Unsolicited Advice

“I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite.” -G. K. Chesterton

I’ve been applying for jobs like, well, it’s my job. Pretty much everyone I interact with knows that I’m looking for work. I’ve been trying every angle I can think of to find work, and…nothing, as of yet. Anyone who has searched for work knows that it can be a draining, emotionally-difficult, frustrating, irritating experience.

But what’s worse than writing and rewriting cover letters, filling out a million inane online applications, and receiving form rejection letters? The “advice” that your friends and family feel the need to offer you.

After smiling and nodding for the forty-second time after hearing that I should apply for jobs in major cities or with big corporations “because they speak a lot of English,” I found myself stifling eye-rolls. As if I was unaware that major population centers would have big companies and big English-speaking populations.

Other really helpful advice I’ve been given is that I should learn to speak Dutch. Since I can, ya know, magically learn another language. And since it also has never occurred to me to learn the language of the country I live in.

I know people are well-intentioned, but after the seventy-fifth time of someone asking me if I’ve looked on expat sites for jobs, I want to pave the road to hell with THEIR good intentions. I’ve had lots of people tell me to follow up, to call or email someone. Now, that’s perfectly good advice if you aren’t applying to big companies or government organizations that specifically tell you NOT to contact the organization, or that don’t provide you with any information other than a generic HR email address.

Ya know, if you’ve got a friend who is job hunting, rather than tell them how you got your job or what worked for your sister-in-law, just buy them a nice cup of tea.

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