Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Taming the Terrible Toos

If you have been looking for a job and encountering rejection, you are probably dealing with the Terrible Toos:  Too young, Too old, Too experienced, Too inexperienced, Too much education, Too little education, Too expensive, Too dependent, Too independent, Too complicated, and Too many years since your last job (generally more than 5).  Some will even tell you that your expectations are Too high.

While academic and career counselors try to be helpful, many assume that you already know the information that is provided in the following books:  Getting from College to Career, A Foot in the Door:  Networking Your Way into the Hidden Job Market, The Academic’s Handbook, and What Would Aristotle Do?  You might be given links to articles about a certain aspect of your job search such as travel interviewing or informational interviewing, but whole books such as those listed above are not always recommended because your time is limited when you get down to reading job postings and applying for existing jobs.  Several authors, however, believe that their book should be read as soon as a student enters college and not years later when the job search begins.  Critical thinking skills, the politics of the academic and business communities, and the latest trend in English departments for a candidate not just to be literate but also published in a reputable journal or magazine before graduation need to be addressed starting with Freshman Orientation.  People returning to the workforce after many years will be surprised by how fierce the competition is today, the additional skills they need to have, and the hurdles they’ll need to jump.

Taming the Terrible Toos requires being realistic.  There have been too many idealistic social workers and rehabilitation counselors in the recent past who were cheering naive students straight into a dead end.  I've known too many people with vision related diseases who were advised to follow their dreams and remained unemployed for many years until they changed their vocational goals to the fields of computing, customer service, social work, and rehabilitation training for special education programs, nonprofits, or businesses that work with the blind and physically disabled.  I'm not saying that you should forget about your dreams.  I am just letting you know that your dream job such as being a professional singer or music teacher might need to be expressed in your church choir or local chorale as a hobby while you pursue employment that will meet your daily needs and wants.

You are the only person who knows exactly what you are capable of doing.  By researching profiles of people who already have the job you would like to have and job postings for those jobs, you will have more information about how your skills would fit in and if you would like to fit in.  The requirements and the competition, even for teaching jobs, are different for every employer.  A very wise priest tells his parishioners who are looking for jobs to ask themselves this question after they read a job posting:  "Would you hire you?"

If you cannot Tame your Terrible Toos but really believe that you can do a job, you might want to hire yourself by opening your own business or starting a nonprofit.  If no one is hiring you but plenty of groups and organizations are asking you to volunteer your skills, please remember that the warm, fuzzy feelings you get from volunteering will not pay the bills and that if you are living with a disability or chronic illness, you already are packing more into a 24 hour day than other people are.  You will need to tame one more Terrible Too:  being Too nice.