Friday, May 24, 2013

The limbo of a career search.

One question I despise answering in the career search: "When would you be available to start working?"

Employers do not seem to appreciate the awkward position of the unemployed. Being unemployed is no reason to stop living. For me, unemployment is an opportunity to enjoy the activities otherwise impossible when working a full-time job. That means taking extended teaching tours in Europe and elsewhere. It means attending Burning Man (if I can afford it and find a camp…). It means agreeing to help remodel my parent's house as they try to put it on the market.

Employers, meanwhile, are utterly incapable of looking four weeks ahead and saying whether they're in a position to hire. They only know what's here and now, and if there is an opening it must be filled urgently. This setup does not bode well for the "funemployed," as we are forced into a crappy dilemma. We can either hang out in our current city, keep life on hold, and wait impatiently for a job to come. Or we can enjoy life as much as possible, but potentially be unavailable when an opportunity appears. Jobs become an ephemeral and antagonistic force, like threatening rain clouds that will only precipitate if you make plans to go hiking.

So here I am, faced with a quandary. I had a very positive interview with a green contractor in Portland. It was mostly an informational interview, though it was clear that a job prospect could come from it. They want to wait until after I return from Europe to talk specifics about an opportunity. Which means they expect me to put a pause on my life post-Europe in the hopes that maybe -- just maybe -- they will offer me a position. But I have other stuff I want to do than sit around twiddling my thumbs. An east coast tour, teaching in California... 

Argh.

Thoughts from the peanut gallery?

1 comment:

Matthew Blair said...

Well, getting a job in general can and often does entail some amount of inconvenience. That isn't really new. What I'd do: come back, do the dog and pony show, maybe hang around a week or so, but then I'd just make plans and I'd let everyone know that those plans might get cancelled. If it's a good job, it could be worth it. If you are prepared to cancel plans, even as you are making them, it doesn't seem like such a big deal when you pull the trigger, and sometimes you don't have to.