The Job Seeker and the Life Train

So you are out of work? Unemployed? Between jobs? Idle? Workless? Cashless? Congratulations, you have arrived at the right station. This, my friend, is the last stop.

Well, what are you waiting for? We have reached the end of the line. This is the final station. Your ticket won’t get you any further than this, alright? Consider yourself officially kicked out of this efficient, 40-hours-a-week, 9-5 train. You’re on your own now.

It will take a while to adjust to life outside the ka-ching train. The breakneck speed, the constant bumping and swaying of the carriages, the hastily ingested sandwiches. Walking doesn’t quite offer the same kind of rush, does it? It’s slow, infuriating, and comes with an exponentially higher risk of tripping on roots and stubbing toes. Luckily, travelling isn’t always about getting from point A to B.

You see, life is a journey. Follow your dreams! You can do it! At least Pinterest thinks so. Motivational YouTube clips of now-famous people will tell you that failure is the secret ingredient for success. Elon Musk, JK Rowling and Jack Ma once were useless earthworms like you, but look at them now! Rich and successful butterflies. All you need to do is to keep failing and you will be exactly like them. Then you too can make YouTube videos about how your exceptional mental fortitude enabled you to get through tough times and reach the ultimate life-goal: success (disclaimer: if you keep failing, then you’re failing at failing properly, and will therefore fail to shed the earthworm form).

The U-word

So you’re Unemployed and looking for work. Fantastic. If you found walking to be difficult, a few months of failure will teach you that it is much preferable to the task of getting out of bed to face another day of rejection. Despite your polished CV, wondrous language skills, and immaculate cover letters, you have not found your way back onto the train. Tick, tock. That gap on your resume is not getting better with time.

But don’t worry. Because that internship at the supermarket really taught you how to leverage your communication skills to liaise with internal and external stakeholders. You are a purpose-driven professional. You’re passionate. You’re goal-oriented. You are invested in the world and its betterment. And most of all, you are looking forward to hearing back from them. Very much.

They don’t get back to you, though. But don’t fall into the trap of blaming yourself. You see, your follow-up e-mails are getting redirected to a hungry little hamster living in your outbox. Your applications are so dazzling that a small gnome steals them and folds sparkling little origami cranes for his peace monument. Your eloquence is so unequalled that an invisible siren steals your best words during interviews to compose songs of epic proportions. It really is not your fault.

The Job Seeking Hero

As a Job Seeker, you are a true hero of unfulfilled goals and dreams. You face the most soul-crushing, dangerous and dreadful activity known to man: The Job Hunt. The fight will drain you of your self-confidence, self-worth and purpose. You will no longer be able to spontaneously buy a doughnut shaped pillow from Amazon. Your cashless self will be barred from social outings with friends. You may be a hero, but everyone else is a God. The only thing you really have is time, which is of course completely useless unless you have money to pour into it.

Then one day, the hungry hamster in your outbox will take a nap, the little gnome will be out for a walk, and the siren will have caught a cold. And just like that, you’ll find yourself back on the train. Wow, congratulations on your new job! Now you don’t have to walk any more. You can happily woosh by nameless stations, eat sandwiches on-the-go and pour coffee into your system knowing that you’re doing the right and sensible thing. The gaping chasm on your resume will shrink as your balance grows.

But the train does move at an awfully high speed, doesn’t it? And wouldn’t it be nice to have a warm meal by the window once in a while? Or perhaps even outside? Followed by a nice long walk to stretch your legs? Maybe you could have a look around that small nameless station too? Ah, but the train doesn’t stop until you do. And there really is no time for all that now, is there?

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