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Job hunting as a senior engineer

My current employer is in the process of going out of business, and today is my last day of employment. The prognosis has been grim for months, but it was only confirmed a few weeks ago after some earlier hailmarys fell through. And so a few weeks ago, I began my first job hunt in over seven years.

Seven years ago, I was ending my first professional software job and moving cross-country from Missouri to Massachussetts. I only had two years of experience writing software, and though it was nerve-wracking, my opportunities in the marketplace were quite varied and abundant, especially because I was relocating to a tech hub (Boston). I think I spent maybe a month, month and a half total from when I began job hunting to when I walked into the office for my first day. I had two or three interviews and took the first job I was offered.

I recall that back then I felt a similar sort of time pressure as I feel now: a part of the reason I jumped on the first offer was because I actually really liked the team, but the primary reason was because I had moved to Boston without a job and my rent had just doubled. I don’t like the thought of not having income, and presently I think I’d make a similar decision and jump on the first opportunity I get which satisfies my minimum criteria, in order to maintain my quality of life with minimal disruption.

But that seems to be a taller order than it was seven years ago. Or maybe I just don’t remember the richness of the experience after all this time, I don’t know.

I’ve submitted about 30-40 job applications this month, and only one company wanted to continue the conversation; progress stopped after the second phone call. It’s mentally draining, spending my days crawling job crawlers, investigating possible employers, crafting responses to open-ended questions. And every time I submit an application, I feel a spark of hope and excitement. That was a good one, I think, and I check my email for the confirmation of submission.


Thank you for applying to Our Company!

We wanted to let you know that we have received your application. While we’re not able to respond to every applicant, our recruiting team will contact you if we think this is a good match.

In the mean time, please be sure to like and subscribe!

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Best of luck!

These days, the spark of excitement fades almost as soon as I hit the Archive button on my inbox. In a few hours, I’ll receive the other automated email I’m growing accustomed to now, regarding an application I submitted days ago:

Hi Daniel,

Thank your for your interest in position 179036 - Software Engineer. After carefully reviewing your resume, we decided we will not be moving your application forward.

But fear not! We have other open positions listed on our career page, if you didn’t notice when you applied to this one. We encourage you to apply to another, because we’re hiring and you’re looking for work.

Also don’t forget to like and subscribe!

Kind regards.

In case you missed the snark in there, I think I’m starting to get bitter about it. I really shouldn’t be, I suppose: I’ve only received a rejection notice about 7 times, which means I’m still waiting to hear back about roughly 80% of my applications. But I can’t seem to stop each rejection from wearing on me.

~ Daniel.
2 months ago