So now it has been nearly five weeks that I have been without employment. It has been an interesting time. Sometimes when you are employed and times are tough, you dream of a time when you are not employed and you have that time that you’ve always wanted to concentrate on all those hobbies, pet projects, exercising, losing weight, or spring cleaning projects that you always wish you had more time to spend on. Maybe it’s different for me since I don’t have the luxury of just taking a gap month/months/year and need to pay the bills, but my time has toggled between the job search, making sure the kids get to and from their summer camps, and taking care of our puppy. Yes, I have taken some time for my processing my photographs, going through some boxes of items, and organizing a bit, but not to the level of my ‘day dreams’.
Apart from my puppy duties and transportation of my offspring, what have my job search duties been like? Actually, now that I look at the previous post, it gave a good overview of what it involves. Each morning, I check the lists of posts/emails of potential job postings. At first this took a good amount of time since the positions that I’m looking for have fairly universal names and job descriptions. It took and sometimes still takes a fair amount of time to drill down deeper to see if this is in an industry that applies to my background. Something like Project Manager applies to a vast variety of different domains and some places require you to click through three times before you find out what they are really looking for. Another aspect of these job postings is that often they are from companies that I haven’t heard of yet. So a fair amount of research is necessary to investigate who they are, what they do, and where are they located. Even then I may not be completely sure if my interpretation of their job and company description fit with my abilities and interests.
Another task is to look at the job postings on targeted companies/organizations (six dozen of them). This also takes time and research since the posting on these pages span a wide variety of positions. For instance in 80 listings, there may not be anything that applies, but there are other positions like building engineer, research assistant, administrative assistant, facilities manager, civil engineer (transportation), or executive director of marketing. While these websites have made great strides since my search four years ago, some of their search functions are lacking. Plus similar to the descriptions, many places have vague ‘departments’ for the types of jobs that could be of interest to me. While I am very thankful that things have greatly progressed from the days of looking up jobs in the newspaper and literally printing out cover letters and resumes and blindly sending them snail mail to some hiring manager at firms that had not posted positions, it still takes a great amount of time.
Once a job posting is determined to be both desirable and a decent fit, the process of applying begins. Over the past weeks, I’ve created a fairly good collection of both resumes and cover letters tailored to various positions, but there are still about half of the potential positions that require an in depth review of the posting, research into the company, and a rebuild of the cover letter, the resume, or both. Also, while an application on LinkedIn takes all of 30 seconds once your cover letter and resume are complete, some websites require you to jump through hoops that can take easily an hour. These usually require you to restate every thing that is already on your resume along with exact dates of employment (to the day, not the month), addresses of companies, contact information of previous employers, and contact information of references. This has been a bit surreal since two of my four former employers do not exist anymore and only one of the four still goes by their current name. The last time I had to be that detailed about my employment history was for security clearance when I applied for Canadian permanent residence.
While all of this is definitely worth the effort, my mention of it is just to present how much time it takes and how little free time there is to tackle all those past times you dream you’d complete if you didn’t have to work. I think there may be a chance that once I’ve exhausted all my potential leads and the leads only trickle in that I may have time for these past times. I hope at that point I’ll start getting responses and I will start the next step of preparing for interviews. The past times can wait as they always have.
As a side note, this has been moderately stressful. But it still doesn’t hold a candle to the stress during the four months between when I moved myself and our stuff to Chicago while my wife was stuck in Montreal for four months waiting for her green card to clear. So there’s that. Plus it’s summertime, even if I can only enjoy it in moderation.