For seventeen straight years I was employed. Every time a gate closed, another one opened right away. Even rejection would turn around and become a win.
I hopped from school to school seamlessly. Then I switched careers, and got into the tech world. When VinSolutions decided to cancel all the contract employees, I ended up starting my new role before my two-week notice was even up. And getting paid better!
In those seventeen years, there was only one time I wasn’t working, and that was by choice. I wanted to have a small gap between finishing my job and moving back to Israel. I needed the extra time for packing, selling items I couldn’t bring, and properly saying goodbye to my friends and my beloved city.
And even that didn’t work out!
A Brief Unemployment
I was searching day and night for a job in Israel. I wanted to land in the country and instantly be working in my new role. Israel’s hard. Things are quite expensive. My savings would disappear in weeks if didn’t find a job right away. So even though everyone told me it’s impossible to find a job before you’re actually living here, I ignored them and hunted anyway.
And you know what happened? I found one. A pretty decent one as well. But they wanted me to start right away. So next thing I knew, I was training to be a customer support specialist for GoDaddy’s email marketing team while simultaneously packing up my home forever.
So even when I tried specifically to be unemployed, it didn’t work out. I wanted to be unemployed for just over a month, and for a month of that I was employed anyway.
Job Search vs Dating
I don’t know how to not be working. I suck at vacations. On weekdays, I don’t like sleeping in. Even when I don’t love what I’m doing, work keeps me grounded. It keeps me busy. It keeps me on a schedule that helps make my day better all around.
So my current situation is very jarring.
But the worst part is that the process is so very demoralizing.
Dating can be an extremely challenging experience, even for those who are seasoned at it and enjoy it.
Inevitably you will encounter those who, for whatever reason, won’t go out with you in the first place. And you will find those who make it clear during or immediately after the date that things aren’t going to work out. And others, you slog along for a little bit until the final rejection happens.
And each one stings.
Even if you’re not interested!
The Pain of Rejection
This is something I haven’t heard from many other people. And maybe it reflects poorly on my nature… but I felt the tiniest jolt of depression even when dates resulted in mutual lack of interest. Why?? It’s not because of time or money wasted. That never really bothered me.
It’s because I wanted to be wanted. Again, even when I had no interest in further pursuit. I wanted it to be my call, and mine alone. I think my self-esteem needed that boost.
Even under the best of circumstances, rejection hurts.
And now I’m job hunting.
I’m shooting out resume after resume. I know I can handle all of these jobs, probably even excel at most of them. I’ve been working non-stop for the last seventeen years. I know what I’m capable of. But conveying that confidence and competence in a one-page document is super challenging, if not impossible. And at this point, I feel like I’m competing with half the universe.
So what happens? And why is this even worse than dating?
Because it’s non-stop, scattered misery.
Bombardment of Rejection
Yesterday I got around seven rejection emails. They were scattered throughout the day. One’s in the car, one’s at the gym, this one’s at the grocery store, the following one’s on the toilet.
All day long, bombarded by cold, generic emails pretending that I was super close, just not good enough.
And what message does each one send?
You’re no good. You’re not wanted. And you will stay unemployed indefinitely.
And it’s worse than rejection in dating for a handful of reasons.
For one, the rejections can come at any moment of the day. You are inundated with rejection.
Also, in order for the endeavor to be successful, it takes a lot of applications. The more you try and get yourself out there, the more potential you have for a greater number of rejections.
When dating, most people are only seeing one person at a time. Therefore, at most they’ll only be rejected one time in a day, likely only once in a matter of days or weeks.
I suppose if you went to a bar and hit on every one in sight, you can receive multiple rejections in one evening. But most of us wouldn’t do that in the first place. Plus, it’s still at least confined to that section of the evening. And to be honest, good for you. The vast majority of us wouldn’t even have the nerve to try!
There’s Just No Break
But one of the hardest parts of the process is never being able to take a break.
If dating gets hard, you back off for a bit. You throw yourself into your job or your friends or your family or your hobbies. You take a little time off and come back to that world fresh and ready to get back into the fight.
But not with job applications.
There’s no break. Even if you did take a break, that doesn’t mean you won’t be receiving rejection letters while you’re trying to stay away for a bit. But who could afford to take a break anyway!?
If you’re single, yes, by not getting out there, you guarantee continuing being single for as long you maintain your break. But there are advantages to being single. Personal freedom. More time. Save a couple of bucks.
What’s the advantage of being unemployed?
There is none. Life doesn’t give you a breather. Them bills still need to be paid!
And those rejection emails can keep coming even on a day you’ve chosen to not spend looking for a job.Life doesn't give you a breather. Them bills still need to be paid! Click To Tweet
The End of the Process
I really didn’t want this scenario. I knew my previous job was not my dream role. And that I had more to offer to the world. But who would knowingly sign up for the depressing and demeaning process of job hunting?
I look forward to the process ending, and never doing this again.
Will my next job be my last? It’s possible. Highly unlikely. But regardless, hopefully I’ll figure out a way to bypass this system between then and now. Because this is a lot more than anyone should have to handle.
1 thought on “Unemployment, Rejection, and the Dating Experience”
I am sorry David you are in this predicament. It is hard and a constant source of pain, because you feel no one wants you. But you are a smart guy with plenty to offer so, just hang in there since there are loads of people who want you. You just have not had a chance to cross paths with them yet.