So I have been doing freelance for the past 5 years or so while looking for a permanent position. The problem is when you want to find the right job and it just hasn’t been happening or you don’t get the jobs you want, you work contracts that come along or you make do with whatever does come along. Sometimes, I feel like I’m an expert in job hunting and sometimes, I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing. It’s a frustrating thing waiting for people to notice how smart and talented you are. Sadly, a lot of my friends are in the same boat. I have a friend who had a great job in D.C., and she moved to a small town with her husband who got a great teaching job. Nothing was happening on the job front for her, so she got her MBA. After she got the MBA, it took years to finally find a job and although it’s a good job, it’s not exactly what she wanted to get with an MBA under her belt.
I have recently tweaked my Linkedin profile after reading different articles addressing what you’re supposed to do and I have had some success. More recruiters have found me and reached out. I have four recruiters submitting me for different jobs, some contract to hire, some contract. I asked them all recently, ‘What can I do to improve my resume or portfolio?’ I want to keep on top of things. Several said, I don’t need to change a thing. All my stuff looks stellar, in fact. So why am I not getting hired?
I have a background in journalism. For many years, I worked in newspapers and I got every job I applied for. But that was back in the day that I was young and hungry and I was willing to relocate to move up in the industry. And I did, although it was a bit slow for me since I had something to prove and it was that I was excellent. I started out as a Copy Editor, which means technically I can edit and write and rewrite. I even won the top award for Brightest Headline from the Ohio Associated Press. Although I loved copy editing and headline writing, my real interest was design, so I branched out into page design. I had many years of success in design and I won some awards, but design led to pagination and IT work because I took to the computer like a duck to water. (quack) It led me on a detour, but I tried to get back to my design roots when I kept having to fix other people’s mistakes or problems (problems that I would never have) and I found that I missed the creative outlet. Somehow, I ended up doing Photo Editing, which I loved, but almost everything I did had some connection to design. The real problem I think is that I am a control freak and I loved design because it was essentially the Project Management-type position of the production process. I had my hand in everything and I loved that.
I am someone who is curious about everything. About the story, about the way the story is told, about the way the story is delivered. I like learning new ways in which to work to be successful. Over the years, I have even taken classes in video editing, documentary production, audio editing, infographics, dvd authoring, multimedia, you name it, I have dabbled in it. I have taken contract work doing email design and development and marketing. I have helped design websites, develop websites, launch websites and I even share my knowledge through teaching. My parents used to complain that I eat with my eyes. and it’s true. I want a job that allows me to do everything, but the right job seems to elude me.Am I a risk? I always thought of myself as a risk taker.
Am I a risk? I always thought of myself as a risk taker. That is, until I decided I didn’t want to move around anymore. Now, it seems, no one wants me. It used to be that I was a triple threat: a female minority who was smart and knew technology. Well, I am still all of those things, but maybe I am too old now. Or maybe people can’t see or don’t believe that I can really be that good. In this day and age when no one can seem to spell or get the facts right, you’d think people would want someone who can spell, write, design, photo edit, edit video and audio and code and do social media. If I can’t get a job, then who can? I try not to be jealous of my friends who are gainfully employed. Getting a job these days is a matter of luck, timing and being prepared. I also think having connections also makes a difference. Nepotism has never been more prevalent. (Thanks, Potus!)
So what to do when you’re shy about tooting your own horn and are reluctant to beg your friends for leads? Well, in my case, you float around from contract to contract, playing the waiting game while you occasionally fill the time with freelance work that doesn’t pay enough. And pray. A lot of praying. Sometimes, God takes pity on me and throws me a bone from the ungrateful universe. I have a friend who calls me the luckiest, unlucky person she knows. Everyone is looking for something better or some Plan B.
I even have a Plan B that I am working on, but it takes time and money to launch a dream. Today, I heard about a job I would have thought I’d be a shoe-in for, but they didn’t even want to talk. I know, I know, that could be because they already had someone in mind. It might not be me, but that doesn’t pay the bills. Back in the day, I had my parents as a sometimes safety net, but with both of them gone and a broken family that could care less, I am left to fend for myself. In many ways, I have made bad life choices. In many ways, I refuse to settle. Both not good qualities when you are in desperate straits. But I am still hopeful that something will come along. And in the meantime, I have been picking up useful skills and learning more and more. I’d like to think I am making good connections and networking and the truth is, I am. But it’s not enough. When your network is also struggling it’s not a big help. So where are the people with good jobs who are willing to take a chance on someone? I don’t know, but if you know someone, send them my way! 🙂