Phyllis Chesler Interviews Carol Gould

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A Little Respect
Last uploaded : Sunday 30th Jan 2005 at 22:32
Contributed by : Meryl Yankelson


This is an Awards for All-commissioned piece.
[Editor's Note: if it is possible for an artilce like the one below to make one feel better, it has made the Editor feel less 'unwanted' when at age 51 it is impossible to get any potential employer to even acknowledge one's gliettering, award-riddled CV. Hence if one is 51 or 24 the same humiliating procedure ensues. The people who throw the CVs into wastbins should endure long-term unemployment and then see what it feels like...May I add that knowing Meryl Yankelson has made me wonder why she is not being grabbbed up by scores of companies.]
Job hunting is not the most enjoyable of activities. It is full of emotional highs and lows. Your life is in limbo. You can?t make any plans because you don?t know what you?ll be doing in a month or two, or whether you will be doing anything at all, or for that matter earning any money.

Interviews bring excitement, nerves, hopes and doubts. The pre-interview situation is a medley of possibilities. You have been given a chance and you are yet to mess it up. You have something to prepare for and something to talk about, to make you sound like you are going places. There are prospects on the horizon.

The interview itself is gives you an adrenaline rush and afterwards, your mind is over-run with analytical mayhem. Did you come across well? Did they like you? Why did you make that stupid comment? It goes on and on until all objectivity is thrown out the window.

Then the waiting game begins. You meant to ask when you can expect to hear, but you forgot. You can probably get away with a day without panic, but then the ?no news is good news? theory wears thin. So you wait and you wait and you wait and sometimes, if you are lucky you get a rejection letter. LUCKY? I hear you ask. Yes, lucky because now you can be upset that you didn?t get the job and then move on with your life. The employer probably told you that they were impressed by you, but just found someone more suitable - something to help boost your dilapidated self-esteem. You have an answer and you can lay the issue to rest. Likewise, if you get the job, you are also pretty lucky and can make plans accordingly.

However, if you don?t get the job or the prized rejection letter, you are left waiting and waiting and waiting. If you want to drive yourself crazy, this is an ideal situation in which to find yourself. You discuss it with your friends, who are sure that the employers are still making up their minds, but their reassurance offers little comfort.

Should you ring the company? No, you can?t bring yourself to do that anymore. On past occasions you have been informed that the role has been filled and ended up feeling stupid. Sometimes they don?t remember you, even though it has only been a week since your interview. You thank them for the information and fail to complain that they have treated you appallingly. You then kick yourself for being such a wimp. It is too painful and too embarrassing to go through that again. You?ll give it two more days and then assume it?s a NO, but you?ll never know why and imagine that it is because you are a born failure. You feel angry that you?ve wasted your time trying to impress a company that lacks the basic tenets of common courtesy.

Unfortunately, in the media industry, the practice of only contacting successful job applicants, has become commonplace. This is bad enough when someone has spent their time and energy on a detailed application form, but extremely disheartening when it is following an interview. If someone has traveled to see you and spent a significant amount of time talking to you, they should at least be entitled to a thirty second telephone call, or quick email, to quell their anxiety.

Of course, there are still plenty of employers that let people know either way about the outcome of their interviews and they are to be commended. However, there are plenty that don?t and we should not let this level of discourtesy become socially acceptable. Treating people with a little respect saves a lot of heartache, doubt and anxiety. Feedback on interviews is useful. It allows people to brushen up on their interview technique and gives them guidance as to where they have fallen down.

Unemployment is a time of uncertainty and every bit of clarity helps the unemployed to focus and move forwards. Employers should treat job applicants with sensitivity and try to remember how it felt when they were waiting to hear about a job or something equally life altering.

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