Last night I had one of my top ten most uncomfortable nights of my life.
The one business person I know in Chicago suggested I go to a networking group to make contacts to help me on my job search. He suggested this back in August, and I avoided the group idea because, frankly, it scared the hell out of me. I'm supposed to go join a club and talk to strangers and ask them for job leads and contacts? Uh, no thank you. But since I have to find a job in a little more than a month before my parents completely cut me off, I got desperate and went to one last night.
So there I was, sitting in a church meeting room with crucifixes hanging on the wall and creepy framed paintings of Jesus everywhere. There were about ten other people. Yeah. Me and ten thirty-five to forty-five year old unemployed people. Well, there was one guy with a job who was there because he'd been laid off four times in ten years and loves to network to find his "next opportunity."
I felt like such a douchebag.
There was this speaker who worked as a recruiter for some fancy place in Chicago that would never hire me. He gave a presentation called "The Ten Most Important Questions to Address in Conducting a Successful Job Search." It was more of a self-help, empowering type of bullshit lecture than anything useful. What were the ten questions, you may be asking? Well, they were pretty goddamn revolutionary:
1. "Who are you?"
2. "What do you want?"
3. "Why do you want it?"
4. "What do you really like doing?"
5. "Why do you like doing it?"
6. "Where do you want to be five years from now? Ten years from now?"
7. "Where have you been--lately?"
8. "How are you going to get where you want to go?"
9. "What is driving you?"
10. "Where is your plan to get what you want?"
Uh, hello? Hi. I ask these questions every day and I don't know the fucking answers. Who am I? I'm an unemployed, 22-year-old, post-graduate. Go to hell!
He also gave advice on resumes, but geared toward everyone else's resume. Like, for example, don't limit your resume to just one page. Um, ask ANY college student or recent graduate how long their resume should be and they would tell you one page, because that's what we're constantly told. That's like telling a high school senior, "Don't worry, you don't always get pregnant or an STD when you have unprotected sex!"
I think the highlight of the night was me sitting there, quiet as a church mouse, avoiding the speaker's stares. He kept asking for volunteers to answer these important questions, and I refused to raise my hand. Of course, then he says, "Who would like to answer a really good interview-like question? You?" I said, "Suuuurrre..." And then he asked me, "What are some one-word adjectives you'd use to describe yourself?" Imagine me there, wishing I could sink into the couch so I could hide my beet-red face, stumbling over my words, only to come up with two adjectives: "hard-working" and "driven". Perhaps I should have said what everyone else was thinking: "nervous, young, fuck-up, loser."