I will be filing my final weekly claim for unemployment benefits on Sunday. I won’t be able to answer YES to the question regarding having a start date for full-time employment, but I am optimistic about the future.
For the past 25 weeks I’ve poured myself into the work of finding full-time employment and it’s been quite the journey: exciting and arduous, invigorating and demoralizing.
Since February 2021, I’ve had 100 interviews with over 70 companies. I consider that an accomplishment even though all of my efforts resulted in a total of 17 weeks paid work with two different companies and three volunteer roles.
I have wanted to “quit” this job of looking for a job so many times this year, but I persevered and in the process I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve reassessed what I want, need, and desire in an employer and reexamined all my strengths and weaknesses.
I’ve also identified key problems in the hiring process that have left me frustrated, yet inspired to create a better and more equitable system.
One personality trait that has led to many achievements in my life is my inability to see a problem without wanting and trying to fix it. I’m determined to take all the lessons I’ve learned to help others navigate long-term unemployment without losing hope and their core identity. Stay tuned for more information on how I plan to do this.
In the meantime, I’d like to make a huge plug for davidolenick.com whose illustrations and designs speak to me every day! THANK YOU for making me smile during difficult times.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
As a RRCA certified race director and running coach, I volunteered with the Charlottesville Track Club for over 13 years by creating logos, managing training programs, and promoting events. My proudest achievement is the creation of the Rivanna Greenbelt Marathon in 2014. The 10th running of the event will be celebrated on December 4, 2022.
I worked for 22 years at Learning Without Tears, a family-owned company that specializes in handwriting, literacy, and keyboarding. It seems a bit kismet considering I had horrible penmanship as a child despite always loving to write, eventually earning my MFA in Creative Writing from George Mason University.
I was born in Findlay, OH, raised in Reading, PA, worked in DC for 12 years, living in Charlottesville, VA since 2005.
favorite inspirational quote:
“Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we might oft win by fearing to attempt.”
From “Measure for Measure” by Shakespeare
I am not a huge Shakespeare fan, I prefer James Joyce, but my husband is a 17th century scholar who shared his colleague’s favorite Shakespeare quote with me back in 2012. It’s been a running mantra and Geeks Who Drink Trivia team name ever since!
I got married on Bloomsday, June 16, the day depicted in James Joyce’s novel Ulysses. I named my son, Laoghaire Ignatius, after the Irish town Dún Laoghaire where you’ll find the James Joyce Tower & Museum and a character from the short story “A Little Cloud” in Dubliners. My daughter’s name, Annalivia Plurabelle, comes from a character in Finnegans Wake, who’s a personification of the River Liffey, which flows through Dublin.
what I do for fun:
I love long walks, slow runs, Pokémon GO, Geeks Who Drink Trivia, and Wordle.
if I could have one magical super power:
…and yes I said yes I will Yes.
When Fran proposed to me on my 29th birthday (May 18th), I knew immediately that I wanted to elope less than 30 days later on June 16th: Bloomsday.
We took a course on Ulysses together at George Mason University and had fond memories visiting the historical sites associated with the novel during trips to Dublin in 1999 and 2000.
I’ve got to write more about the other ways I’ve incorporated James Joyce into my personal life, most importantly in the naming of my children!
No one to please and nothing to prove.
Here’s my new mantra to calm some of the anxiety I experience before interviews:
“I have no one to please and nothing to prove. I don’t even know if I want this job yet!”
I found this quote after googling “I hate interviews will i ever get a job”. Seriously.
The article, which includes tips on overcoming interview anxiety, stated the obvious:
“A job interview is a very artificial situation.“
Perhaps the key to improving the interviewing process is taking steps to encourage a more authentic conversation rather than to have a static test.
Having endured nearly 100 interviews over the past year, I know that the best ones happen when the script is ditched and real personalities are revealed.
I strongly believe that if you have a set list of questions you want to ask prospective employees during an interview then include that as part of the application process.
Requiring applicants to answer specific questions when submitting a resume helps both you and the applicant by weeding out those who are blinding submitting generic cover letters to dozens of employers (full disclosure, I’ve been guilty of this!).
It’s immeasurably helpful for me to understand exactly what a company wants when they put the extra effort into creating a more equitable process for hiring. I’ve written about this before, but it bears repeating.
I plan to examine more lessons learned from my own experiences, but in the meantime, here are some useful resources I’ve found online.
Just tell candidates what you’re going to ask ahead of time.
It's time to make transparent interviews the new normal.
TIPS ON OVERCOMING INTERVIEW ANXIETY
INTERVIEW QUESTIONS TO ASK EMPLOYERS
1/2 of @TwinsRun