Dear Chicago Job Market:

F*** you. I wish you would have given me a heads up before I packed up and moved out here. A phone call would have been nice. But, nooo. You thought it would be funny to wait until I arrived and then shatter my fragile dreams of financial stability and self-worth in person. You’re a pathetic wreck. Call me when you grow up and get your drinking under control.

Jessica

This is what I would say to the employment opportunity rate if it were my alcoholic ex. It seems like businesses around here don’t even want to give me an application, let alone hire me.

Since I was sixteen years old, I’ve had a job. I’ve taken your drive through orders, sold you Kirby Vaccuum cleaners, made your no-foam-sugar-free-soy-vanilla-latte, coiled the inside of the motor inside your sub-sea monitoring device (I don’t know how I even got that job), and lots more. I’ve memorized my references, the phone numbers of previous employers, and honed my customer service precision to a sharp point. I have gone through the rigamarole so many times, I feel like a robot.

Applying for a new job is a tedious, unforgiving process. Probably not one person alive likes finding a new job. And if that’s something you do enjoy… well this article probably isn’t really your style. This is a forum for ranting about the sucky things we encounter when a new job is a necessary evil (and how to make it a little more bearable).

To me, there’s nothing more unattractive than the idea of dressing up and whoring yourself out to corporations/businesses. I feel fake, as if I’m feeding crap to every potential boss (“I’m a real people-person”) in hopes they’ll hire me. . . then torture me 30-40 hours a week for $8 an hour. But I’ve done it plenty of times, and I’ll do it plenty more. This is normal for those of us who hold no degrees. We can’t really afford to be choosy, can we? Especially not here, not now. That’s a game of financial Russian Roulette we want to avoid altogether. When we do finally land a job, we cling to it with the gusto of a Titanic survivor aboard a safety raft. Because it’s kind of the same concept, isn’t it? We’re just using our minimum wage jobs to keep us afloat until something better and sturdier comes along. The alternative is dying a slow, icy debt-death. Whatever. Like traffic and Miley Cyrus, it’s just something else we hate but will always have to deal with anyway. The trick is to find your coping mechanism- like finding other people who are doing the same thing you are, and commiserate with war stories about what you’ve been through.

People of Chicago, I need your help to help me help you. Pass along any good advice, and the advice you thought was good but was actually terrible. Vent. Rant. Pass along tips. Share the horrors of workplace faux pas, or any anecdotes that could help someone get (even keep) a job. Together, we can give this unemployment rate the finger. Hell, we might not like our jobs, but they keep carne in our bellies and our bar tabs paid. Check back every week and see what people around you are saying and how they’re helping each other keep the jobs they hate.

My inbox is a lonely place: jessica@gozamos.com

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