i’m losing hope. I tried to hide it – fake it ’til I make it. But that just postpones the inevitable breakdown. I hate job hunting for the same reason I hated dating: rejection. It’s what I know – better than the back of my hand, even – but it still hurts like hell.

Do what you love… yeah, right. Who’s going to pay my bills so I can write and cross-stitch all day?

This is your chance to find a job you like… Yeah, not so much. It’s been nearly two months now, unemployment denied my claim, I can’t afford an attorney to fight them or my previous employer, and money is getting tight. I don’t care about my credit rating or trivial crap like that – but I need to be able to pay for food, clothes and my son’s medical care. My hubby makes too much for us to qualify for free healthcare, but not enough to pay all of the bills. We *need* a second income – even if it’s less than I was making before. I don’t get to be picky about jobs right now.

So where does that leave me?

Right smack back into the same field that attracts and nurtures narcissists and sociopaths, rewarding them with six-figure salaries and flashy titles for the business cards they drop at golf courses and continuing education seminars.

And what do I get to do? Oh, just the same innocuous but often mind-numbing busy-work. I didn’t mind it when I was supporting attorneys I respected (even if they did treat me worse than a maid). I didn’t mind it when I was part of the team that (mostly) helped general contractors make sub-contractors accountable, or helped sub-contractors defend themselves against slimey general contractors.

I only really mind doing the administrative stuff when it’s for inept and/or toxic attorneys who take their marital issues out on their assistants by way of condescending tones of voice while giving vague and unhelpful instructions – and then using insulting tones of voice when clarification is requested. And let’s not forget the email tantrums when communication breaks down at the attorney level. Which is almost always – somehow – the assistant’s fault. After all, we’re supposed to be mind-readers and magicians in addition to providing administrative support to attorneys.

I want to believe that there are good firms out there. I want to find such a unicorn – a firm full of happy staffers, professional and knowledgeable attorneys, at a decent location with a tolerable commute. A place where staffers are treated as human beings, where work-life balance is encouraged for ALL staff – not just attorneys. Where true diversity is evidenced by how many women are listed in leadership positions. Where positive and friendly vibes are given off by the staff when they pass the lobby in which one waits for a job interview. I interviewed at one such unicorn of a firm.

But here I sit, nearly 2 weeks post-interview, and I am still on pause. “They still like you for the job and are talking to the partners about next steps,” I was told earlier this week. “They have some internal stuff to figure out, but are hoping to have another conversation with you soon.” Sounds good. Sounds hopeful… but I am starting to lose hope. Sure, the “internal issues” could be benign. It could mean they have to reassess workflow or figure out other logistics. But it could also mean that money is an issue. Maybe they want someone younger, likely with less experience, because that almost always means they don’t have to pay as much.

So, today I applied for 3 other jobs. I don’t really want any of them, but money doesn’t make itself. Hope is for kids, and is not a luxury that a middle-aged working mother can afford.

1 Comment
  1. gmikeshon 4 years ago

    Keep after it! I know that it is frustrating, but you need to think of your job search as your full-time job now. Set aside time each day in front of the computer and tweak your resume as you go depending on the job you’re applying for. That means you may have multiple versions of your resume out there, but by focusing on the job search as your full-time job, it can help distract you from the vagaries of each day.

    Don’t give up. If you believe in a higher power, make prayer a part of each day. Don’t ask God why, but ask what you’re supposed to learn from this. Keep your attitude as positive as possible for yourself and for your kids/spouse. Honestly, don’t let the bastards get you down. It’s like Dory always said, “Just keep swimming.” I also think of the job search like eating an elephant. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Each day, each job application, is one bite. Don’t give up! Keep moving forward! You can do it!

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