Saturday, March 07, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened On My Way To A Job Fair...

Well, as my undergraduate career comes to a close, I'm working as an editorial intern for a local magazine. But, this time it's a paid internship; which is nice because I'm finally getting paid to do what I do best, write....although it is internship wages. Unfortunately, because of the current economy, (I'm going to assume that it's the economy and not my writing skills...okay), like so many other industries, the publishing business is hurting too, and as a result, it doesn't look as though I will get hired. Although I plan to be in graduate school this fall, I still must work. And, while I'd love to be working in the publishing business, instead of waiting and hoping for the "right" job, I am looking for the "right now" job.

Since I last HAD to look for a job, job hunting has changed a little. When I first came to the Atlanta area I was amazed at the fact that there were actual "Help Wanted" signs displayed all over the place. Of course, that was about 18 years ago. I've always prided myself on being able to find jobs rather easily, but now...whew! I have filled out at least 40 applications and have gotten ZERO responses. That's scary for someone who has worked all her life. The funny thing is, I've filled out all of these applications online. You can't just walk into a business now days, with your interview suit on and your honest face and apply for a job. The problem with Internet applications is that you literally become just another number, and you have no idea what happens to your application once it it delivered into the web sphere.

Then, there are the job fairs, which implies that it will be a free-for-all, fun, carnival-like, career grab bag, with enough jobs for everyone to leave with three. Lately though, they've become just another local tv news story, (along with apartment fires and shootings), looking more and more like cattle in their best outfits, all with a bag full of cookie-cutter resumes, being lead into perpetual lines wrapped around some convention center from hell. Everyone, it seems, is looking for a job; and the smiling recruiters with strong hand shakes who get paid to go from city to city to build up people's hopes seem suspiciously in on the conspiracy to make people actually believe that they will leave with a fulfilling and rewarding career.

So, I went to one such job fair that was actually called a "Career Fair," because of course, I don't want just a "job," I want a CAREER. And, that it was a CAREER fair for my school, made me feel like I might of really had a chance. Well, about a quarter of the recruiters were government entities, (I am too old to be a DEA agent or a Secret Service agent.) Then, there were the companies who wanted you to become a Manager Trainee. Another quarter of the companies were looking for interns, unpaid. And of course, no one was actually hiring, and in fact, if you wanted to apply, most suggested that you simply go to the website. A few actually collected resumes, but then what?

So my question this week has been: "Do you personally know someone who actually got a job as a result of a job fair?" I mean a REAL, pay the bills, the car note and buy groceries, job. Of course, if you don't have a job, you've got to go to these things when you can, because if you're hopeful, (like me), there's always that one, one hundredth of a chance that the job you want is there waiting for you, right?

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