Wednesday, August 10, 2011

speed networking

The view from my pedestal

You know you've turned a corner in your life when all of a sudden you are the one that is handing out your business card, not in search of a job, but as the one who may be able to help others with their quest for employment. Now let's be clear, I do not have any power at all to hire others. I am still the lowest on the totem pole in my office, even after 2+ years at my desk. I barely get to tell interns what to do. But every so often I'm called upon by various affinity groups to serve as an "expert" or "mentor." It sometimes feels odd, to be that almighty advice giver, but I always enjoy the experience. I definitely learned a lot from others in my own job search as I went from one psuedo-paid volunteer experience to another, so giving as good as I got is only fair.

Tonight, at one of these events, I was humbled by the many, many post-graduate school, internationally experienced, multi-lingual idealists who were looking for any clue as to how to land a job, any job, in this shining white marble city. I wish I had better news, that it was a just a matter of knowing the right person and being in the right place at the right time, but even that fail safe route to your dream job seems way too optimistic. Times are tough and way too many overeducated, hard working young people are slinging lattes or whiskey shots, just waiting for their shot to become an under appreciated Federal bureaucrat. Usually I come out of these events bolstered by the energy of those still looking for their dream job, but today I feel hopeless. The stock market didn't help this dark mood, confirming that there was really no point of putting on a happy face and telling others, most of them my age, that there they had a chance. That instead of mustering up some creative job searching ideas I should have told them to go back to whatever country they just finished up Peace Corps service in and take up a life as an expat, because this country is clearly telling all of us that hope is in short supply, and finding a job...well, forget about it.

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