Two months after *nothing* came from what I thought were AWEsome interviews at a national job interviewing fair (for student affairs jobs), someone told me that “people who get jobs right out of The Placement Exchange are more likely to leave sooner or be unhappy with their experience.” This has no basis in truth, but hearing something that resembled hope or optimism at a time when I felt most vulnerable (read: I can do this job, but I haven’t convinced myself of that yet) was extremely important.
It reminded me to be patient and not give up.
Here’s what patience looked like for me:
I started my actual searching in January of my second year of grad school.
I felt WAY behind, so naturally I freaked out.
I waited until the last minute to reach out to prospective employers.
But, I only interviewed with ones I actually could really see myself working with.
I measured myself against what I saw as “all of the amazing colleagues and classmates that were better than me and probably way ahead of me and just all around more qualified than I was.”
Hint: NOT PRODUCTIVE
I job searched in only one geographic area.
Then I opened it up to the whole US (minus the parts that get humid, minus the parts where I didn’t know anyone, minus the parts where I decided weren’t close enough to a major airport)… okay, so I didn’t open it up a whole lot, but if you know me, you know I can’t do humidity.
I focused on the (very cool) job that I really wanted: residence hall director. Me and about 2,000 other applicants apparently.
So then I opened it up to jobs that I could “deal with,” which just meant that I felt like I was ignoring my mission and my initial goal of being the coolest and most supportive RD ever…
I only cried when I was feeling really hopeless.
So about once a day was all I had time for 😉
I called home and asked if I could move back in with my parents.
They said if my brother didn’t beat me to it, it was all mine.
I made plans to job search from the Pacific Northwest, as that was where I wanted to be.
I left the guy I had really fallen for, but we stayed together because, as we both agreed, it would only be a month or two before I knew where I’d be working come September…
It was 6 months.
6 months of wondering why I didn’t yet have a job.
6 months of being able to spend precious time with my family.
6 months of agonizing over comparing myself to others.
6 months of hanging out with my dog.
6 months of applying to jobs while hanging out with my dog.
6 months of worrying.
6 months of getting to again appreciate how hard my parents have worked and how much they care about their kids.
6 good months even though everything was up in the air.
However, during 4 of those months I was able to work for my alma mater while my amazing friend, mentor, and soul-sister became a mother. And that’s pretty neat.
The best part is that during those same 4 months I actually continued to strengthen some of the things I had been trying to learn in graduate school: how to work with people who think/work differently than me; how to address conflict; how to take criticism constructively; how to supervise individuals, not a team; and most importantly, how to trust in my self and my abilities.
I think I will always still be working on that.
Anyways, fast forward to a few months into my first “big-kid” gig and I’m happy, yet I struggle; I’m challenged, yet I feel supported; I’m comfortable, yet I push myself; and I’m learning… which is everything to me.
Oh, and Brian found his job within 10 minutes of meeting a “connection.”
How do I get one of those? 😉
So, patience, my friends, looks very different for every one of us. In my journey, I didn’t feel I had a choice (as in, I wasn’t getting job offers and turning them down in order to “wait for something better” type of patience), but I didn’t settle and I didn’t ever truly commit to something that wouldn’t fulfill me. I painstakingly waited until “the right thing came along.” And then I pounced on it, and they saw what they were looking for in me.
And that’s more awesome than getting a job right away. Sort of. That would have been cool, too. But then I’d be at some other school, with other coworkers, with a potentially annoying group of students to work with 😉 but I got mine. Patience really does pay off…
Over and out,
Employed Girl in Like