Why I keep applying for jobs I don’t want

puzzle(d)I feel like I’m going round in circles at the moment.

I know my official ‘skills’ (well, kind of, I like to think I have most of the standard ones: communication, organisation, teamwork etc. – who would ever admit to not having one of those?) and I know my ‘interests’ (the stuff I like but still don’t know quite whether I like it enough to be classed as a ‘passion’) and I find jobs that require these ‘skills’ that I have and are related to these ‘interests’ of mine.

Except something’s missing.

Let me try to explain…

My newly started job hunt/ application/ interview/ result process goes something like this:

  1. Find a job that fits my ‘skills’ and ‘interests’
  2. Write an application that shows how I match all of the person spec and links in with details of the job description (Write something vague about linking ‘skills’ and ‘interests’ to explain why I really (?) want the job)
  3. If I’m lucky enough (or unlucky enough) to be invited for interview, answer the questions trying to sound as interested and enthusiastic as possible
  4. Convince myself I want the job
  5. (Usually) Rejection – depending on how well I’ve managed to convince myself the job is perfect, a period of mild unhappiness that I didn’t get an offer, followed by a feeling of great relief that I haven’t been offered another desk job which would be ok, but in no way excites me

I apply for jobs that on paper, and to other people, look pretty good (do I have the right skills? check. Is it an area I’m interested in? check. A good company? check. Good opportunities for progression? check. Reasonable salary? check. Okay location? check… check. check. check. check. check.) Except when it comes down to it, I dread having an office job. And I’m confused about how and where to compromise. I still don’t really know what I’m looking for, only that I’m not going to find it by carrying on applying for similar office-based 9-5s. I’m also not going to find it by running back to something familiar like education.

I’ve turned down more than one job offer in the past, I’ve been the reserve candidate on more than one occasion, and there have been many more times when I haven’t even reached the interview stage or have failed to receive an offer after interview. But never has there yet been a job I’ve really genuinely wanted. I’ve been offered jobs I don’t want, and not offered jobs I don’t want. But never have I been offered or not offered any job that I do truly feel excited about.

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5 comments on “Why I keep applying for jobs I don’t want

  1. It’s interesting that you say you’re applying to jobs that match your “interests” and yet “never has there yet been a job I’ve really genuinely wanted.” Sounds like either your interests have been misidentified (which can happen for a wide range of reasons) and/or you haven’t yet thought about the preferences that REALLY matter to you and your job search: e.g., preferred work environment, preferred types of people, preferred schedule. And/or haven’t put effort into crafting (bit by bit, to be sure; there is no overnight answer here) work that fits ALL of these interests and preferences, not just topical interests.

    I “enjoy” watching your story unfold. But I do tend to feel like a bystander who is doing nothing to help. I genuinely hope for you some clarity around other elements of the job search process so that you can apply for jobs you DO want (or at the very least PARTIALLY want, and that are an intentional step in your progress toward the work you truly want in your life). You’re such an introspective, thoughtful person, I have no doubt it will come. I just hope sooner rather than later, for your sake!

    • Thanks Rebecca, I’m definitely feeling a little confused about what I want at the moment! Just a quick question – I’m signed up to your mailing list but haven’t received any emails from you yet, is that because you haven’t sent any or am I not receiving them for some reason?!

      • Thanks for the Q – I actually haven’t gotten any newsletters out yet! I have one “in the works” and almost sent it today, but I wanted to send only quality, so it’s coming next Wednesday. Newsletters will be every 3 weeks. I’m still posting on the blog 1-2 times a week, as well, and if you want to receive email notifications about those posts immediately, that is a separate sign-up in the sidebar. I appreciate your interest!

        And, heck, aren’t we ALL confused at some (or many?!?) points?! Totally normal. I’m just rooting for clarity for you – you deserve it, given how much time and effort you put into thinking it all through.

        • Great – quality over quantity is definitely a good thing!

          I actually emailed you at the weekend to find out more about your coaching packages, hope you got my email…

          • Argh – I didn’t get your email. You’re the second person this week to have sent me things I didn’t get. (And they’re not in “junk” either). I’m going to have to ask my site host to look into this…!

            In the meantime, would you mind resending your email to me at rfrasert [at] maine [dot] rr [dot] com? Sorry for the aggravation!

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