It's about time I talk about another millennial issue on #MillenialFriday. Looking for a job seems to be a constant theme in the millennial world. The average millennial will have 10 different jobs/roles between 23 and 40. The job hunt is now a fact of life and it sucks. I hope to impart some wisdom on you, having gone through it a few times, including recently. You all can do it. I believe in you.
The job market is the minefield millennials must navigate once the safety net of college is pulled from beneath them. Initially, the search is exciting. Your friends are beside you, and you are in the struggle together. You have someone else to rely on in your hardship. As time goes on, your troop of friends slowly thins out as friends collect job offers. And you’re happy for them. They’ve achieved what you’re all looking for, what’s not to celebrate?
Eventually, it is no longer a race against recruiters, but rather, a race against the clock. Graduation is fast approaching so you take a job you don’t love, but you like enough. And hey, you got a job before graduation. Just like all your friends. It’s a fine job. The pay is fair. You’re happy with your decision, and your friends are happy for you.
The trouble with not loving what you do is you aren’t handed the rose-colored glasses to overlook the flaws of your new work environment. Long hours aren’t an issue if you love the way you spend that time. But you begin to see the flaws. If you aren’t challenged, your boss is terrible, or you’re supremely bored trouble starts to set in. The Sunday Scaries become less of a thing you joke about at brunch and more of a reason you lay waking at night. This job isn’t for you, and it’s time to find a new one. Here’s where it gets hard.
Looking for a job is a full time job. You knew that when got your first one while in school, but you didn’t realize it because you weren’t also working another full time job at the time. You went to networking events all afternoon and recruiters flocked to campus. Now you have a full schedule and there’s no one in sight. The resources you once had aren’t there, and your friends aren’t going through it with you. Remember what I said? It’s a fine job with fair pay, so you feel bad complaining on the weekends about it. You don’t want to bum your friends with the cool jobs out. Now you are struggling and no one knows. Which is what makes it a struggle.
You spend your days at your current job counting the minutes until you can leave, and once you are home, you are too exhausted to open a laptop and aimlessly apply online to a new job. But you have to muster the energy otherwise you are stuck there longer. It’s a snake eating its tail. Your nights are spent editing a resume, writing cover letters, and auto-filling your information into a website. You quickly become no fun. It’s worth it though. You are making steps to your goal.
You’ve finally applied to what sounds like a lot of places. It’s 30 places. And then roll in 13 rejects, and you don’t hear from the others. You know you’re qualified. That’s the only reason you’re pissed. So you go back to your bed, knees to your chest with your laptop wide open. You apply to another 30 places. You interview at three of them. They don’t want you. All this time you are spending your days with a boss you hate. Applying for a new job goes from your “second full time job” to the bane of your existence. Here is where it’s the hardest.
I brought you through all of that to tell you this. At the peak of your job search. At the height of your rejection. It’s okay. You’re going to be okay. Anyone who hasn’t had to look for a job doesn't know how hard it can be. I’ve had to, twice now. And I’m here to tell you, it’s okay. Those people that didn’t want you? You weren’t the right fit for them, but that also means they weren’t the right fit for you. I know you want a new job, but if it’s not the right job then you’ll be doing this all over again in seven months.
You must weather the click-through applications and pray you can auto-fill your LinkedIn a little longer. The right job will come along. And in the meantime, talk to your friends. They may not care how your job is going, but they care about how you are doing. The loneliness of it all only adds to the drama. Talk with your friends. Not because they might be able to help because they know someone, somewhere, but because they can help because they know you.
And your next job is going to be way better. You learned from your mistakes. You didn’t take the job that rolls in; you took the best one for you. Now you love your job, you met cool new co-workers, and you had a former salary to use as a starting place to talk about your new salary so congrats on the few extra bucks.
Finding a new job isn’t the end of the world, which is why no one talks about how sometimes it seems like it is. But it is hard, so I’m here to tell you, you aren’t crazy, and keep going. Best of luck to you.
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