When I first moved to New York I read a quote that the great Carrie Bradshaw said (that was written for her by great writers). The quote was “In New York, you’re always looking for a job, a boyfriend or an apartment.” After five years of being here and lots of conversations with friends I find this to be 100% true. I have not found one person who has their dream job, apartment and significant other at the same time. I also find this to be true in most cities in the US. What sucks is when you’re looking for all three at the same time! Since I have looked for all of them, I have done my fair share of being frustrated.
Though I can talk and write for hours about all three, I decided to go with one that is most prevalent in my life right now. These are the stages you go through when looking for a new job:
1. “Let me reach out to my network” stage
This is usually the first stage we all go through. It usually happens after you get out of a terrible meeting and you know you can’t put yourself through the stress of this low-paying job anymore, or you realize your unemployment and savings are extremely low, or (if you’re a lucky person) you had that conversation with your parents and they feel like it’s time for you to start taking more responsibility for your life (i.e. no more rent help). So you start to fix up your LinkedIn page, go through social media and either turn everything on super private mode or start deleting those drunken 3am tweets and selfies. You then start reconnecting with old friends, some you haven’t talked to in ages and some you have been trying to avoid for ages. These are the people who seem to have their life together and you’re sure they can help you. So you polish up your resume and get to sending those wonderful “long time no talk, hope all is well, oh and here is my resume” emails.
2. “Where do I start” stage
Once you realize your network is not as helpful as you wanted it to be, so you start asking around how everyone found their job. Many questions start to pop up: Do you pay for the premium LinkedIn account? Is Craiglist still a thing for jobs? Does Indeed really have 100,000+ jobs? Do you have enough experience to get a head-hunter? Are there still head-hunters around? After all these questions, you realize that not only are you confused but this is going to be harder than it looks! Then the biggest question comes – “What do I even want to do with my life?”
3. “Time to test this out” stage
This is the time when you’re kind of testing the waters and want to see what’s out there. You start out sending your resume and creating different cover letters. It’s almost a way to sharpen your skills, like a practice go around. You barely read any of the job descriptions; you just apply to start applying. It’s fun and helpful! You start practicing interview questions and building up your confidence. So when you indeed take this seriously and land that dream interview, it’s yours for the taking.
4. “This is easier than I thought” stage
Your resume starts getting some traction. You start taking phone interviews; you make it into a couple of in-person interviews. The pace is picking up and you know in a month or two you will be settling into your new job.
5. “Well there goes my confidence” stage
After a couple of interviews and a couple of “I am sure I have this job” thoughts; you realize nothing is sticking. You start to wonder if it’s you. I mean you’re getting call backs and you’re corresponding with HR people, so why isn’t anything sticking. Do you not look the part? Are there errors in your ‘thank you’ emails? Did they see that post on Instagram of you at the day party a month ago? Did you overdo it on the interview outfit? Or was it too casual? All of these questions and more come up in your head and your confidence starts to slip. You start becoming obsessed with getting a new job and even your friends are tired of hearing you talk about it.
6. “Maybe I just need some good-karma” stage
This is when you start finding yourself being extra nice to strangers, giving money to the homeless people you walk past, or even spending your Saturday’s volunteering instead of brunching. You realize the more good you put out in the world; the better your chances are at landing that dream career.
7. “’F’ it I am going to be a stripper” stage
After that interview for the position you really wanted (not to be confused with the “I am sure I will like it here” wanted) you get on Instagram and you realize: these hoes be winning. You see the Kardashians are living the good life, your favorite person you love to stalk who you don’t know seems to travel everywhere, have the best clothes; yet they never mention anything about work. You start to think who do I have to sleep with or dance for to be like these people. I don’t want a 9 to 5, I want to live the good life!!
8. “Don’t waste my time” stage
So you have come to your senses and you realize that what is on social media is not real life (also you have morals), you start to get angry with some of these hiring people. After that BS email they sent you that says: “Though you were a strong candidate, we decided to go with someone else. Please keep checking our site for open positions” blah blah. You drafted up an email telling them that after one phone interview and two in person interviews you feel like they have just been messing with you and you do not appreciate them wasting your time. You want to tell them so badly that what they are interviewing you for is not rocket science and anyone can pick up and learn it. That they need to stop acting like they are the only company that is extremely busy and has long days. Every company has its busy moments and every new hire will require some type of training; your company/position is no exception. Of course (well hopefully) you don’t send, but it’s good to write the email and get it out of your system.
9. “I’m going to get a small job and unleash my inner-artist” stage (or just go back to school)
Why should you be tied down to a company anyway? You should be your own boss; you want to work for you! We all have these thoughts and after countless numbers of dead-end interviews you decide that you want to take up your passion for the arts (writing, photography, music, acting, modeling, etc). You think to yourself “I am just going to get a small job at a book store or local bar, so I can have more free time to work on what I really want to do”. F the 9 to 5 life, it’s time that you start living freely. If you don’t have an artistic bone in your body, then this is when you decide to go back to school. Maybe this is the universe’s way of letting you know this is the perfect time to get a Masters or go to the trade school you have been looking at. Either way, you’re over the job hunting.
10. “What is meant to be will be” stage
This is when you decide to stop worrying. You have reached out to all your contacts, you have weighed out all your options (the becoming a nomad still seems like the best idea) and you realized that when the right position is ready for you, then it will be your time. You do not give up, you just stop worrying. You become less consumed with what ISN’T happening in your life and start appreciating what IS in your life. You aren’t homeless and starving (maybe broke) but you still have clothes on your back and friends/family to help you during this time. You realize that you will figure it out soon and you can only go up from here.
Good luck in this job seeking world. Just remember that you will eventually find work (or the person who is making your current job miserable will leave). Hang in there and it will work out for you; just work harder, get more aggressive in your search and prepare harder for your interviews. Something eventually has to give; either a perfect position will open up at a friend’s company, a company lands a new client and now has the budget to bring you on, or your morals go out the window and you find a sponsor. Either way this is just a low point, that you will get past!