Job Searching in a Pandemic

Well, I never thought that I would for one experience this and two reflect on my journey during it. I have recently graduated with two degrees in HR and Management with two certificates in Global & International Studies (that is the short version my friends). For the past year I have been working as and HR Coordinator and gaining valuable experience but I have genuinely been unhappy the entire time that I have been here.

Now not to say that I am ungrateful as they worked around my school schedule as I was finishing my undergrad, but the stress this workplace has inflicted on my well-being has not been doing me any favors.

To start with some of the positives, I got hired for an internship here fairly quickly last summer. It was so exciting as the HR field is highly competitive and they offered fantastic rates and experience to someone who was studying these practices at the same time. I can confidently say that everything I have learned has been useful to me going forward in my career.

However… I have been documenting the things that have been causing me extreme stress since beginning here. See Working In Misery for an ongoing issue I have been dealing with. Upon graduating, they did not offer me a salary that was even a dollar above what I was making as a part-time employee. I tried to negotiate, but they told me “we don’t really do that partially through the fiscal year”. Which was disheartening as they are paying roughly $5,000 under my location average for my position.

However, I was happy to even be offered a full-time position as I had constantly been applying for jobs over the past several months with little to no bites being taken. (I’ll expand on this more in a minute).

Another thing that has upset me is the fact that I have been told upon multiple occasions that there is opportunity to expand my duties and grow within the company. Given the nature of the company and this department, I’ve come to find that is an absolute lie.

I have expressed my interest within DE&I and employee growth and I was met with a door in my face. What is funny is that I had told my interests to my manager within these areas prior to all of the current events happening in the world. However, come a couple months later our founding partner released a statement about all of the steps the firm will be taking to ensure diversity & inclusion within our company and dealings.

Everything within his statement I was told was not something our company is currently working towards or will be anytime soon. Oh, even thinking about this gets me heated. I forwarded the email to my manager at the time of this statement and despite her being Head of HR she had no idea about this and would inform me if I could have a role in this.

To this day it has been crickets and although I graduated two months ago, I am still the administrative b•tch of the department.

There is more to this story to. There is a coworker who is my equal who constantly spells my name wrong, although she was confronted about this months ago, and constantly talks down to me to the point of harassment. I just had to express my concerns again although this is apparently acceptable behavior. “You can’t watch the watchman” is a saying that is ringing to true for this department.

This lady has caused me so much anguish that I am scared to even message her about questions she can answer quickly. She will give me pushback or question me like I am incompetent. She has been spoken to on many occassions for her actions/ communication style towards others and even was a big factor in the prior employee in my position quitting.

So, this brings me to the present job search during the middle of a damn global pandemic. Honey, it is not easy out here in these streets. The unemployment rate has caused nearly every job I have applied for to have 50 or more applicants. So many companies either ghost employees or don’t actually want entry-level when they state entry-level.

Like how frustrating is it to take off within a career when a majority of the companies don’t give newcomers a chance? To sum it up, VERY. I have been passively applying for jobs over the past year, but school got in the way and I stuck with stability.

That’s the biggest reason I haven’t just quit is because I am thinking of the privilege of having a stable income right now. So many of my friends and people across the world are being laid off and it is so heartbreaking. I have been providing support to those around me as I am the only person they know who is within HR and can help with their resumes. (it’s a blessing and a curse when you’re struggling too)

So for now, I am constantly updating my own resume, reaching out to my connections and hoping that I make it into a role where I can actually use the knowledge and skills I have gained in an employee facing role. I thrive off working with others and helping people which is why I chose this industry. My company is currently stifling my creativity and making me question my choice.

Luckily, HR is an umbrella field and I am not going to quit yet. So my advice to you is don’t give up. Although it is frustrating, patience is our biggest vice and virtue right now. Great things come in time and I know that the doors will open for me, and every other job seeker, when the time is right.

J

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