In my seemingly unending quest to find gainful employment, I thought I would try out the Tucson Job Fair. Heck, by the name alone, this could be pretty fun. Cotton candy! Rides! Prizes! And most importantly, jobs! What could go wrong at the fair?
I quickly researched all the insider tips on how to make myself noticed above and beyond the other job seekers in order to snag my dream gig. One professional outfit, ten resumes and my thirty-second personal commercial were at the ready to sucker-punch the most unsuspecting employer.
*POW* The hiring manager rubs their eyes and wonders, “What was that?…And who is this magnificently qualified damsel? Surely it must be an angel!”
My dazzling resume and credentials would be blinding. Tears of joy would flow freely from their awe-struck eyes. I would be the answer to all of their hiring needs.
::cue inspiring choir::
I trekked Downtown with my weapons in hand. The traffic was at a standstill as hundreds sought out the all-elusive job. This, however, was a fine time to sharpen my thirty-second commercial with my mental thesaurus. By the way, thirty seconds is hardly enough time to cover all my marvelous qualities (::ahem:: potential employers).
Upon entering the Tucson Convention Center, I was struck by the unending snake of people. Where did it begin and where did it end? I cut through the belly of the beast to find someone in charge.
I wandered around for a bit slightly bewildered by the sheer number of people in attendance. Several thousand. Easy. They must have detected the siren call of the cotton candy as well.
I finally spotted a carny….er, job fair employee who pointed me to the end of the line. It’s obvious I’d be standing there a while, so I took the time to size up my competition. There were a few sharply dressed folk, but for the most part, people were dressed fairly casually. Almost as if they were dressed for a fair. However, it was just reassurance that my fabulous attire would guarantee I was tall enough to ride any ride.
Thirty minutes passed before I even caught a glimpse of the mayhem that awaited me beyond the quadruple doors. It was packed inside. Not just packed, but jam-packed. Not just jam-packed, but packed to the point of slightly throwing the Earth off it’s axis.
That’s when I started to sweat. Not from the surrounding body heat, but from anxiety. I quickly ran over the Stuart Smalley affirmation, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!”
I repeated this up until the point I was shoulder checked. I instantly snapped back to reality and remembered my mission. I wiggled my way up to my first employer of choice.
“Hi! My name is Patri-”
Shoulder checked again.
“I saw your postings onlin-”
Briefcase in the back. Felt like brown leather maybe?
“…and applied last week. I wanted to foll-”
No shoulder checking. Just an interruption…from the recruiter. “You can find our postings online. You can also check your status there.”
“Oh, I know! I just wante-”
A flyer was shoved in my hand. “You’ll have to check online.”
They wanted nothing to do with me. I was taken aback momentarily, but quickly recovered my determination. Off to conquer the next ride! This was their loss. There were over a hundred employers in attendance, I had bigger fish to fry. I squirmed through the crowd over to the next booth.
“Hi, I wa-”
Another flyer was shoved in my hand by the recruiter as they said, “You can apply online.”
It was the same song and dance at each and every booth. I prepped for half a day, slogged my way through traffic for over an hour and braved varicose veins while standing in line for forty-five minutes only to receive flyers instructing me to visit their websites! Where was my job? Where were my accolades? Where was my cotton candy?
No, no, no! There was nothing fair about this fair at all!
I left dejected. I waged the majority of my tickets on the biggest prize at the fair and lost. I walked away empty-handed with nothing to show for my efforts (except for several flyers and a few Samsonite logo-shaped bruises that were starting to form).
I wasted several valuable hours that would have been better spent searching for jobs elsewhere. Each day that passes without a job, I feel as though I’m slipping further and further behind. I was sure this fair would be two steps forward in the right direction. In the end, however, I was lucky if it was three steps backwards. This seemed closer to some awkward side-step motion mixed with a quasi-fumble in which I sprain my ankle. Which, in reality, is how I really look on the dance floor.
All in all? Lesson learned. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
And it was.
1/20 of actual attendees.