I am job searching.
I am searching for a job. High and low the searching goes on. Dont get me wrong...I know where the jobs are...they arent lost or anything...Im just having a heck of a time securing one that will give me some measure of financial security and a night not fraught with anxious disturbed sleep over unpaid bills and shoes not bought for the kids etc. Being a single unemployed mom has some serious side effects...sigh. (all though I wouldnt change my divorced status for anything)
Anyhow, I would have to guess that the one thing really holding me back from securing my Dream Job...or even my Anything Will Do Job...is the fact that I have very little work history compared to my age. Im 40.
Whew! I said it...and Im still conscious.
To be clear...I havent lived my whole life without being employed...I have had a few jobs over the years...started out with the military straight out of high school...but that was way back...way waaaay back...hardly seems to make a difference now....or should I say it doesnt really impress potential bosses here.
Ive worked in retail..fast food...short stint in a private school (I didnt last long cause I found out I wasnt allowed to smack the children...even the ones that deserved it...sigh!) and my longest job was with Nass Construction as the Document Controller. That was a complicated (for me at least in the beginning) job that required a lot of fast on the job learning on my part...but learn the job I did. Unfortunately I was hired to be a secretary...was later rather forced into the position of D.C. as our regular went on holiday...and just kept on doing it even when he came back....but...the company did not acknowledge the fact that I had been doing the D.C.s job for over a year...had nothing to do with being a secretary anymore...but I was not designated as D.C. and not given a D.C. salary....and so when I put on my resume that I worked for Nass...I have to put secretary and not D.C.(while secretary is a worthy and valuable position...D.C. just has more responsibilities and work). The name itself even sounds more professional and a tad higher up on the career ladder in my opinion (sorry to all the secretaries out there).
Anyhow, so my problem really in my search for a job is that Im doing it with a resume that leaves a lot to be desired. Its kind of hard to explain that I was married half my life to a man that believed women shouldnt work. Its not that I didnt want to work or wasnt capable of it...I just wasnt allowed that opportunity. This means that I have no certificates (other than military ones that are ancient)...no real work history other than just this past few years...hardly enough to fill a page and a half of a properly spaced resume formatted material...and my age itself doesnt lend me a hand in acquiring a position as many businesses want "young and fresh" and "trainable"...it seems 35 is the cut off age for apparent ability and intelligence over here for even an average type job.
My one real "skill" turns up as just a "hobby" on my resume' since I, all though I enjoy it immensely and can turn a mean phrase now and then...Ive never made money from it or had a job dealing with it...so I really cant list it in a more powerful way then just plain hobby...can I? I like to write...I maintain a blog...I be good at it...ugh!
Im an intelligent woman (graduated on the honor roll back in the day when my brain was at full capacity...lol)...capable of learning with maybe just one or two demonstrations (sometimes three if it involves something mechanical) and I have learned a lot of skills over my 40 year life span that doesnt exactly translate to resume material...if you know what I mean. And yet I feel absolutely stupid when applying for a job. I feel unqualified and unimpressive even when the position is nothing more scholarly then answering phones and greeting people. (no offense to people that do that). Im guessing my long history of self esteem issues are not helping me at all in this respect...anyhow....
Now heres the funny thing in all this pathetic posting...Ive been receiving lots of advice from people who know Im desperately searching for a job. I get newspaper clippings with ads in them...I get phone calls letting me know of something that "just opened up" and I get emails for job site search links to help me along...I also get lots of illegal advice on how to secure a job....such as...
1. buy a certificate off the net...nobody ever checks
2. lists skills you dont have to make yourself look better
3. lists jobs you never had...to make yourself look more employable...nobody ever checks
etc etc blah blah blah
Now beside the fact that I would never do anything illegal to get employed...just asking for trouble far as I can see....I have a real problem listing skills I supposedly have that I really have no clue about. Picture this.
I list on my resume that among many of my accomplishments...Im a demon at fly fishing. I get the job and one day my Fly Fishing crazy boss (wouldnt you know it)invites me to come along and join him for some fly fishing fun. Oh joy!! So either I spend some frenzied moments (or days or weeks etc) brushing up on my supposed fly fishing skills...or I show the boss the ass that I am by not having a clue about something I professed to be proficient at. Of course fly fishing is not really the skill Im thinking of when searching for an office type job etc...but Im sure you get the point.
Why declare that you are capable of performing some task...can operate some form of software...or even that you have knowledge of how to use whatever it is that company uses (example: machinery etc)? Why put yourself in a potential position to shame and embarrass yourself and give the boss and those around you to see you for the lying ass that you are? You might not get fired but you sure wont be getting any promotions or recommendations from that job anytime soon Im thinking.
So while everyone is telling me to "beef" up my pitiful resume if Im "serious" about getting a job...Im sitting here thinking...do I want a job bad enough to lie for it? And what will the possible consequences of that be for me (even if the lie is never discovered how will I feel about myself having taken that step?)
On the other hand...the only jobs Im potentially capable of getting are very low paid jobs that will not even come close to supporting my children and I...even while living a very meagre existence. And while I cant exactly be choosy here...having a low paid job is better than a no paid job...when I walk into an interview the interviewer seems to immediately sum me up based on what, I dont know...but Im starting to assume it boils down to one thing...Im American. That seems to be the sole focus of discussion for most of them. Soooo Im either overqualified (how exactly?) or the job is culturally more suited to a man or foreigner (example: Hindi or Filipina etc)
So the combination of nearly a lifelong unemployment history...no certificates etc...no obvious way to demonstrate my capabilities and intellect...and a work culture that is extremely fixed in its ways...Im having a heck of a time finding even an adequate nonscholarly type job.
Ive been back in Bahrain since Jan and Im depending on friends to support me and my kids and pay my bills etc until I can manage on my own. My ex is refusing to pay child support and we are going rounds in the court (another worthy post) and so money coming in is nil.I cant even take this "time off" to gain some sort of certificate etc as I have no money for any type of class or course to earn a genuine credential. Its a vicious circle...argh!!!
I want to pull some hair out and run over people...in my frustration.
Wouldnt it be nice if you could walk into an interview and be able to demonstrate who YOU really are and what your capable of doing...despite what your resume says or doesnt say...wouldnt it?
Has there ever been a boss who just felt there was something about you worth taking a chance on...or giving a chance too (I know...it only happens in the movies).
Its disheartening and a daily reminder of a life spent living (such as it was) while desires and goals went unrealized. 40 is not old...but its certainly not young anymore...wheres my chance? Wheres my open door of opportunity?
5 children are depending on me...and so far...Ive got nothing.