Good morning! Good evening! Good afternoon! Good whenever-you're-reading-this!
The last time we spoke, we were coming out of the haze of the Major World Event That Shall Not Be Named. It was a weird time to be sure; one full of strange hobbies and hyper-fixations, none of which shall be mentioned by name either. Since then, I graduated from college with an actual big girl degree and have found myself, once again, in the midst of a Weird Time. It's the in-between time. I deem this the "Time Between Times". You see, dear void, I (along with many other recent college graduates) am embarcing on a fantastical journey. A journey filled with possibility and adventure and promise.... and strife and grief and resentment; a journey where one must face both conquest and defeat. Yes, you've guessed it. I'm talkin' about the ever-present, all-consuming Job Market.
[Insert dramatic sound effect here].
For those of you who don't know what it is like to be a recent college graduate seeking a job, I'll tell you. It's grim. So grim, in fact, that many have lost hope for any sort of employment. They've resigned themselves to the limbo of listlessness. They sit at home in agitation, with fiddling hands and shaking legs, riddled with the anxiety of the unknown. Their inboxes are crowded with job recommendations from LinkedIn, Indeed, and the like; serving as a constant dreary reminder of their unemployed status. They battle parental figures breathing down their necks, like a foreboding manifestations of all of their fears.
"Yes, mom/dad, I've been applying to jobs."
"No, I haven't received an offer yet."
"I don't know what to tell you. I've edited my resume 4 times in the past four weeks."
"Well, I might as well work at a gas station if nobody's going to hire me."
"No, that was a joke... I'm not going to work at a gas station when I have a college degree."
Envy runs rampant during this time period, turning even the most happy-go-lucky of individuals green in the face as they hear of friends and acquaintances accepting job offers and opportunities. "Why haven't I heard anything back?" they might ask themselves. They might even scoff as their once-slacker peers rattle off their new job descriptions. And as they perform interview after interview, wearing whatever business attire they can scrounge out of their post-college closet, their determination begins to dwindle. Insecurity sets in. They look back at the last four years and wonder if they made the right choices with their major, their part-time jobs, and even their universities. They might even look back and kick themselves for not studying harder for the SAT. It is a rather dramatic time for us new alumni.
So, what hope is there?
If you asked me this question just yesterday (mid-crisis), I would tell you that there is little to none. However, when I'm not in my moments of weakness, I consider myself to be a positive person with a positive mindset. I believe that when you open yourself to the possibilities, then opportunity will follow. "Stay the course," I tell you and myself, simultaneously. If not today, then tomorrow, next week, or next month you will find what you are looking for.(Ironically, just after I started writing this post, with all intent to complain to you about my lack of prospects, I received a job offer to my top choice. So, after all this ranting and raving, not all hope is lost.)
In all honesty I must admit to you that I, too, had lost hope, having applied to an average 4 jobs a day over the past month and a half. I, too, heard nothing back for weeks and weeks on end. I, too, had multiple panic attacks about my future. And I, too, have no idea what I am doing.
As the title of this blog says: I am not in my element.
With that being said, I am an educator by nature. "Unsolicited Advice" is my name and "Anybody Who Listens" is my game. Therefore, dear void, I shall give you all I have learned this past month about how to avoid the mortal sin of Listlessness during the Time Between Times.
Let's get right into it.
Tip 1: Avoid thinking about it too hard.
Overthinking is a symptom of the modern world. And while I believe it is important to be intentional about your job search, I do not believe that overanalyzing each job you apply for is conducive for a successful job hunt. Freaking yourself out about each potential job will not help you land said potential job. Take a breath and click "Apply".
Tip 2: Cast a wide net
Maybe you aren't qualified for a certain role. Or, maybe you don't know if you want to be a Content Writer or a Technical Editor. Who cares? Apply anyways. You never know what might open up for you if you do. And even if these roles don't work out, you'll know a little more about what you want and what you don't want. (I had this moment only a few hours ago, so you know I'm profoundly wisened on this topic.)
Tip 3: Preoccupy yourself with other things
Personally, I am not good at having nothing to do. It stresses me out more than having too much to do and leaves me pacing my house looking for something, anything, to make me to feel productive. Boredom is not good for mental health. Read that book you've been putting off reading. Test that recipe you told yourself you'd try out. Go on that hike that you've had saved on your TikTok likes for months. At the end of the day you can say to yourself "I applied to 3 jobs AND I finally wrote a post on my blog that I accidentally spent $200 on just to keep the URL even though I haven't updated it in over a year." Just me? Okay. Moving on....
Tip 4: Don't be afraid to ask for advice
Pride, after all, is a mortal sin. Don't let it get in the way of learning something useful. It is true that your parental figure might not been on the job market since Clinton was in office. But between the slightly unhelpful, the stressful, and the dated advice, they might be a crumb or two of wisdom to offer. I, myself, have since endured hours of semi-lectures via phone call from my parental figures, many of which ended in tense "goodbyes", some even in tears (not my own, obviously). If you don't wish to brave the Battle of Hard Conversations with Parents, you can also ask your friends for advice and guidance because they're either going through the same thing as you or have just gone through it.
Finally, Tip 5, and the cheesiest of all: Be yourself and trust your gut
Stay true to your goals even in the face of hopelessness and continue to aim high. The world is so filled with people who regret following the money over following their passions. It is my greatest fear to be one of those people and I pray that you, dear void, do not become one of those people as well. If you don't yet know what your passion is, follow what sparks your interest and see where it leads you. You may just find that you do, in fact, love the world of commercial real estate, or sales, or pharmaceutical research. You are not your job; it is simply something you do, not your whole identity.
Finally, dear void, know this: that while you don't exactly know where you are going, you are on your way.