Tuesday, June 22, 2010

damn you, craigslist!!!

Looking for work is not a fun thing to do.

I've tried tricking myself into believing that it is some sort of adventure, but I'm through with that. It's just a lie.

Craigslist, workopolis, jobboom, Monster.ca, Linkedin... none are satisfying my needs. They promise to set me up with a employers with little more effort than the several hours it takes to figure out their website, upload a resume, re-format said resume, correct their server's errors at interpreting re-formatted resume, and then apply to the two or three suggestions for work that pop up.

And then wait.

Then receive updates from these many services (minus Craigslist... and I'll get to that in a minute) that all refer you to jobs in Toronto when you live in Vancouver.

Worse than that is the less than helpful advice you get from people regarding the job search, such as "take a couple of days off and come back to it." "have you tried [insert cute job/career word play here] .com?" "What about some volunteer work?"

Ahhh, friends and family. I know that you mean well. I appreciate the help. But I've already read the books. The ones that promise results, that show you how to polish an already over thought out resumé, and the ones that suggest a positive outlook no matter what.

Well, positive outlook be damned.

I'm not the glass is half empty guy, or a glass is half full guy. I'm the there is a glass and it has some milk in it guy... which is to say, I like to think I'm the realistic one that tries to see things for what they are. Such an attitude has served me well and usually made me laugh along the way.

But I've not been laughing much this last week.

My latest annoyance is with the infamous Craigslist. While I find the site ugly and largely disappointing, there have been some interesting opportunities of late that I've eagerly shot of a link to my website and, if I feel comfortable or desperate for the job, I'll even include my resumé.

Usually there is not business name or direct contact info given, so I never really know who to address the email to. This is a big no no according to every get a job style book I've read, but there is little advice on how to get around this. Why? Because the people who write those books have been employed for some time and it is exceptionally easy to give pointless advice when they haven't had to do what the job seeker has to do in a very long time. If they had, they ironically wouldn't qualify to write the book.

I assume the Craigslist users are looking for actual employees. I have to, otherwise I'd cry myself to sleep.

So to those of you advertising on Craigslist for employees, if you actually want employees as opposed to slaves, or my resumé to call you own, here are some hints:

1. List your company name and at least a contact name. It doesn't even have to be your real name if you are that paranoid. If you want my resumé, I need to know what it is your company does.

2. Tell me what you want. What you really really want. The job title isn't really enough. What job do need done? Is it a contract? Are you willing to pay me properly? Even if you are making porno, I don't mind. I won't judge. I just need to know if I'm the one person you can use up front.

3. Know what is a fair amount to pay and let me know what you can afford up front. I am tired of telling you my hourly rate for contract work, and hearing nothing... I assume it is too expensive. I can change that if you sweeten the offer... but 10 bucks an hour is not going to get you a video editor/ camera guy/photographer.... Can't pay rent for that.

4. DO NOT say this job is for recent grads from design school or design students. That means that you don't want to pay a fair price. Just because it is a visual communication service that looks like tons of fun to you, realize that it is my work and it is not a game to me. I enjoy it, but remember that I was a firefighter for a good long time and loved the work, but I still got paid for most of those hours. You probably wouldn't like it if I asked you to file my taxes for free because you seem to love doing it, or were still one course shy of getting some sort of certificate. You wouldn't go to a law student to represent you in a murder trial to save some dough, so don't expect a busy student to work for nothing and put up with your abuse. Because that is what it is when you don't pay a fair price; abuse.

Finally, and this is my biggest point of contention:

5. Even if you do not choose me for your contract or longer term job, do me the professional courtesy of letting me know not to wait all day for your email or phone call, cause you found someone else. I'd rather you destroy my hope while it is still early in the week instead of no word at all. Remember, I put in the time to read your ad, compose a cover letter, despite often rude 'demands' (one can be clear in what you want without being nasty) and send you a resumé, fully trusting that you have a job on offer and that I'd be a match for the position.

Don't like giving bad news? Well, toughen up, buttercup. From the tone of this post you can tell that I've had to. If I fell short of your expectations, no worries. I understand. You owe me some sort of reason for not going forward with me on board. We aren't dating. It isn't a breakup and I promise not to turn it into a confrontation.

Now I hear you whining that you don't have time to respond to all applicants.

Yes you do.

You put the ad up. You got a lot of responses. You can send out one email to the rest letting them know the position is filled and thank you for your time.

This is the time of the internet and fast computers. You think I enjoy this job search? Do you find it funny to promise to get back to someone and then don't follow through?

Well it isn't funny. Not at all.


Carrie said...

craigslist is the list of the damned.

Carrie said...

It has been my experience that most people don't actually "get" the whole unemployment thing. You can hear it in their voices, this subtle tone of incredulity as they list off suggestions, which actually just serves to reinforce whatever crap feelings you are feeling about yourself.

I know this is a stretch, but I can easily compare the job search to being single, or being a virgin. Being single is okay -- up to a point. Being a virgin is okay -- up to a point. Then people start talking "what's WRONG with her/him? S/He's HOW OLD and hasn't gotten laid? Gross."

"I wonder what's wrong with him/her that s/he can't find someone... too picky, too set in his/her ways...."

I think that's how a lot of people see a job search too. After a certain point (a few months, perhaps?), people start thinking there is something WRONG with you. Which just compounds the whole situation. Because it's not like an unemployed person isn't already having those horrible thoughts.... but one must maintain positivity at all times.

Because then people start saying "well, no wonder s/he can't get hired, what a poor attitude." Even though chances are that while you are complaining with your bad attitude, you are still being pleasant and professional when actually speaking with potential employers.

i wish i could win the lottery. except i can't really justify the added expense of purchasing a lottery ticket. bleh.