It can be soul-crushing to keep getting rejections, to knock on a door only to have someone peer out at you and then slam the door in your face, kicking it shut for good measure.

And it is painful.

You feel that pain as though you are the kicked door, for me it was a bit of sadness located somewhere at the base of my throat. Maybe you kick the door back, spiteful, before turning and slouching away. On to the next identical door, one in a long long line of doors. This is what I did for several months during the slow-hunt, when I was with the first work-training agency.

Still, you want a job, or you need it. Sometimes both. At some point you go from the job to a job, differentiating from This One Really Cool Job to This One Pays Money. So, you keep on. As people have told me, more than once, you keep on keepin’ on. If those doors close, kick in a window.*

Eventually, I moved to a different work-training place. I started applying to agencies. I reasoned that I’d at least be on their books, and maybe they’d call me if something matching my skill set came up. Also, with this place, I estimate that I sent out over a hundred applications in about a month – we’re allowing for all the days I wasn’t there in person, because I had an interview. A rough estimate tells me that those hundred-plus applications brought me a dozen interviews. Several of those were with recruitment agencies – in fact my current work placement came about through a recruitment agency.

Clearly, this is a numbers game.

If you send out lots of applications, you are bound to get calls. Calls lead to interviews. This was a thing I knew in the back of my mind, but only really put into practice with the second work-training place. The first one, while nice, was a bit lax – there were no compulsory attendance days, or job logs. One memorable week, I had four interviews. I was (almost) literally running around the city, getting buses and declaring Google Maps a liar. Twice, I came thisclose to employment, only to have it slip through my fingers. I clung so hard, and they still slipped away. I think that’s the most hurtful of the lot.

I suggest creating a spreadsheet, or table on Word. Use this as a daily template, fill it in with every job you apply for. It does help you keep track, and it also has the advantage of being a satisfying thing: imagine you have a table with a couple dozen blank lines. Now imagine you have those dozen lines filled in with names and companies.

Satisfying, no?

Also, I recommend widening your search. Don’t just cling to the same things. It’s tempting (and comforting) to cling, but my first job – my current one – is in something I hadn’t considered working before. Broaden your horizons. You never know what will happen. Temping is your friend: I hear good things about how it’s a good way to get your foot in the employment door**.

Rejections suck, but I do think over time you become desensitized. For me, it went from hurty-sadness to OK, goodbye, delete. Boom. Easy. I don’t think it’s ever personal; they simply want more experience. You mightn’t be able to give them your awesomeness, but that means you take your awesome self elsewhere to someone who does want to take you on. Remember that they’re not rejecting you as a person, but you as a work-inexperienced soul. While you lose out on the experience and money the job could have given you, they lose out on whatever else you might have brought to the table.

Lastly, try not to put too much pressure upon yourself. That makes it worse – I know that when I was at my most stressed, I got sloppy. I’d get super-fussy, checking and double-checking that I had the correct cover letter and CV in place. It slowed me down, made me inefficient. You don’t want to be so rushed on quantity that you forget to attach important details.

Breathe. And again. Step away from your computer, have a drink, or do a quick dance routine. Clear the cobwebs every so often, and keep positive.

It will happen. Honest.

*don’t actually do this, I don’t want you to be in trouble for property damage/injured.

**if you do jam your foot in the door, wear solid boots. No flimsy shoes.


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Etsy: The Store

Okay, you guys. I know I’ve already posted once today and I should be sensible and hold this off for tomorrow, but that’s too logical. I don’t like it.

You may know that I’ve been muttering about opening an Etsy store for a while – several months, in fact. I wanted to hold off because I wanted to have a job and be sensible about it all.

Well, I now have the job, and I bit the bullet this afternoon and opened my store. I was actually in a really bad mood earlier because things just weren’t going as smoothly as I would have liked. You know how when you get five or six things not-done as you want them to and then you just get wound up and become a gremlin? That was me. Strangely enough, opening the store has improved my mood tenfold.

You can find the link here. My first listing is a knit iPod cozy.

My first Etsy listing: a dark green and flecked cream-striped iPod cozy.

My first Etsy listing: a dark green and flecked cream-striped iPod cozy.

iPod not included.

iPod not included.

Watch this space. First the blog, then the Etsy store… you know what comes next?

The eBooks.


Posted by on July 5, 2015 in Etsy: The Store


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tall and thin, silver
or gold, carved in fine detail
and never quite unique.


short and stubby, it
is a faithful partner
to many a mug.


Posted by on July 5, 2015 in Poetry


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darling, i’m carving out my immortality.

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Posted by on July 4, 2015 in Flash Fiction


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you tear the notes: the collage is destroyed.

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Posted by on July 4, 2015 in Flash Fiction


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i could make a collage from post-it notes.


Posted by on July 4, 2015 in Flash Fiction


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The Muse

I will tell you now, I don’t generally do photo challenges. I don’t know why – I don’t have any special disdain of photos. I suppose it’s because I look at things with a writer’s eye, not a photographer’s eye. When I see something, I find myself composing a description, not a composition.

However, I have decided thanks to this photo challenge that I will try doing the occasional photo, and photo-prompt. I apologize in advance if my photos aren’t technically good. Feedback is always welcome.

Fashion, and walking and interest.

Fashion, and walking and interesting things.

I picked this photo of boots and books – two of my favourite things. These boots have accompanied me on many a walk around the city, to many a job interview (at least the middle red pair, and the black pair have; I don’t think the spiky stabby heels on the left would be suited for optimal comfort when you’re being grilled on yourself and why you should be hired)

They have taken me on hikes – not actual hikes, where you carry a backpack of supplies, but the kind where you mean to go one place and get lost and wind up elsewhere, but you discover interesting things on the way – so I’m kind of invested in them.

The books are a development of my time as an English major and in another life, Classical Studies. I studied both during high school and at some point during university. I’m a book-lover from way back, both reading them and writing them. Reading means you get to experience very many lives, and I feel sad for those who miss out on reading for whatever reason.

Journals, crafts and potential.

Journals, crafts and potential.

I picked this photo because it represents my love of making things. The journals are partly blank, inscribed by my own hand. I could just type everything out onto my computer and call it a day, but the love of beautiful stationery is another one that goes back a long way. Knitting needles are magic, because you can wind on one multicoloured wool, as I’ve got here, or two or three kinds. You can do all sorts of things with knitting, things I don’t even know about. My mum taught me to knit, and patiently unravels rows when I get muddled about what stitch comes next.

What you don’t see in this photo is that I also like to bake – I suppose I’m quite a hands-on sort of person. I like to make things, rather than just buy it all somewhere. There’s determination, I think: when I first tried knit-purl-knit, for instance, I felt like I was stabbing hopelessly at the ball of wool. Something went wrong, at first, and I ended up with twice as many stitches as when I cast on. I kept at it though, and eventually things clicked – pardon the pun. Nowadays, I can sit for an hour and produce neat rows.

Metaphor for life, when you think about it.

There’s also something to be said for doing things by hand. I grew up in the generation where we didn’t all have tablets and cords sprouting out of powerboards – this was when we listened to cassette tapes and walkmen, not iPods and iPads.

Anyway, the second muse I was hoping to capture here is creativity, the force which cobbles pretty sentences into my brain as I’m walking down the road and then won’t let go of them as I come home and sit here to bring you those sentences.

The first one? That was life.


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