When It Comes To Job Hunting, It’s About Knowing What You Don’t Want

There was a time when searching for a job was a time-sensitive endeavor that would yield results that hopefully lasted long enough to incite the need for a career boost, either internally or at a better suited competitor.

But looking back, it’s almost revolutionary to recall how we made ambitious decisions based on longevity and accumulated skill set. We can’t even fathom replicating those moves in this volatile period of economic upheaval, that’s falsely packaged by a criminalized administration as the healthiest temperature for the stock market since its creation.

While the president’s favored daughter and so-called “senior adviser,” Ivanka Trump, consistently litters her Twitter page with tweets and retweets that are aimed to debunk the rumors of the incoming recession, that was borne from the duress of an erratic job market, that features the over-worked and grossly underpaid, as well as those meddlesome tariffs — the American workers and job seekers are tragically bearing the brunt of a fiery climate that has no intention of simmering down.

I’ve spent a whole two years navigating the treacherous terrain of the workforce as a somewhat employed writer, who has to patiently sift through the garbage of poorly paid gigs and the highlighted items that insist on asking for miracles with the promise of exposure and low possibility of extensions.

And then there’s the nagging realization of how digital media is dying a slow and painful death due to the always erratic nature of algorithms and analytics, that inevitably dictate the lifespan of reputable brands that can’t escape the fate of being entangled with a furious landscape of over-population.

We wanted to believe in the fairytale of being a paid writer who makes a decent living in the strenuous landscape of online journalism, and for a brief moment in time, it seemed like the impossible could manifest into a fulfilling co-existence of viral creators and the readers who only scan headlines and maybe the first sentence after clicks.

But the durability of such partnerships is bound to wear out, sooner rather than later.

The dignity of brands are perishing under the mandate of badly coerced content that has to be preceded by the questionable headlines ,that exact the damage that can be revised repeatedly to reduce the trust that citizens applied to truth-tellers, who used to be regarded with high-esteem.

There’s also the lethargic mode of engaging with nonstop barrage of recycled fare that no matter how the reworks are implemented, always ends up blending into a huge blob of branded replicants, that don’t ever present a refreshingly radical version of what weary minds would appreciate internalizing every once in awhile.

When you are faced with the brutal truth of how prominent media organizations are basically flailing when it comes to tackling the challenges of staying afloat, amid the symptoms of financial duress that signal a dismal forecast, it drastically overhauls the way you conduct your job search.

And since it’s apparent that the longstanding model of compensating employees on a full time basis is becoming extinct, the only option is to streamline expectations to match the evolving and obstinately hostile climate.

It’s not about you want, but really about what you don’t want.

Back when the goal was to be motivated by the descriptions in the “pros” column, it was customary to be excited about the list of job titles that align with your lofty expectations.

But in 2019 and beyond, or until further notice, the unpredictability of moody economic cycles makes it impossible to plan accordingly, especially when companies aren’t that inspired to invest heavily on worthy candidates who possess the attributes for long-term arrangements.

As a freelance writer, who naively concluded back in 2013, that the online market for content creators would steadily expand into profitable engagements without threats of an incurable virus or even extinction — I’ve been forced to eat up those words and spit them out with the lubricant of self-awareness and resigned embrace of reality.

The platforms that were conceived for traffic numbers and viral activities are now struggling to maintain mission statements that dreamily promised to adhere to the routines of quality content that won’t succumb to the infection of salaciousness.

And even the outlets that began with the premise of honorably courting writers who have something meaningful to say, and need a secure space to lay it all out without restrictions, have relented to the standardized makeovers that abruptly silence creatives who contributed to profitable visibility in favor of glossier entrants who are recruited to stimulate the “new and improved” model of creation.

That basically explains my unceremonious exit from blogging duties for Huffington Post, a couple of years ago. The unexpected email from the newly-minted editor of “Huff Post,” clinically scrubbed away the Black bloggers who built the foundation that hosted “Black Voices,” without compensation. In the aftermath of that “clean up,” new writers were brought onboard, and not only are they paid for their services, but they don’t even have to be Black to tackle the issues that are specific to a community.

The sheer determination and commitment to a lifestyle that is outrightly abusive and severely disruptive is hard for this seasoned writer to adequately put into words, but the strength comes from evidence that my assaulted disposition isn’t a foreign concept.

We all bear witness to the revisions to platforms that are now catering to the exact formula that was firmly rejected back in the good old days, when visibility was granted to the artfulness of stoic delivery, as opposed to the instituted mantra that launches marketing strategies for the journey into the murkiness of generically-cluttered feeds.

It’s now about what I can’t tolerate anymore, and how to avoid the habitual tendency to be dazzled by recognizable brands that are openly fighting for the stamina that’s being attacked by the vultures of greed.

Not too long ago, I was contacted by the HR rep of a very popular women’s digital portal, about a position that I had applied for weeks earlier. After setting up the details for the phone interview, I began my research, and the initial excitement was replaced with a curtain of doubt and apprehension, as I patiently scanned the information that verified my fears.

Aside from the overall exhaustion from battling the formidable adversary of posted stats that menacingly hover over your ability to remain relevant, and evade the punishment of disappearing in the fog of stagnant traffic, there’s also the urgent need to reject potential offers to join the masthead of companies that are in financial limbo.

This means that despite the stellar track record and enviably seamless accessibility to cultural excellence, you have to be updated on the “revolving door” status and the warning signs that blink from the headlines that capture the recent batch of employees who were “let go,” and how the reasoning behind that decision remains active.

What I don’t want and frankly can’t afford is the association with outlets who are pushing writers to the limit with the mandate of reproducing what’s already been recycled with shots of imaginative wirings, that will somehow separate the originators from the poachers or the real from the fake.

I certainly don’t want to continue applying for writing jobs that are part of the machine of culture capitalization, whereby trending issues that are a matter of life and death become the currency of sustainability with major input from voices of authenticity.

And I don’t want to extend the dizzying spin cycle by robotically performing the same ritual without considering alternate routes to a nearly-focused destination.

If you want to change what’s not working, you have cross out the obstacles in order to vividly brighten your once-blurry vision.

If you don’t want to be hired for thankless writing gigs that fizzle out once those scheduled changes come to fruition because of those pesky algorithms, then start applying for writing assignments that demand a different style of expression that could be refreshingly challenging and financially rewarding with the bonus of stability.

You can still be aligned with winning brands, and reap the fulfillment of being a curator who produces relevant content that’s not dependent on the wobbliness stemming from the brutality of statistical warfare.

Removing what you absolutely don’t want from a pile of hopes and dreams is a great way to replenish that wasted time and energy with the bolt of electricity, that fuels your ability to finally concentrate on what you deserve as opposed to the desperate search that leads everywhere except where you need to be.

What you don’t want matters the most because it makes what you do want that much more palatable, and that’s when the agonizing silence becomes a littered inbox that’s filled with what you’ve always wanted.

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