10 Reasons Why the Modern Day Job Search Makes People Want to Blow Their Brains Out
Trying to get this writing career off the ground doesn’t look half bad now…
Ah, the perils of the modern day job search. Good ol’ capitalism has given us the blessed privilege of submitting to it or starving to death on the street. And with that privilege, comes the joy of submitting your worth and dignity to the sausage factory that is the modern day job search. I’m not quite sure how corporate America has done such a fantastic job at making it absolutely unbearable, but they’ve done it folks! And here’s how:
1. Everyone wants you to create an account
If in ten years from now, we unearthed a conspiracy that said employers are raking in data to build secret social networks, I wouldn’t be surprised. Why else does every single employer want you to create an account (username, password, security questions, the works) to fill out one application that you’ll probably never hear back about again? Perhaps it’s just an extra hoop to jump through to weed out the computer illiterate. Perhaps our capitalist overlords just revel in knowing they can force us to submit to their whims. The world may never know.
2. You need to upload a resume, then fill out all the same information again in forms
If I had a dollar for every job application process that required this, well, let’s just say I wouldn’t be looking for a job. But I guess it’ll be good training for the mind numbing redundancies I’ll have to endure if I get the job.
3. Keywords, buzzwords (what does your HR or talent acquisition even do around here?)
As a woman, I’m pretty used to being objectified. I’ve sat through lots of crude discussions of “I’m an ass man” and “I’m a boob man.” But I never realized my resume would be subject to the same type of scrutiny. Just as some people might filter out certain types of women for not having the right “assets,” that’s pretty much the same process your resume goes to, being chucked into an imaginary cyber black hole for not immediately baring the right goods when they go in to find the buzzwords. So you damn well better throw in as many “team player” and “Excel proficient” for when they ctrl+f that sucker. Now that’s sexy.
4. Employers don’t post salary requirements (and sometimes refuse to disclose it when asked)
Look guys, I may be desperate, but I’m not desperate enough to be duped into spending a morning getting dressed up, sitting through traffic, and dragging myself into some corporate office only to be told the starting hourly wage is less than the cost of the make up I put on my face. We all know you have a price. Cut the bullshit and post it.
5. There’s no clear avenue to check on the status of your application, especially for huge companies
I think the first piece of advice I got about finding a job was that you always had to follow up. Unfortunately, when you send your resume and application into the cold abyss known as the internet, sometimes there’s just no one you can call to follow up on the status of your application. The farewell screen of a job application tells you “Thanks for applying!” but doesn’t tell you who you can call for any further questions. What are you gonna do, call the McDonald’s corporate office to check on the status of your application that you submit because you can never catch the store manager while he’s at work? Pft, sure.
6. There are how many applicants?
When I think about the world in decades past, it’s no wonder boomers think that all it takes to find a job is a resume and a firm handshake. Before the internet age, employers could only rely on word of mouth, referrals, and postings in the local paper to attract applicants. Nowadays, job hunters are competing for poorly paid jobs with people from possibly all over the globe.
7. Bullshit personality tests
Why yes, I’d love to submit myself to a bullshit personality test about how much I strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, or strongly disagree with Becky stealing from the cash register or if I consider visiting the water cooler to be stealing company time. And all this to be paid less than a living wage? Thanks for the opportunity.
8. You want to see me how many times?
Why yes Teresa from HR, I’ll have a phone interview with you. Oh, and now I gotta meet Joe the HR supervisor at your office a few days from now. Sure thing. Oh, but the department manager won’t be there that day so I’ll have to come in again? And then you need to get the final panel together for an interview? Aww, I just can’t get enough of you guys either!
9. Grit your teeth, smile, and lie
Employers think they want to hear the truth, but they can’t handle the truth. Nowadays, the person who gets the job is the person who lies the best with a smile on their face. Yes, I’m truly passionate about staring at a screen and doing repetitive tasks. Yes, I’m so happy at the prospect of giving up 40–50 hours of my life every week to sell my labor and put money in your coffers. Yes, I’d love the opportunity to be a cog in a system of ensuring that the CEO can afford his sixth yacht and fourth summer house in the Hamptons.
10. Ghosting (and no, it’s not your Tinder date doing it)
We’ve all been there. You go on a date, things are going swell, you get your kiss goodnight, and cue radio silence. It’s bad enough after one date, but imagine seeing a person multiple times then finally getting the boot into the cold, silent abyss. Welcome to the American corporate hellscape, where they’ll demand multiple interviews and for you to profess your worthiness and love for them, only to vanish, never to be heard from again, once you think it’s time to kiss the bride.
I think when we get down to the essence of why we hate the job search process, it’s because it dehumanizes us. The process is devoid of respect. It does not select for who has the most potential, but instead for who poses the least amount of up front costs during onboarding and training. It makes us question everything about the narrative of living in a “meritocracy” and gives us a realistic idea of just how disposable we really are. Don Draper definitely had the right idea when he got Roger drunk and conned his way into a job at Sterling Cooper. Perhaps that’s what it takes.