The search... / by Helen Arase

This might sound like a complaint post but I promise it's not.

I'm job searching almost everyday. The days - or parts of days - that I don't think about applications are a kind of self-preservation effort. I am just trying to keep my sanity. For example, my eyes were too dry and irritated to wear contacts for about three days last week because I was just staring at the screen all day. 

I think the most disheartening and exhausting thing about job hunting isn't the waiting around and talking with friends about whether or not I've been contacted for an interview, but how many jobs I have to pass up.

I don't apply to most jobs. Sometimes it's as simple as the job isn't in my field or I don't have an interest in pursuing that subsection of the industry. Or I don't have the training or education level for a position. 

The most heartbreaking are the ones that I can do the job description but I'm missing required qualifications, like "at least five years professional experience." I'm trying to get that experience and prove that I have passion and want to learn.

If I found 50 applications for jobs, fellowships or internships that I'm interested in and would hire someone of my experience-level if I were qualified - you bet I would apply until my eyeballs dried up. 

But... I know that magic list won't appear out of thin air. For now I will comb the job boards and emails while keeping my ear to the ground.

I am hopeful that I am qualified for something for which I have applied, but will keep working on my projects and bettering myself in the meantime.

There are other ways to get experience.

I have ideas for projects. They are about 50/50 photography and documentary pitches. But the biggest part of this for me is that for the first time I'm excited and inspired about random things in life. I have the freedom to explore the subjects that interest me. 

I'm also going to take classes and seminars to learn about other "stuff." I've been on this straight shot into photojournalism with some photography classes that study other techniques, but I think it would be good to learn about related skills like video or sound technology. I've signed up for a weekend seminar in April.

So even though I am still deep in the search, I am very thankful that I have this time to better myself.