Bullish Q&A: I Keep Interviewing for Jobs I Don’t Really Want

Settle Bullishly

I was laid off in June. Since, I’ve been working 40+ hours a week in a restaurant while networking (i.e. drinking a lot of coffee and beer with other engineers), applying, and interviewing for jobs. “Doing everything right” is exhausting in it’s own right, but more frustrating is sitting in interviews and realizing mid-way that I have no desire to work for the firm or in their niche. Is there a bullish/graceful way to deal with those realizations? Or is this just a standard job-hunt crisis?


I have heard of highly paid professionals being laid off and taking as long as 18 months to find a new job. To me, that’s such a class issue (see Bullish: Social Class in the Office) – I found it shocking. I’ve always come from people who, if they lost a job, would need to find a new one within about two weeks, or everything falls apart.

So, how much savings do you have? Does the restaurant pay okay? You don’t mention money troubles.

But the longer you work in a restaurant, the harder it’s going to be to get a good job offer.

And many job offers come with a salary heavily based on your last salary. But if your last salaried job was over a year ago, I think some depreciation will take place.

There’s a lot you can’t tell about a job from the interview process. Your experience of the job will have a lot to do with people you haven’t met yet. With the guy who sits next to you. With the funny receptionist. With the walkable lunch options. With the cool project that comes down the pipeline sometime next year.

I think you should rate how much you want to work at each place on a scale of 1 (this is a fresh hell) to 10 (dream job).

If it’s at least a 6, forget about the 10.

If you’re early in your career, like most Bullish readers, prioritize salary over lifestyle factors – your salary for the next few decades, hopefully in more exciting jobs, may very well be pegged to the salary you get during this job hunt.

Of course, there are some other options. Maybe you’re realizing you want to open a restaurant. (Or a brewery?)

Maybe the fact that you don’t know what niche you want to work in is a good excuse to ask for informational interviews with engineers in different niches (but it kind of sounds like you’re already doing that, with beer).

I think that probably, you should take the highest-paying, okay-but-not-thrilling job you can get, and put every possible ounce of effort into setting the tone when you arrive – making work buddies, getting on the right projects, etc.

A lot of your actual experience of one of these “meh” jobs is either unknowable at this time, or something you can affect.

Good luck!

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