My Real Unemployment Chronicle: #2 the hoops you jump through

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Saying that most companies, even teeny ones, now act like they are the royal family when it comes to hiring is an understatement.  When I first started looking for a job, I would bend over backwards for interviewers, but after not being selected as the final candidate enough times,  I got smart.

You have this happen enough times and you say enough is enough America!

It was no longer worth it for me to sacrifice the amount of time and money that I sacrificed (not much to some, but when you are unemployed/don’t make much every penny counts!).  Case in point:

I received an email interview offer.  They wanted me to come to NYC.  My immediate reaction was “No, you can talk to me on Skype or via phone, but I am not coming to NYC.”  The travel and lodging all for a chance to work at some not-that-illustrious organization, was too rich for my blood.  I ended up taking off half a day of work for that interview.  And in the end, they didn’t even have the decency to tell me that I was not selected, not until after I emailed them.

On another occasion, I was granted a phone interview and invited for an in-person interview.  The only problem was that I had less than two days to prepare a presentation that I had to give at the interview. Plus, the branch of the organization was a lot further away than I had assumed when I first applied.  It hurt like the Dickens to turn it down, but I didn’t see the point in going through this decathalon of events all for a chance of a job. Maybe it’s the privilege in me talking, but it seems like employers are making more and more ridiculous demands from applicants, and I’d just had enough of it.

Ha ha as if this had anything to do with landing a job

I was proud of myself then, because I would have been kicking myself and my wallet for having spent so much for what turned out to be fairy dust.  My new motto was forged then, and should I have to look for a job again, I think I will do the same.

I am willing to jump through hoops, but I must have some say in how high the hoops are set.  If not, then it’s not a game that I am interested in playing.

Say What?!? I don’t think so… I guess I don’t want it badly enough…sigh

In the case of scenario #2 it was Divine providence.  I was later invited to Skype interview for a position on the day/time that I would have had to have been giving a presentation at that other organization.  Rabna Kareem.  I got this job now, and it’s so much better.. More on that later.

On 2013 Being the Lucky 13: My Unemployment Chronicle

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Wow this post has indeed undergone many incarnations… I added this final bit to it in September 2013… the moral of the story: The job hunt is not for the weary… The funny thing is that this post, the “job” I supposedly found is not at all the job I ended up with.

Exactly what I did when it was finalized….

You see, sometimes I write posts that will be future posts, if they could just happen in the present.  It’s a bit like positive affirmation.  In the end I am employed, and will tell that story in another post, I just wanted to share just how long and arduous my job search journey has been this time around.

And just an fyi, I know I am one of the “lucky ones” being underemployed with two Masters degrees, is a lot better than being unemployed with only a High school diploma.

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And here it is July 2013 and I can finally post this!… yes, this post had undergone many incarnations and additions.

I didn’t want to post about the ups and downs of the job search because it’s pretty darn depressing.  I made a decision sometime circa March 2013 that I would just wallow in self-pity all by myself.  Some things are better left unshared with the world… ha, ha…

But, I was severely underemployed since February 2013 which was indeed a step from being unemployed.  My job, a full-time, paid internship, was something to pass time with, and afforded me the chance to keep up with my Arabic (that’s for sure!) but it paid a paltry salary: There are people with high school diplomas who make more than that… and certainly people with fewer degrees/experiences than I have.

At any rate, the past few months were difficult for a number of reasons and having a job that fell so far below what I should be capable of earning, hurt like the dickens.  But what was a girl to do?

Oh God, I wish it were that easy…

Sometimes I hated my job and everyone I worked with, but then I would come down from my depression high and realize that how I felt had nothing to do with them, and everything to do with my circumstance.  I talked a good talk, trying to give pep-talks to my underemployed/unemployed compatriots.  But I was actually trying to jazz up my situation in own mind, “everything happens for a reason,” “Rabna Kareem (God is generous…i.e. He will work it all out)” “My situation could be a lot worse” “One day, I will get out of here”…

My life for the past several months…

But the reality was that sometimes I would literally go the restroom and cry for 5 minutes… It would really suck when someone else came in and I had to make sure to stifle my groans… ha, ha… (but not really funny, because it really happened, like a lot).

I largely kept to myself, (for financial reasons and for personal ones).  Socializing wasn’t on my brain, not when that time could be spent applying for jobs.  Networking for me, always turned around to bite me in the butt… to this day, I have never ever got anything via networking, besides a bunch of false hopes… ha, ha… some people’s lives are like that.  I just got tired, and grew increasingly so with every passing day, with each application that didn’t end in the way I wanted it to… the best (i.e. worst) one was when the person who was hired in my stead had Zero, 0, zilch, no middle east experience whatsoever!

I’ve gotten that one a few times too… fml

It wasn’t a wake-up call per se, it was just another one of those wtf moments… fml…. It was ironic in a way, the people I felt were my real competition turned out to be rejects just like me, at least at the time.

Yup, besides all the positive reinforcements that I was giving myself, the fact of the matter was that my life was in fact F*&* up…..Sometimes I wondered if I wasn’t cursed… like for real, cursed (and I am not overreacting… my underemployment was just the cherry on top of my cake of problems… I always allude to things, but can never delve into everything on this blog… suffice to say my life has been a shit show in a lot of ways… sigh)

But, that part is over now.  Now, I can finally publish this post that I had hoped to be able to put up months ago without the edits and preambles that it now has.

Oh well…..

