Gambling on craigslist

I’ve been seriously looking for work for over a month now and of course, that means immersing myself in the unique world of craigslist.

The whole process is so impersonal and anonymous that looking for work on craigslist seems as much like playing a game of chance as it does matching the right person to the job. I believe that if I play the game long enough, eventually the odds will come up in my favor and I’ll hit the jackpot. In the case of craigslist, that would mean an email reply leading to an interview.

Lately, I’ve been starting to feel like one of those gray-haired ladies who sits for hours in front of the slots, plugging quarter-after-quarter into the machine and pulling the arm. Except instead of being in a casino, I’m sitting in front of the computer constantly refreshing the craigslist screen waiting to see what’s going to pop up. Is it going to be cherries ““ meaning something I can apply for ““ or lemons. Darn. Same listings as last time.

This whole exercise can start to get addictive because there is always the hope that this will be the time that the perfect job appears and if I jump on it, my resume will be in the first batch to hit and I will beat the deluge of resumes that is certain to follow. Oh my gosh, I’ve become a craigslist junkie.

To try and improve my odds and because I can do a lot of different things ““ small business owners like myself have a lot of different skills and I’m not above emptying the trash and watering the plants ““ I check four different categories of North Bay job listings: starting with “admin / office” at the top, then working my way down through “marketing / pr / ad,” then “writing / editing” and just for kicks, the “etc” category.

If I’m feeling really desperate, I also check “retail / wholesale.” The nice part about craigslist is that because you apply online, I don’t have to suffer the humiliation of going into a store and asking a 21-year-old assistant manager if I can fill out an application only to be told that they aren’t currently hiring.

I have come across some unusual job postings, “$25,000 for Surrogate Mothers,” and “Floating Dog Handlers.” That last one actually had to do with filling in shifts for regular employees and not bobbing with dogs in the Bay as I had originally thought.

But my favorite posting so far has been for an “Office Manager / Personal Assistant / Childcare” in Marin. When I first saw this posting probably three weeks ago, the description included “after-school care for an 11 year-old girl” followed by the comment, “You will be challenged.” The posting just recently reappeared on craigslist minus the description of the daughter’s attitude. I guess Mary Poppins wasn’t available.

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