Musing: Finding my feet

Anyone who remotely knows me in real life (or on Twitter) is aware of my frustration and existential rants about job hunting and the point. I’m at a stage where I am considering turning my attention to a new career sector.  Except I don’t know what I want to do.

The most hilarious thing that has happened is using those online “what career am I suited too” tests. The answer 80% of the time – A Career Advisor.

I have been involved in the museum and heritage sector for years now but can’t seem to “get my foot in the door” or excel at all. I’ve applied for countless jobs and have been lucky in getting invited to quite a few interviews but it all goes pear shaped. I’m always sent the same, automated email (one of which had the same email header and content from a different job at the same place) “we regret to inform you…..lack experience…..we appreciate your interest.” Blah, blah, blaaaah. 

I’ve spoken with a variety of people, those who are also trying to claw their way into museums and those in other sectors who ultimately feel the same way. I do find some comfort in knowing that my feelings can be related to (specifically it gives a strong attack to my paranoid brain, that maybe deep down I am capable and valued) however it does illustrate yet another reason why being a millennial is awful.

I’ve assembled the aspects of job hunting that keep cropping up. I’ve decided to write and share them in an articulate way otherwise I’d scream them in a ramble. My voice can’t handle much more screaming.

 In job hunting…

You feel like you’ve hit a brick wall. You can’t seem to reach or gain anything higher or different. Years of hard work: studying, volunteering, internships or a lengthy service at a place where you desire to climb higher do not seem to help one bit. You begin to wonder if it was all a waste after all.

Interviews are awful. They are unnatural, staged and no-one in that room feels comfortable. Your previous application, the one that took hours, days, weeks to perfect, becomes meaningless. Interviews mark a blank slate and you are there relying on your equally blank mind and hoping your mouth produces at least one fully constructed sentence.

You see the same faces. You then place those faces in settings associated with bad memories and emotions, a never ending cycle of dread, numbness and anxiety. This is particularly common in the heritage sector, everyone knows of everyone – you see the same people at interviews, workshop away days, social media threads – everywhere!

You begin to harbour and project ill-feelings towards yourself and sometimes others. You are happy that people you know have achieved something they want but at the same time wonder why you haven’t. Years of confidence building from a shy, anxious and self-deprecating child to an adult has peaked, reverted and worse than before.

You lose the initial passion you had. You begin to question why you are doing this and why you were doing it in the first place.

You’re exhausted. Sleep is rubbish, interrupted and light and your relaxing weekends become replaced by nonstop job searching and applications.

It can’t be forever.

Thankyou for taking the time to read my coherent (for once) ramble.

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