What It Takes; Who I Am; Where I’ve Been — Belong!

Donate to a forthright slice-of-life writer: Joe Ohler, Jr.!
-Unofficially sponsored by long-defunct, groove metal band Pantera-

Hey, some activity a whopping 3 months later! With a Pantera lyric as my posting title, to boot. Here are 5 reasons why I’ve been unable to post between mid-July and now:

1) Ten Job Interviews, But No Job Offer

Continuously searching and applying for jobs is exhausting, no matter how much of a lifestyle you make of it!

The chronically unsuccessful job seeker faces improbable odds, competing against a systematically and disparagingly poor reputation. Hiring managers see him as less credible than the golden-spoon-in-mouth people who already work in some type of job *that directly relates to* the interviewed-for position.

[Side Note]
Land’s End follows this practice for hiring, but not for interviewing. The result: hiring staff waste time with people whom they should already infer, from the applicants’ respective lack of duty-related work experience on their résumé, have no business being considered.

But I had applied for a different position altogether! Silly Land’s End; bait-and-switches are for cons! Well, I guess the slippery shoe fits the corporate foot.
[/Side Note]

Does this bring to mind another Pantera lyric? Yes, it does: “You can’t be something you’re not!” Hiring managers don’t want the long-term unemployed to become employed, least of all at THEIR organization!

Can’t be a production worker unless you’ve worked in production; can’t be placed by a temp agency unless you’ve worked elsewhere at least 6 months in the most recent 12; can’t be an official until you’ve had a figurehead endorse you (except in the case of grassroots charismatic leaders); etc.

Then, we have critics who’ve been employed every year their entire adult lives. Most of these specimens are unable to relate with the hardships of involuntary unemployment for any length greater than 6 months. Many show-offs in that group claim to be capable of talking their way into a job within a week!

Finally, it helps emotionally to turn off any calculations of how much income and earning potential one has lost from being shut out of the labor market for so long.

My father obsesses over this and how it affects his years to retirement, but adding pressure serves no purpose. Most hiring managers don’t care how poor you are; motivation to work without a track record means nothing.

I’m sure my friends could pull a few strings to raise my reputation in their organization to help me get my foot in the door, but not even they have faith in my ability to work.

The only people on the planet who truly believe I’m capable of work are my parents and myself. Everyone else disagrees!

No one else has skin in my game, so no one cares. (Those who once had, were busy shedding their skin — another Pantera reference.)

And if you try to cajole an apathetic person into caring, then that’s “harassment” — so of course I’ll appear to my dad as if I’m “giving up” in my attempts to follow up. There’s a minor obstacle called, “Interrupt my work day too many times, and you’ll be arrested!” I ain’t falling for that!

(On a related note: I accept pity donations and handouts! Donate double if you enjoy my writings! Click the PayPal button way up top — personal thanks is forthcoming!)

2) Professional Networking

The two things that I gain from participating in job interviews are:

A) Inside knowledge of the first-round interview questions for a particular position at a specific organization / department; and

B) An occasional new professional acquaintance.

To spare my post-interview colleagues any allegations that they are too partial, I won’t elaborate on where I befriended whom via the (non-)hiring process.

All I’ll say for Point B is that these kind folks respond to my follow-up messages, even if it’s just to get their reactions to my writings. Thank you!

Most of the time, I’m too busy working on my own projects to justify going out into a community that doesn’t really know me.

Remember what it felt like to eat alone at the lunch table? You didn’t? Well, I DID!

Take that same feeling as an adult, and that is what networking in an apathetic community feels like! Even an organization obsessed with conveying a welcoming atmosphere, such as any of the myriad UW campuses, often feels cold and impersonal when you can’t get what you need, i.e. that first real career-making job. Many former and current students, with whom I spoke, agree on this matter.

This goes back to the same idea of being unable to make people care. “Be yourself, by yourself — stay away from me.” Thank you for the wise words, Anselmo et al.

Heck, even celebrities have this problem! And fundraisers?

Sure — you’d rather give your money to some half-baked, ineffective UNICEF program that ends up financing child soldiers of vicious warlords; or you’d rather save the simpleton animals, who wouldn’t know or appreciate charity if it landed on their rabies-infested snout!

Do you hate me yet?!? Donate now! Love thy enemy!!!

3) My PTC Sojourn

I ventured into the consumer side of the paid-to-click (PTC) business; took many notes; and am forming conclusions in that subject matter.

My first finding is that I should spend less time clicking on ads for fractions of a penny and more time writing! The PTC industry is predominantly geared towards residents of second- and third-world countries, given the meager payouts.

I haven’t invested in any site via membership upgrades or such, because too many PTC sites close shop without warning. I’ve read many complaints where people bought memberships, only for the business to fold weeks or even days later!

So, no PTC investments on my behalf. As for high-yield investment programs (HYIPs)?

There’s a reason the Securities Exchange Commission outlaws such businesses in the United States: prices are more volatile and prone to insider trading than penny stocks. But if you’re bent on trying HYIP, then get a non-U.S. IP address and swing for the fences!

4) Computer Virus and Restoration

My misadventures in the job search involved applying for a work-at-home customer care position. I’ll write in daringly delicious detail on my Absurd Job Vacancies blog — but the relevant point for this anecdote is that the Sitel job portal gave my computer an unstoppable virus!

Good for me: I had already backed up all my files, applications, and device drivers to thumb drives! This made it much easier for me to take the drastic step of wiping the hard drive to eradicate the Sitel Trojan, which I suspect was downloaded during the online skills assessment.

I spent the week restoring and re-organizing my files. The old directory structure was getting congested anyway, so being forced to re-copy files back to the hard drive *only as needed* helped me clarify my priorities in timely terms of content creation. (My obsession in curating content helped immensely, as already having everything on thumb drives at moment zero saved the day.)

5) Zazzle Designs

As I copied files, I recognized many PhotoShop files that reminded me of works in progress and of old pieces that I once considered finished but now saw additional potential within!

Armed with the knowledge that I’ve no job opportunities to lose if I reallocate some of my job search efforts to making my own graphical designs, I’ve opened the post-modern SenatorJPO Store on Zazzle. I shall profile new items here from time to time.

Summary

New content is on the horizon — but for now, I want to tie up loose ends before posting newer material. I cannot predict an editorial timeline, for I could not predict the above 5 things would transpire! “Life happens,” as the axiom goes.

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