It took forever, but I finally got a job.
photo by Kid Circus from Unsplash
By Whitney Ellis
If you ever want to get depressed and see how much you’re truly worth, go and try and find a mid/senior level job in Public Relations somewhere. No, seriously… try it. For me, it took a year and completing more than 200 job applications for roles across the country.
I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but damn… it shouldn’t have been this hard, right? The economy is booming, and the unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in nearly five decades. When I truly started this journey in January, I thought it would be two months – three at the max.
Nope. Application after application, job fair after job fair… nothing.
There was a job last December in which I was a finalist for a director role for a venture capital company. I had several phone meetings with the company throughout the months and was steadily progressing up the line of importance with each meeting.
I got a call on a Thursday that the company principals will be in town that weekend for their holiday party and would love to meet me. I make it there and notice there’s someone else there waiting in the reception area. On a Saturday. We were the finalists for that job who jumped through the hoops to meet with the principals of the firm on a weekend (on short notice).
Long story short – she got the job. I’m still waiting on my email about how they decided to go with someone else.
I’d get calls and emails from recruiters from all over the country telling me how my resume is stellar and would love the opportunity to learn more about me and what I’d offer. We’d set a time to talk, and… that would be it. I’d never hear from them again. I’d call and email and leave messages playing coy, and nothing.
Sometimes I’d get a meeting with a recruiter and they would call two hours before our scheduled time acting like that was the time scheduled (this happened more than once). There were times I’d be on a call for more than an hour with a company and they would end the call asking me to call them if I found another job.
I’d get emails asking if I’d be willing to take less money to work for their multi-million-dollar company. I can understand if they are a non-profit (I say I can understand, but you’re paying for a certain level of expertise at a certain salary level), but education institutions that make $90,000 per student a year for tuition, room and board shouldn’t offer someone with 15 years of experience half of that and say the benefits are great.
I love the companies on the west coast (especially those located in Silicon Valley) who think 15 years of progressive PR experience outside of the region is worth near poverty-level salaries. Think about it – if you have to spend on average $3,400 a month for an apartment, how much should you offer a seasoned professional to be able to make it work?
I’m too damn old to live with roommates.
There were times I’d apply for 10 jobs in a day and just wait for the rejection letters to come in. There were jobs in which I knew people who were close to the hiring managers for the roles and would get information about the jobs, and still nothing.
It saps your will. It makes you think if you made right decisions in life. You start to question everything, wondering if places like sperm banks really do exist.
I wasn’t the only one in this predicament but looking at LinkedIn every day seeing people you worked with find new jobs with ease is a blow – especially those who seemed to get roles well over what they were doing previously.
I guess the silver lining for me is that I’m probably in the best shape of my life. I’ve kept to a strict schedule of either going to the gym, boxing or CrossFit over the past 10 months when I’m not looking for a job. We’ll see how long it takes for me to start a new routine – especially in another state.
Boy, it happened fast. I left Missouri for the Carolinas quickly, and after a nightmare of a move, I’m starting to settle down in Charlotte. It’s been a fun seven years in St. Louis, but I’m definitely looking forward to starting over in a new place, and am definitely looking forward to working again.