Out of state interviews: why I may never get a job

21 Mar

This plane is bigger than New Jersey

I had to pull out of two interviews in New York City yesterday.  Why?  Because I don’ have $400 to blow on a plane ticket so I could sit through 90 minutes of “How do you work under pressure?” and “Describe yourself in three words” just to receive a “Thanks, but no thanks.”

Let’s break this down even further: A) It’s money I just don’t have B) Why would I spend nonexistent money on a job that has no guarantee of hiring me?  C)  If I’m so hellbent on spending imaginary money, I could play online poker.  Or the stock market. Whatever.  D) These jobs weren’t toe-curling exciting.  If jobs were pastries, these two were more of a bran muffin, and I’m looking for a chocolate eclair.  If I’m going to travel 1200 miles, why shouldn’t I aim for the eclair from the start, rather than settle for boring bran?

Being broke blows harder than watching daytime TV, like the View (Elizabeth, no one cares about your stupid fashion line, so STFU; Sherri, you somehow think the world is flat but they let you on TV anyway; Joy…we cool).  Being broke blows harder than watching commercials that air during daytime TV, because they know that you’re unemployed and that you’re either doing one of three things 1) looking for new ways to clean your house 2) dying, so you need new prescription meds 3) looking for a cheap degree so you can get a job (No thanks, University of Phoenix, I’m all set. But I’ll call you in a couple months if this Religion degree is really as useless as the skeptical masses are telling me.)

But really, being flatout broke just flatout blows.  Because on top of this crap economy and the increased competition new graduates face, opportunities become increasingly inaccessible to you if you can’t fulfill basic requirements like an in-person interview.  The key to getting a job is to cast a wide net and see what you reel back in.  When you have money concerns, your fishing net shrinks exponentially.

So, what should a person like me do?  Should I only apply to local jobs until I can afford to interview out of state?  Should I only apply to those jobs that I would definitely take if granted an interview?  My parents said they could spring me the money for the ticket, but they couldn’t do it every single time, which is why I feel compelled to spend this “gift” on a sure thing.  These are all questions that have to be answered before I can effectively move forward in my search, proving that there are more tough choices than I thought when it comes to landing that perfect first job, though I’m starting to think that it may not exist (huzzah wisdom!).


4 Responses to “Out of state interviews: why I may never get a job”

  1. Ryan March 24, 2010 at 8:14 pm #

    I flew to New York from Vermont for an interview once. How long was the interview? 15 minutes. Yes, I repeat, 15 minutes of my time and the employer knew full well that I would need to come back at least twice more on my own dime. I eventually also pulled out of the running for that job, even though I had a positive feeling about the job.

    That said, if you can afford a single trip, make it count. Schedule informational interviews, meetups, and other networking opportunities in conjunction with your interview in the faraway city. Some people move to the city where they want to work and then start looking for the job instead of searching from afar knowing that it will be hard to jump on any opportunities without pain.

    To add a question: should an employer want you enough to fly you out (pay for you) to meet them? Or is the onus always on the prospective employee?

  2. Jennie April 7, 2010 at 4:32 pm #

    I don’t have any answers or wisdom or even insight, but this is so funny I laughed out loud. Thanks guys.

  3. Ashley April 7, 2010 at 6:44 pm #

    I actually am from the sticks, and moved to Boston last summer. I also was *insanely* broke. I scheduled an interview with a temp agency. They were then looking for me, rather than just me looking. They got me an interview with a telecom company (yes, really). I was in the area for a little while, so came back to do that interview. Got the job. I moved to Boston the next day and got a place that I paid for weekly. That whole situation was insanely temporary (and definitely not much fun…) but it gave me an address that people wouldn’t throw away when they saw it. It also gave me a paycheck, kept me in the area, and helped me to familiarize myself with the area I wanted to live in. I met some people that were of substance, and eventually moved on. (literally and figuratively)

    I also got a temp job at State Street through an agency (Kelly Services, if anyone is interested). After that I was unemployed again, but just recently got a (perm) job at Tufts University. Amazing, amazing job.

    I suggest looking at unis for good jobs and AMAZING BENEFITS… healthcare, good pay, vacation time, holidays, bankers hours, a/c environment, friendly people, free library use, free gym use… I mean, please, so many soft benefits to be had!

    In case you are wondering, I majored in German with a minor in Religion.

    Don’t knock the crappy jobs too much… they might be what you need to move somewhere. I also moved here with just a suitcase. It wasn’t fun times last summer by any means (I slept on an air mattress for three months…) You just have to remember that crappy jobs do serve their purpose too.

    Really, though… try a temp agency. Some of them, like Kelly are HUGE and you can get an interview with them locally and ask them to look for you in a different city to avoid that first trip for an interview, i.e. fill out paperwork. And they aren’t always awful jobs. I got to work at a very large and famous asset management firm for four months and had several personal conversations with the CCO. (not that I like finance)…

    just my two cents… best of luck to you all.

  4. Sarah April 14, 2010 at 1:02 am #

    Jennie-Thanks for the compliment!

    Ashley-Thank you so so much for telling your story! I would have never thought to turn to a temp agency as a resource. I actually just signed up with Kelly yesterday, so I sincerely appreciate you dropping by and sharing your success!

    And I wasn’t really trying to knock crappy jobs as I was trying to highlight that it’s just difficult to get a job in your dream city when you’re 12oo miles away. Even if I do interview for a job that’s less than ideal, which I would be willing to take if it would mean getting me to Boston or NYC, it’s still not a guaranteed yes.

    The crappy jobs that I’m not a fan of are the same types of jobs I’ve done before, without having a diploma. They are seemingly the only ones who will hire me now, and it’s throwing me into a bit of an existential crisis, however melodramatic it is. Was a degree even worth it if I’m gonna end up in the same role as I was three years ago? Did I simply pick the wrong major? GAH WHAT IS HAPPENING WHY ISN’T EVERYTHING PERFECT?

    The answer I think is that I’m just doing something wrong in my job search; my degree was worth it and companies want to hire me, but I’m just going about it the wrong way. What’s great about a temp agency is that you get to build those connections, which are apparently crucial in the business world. So I’m really glad everything worked out for you, and hopefully I’ll have the same good fortune you did!

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