The Many Joys Of Job Hunting


I went to a transportation center yesterday, a truck depot where they train new truck and bus drivers.  I signed up for a four week paid training to get my CDL (commercial driver’s license) so I can perhaps become a school bus or truck driver.  One of the reasons I am doing this is because I’m getting into logistics and carrier sales which involves interacting with lots of truck drivers and shippers.  If I can get some truck driving experience I’ll have a leg up when I dive into that world.

I’ve been following the r/sales subreddit.  I tend to stay away from reddit, but this forum has a lot of useful information which has helped me in my job search.  There’s a section on r/sales for new salesmen, people like me who are trying to break into the industry.  One tip is not to apply for jobs online, but to try to find the hiring managers or sales managers and to call them directly.  When people apply for jobs on the companies’ hiring page, the best they can hope for is that they will get contacted by a recruiter.  The job of a recruiter is to *screen you out*!  Also, recruiters don’t even make the hiring decisions- those are made by people in the actual departments, or by higher level executives.

Alas, sometimes I have no choice but to interview with recruiters.  Some of the larger logistics companies may have local offices here in Chicago, but these offices don’t have their own phone number, and all calls are routed through the central office which can be in a different city.  There’s no way to call the hiring or sales managers directly.  I end up filling out online applications, and waiting for the recruiters to call me.

Usually, I’ll get rejected without even an initial interview.  I’ll get a message  from HR saying, “Competition for this job is high, and we have made the difficult decision not to move forward with your application.”

The difficult decision.


That’s what Beethoven wrote on his last string quartet, Opus 135- “The Difficult Decision”.

I mean, putting down a beloved pet dog because you can no longer take care of it properly is “a difficult decision”.

Deciding not to move forward on a total stranger’s job application, in a sea of other digital applications, should not be a difficult decision.  Of course, these “difficult decision” emails come from a no-reply third-party account, so I can’t write a letter back, saying, “You know, I know that must have been a really difficult decision for you to make, because you said it was a difficult decision.  But remember, life is full of difficult decisions, and in spite of this crushing blow, please, please, not for a single second should you blame yourself.  No!  I’ll be okay, I will carry on, l I WILL LIVE!”

Another stock phrase I encounter in these “we can’t move forward letters” is “We were impressed with your credentials!”

We were impressed with your credentials!

I just imagine a CEO getting up on a chair, holding up my printed resume to the light, and shouting, “This is the ONE- the chosen, the sales messiah!  Too bad we’re full up,” and he hands it to his assistant to put in the paper shredder.

Sometimes recruiters will send me form letters, once again, containing the obligatory “difficult decision” that they can’t move forward with my application, along with the usual “competition is high”, and how “impressed we were” by my overwhelming list of accomplishments- but from their own email accounts, which can take replies.  In that case I’ll send a tongue-in-cheek reply, stating, “I really appreciate the time and care you spent crafting that letter, John.  By the way, could you please send me the email and phone number of the hiring and sales manager?”

But about a third of the time I do get interviews with recruiters.  And, while recruiters don’t have the power to hire me, it’s never a waste of time to talk to them.  The interviews usually last half an hour, but I usually spend about five hours preparing- researching the company, watching videos on best practice in cold calling and customer contact.  I learn a lot just from preparing for them.  Also, I get to polish my interview skills, be a ham, and ask questions about the company and what the recruiter is looking for.  I’ve listed on my resume my achievements in poetry memorization, and so I enjoy talking about that.  The recruiters I’ve spoken to have all been really nice people.  I can discern that they wish me well, but they also acknowledge the fact that they don’t make the hiring decisions.

I have been successful, thankfully, in calling and connecting with some hiring managers at smaller local freight brokerages.  So, we will see…

I’m a little nervous about becoming a truck driver, even temporarily, just because the profession tends to attract serial killers.  Really.  Twenty-five serial killers are currently serving life sentences for murders they committed while driving trucks.  Truck drivers all tend to sleep in the same truck motels off the interstates.  So, at night I could be sleeping in a motel full of latent Norman Bates, just waiting for me to close my eyes and drift off.   I’ve thought about putting up a sign on the door of my suite saying,  “I am not a serial killer” just to reassure the hotel staff and other non-truck driving guests.  But then that could attract the attention and ire of the other truck drivers, and I need to stay on their “good side”.  So, I’ve concluded that if I do stay at one of these hotels during an interstate long haul, my sign should read “I am a serial killer”.

Of course, getting into sales isn’t a bowl of cherries either.  The salesmen I’ve spoken to, whether in health care, logistics, or medical technology, all look a little haggard, with a hollow, vacant stare.  It’s a demanding job.  Your soul is the first thing you sell as a salesmen- and to the lowest bidder, too!  One of the hottest threads on the r/sales subreddit is “Why are we all amphetamine users?”  Followed by “Why are all salesmen alcoholics?”  Followed by “How can I take my clients out to dinner and still be sober enough to drive them home?”

Great, I’ll be working eleven hours a day in a call center with a bunch of junkies selling transportation solutions to a bunch of serial killers!  This is exactly the future I had envisioned when I graduated college!  Well, wish me luck!  I have to go to work on my script!

“Sorry to bother you- please don’t kill me…”

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