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On Loving Your Job(s)

A Frustrated American's Leveraged Lament

By Nicky FranklyPublished about a month ago 4 min read
On Loving Your Job(s)
Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash

I change who I am every day, on paper. Small changes. Meaningful ones. Ones that make sense upon further reflection. A new line here, a different tense there. A more professional font. Italics in lieu of boldface type. I am this collection of symbols. I am these bullet points, summaries, and experiences throughout reverse chronological time.

The gall I had this morning to apply for a full-time position as a Resume Editor.

Chutzpah galore.

The thousand words it takes to assess the picture of me at my laptop, editing my resume. Of me on my lunch break, editing my resume. Of me at my kid’s soccer game, editing my resume, knowingly anticipating being judged by the very thing I’d be tasked to polish to perfection for clients if granted the position.

I hunt jobs like some seek lovers, making myself transparent in that sea of fish-a-plenty. I speed-date a handful of prospects by day and sleep off their rejection by night. Somehow, after the initial shock and plummet, my confidence grows with each decline of further pursuit. I return to and edit the words that perhaps failed to paint me accurately as a professional.

It’s not rejection that I fear but eternal rejection. Turning me down only shapes me further into the letters, fonts, and italics I need to become as I’m sculpted into the ideal candidate for something that might be just a few more applications away.

I hope.

These days, they go ahead and tell you that 127 other people applied for the same job. They call it transparency, but like, I was okay not knowing that. As a hunter, I am okay not knowing about the 126 other people out here gunning for my antelope. I can't be more competitive than I've already become. The skills I thought I needed are honed to the bone. My eyes and ears are on the prize and to the ground, ready for the next potential role to drop in my inbox.

They always ask, “How did you hear about this job?” I never remember. Glassdoor. Indeed. LinkedIn. Monster. Flex. ZipRecruiter. JobAssistNow. JobAssistRightFnNow. I know it's just a marketing question, but I want to get it right.

The competition is fierce against those other hunter-seekers. I don’t know them. They’re not in my circle. They’re coming at me from every which section of the globe. I can only combat them as the application allows, from the shadows where I dip my apps in many pools, testing and calibrating to diverse waters, making myself dynamic. I prefer an antelope, sure, but I'm not above a quail or a cottontail. I’ll swap habitats. I learned how to fish in case that was who I needed to become. An optimistic omnivore adapted even to freelance scavenging. It's not ideal, but it'll hold me. It satiates the moment, but it’s not satisfying.

Last year, I edited over 300 resumes for other people. Part-time. I don't know if that's enough. This year, I've edited 33 of my own, so far. Each one with an accompanying cover letter, even when they say I don't need to attach one. I still write it, sometimes I send it as a follow-up. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I go all in and address each requirement, picking off those pretty little ducks, one by one. Sometimes I get lazy and use cover letters like Mad Libs, inserting positions and companies with little to no care about the aftermath.

Application 71, sent. Application 82, sent. I must be getting close by now.

Don’t cry for me, though, I’m okay. I’ve got a handful of part-time jobs, and I’m doing just fine, but I’m ambitious as hell, so it leaves me stuck here, wanting more.

I’ve analyzed those over three hundred data points to discern how the language of resumes has changed and how verbiage and rhetoric are touted in today's job market. Today, it's all about leveraging, exerting a force to show (not tell) what you bring to their table. Leadership styles mingled with soft skills and advanced graduate degrees. Bilingual preferred. Results-oriented experiences with strengths and strengths-in-progress.

The best resume wins.

It’s so logical, it’s cruel.

My therapist says, “Your relationship metaphor is weak.” (Ouch). “Employers don't look for lovers. They want to hire someone who’s best for the company.”

I say, “That’s a pimp.”

The hustle has made me a hussy.

Because I’m an adult, on paper, I changed my approach immediately and made a list of non-negotiables to shift this thing into healthier territory. I promised myself I’d stop working by the hour and only apply for full-time, salaried positions. It’s my time and my money on the line, so I might as well respect these two synthetic concepts.

Employers know what they’re looking for, so much so that they can reject me without even taking down the job posting. They know it’s not for me, but I know there’s someone for everyone, so I keep going. Keep editing. Keep looking. Keep changing the focus and summary and font.

If you time-traveled to the future and Googled me, you’d see me there with the words “Frustrated American” to describe my current identity. I’m in good company, I’m told. There are at least 126 other hunter-seekers like me for every rejection.

There must be an end in sight.

“I only need one ‘Yes,’” I say. “One glorious job offer I'll accept, giving thanks to the artificially intelligent force that customized the hunt for predator and prey alike and brought us together in the globalized landscape.”

“If you both win, then you’re not a hunter,” my therapist says, ruthless against my metaphoric dissociation tactics. “This is addictive behavior. You're addicted to the dream of a higher, stable income. You'll only be satisfied when you hit the jackpot.”

A gambler, then, with chips on every open table and an arsenal of hats to wear, ready to go all in.

“Find happiness elsewhere,” they say.

We’ll see what my next therapist says.


About the Creator

Nicky Frankly

I love writing !

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    Nicky FranklyWritten by Nicky Frankly

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