After completing a six-month contract at Saint Elizabeth Health Care, I am now engaged in the dreary, full-time occupation of job hunting. And it is just that — a hunt — you gotta lock it and load it and aim for the heart. What with a lot of agencies on a hiring freeze because of all the trouble in the States and US companies pulling out of their PR commitments, it ain’t a pretty picture out there.
Job hunting is such an emotional process, much like dating. You search for what you think is the right one. You put yourself out there on a limb, dress up nice and pretty and put on your best behaviour. You try to answer all the questions appropriately and with depth of field, and in turn, try to ask all the right questions, making sure to smile and lean in to show interest. You brag a little, flirt a little and try to ignore your escalating blood pressure and heart rate and that trickle of sweat coursing down your spine.
And then you go home and wait for the phone call, resisting the temptation of calling them first. By day two or three, you’re like — why haven’t they called yet?
But you don’t give up; you remain hopeful. And if you’re smart and ambitious, you keep looking. Until about day five or seven. Then you start displaying obsessive behaviour like checking your phone for vital signs and a dial tone every 10 minutes. You develop a rare form of Tourettes and sink into a bloated case of self-loathing. And then self-doubt creeps in and you launch into a full-blown post-mortem, picking apart the encounter like a vulture, beating yourself up over what you did and said and what you should never do or say next time.
By day 10, you’re puzzled and angry and downright cynical. You try to convince yourself that it wasn’t the right one anyway. Move on! The next one will be better. If indeed there is a next one. You hate the sight of your phone and purposefully leave it behind when you go out, thinking it’s like a watched pot that never boils. You ignore your emails and ply yourself with junk food, daytime TV and mindless chats on IM with your gainfully employed friends.
By day 14, you’ve completely given up hope and then the phone rings and it’s another interested party and your cynicism morphs into optimism. You dress up nice and pretty, put on your best behaviour, and so on and so on, ad infinitum.