I started looking for a job in May and got an offer in October. That’s six months. Maybe to you that doesn’t seem like a very long time. Maybe it does. To me, it felt like F.O.R.E.V.E.R.
But, now that the search is over, I have the benefit of hindsight. As Steve Jobs said in his 2005 Stanford commencement speech, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” I guess you could say I am beginning to have faith that my dots will connect.
So, now that I can see the forest for the trees, here are three things I learned during my job hunt:
1. Never compare your insides to someone else’s outsides.” – Rob Lowe, via the Nerdist Podcast
After the second month of job hunting, I started to wonder, “What’s wrong with me?“. And after month four of the search, I became absolutely convinced something was wrong with me. I felt like I had lost myself and wondered if I’d ever be able to get my career, and my life, back on track. Social media only exasperated my feelings of inadequacy, especially because almost everyone I follow on Instagram is a successful business owner. Also, I have super awesome friends who are all doing super awesome things. But, as Mark Twain said, “Comparison is the death of joy.” Self-comparison truly was robbing me of my joy. The most useful advice I received is that we are all in different places in our journey so it is unnecessary to compare your progress to someone further along because you may eventually end up in the place you want to be anyways.
2. Let others help you.
My natural inclination is to not ask for help and do everything myself. But, if there is ever a time to ask for help, it’s when you are job hunting. I did things uncharacteristic to my somewhat introverted personality, like email people I didn’t know to ask if I could meet with them to learn about their career path. While some of my requests didn’t go anywhere, some of them did, and each of the meetings offered me a piece of advice I was able to integrate into my job search, whether it be a change to my resume or a recruiter to contact. In the end, some of the advice that was offered ended up being game-changing.
3. Your aren’t in it alone.
My husband calls me Eeyore (lovingly, I’m sure). He sees the upside of everything and always says, “Just try it.” when I’m listing five thousand reasons why something is a bad idea. His positivity sometimes makes me crazy because occasionally it doesn’t appear rooted in reality, but I’m certain our children will benefit from having a father that believes in them without exception. My husband was great at reminding me that I wasn’t in this job hunt alone- that we were a team who, as individuals, have a vested interest in each other’s success. Job hunting is a lonely journey, so don’t go it alone. Find someone who understands what you are going through- whether it be a friend or a person you met at an employment networking group- because you’ll need the support when the going gets tough.
Have you had to learn similar lessons? What were yours?
(Image by Lauren Proctor)