Job hunting sucks. Whether you are currently employed and looking for something new, or are unemployed, fresh out of college, and looking for your first adult job, looking for work can be and is one of the most stressful activities out there.
Currently, I work in the laboratories of a local university. I’m not really supposed to give specifics, so let me speak in generalities. My job is important. My job keeps me in great physical shape from moving heavy equipment and supplies and keeping me on my feet all day. I can listen to music while I work. I know my co-workers fairly well, and am good friends with a couple of them. For the most part, however, I work by myself. My job is not very mentally stimulating. Actually, it’s downright repetitive and boring. I NEED A NEW JOB.
But where to start? I definitely don’t want to stay in the labs; I miss working with kids. While I was recovering from surgery this summer, I sent cover letters and résumés to several area schools, but did not hear from any of them prior to the start of the academic year. I may still hear from one or two in the coming months, but if/when that happens I will need to do some hard thinking about walking into another classroom after the start of the school year. Keeping with the theme of working with young people, I’ve also applied for several other positions at the university, jobs that would put me in direct contact with the students. After talking with some friends, I have also remembered just how much fun working with animals can be; as a result, I’ve been applying for jobs at several zoos and aquariums around the country, as well. Soon, the job search will branch out further, into museum settings, another place where I have experience.
I’m not alone in my job hunt. Many of my friends are also recent college grads, or are still in college. Together, we are one another’s support network, sharing tips and horror stories about our searches. While many of my friends are nearby, a few have scattered across the country, and some have gone even further, relocating internationally. Some have even moved before they had a job in the place they were headed. I envy my friends who can just pack up and move. As someone who falls in the LGBT category, there are places that just aren’t safe for me. As someone in the T part of that category, there are a LOT of things that I have to consider, like access to proper health care (both physical and mental). I also have to consider local attitudes towards people like me, and if there are any laws that might cause problems (such as the ridiculous bathroom law in Arizona). I’ve also become quite adept at locating and reading company non-discrimination policies. If I can’t find the company’s policy on their web site, I don’t bother sending in an application (and yes, this has happened). My status as a transman also affects my résumé, as I have been part of and worked for activist groups that either focus on the LGBT community as a whole or on the trans community. I’m proud of that work, and many of the jobs that I’m applying for would like to know that I can work well with others, so it is relevant experience. Unfortunately, there have been times when I suspect that someone as seen these items and relegated me to the category of “not a good candidate”.
Even with all of this to think about, I still continue with the job hunt. It may suck, but it’s the only way to move on. Time to take a deep breath and dive back in!