Thursday, March 20, 2008

When to give up

I was looking through "Despair.com" the other day, and found this picture of the cat to be rather appropriate for my career ambitions.
Recently, I have been looking into working at DHS (Department of Human Services) as a Child Protective Service worker. You might ask "Why would anyone want that job?" The answer is in my field and education level, it pays the highest and the benefits are great. Sure it's high demand and often a thankless job, but it also has some mobility to move up in the world. Currently in my position, a opportunity for advancement comes around about as often as Halley's Comet.
Don't get me wrong, I don't hate my job. I like my coworkers and I'm pretty cut out to work with marginalized kids in the foster care system. But every now and then, I dream of something better.
Following my pipe dream, I applied at DHS several months ago. I've been called for three interviews at 3 different locations, and so far nothing. They have an interesting hiring process where they interview about 10 applicants for one position. Usually, when you arrive for you interview, the secretary gives you about 5 situational questions and tells you they are going to ask these questions. 5 mins later, you are called inside and answer those questions to the people conducting the interview. Then they give you a chance to ask questions.
In case you don't know, I hate interviews. There is very little science to them. Often the best people don't get the job. My evidence is based on some pretty incompetent DHS workers that I have worked with. You think to yourself "Who did you sleep with to get this job?"
The first interview was before a panel of about 7 people. I hate big interviews, but thought I managed to pull off a good one. I discussed teamwork a lot since I've heard they like that. A week later a rejection letter. Interview number 2 was a few weeks later. This time, it was a just a couple of people (which I feel comfortable with). I even got in a few laughs in. A week later, another rejection letter.
This week, I had a third interview. This time it was a panel of about 9 people. My first thought was "Shouldn't some of you be out working, this is Child Protective Services?" Then I noticed half the panel was "man hating "lesbians. Now I don't want to sound prejudice (after all I am a social worker) but I tend to find that I don't get along with women who like women. Historically, they don't understand my humor at all and look at me in disgust. Most of the questions asked at me where to discuss how I work out disagreements with coworkers. At the beginning of the interview I stated that generally I have never had major disagreements with coworkers. In truth, I try to be as cooperative as possible. This of course made very short answers to their questions. About five minutes into the interview, I had pretty much answered everything. Then it was my turn to ask questions. After two other interviews, I really don't have any more questions, so I asked the same ones again and tried to act grateful when they gave me their answers. As I was shuffling out of the interview I wanted to ask "Can I have my rejection letter now? It will save you some postage."
Anyway, I haven't gotten my rejection letter yet, but I'll bet that it is on it's way. I'm wondering if I should just give up. It gets disheartening doing interview after interview and getting the same rejection letter. Is it possible that I just wasn't meant to work for the state and enjoy those nice benefits? Since I'm on their interview list, I'm sure I will have other interviews coming, but when is enough enough?

6 comments:

Portland wawa said...

Most people will tell you that it can't hurt to try. But, at the same time, trying over and over and not succeeding can be very disheartening. I could tell that you weren't that excited about this interview because you hardly mentioned it prior to the day.

I think getting that great job you want is not about qualifications a lot of times but about being the right person at the right time. I know why I got my current job, and it wasn't because I do a great interview because I don't. It was my age, the fact I am older and married and not wanting to leave to pursue med school like so many other technicians. Eventually you will find something, honey. I believe in you.

shakedust said...

I have to agree with Wawa. I have been to many, many interviews and have had very, very few job offers. I know what you are talking about. If you go to enough of them, though, you are bound to get something sometime.

I have been giving technical interviews at work for some openings we have. There are some people who I know don't really fit in most technical jobs who will not get a technical job. There is also one person that we will probably hire who would probably not get a job elsewhere because she does not have what employers are looking for in the interview process. Long story short, eventually you'll get interviewers who are looking for someone with your abilities and personality who are not man-haters.

GoldenSunrise said...

You will find the perfect fit eventually. It is hard being in the waiting period.

f o r r e s t said...

It has got to come eventually. Don't give up. It can't hurt.

T said...

I guess enough is enough when you decide you don't want to work there! (That's what I would tell Dash!)

It is disheartening to wait and wait and wait, or feel you know the outcome and still have to wait and wait and wait for it. My instinct is to never give up, but there is a balance to knowing when to hold them and knowing when to fold them, knowing when to walk away and when to run. I hope you figure it out before you go postal! :)

Roaming Writer said...

I love despair.com. Good reminder not to take the corporate, or government world too seriously. Who knows what may come a long somewhere along the way in your career? It's wise to keep an ear open and check things out.