being triggered by jobhunting - help
September 10, 2011 12:40 AM Subscribe
How do I cope with being constantly triggered while job-hunting? It's severely impacting my ability to apply for jobs.
posted by divabat to Work & Money (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I haven't been able to hold down a regular job since I finished university in late 2008, and it's been a massive struggle for me (as my AskMefi history would demonstrate). I've had freelance work, short-term work, gigs, spots of temping - but it's irregular and hardly enough to get me through living. If it weren't for my family and my partner I'd likely be on the streets.
My main issue is that I have a bridging visa (I applied for Australian permanent residency in 2009, and at this rate I may not hear an answer for another 2-3 years), which theoretically means I can work anywhere but realistically means that people are reluctant to hire me because they have no idea whether I'm allowed to or not. I've had people claim made-up policies about "no hiring people on bridging visas", and random jobs being classed as "permanent residents or citizens only". Just about every other bridging visa holder I've talked to mention that the visa has indeed been a big hurdle and that once their permanent residency was granted everything became a lot easier. I'm primarily an artist/artsworker - yet the main sources of funding and opportunities for artists in Australia are unavailable to me because they're not open to bridging visas.
There are other issues too - my ethnic/foreign-sounding name (which research has shown can affect your ability to get a job), my degree isn't in something very clear cut (it's a Bachelors in Creative Industries, which makes many people go "eh?") and despite YEARS of experience I tend to be told "you don't have Specific Degree X", having to constantly pop over overseas the last few years for family & bureaucratic hassle on short notice, the places that most want to hire me are underfunded and can only afford volunteer work. Sometimes I get rejected for totally inane reasons that make me wonder if there was some other reason they can't actually say for fear of being called discriminatory ("you didn't label your work experience section Work Experience!" wtf). Most of the time I just never hear back, or only get a form letter.
All this compounded for the past 3 years or so has made job hunting so stressful that whenever I look at a job application or description, even for something that sounds pretty rad, I get physically ill. I feel nauseous, headache-y, stressed, about to cry and break down. It has become such a big emotional and mental trigger that even writing this is difficult.
I know I can do the jobs well, and whenever I have been hired I've usually been pretty good. It's not like I don't have the skills or qualifications. I'm quite well-known within my circles for various reasons - strong Internet savvy, outspoken political nature, excellent research and writing skills, cosmopolitan travelling self-starter type. Yet none of that, none of my initiative or pep or drive or effort or whatever seems to matter. None of it.
I'm sick of hearing "We love your resume!!...we just decided to hire someone else". I'm sick of wondering if I should apply to this or that job now or wait till I come back from yet another short-notice Malaysia trip because they're dragging out my citizenship conferral (that's a whole separate nightmare) and I don't know when I'll be back, and I'm sick of my parents responding to me telling them that my constant uncertain availability is making it difficult to get jobs with "well then just come back to Malaysia". I'm sick of the only places that want me being the places that can't pay me. I'm sick of being so paranoid about racism and prejudice, sadly reinforced when I don't get hired at a strip club because I don't look right, or when I get told that I didn't have the right degree only to have a friend - who doesn't have the right degree either - get the job I was perfect for and then not really do it because she was away so often. I'm sick on having to rely on others because this stupid visa is making it difficult for me to be super-self-sufficient. I'm sick of immigration, sick of selection criteria, sick of conservative hirers who don't appreciate people that made their own opportunities and don't always fit in the box, sick of the stress, sick of being sick.
But I do need to earn money somehow and those job apps are still there.
And I'm considering moving interstate, but am doubtful that my chances are much improved.
How do I push through the triggers and the stressors and get the job apps done? How do I keep writing the same response to the same inane selection criteria without feeling like I want to shoot myself? How do I convince employers that a bridging visa is not a liability, that I'm still useful despite the lack of a drivers license, that I can quickly learn any computer program you throw at me, that just because my job experiences are sorted by skills rather than dates doesn't mean they're not relevant?
honestly i'd much rather be back in the bay area working there for a year or so, but that's a whole separate battle.