In the past few years the United States has witnessed some of its most financially stable businesses make major cut-backs in human capital. The year 2007 alone saw a total loss of 153,000 jobs in the financial services sector, with an estimated additional loss of 200,000 on the horizon through 2009. With the law of averages being the way that they are, this does not fare too well for us gay folk.
Though there is little literature about the rate of increase of unemployment in the gay/lesbian community, we all know that what this translates to is that unless we step up to the plate and be more aggressive in our job search success, we will be finding a lot less time for spending time worrying about our next trip to San Juan and more about how we will pay our next car payment.
Having close to a decade's worth of experience hiring and managing (and on some occasions, firing) employees, in addition to being in the "hot seat" a few times myself, I have devised a five-step plan to help the Alternate-Life styled job seeker getting ready for their initial interview with "The Man" and teach him how to stave off some of the insecurities of being true to one's self.
Step 1. Throw Your Standards Out The Door
Looking for a job is not like sizing up the night's next boudoir conquest. You may have to begin a new career at a lower level than your past job. Get your foot in the door and prove your work with hard work and dedication. Keep this in mind during your interview.
Step 2. Sheik Is Not Just A City In China
The way that you dress is very important and easy way to create a great first impression. Keep it simple but stylish and do not go overboard. A good rule of thumb is to dress one level above the job in which you are applying.
Step 3. Leave The Ex Out Of It
During an interview, it is inevitable that you will be asked about something in your personal life. There are several areas in which it is illegal for potential employers to ask you about, but you do not want to seem too stand off-ish about your home life. Be prepared to be open and honest, but only as mush as you are comfortable. Rule of thumb: Do not tell your potential employer anything that you would not want to divulge to your own mother.
Step 4. Me Talk Pretty One Day
If only David Sedaris took heed to this bit of advice during his travels in France, he may have had a bit more luck in his endeavors while overseas. Make sure that your diction, verb tense and pronunciation are all correct. There is nothing more debilitating to an interview then sounding as if you woke up on the wrong side of your double-wide (no offence to those "fam" members who reside in a trailer park, but you get what I mean).
Step 5. Get On, Stay and Leave On The Good Foot!
Being a gay man in the new century does not inherit to the grace and savior-fair of the Windsor family, but for the most part, we can hold our own in the grace area. Use these well learned traits to enter the interview in a polite manor and use etiquette to help leave a good impression. Who knows, if everything goes well, you may leave with a job and a date for the evening.
As stated in the beginning, the job market is getting more competitive with the multitude of lay-offs and the rising unemployment rate. With an over whelming tradition of discrimination against gays/and lesbians, this climbing rate does not look too promising for our kind. With following these simple steps, you too can make through this momentary downward spiral virtually unscathed and, maybe, a bit better than before.