Jumping Jiminy Crickets!

It’s a beautiful Autumn day today and I decided to go for a walk around my neighbourhood. Sweatpants and t-shirt were all that was needed although I kind of wish I had worn shorts instead.

I set off up our block towards the park, thinking I’d stop and sit under a tree and think about stuff, but it was so windy that I was genuinely concerned that the tree may fall on my head! So, I kept on trucking. Up the hill, down the hill, up again and back down.

What I did discover was that every leaf in St. Louis deposited itself under my feet. All, that is, except for the leaves on the tree in front of my house. That tree is hanging on dearly to its leaves and waiting for a time when, just as I think I’ve finished raking everything up, it’s going to let go of a hundred million of those little darlings all over the front yard!

I also forgot to tie my hair up. Big mistake! My hair flew from the one side of my head, to the other side and ended up sticking straight up. Even my eyebrows and eyelashes blew around. It wasn’t the Cape Town type of wind where you have to lean into it to be able to walk forward, but rather huge gusts that take you by surprise and cause you to lose your balance a little.

Today is trash day too, so all the recycle bins have been blown over and are starting to be blown down the street. That should cause some interesting moments when everyone comes home from work and tries to figure out which bin is theirs. I’m sneaky – I’ve painted our house number inside ours.

The pretty season is over! I’m sad to see it go, but we had a good run and Autumn has been lovely. I think we’re on the bottom end of it now and heading towards winter – my favourite season. It means the holidays are around the corner. Thanksgiving next week (wait, what??) and 6 weeks later, Christmas! In just over a week’s time I will be hauling all our Christmas decorations out and plopping them all over the house. Maybe even a few things for outside too this year, seeing as we will be home.

In the meantime I’m going to enjoy this lovely weather and take my cuppa tea outside!

Cover Letters

Is it just me or does everyone hate writing cover letters to accompany their resumes?

I’ve been on Unemployment since April 2020 and have been applying for jobs since June 2020. The job market really is saturated right now and if you are in the medical profession (especially a nurse) you can pretty much name your price. St. Louis has several great hospitals so the need for good medical professionals is high. I, on the other hand, have not an ounce of medical experience in my body, so that’s out!

When applying online for many jobs, employers sometimes make it mandatory for you to include a cover letter. This is basically a precis of your resume and bragging rights for you to tell them why they need you. I’m seriously lousy at that, because, for one, I have no idea what to brag about and two, I always underestimate myself and consider myself to be terrible at what I do (I’m not, I’m brilliant).

When I left South Africa, I left a great job with a great company who looked after me, appreciated me for what I did, and I felt safe and secure there. Since arriving in the US and getting into the work environment I have never found my niche. I felt like I took a giant step backwards and since then, my skills have been forgotten and my confidence is at rock bottom. I’m also 15 years older!

The last time I was on Unemployment was after Hurricane Katrina. We’d bounced around a bit and finally found ourselves feeling more at home in St. Louis. I started volunteering at a non-profit and out of the blue they offered me a job. It suited my needs, was convenient and close to home, but in hindsight I should have moved on years ago. I wasn’t stimulated, I was disgusted with the overall management of the business and there was no scope for me at all. That job was the downfall of my skills, confidence and abilities. I should have known better.

Unemployment is a little different this time round. COVID-19 has dictated new aspects to be considered. This time round I’m actually getting rejection letters! Who knew that I’d be delighted to get a rejection letter? I’m sure they are automatically sent out by the respective websites, but still! Some letters tell me how many applicants applied for the job – it’s seldom less than 100.

Then there’s the cover letter. I hate the cover letter. Why send a cover letter when all the information you need is in my resume? Isn’t that why we have a resume? What happened to “look at my experience”, “look at my qualifications”, “check out my volunteer stuff”, “look at my accreditations and accolades”! Why do I need to spill it out again in a letter? Did you just read my resume and instantly forget everything in it, and need a letter to remind yourself? I have worked for an employment agency in South Africa and in the USA and they are pretty similar. The only main difference being the cover letter. In South Africa we don’t care about it. In the USA, YOU MUST HAVE IT, otherwise we just don’t know who you are and we cannot possibly consider you for a position because no cover letter means that you’re really not interested in the job.

Let’s scrap the cover letter and polish our resumes, include everything that is needed so that we cut down on paper. I have no idea who I am in the workplace. My skills, and lack thereof, are undefined and don’t fit into what I know. Most jobs here have fancy titles that really mean nothing. Everyone is a director of something or a research something or an executive whatever. Call a spade, a spade. Pay people what they are worth and give applicants an opportunity.