It was early afternoon on a beautiful summer Saturday. I should have been at the pool, or hiking, or doing anything other than staring at my laptop, completely flummoxed, convinced every ATS is a catfishing scheme; there aren’t any jobs. I so badly wanted to scream, “Please just hire me. I need to work; I WANT to work.” I thought about the advice I received when I first announced my job search to my friends and colleagues. I thought about the advice I’d read on the Internet, career websites, blogs, LinkedIn, the posters in the unemployment office.

The first bit of advice I received was, “Have you tried Indeed? Indeed is great. I’ve heard you can get any job on Indeed.” There would be a helpful link to the website. Over time I read and heard the same recycled advice, each time presented as if it were a revelation. A lost tablet from the people of Rome. Who had the misfortune of having their civilization conquered because they failed to track their leading and lagging indicators, and no one had thought to check for gladiator jobs in the area.

Eventually, the repetition and contradictory advice overwhelmed me.

Have you tried Indeed? CareerBuilder? Posting your resume? Unposting your resume? Updating your resume? Having someone do that for you? Applying for jobs? Not applying for jobs? Networking? Have you tried networking? That’s the key you know, it’s who you know. Network. You’re still unemployed? I can’t believe it! You’re so talented, why hasn’t someone hired you? Hey, have you tried changing your age? What about cosmetic surgery? Here let me send you this link – You’ll definitely find a job there. Oh, there’s this guy on LinkedIn. Are you on LinkedIn? You MUST be on LinkedIn. It’s the only way you’ll get a job. Recruiters will contact you on LinkedIn, it’s the only way. And if you have a network. A network on LinkedIn. A network on LinkedIn with a guy named #oleg and an interesting profile. Have you tried being interesting? 

What about writing and posting? You’ve got to engage. Have you tried NOT engaging? What about professional development? What about yoga, meditation, Six Sigma – have you tried that? Have you tried self-care? Blogging? Vlogging? How about being in a relationship? No? How about ending a relationship? Have you tried minimizing your stress? Have you tried not worrying? How about worrying? I seriously can’t believe you can’t find a job. Oh no, that’s not what I meant. I meant I can’t believe you’ve found SO many jobs and haven’t been hired. Have you tried being under 30? A man in his early 30’s? You just need to believe in yourself, that’s what works. Have you tried believing in yourself? What about #oleg, have you tried that? Have you tried unplugging your job search and plugging it back in?

What about depression, have you tried being not depressed? Definitely. Have you tried just getting a job? Have you tried daily affirmations? Are you on LinkedIn? Have you tried giving up? Hey, the grocery store down the street went out of business, and they’re replacing it with Spirit Halloween. It seems that every time a store closes the first business that moves in is Spirit Halloween. I wonder why that is. Hey, have you applied at Spirit Halloween? 

Let me know if I can help!

I closed the laptop and headed to the pool. It was a beautiful summer Saturday afternoon. Have you tried taking a break and enjoying the sunshine? That was the best advice I’d received.