“If you’re down on yourself because you can’t get a job–boom!  We’re going to go through the stages to get you some wages—huh! Chism-bop!” It looks like even Stephen Colbert was in on my lousy failure of a job hunt day.

I was once watching a TV interview with the guy that plays Edward Cullen.  An audience member asked him when the last time he cried was.  He answered that he’d turned on the TV when he had a cold and an ad asked, “Do you feel congested?  Do you suffer from a cough, sore throat or headache?”  As he realized the answer to all of those questions was yes, he just started to cry. After my day of ignorant and directionless job searching, it’s a good thing Stephen Colbert didn’t ask me if I was down on myself because I can’t get a job—I might’ve pulled an Edward Cullen and started to cry.

It’s official; I’m interning in Southeast Asia for three months this summer (including hopefully producing a documentary on human trafficking and giving you guys a taste of one of the most diverse areas of religious devotion in the world through continued weekly articles).  But, particularly since my ORCA grant got declined, I officially can’t afford the trip. With that in mind, I did what any sane person in need of additional funds would do; I started entering online sweepstakes, waking up at 5 a.m. to catch the radio morning show giveaways and started taking surveys for cash. 

No, the above is just silliness; I’ve been taking surveys for cash for years and the other two I only tried once or twice. Employment (along with the 3,000 scholarships and grants that I get reject letters from daily) is really my only option. I set up camp next to the jobs board at BYU and actually found some promising little ditties. I submitted a resume for a position as a transcriber (which I already do on occasion for Mormon Artist); I know I’m good at it, besides “it’s not how fast you type, it’s how mad you hype-pepper pot!” But apparently it is how fast you type, because some other lucky stiff with fingers like a hummingbird’s wings beat me out.

When the BYU bookstore posted a job opening early this morning I knew I had to get in there before some vulture swooped in and snatched it up (I don’t know what’s with my bird analogies). I went to HR first thing, but they were randomly and inexplicably out until 1 p.m. I had a straight block of classes from 1 to 3, so to save my potential spot I sent an email to the director of the bookstore hoping that that could serve as a proverbial foot in the door. I got an email back that said something along the lines of “you’re so talented and smart, this job would be too boring for you.” And when I returned to HR at 3:03, the position had been filled.

I’ve been finding this a lot lately in my job search, people in my life that hear about the kind of positions I’m applying for and just guffaw. I have so-and-so on the one side telling me he’ll pay me not to sell my plasma (not saying I’ve considered it, but let’s just say I’ve considered it). Then I have nameless on my other side saying “Burger King!? I’ll get you to come work for me instead.” All these offers or explanations of why I’m better than that and I still have absolutely no money coming at me from any direction.

I walked along in the Indian summer of downtown Provo looking for “help wanted” signs and wishing I had two quarters to rub together. It was a sad moment when I realized that adulthood has transformed me into the kind of person that would use those two quarters to get a newspaper to check out the classifieds’ section rather than stick them in a gumball machine and turn the knob.

It’s just a funny time to need a quick-fix employment set up and some major cash flow, because economically we’re in this era of taking tight and desperate hold of the job you’ve got and kicking the knees of anyone that floats on the assumption of a high turnover rate. The times are strange when those guffaw-ers, for the most part, really aren’t in a position to help me even if they wanted to because they are rocking the recession-ista scene as much as I am.  “It ain’t the aspiring to the hiring, it’s the motion to the self-promotion—dig!” What makes my job hunt the most difficult, though, is just that the common denominator in it all is me. My motion for self-promotion is static, and I don’t know how to vamp up my esteem in a way that’ll get that “I’m just what you need” train running again.