Job search in 21st century America

Since I’ve been back in the states for about four weeks now, of course I have been looking for a job. (I was doing this a bit back in the fall, too, but it’s a lot easier–and you’re a lot more credible–if you are actually in the place where you hope to get the job . . )

One nice thing about going to an “old fashioned” area of Pennsylvania, is that many people still do things the old fashioned way. Yes, thank God I have an internet connection, but what I’m more thankful for is olde style want ad pages in a newspaper. And not ones where it’s really “just’ a headhunter looking to try and build a book of names, which Tokyo–I am sorry to say—is chock full of.

I got one message from the many seeds I had planted in the job-search soil of Japan, by the way. A very reputable company that I would love to work for, but they want me to take a 3-hour test—in Tokyo. Hmmm.

So, in the meantime, I keep contacting people out of the want ads.

Lancaster County, if I have it right, has a lower-than-average unemployment rate: say, about 8%. That helps. Additionally, it’s not the kind of place where all these high-falutin’ New York City people think to go look for work. Or maybe they do, but they can’t commute this far out, and they’re underwater on their mortgage back in Westchester County! Either way, I hope that it leads to a lucky break or two for me, and Lord knows I need one. (Two would be nice.)

This hasn’t happened yet, but at some point I am going to have to explain why I was in Japan all those years. The explanation is pretty easy, but I know the question is going to come up. The guy in the local Turkey Hill was freaked out by my New Jersey driver’s license, so I know that Japan question is going to happen. Ahhh, I’ll worry about it then.

As I was saying, real want ad pages have real jobs that a real person paid, yes, real money to advertise in an old medium for. I can be confident that, even if I am sending to an e-mail address, someone wants the position filled. Tokyo didn’t work that way. Despite what you might think about G-Plus Media’s various job boards, there is usually not a real job behind the post. (I did that blog entry on this many weeks back, remember?)

That frustrated the shit out of me, because I was applying for things that really weren’t there. It’s like the movie Cool Hand Luke (1967), where the sadistic Southern sheriff makes the men dig a trench under the hot daytime sun, and then fill the same trench back up again. So Japanese tatemae in a way, too, even though the Gaijin False Internet Job Board is a purely expat invention. I had my fill of it, for its daily false promises and the shamelessness with which the promoters of thing promote it.

So here is to newspaper! I never thought I’d admit how much I appreciate it.