The search for work

In the large gap between my last post and the present, I graduated college, went to moot court nationals, moved to Memphis, and found a job waiting tables to make that “skrilla” (as Neil would say). At last count, I’ve applied for nine receptionist/file clerking positions  via Craigslist with no call back and sent some blind applications to the largest firms in Memphis to find a job at a real law firm. The idea was that, living with the boyfriend attending U of M law, I wouldn’t have to pay rent right away and I would have access to the largest metropolitan area in Tennessee for my job hunt.

No success.

As one might imagine, this is difficult for a well-qualified college grad, but expected. Well, not expected for me. You know: “It’s difficult to find a job, blah blah blah, for everyone else. Not for me.” We are, after all, an optimistic generation. I have literally said the same thing that poor Megan Silsby says in the linked article almost twenty times. “If I could just get that interview…”  My friend Ben told me it took him closer to twenty applications to find the job he has now.

So it’s been about a month now and no success. The most devastating of all application experiences was a response from an office manager named Rita. Unlike the rest of my attempts, she chose to respond:

Thank you for your excellent cover letter which provides a compelling reason to hire you.  You have an excellent, well written resume.  At this time we do not have any openings.  I just filled a position and the new employee started last Monday.

I nearly cried–tears of happiness that my resume was even being read. Maybe that wasn’t the most devastating. Maybe the most devastating was the response to a Craigslist ad that, momentarily, gave me hope:

Prospective Applicant,

I am writing in response to your interest on my Craigslist post, Your resume has been reviewed, I did appreciate it. It’s reasonable and acceptable. I am Glenn Sanchez, a Successful Entrepreneur, investor and an Independent Consultant.I travel a lot, within and outside the US working on various projects, this is why I need a PERSONAL ASSISTANT, to keep up with all of my activities especially when i am out of town… I have provided a short questionnaire below for you to fill and return ( I understand you sent the resume but this is important for my records and personal review);
Your Full Name:
Full Address with Apt Number(IF ANY):
City, State and Zip:
Cell/mobile phone number:
Home phone number:
Sex:
Current Employer:
Email:

I know it would have really been proper to meet and talk about this job in person but I am away in Canada as I said earlier…

Warmest Regards,
Glenn Sanchez.

I did not respond to “Glenn Sanchez,” or his compatriot “Scott Daniel,” who offered me a similarly lucrative, flexible, at-home position in exchange for my personal information, and was also out of the country.

Or maybe the lowest point came when I resolved that a paying job may not be in the cards, and that I had better start looking for unpaid internships. I dressed up, printed my resume and cover letter, and headed down to the public defender’s office, where they told me that one of the most notoriously underfunded and understaffed organs of the state didn’t need any help at present and that I should apply again in the summer when the next round of interns would be selected.

But didn’t you hear me? I’m free. FREE, dammit!

I looked out the window while Lee drove me home. I was afraid I would cry, and these wouldn’t even have been tears of joy.

And yet, finally, a glimmer of hope.

Last night, I played a witness for Lee’s intra-school mock trial competition. A seasoned AMTA mock trial competitor, I came over-prepared. Lee’s roommate told me that one of their adversaries said he felt as if he were the one being cross-examined by me during the trial. As I left the stand, a judge said “Great job,” which is odd, considering there are no scores, ranks, or glory for the humble witness. (Just like AMTA, only no pretense here.) After the trial, I was asked if I had a psychology background. All and all, a fun if uneventful ego boost for the veteran AMTA member.

After the trial, however, the judge that had been so impressed with me introduced himself as an Assistant District Attorney with the domestic violence division in Shelby County. Because I worked with the Domestic Violence Program in Murfreesboro, I thought that I had better ask for a card after the comments. (Lee’s team, by the way, advanced, so be sure to send a congratulatory message his way via Facebook.)

When I explained to him that I was looking for anything to do to fill the time between now and law school, including unpaid work at the District Attorney’s office, his eyebrows raised and he told me that an intern had quit the program yesterday. “Of course, there would be some limitations. It was a law school intern, so you may not be able to do all the same things… But, I will pass your info along. You seem like a go-getter.”

Oh, but won’t I go and get. 

This morning he sent me this:

Ms. Beck,

…  I am the mock trial judge that you spoke to last night concerning internship opportunities at the District Attorney’s Office. I spoke the internship/ training director, … , and he gave me permission to send you his contact information. If you are still interested, you should (quickly) send a resume and cover letter to … at … .

Thank you and good luck,

I (quickly) did. And within minutes, got this reply:

Ms. Beck:

Thank you for your interest in the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office. We do have an unpaid internship position for you at your proposed schedule of a few hours each day. I am attaching a background check form for you to complete. You may return it to me by scan/email or fax.

I would also like to meet briefly with you before assigning you. Tomorrow (Wednesday) after 2:00 or any time Thursday would be great for me if convenient for you. Casual dress/student attire is perfectly acceptable. We are on the third floor at 201 Poplar. I look forward to meeting you.

Sincerely,

 So, for everyone following along, I have a meeting tomorrow at 2:30 with the internship director at the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office, which is very exciting after this long, dry spell.

In the mean time, I will continue to make that “skrilla.”

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