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from circa December 2012:

Alhamdullilah! all is not lost, I have been hired for a position. ( and that apparently is no small feat).  I will get to speak Arabic, maybe travel to the Middle East and get some meaningful, full-time work experience under my belt.  So Gazelle the constant traveler is docked on this hemisphere for a while.  No more extended trips out in God knows where, doing God knows what.  That is a relief?

I always say I want more family time. Well I get it now.

So life is not quite as disappointing as it felt a few weeks ago. Or last year…  This job was a welcome surprise. Knowing that my Spain dreams were grinding to hault, I began a daunting job search in earnest.  Did I mention how much job searching in this economy stinks?  I went from being upbeat and optimistic at interviews to making my heart as cold and unfeeling as the whole job-hunt feels.  I tired of the waiting on bated-breath as some really nice and some not- so- curteous institutions got back to me with a big fat “NO!  We don’t want you!”  I think the rejection after the interview is worse than just getting a you didn’t make the first cut rejection.  By the time you interview, especially if it’s a second interview, you have so much vested in this process/organization…. it just makes your denial a little more personal.

(incidentally, I first drafted this post while on a high  after one of those what I thought was a shoe-in interviews.  Then, I had to pump the breaks on posting because, well the wonderful job opportunity was not mine.  I could definitely go on and on about the self-doubt and just complete despair this process engendered  but let’s leave that to other bloggers.  I am just glad it’s over).

Is all right with the world again?  Hardly. But God threw a flashlight at me, which enabled me to see down here in this pit of despair.  2012 has been a weird year.  I have much to be thankful for, that’s true, but also much to sort out.

I have had a nagging feeling since my uncle passed that I wasn’t going anywhere— and I don’t mean in the physical sense.

In short, this  lost opportunity is the least of my worries.  Here’s to 2013 being lucky 2013…

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I Turned Down the Job Offer

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I asked God for a sign and he gave it to me. I just don’t think I can deal with being here for three years. it’s too much to handle.  It’s funny cause at the interview the woman asked me, how I was and I told her 25 and she replied, oh we are an open society, you can meet someone here and get married!  I appreciate her frankness, but Qatari “openess” is not gonna get me man, I don’t think. Reality set in, and the confusion about what the next step will be is not gone, but I am closer to it as I have realized that the next step absolutely can not be here.

I think the weirdest part of all was the whole process, salary was never discussed, I wasn’t even given a chance to consider the offer based upon the interest that I showed at interview.  I am supposed to be a part-timer while in school and I had to ask what I would be paid for the part time tasks I completed.  Bureaucracies are every where, but I am not used to the work place set-up like this one and don’t want to get used to it.  Besides, I think the tax free salary thing is overrated, unless you are in 80,000+ range and are getting free housing.  This was not that kind of job.  I made more at my previous job than what they expect to pay me here… money isn’t everything, but once you slide backwards on the salary, it becomes hard when moving to the next level, and bonuses+ raises aren’t necessarily part of the vocabulary here.

I’A this was the right decision.  I want to focus on my books anyway!   …lol…

I’A I won’t end up on anyone’s naughty list…. :-/

Who cares? I’m going to Qatar!!!!

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I am trying to get myself pumped… actually I am using dreams of Qatar to get me through the drudgery that is the working world.

Mr. nasty wants to sneeze everywhere (as if his grossness wasn’t enough, now I am worried about swine flu…lol)  … who cares, I’m going to Qatar.

People crowding the dang metro trains again… who cares I’m going to Qatar.

Can’t go back to sleep after waking up and the but crack of dawn because it takes me 45 minutes to get dressed and 1.5 to get to work… who cares, I’m going to Qatar.

One or all of my bosses and co-workers say things that offend or annoy me or both…. Screw them I’m going to Qatar…lol

Well, maybe.  Everything is not set in stone yet.  But knowing that I have an out, makes it easier to deal with the day by day.  There’s so much to think about, so much to be excited about, and still so much to dread.

  1. Either that, or we had been friends since we did a “special” summer program before freshman year where we lived together and took an intensive class (or were friends of friends of people who did this program)

We could do projects together and commiserate over professors and tests because I felt bonded to them out of our mutual interests.

I think that is also part of the reason why I have hard time relating (and now even trying)  to my co-workers.  Our common bond is this place I hate… so hell no I don’t wanna talk to you or hang out after work. (bump happy hour… happy hour for me is the  minute I leave this place…lol).

I think this makes me a little jittery about Qatar.  I know that Middle Eastern Studies/Arabic learners can be a real hodge podge of folk… people have such diverse reasons for wanting to study the Middle East that sometimes there is no overlap with my own.  Or even worse, they same some real ignorant a%$ sh*&% and I get mad.

Is this something I should change?  I don’t know, if you have nothing in common with someone else, then why bother? I think in any relationship there needs to be some significant overlap, whether it be morals, values interests.  I think of my core group of friends from college and we are all distinctly different people, but we gelled because we overlapped and supported each other, and argued without being incredibly ignorant in our comments… I think.

I usually find at least one other person who I can connect with but who knows what I will find this time?  The whole race thing,  I don’t know how it will play out.   I know there will be tons of people of color there, but it’s still weird to be the psuedo American.  I don’t want to expect the worst, but it’s best not to get my hopes up either.  I’m excited about going to a rich Arab country (hello AC, tap water I can probably drink and host of other comforts I’ve missed previous trips abroad).  But,  I know they have mad human rights/labor abuses going on, and social hierarchy that places certain folk (not me) above others.

Despite my worries though, Who cares, I’m going to Qatar!