Intending to Keep the Faith During Job Hunting

job huntingby Rachel Kossman 

It is my intent to stay positive as I search for a writing and web-editing job, but I’m struggling. The job search is time consuming, frustrating, and seemingly endless. It can often be fruitless for long periods of time, which is a truly demoralizing feeling. I feel as though a black hole is swallowing every cover letter and resume I send out to the interwebs.

I told myself I would do at least three things a day, even if they’re small, to forward my job search – sending out a networking email, writing a follow up message, searching LinkedIn for connections, starting a posting, or sending in an application. It was manageable, and there were days where I did twenty tasks, not just three. I was chugging along, gaining optimism the more I put myself out there.

Then, I got an interview for a full time gig I could easily label my dream job. A phone interview led to an in person interview, which led to a second in person interview, and then a cross-country phone call with a third employee. I thought I had it in the bag. All my energy and excitement hung on the prospect of this job.  Yesterday, they gave it to somebody else.

So now I’m back to square one. Slowly plodding away, one task at a time. This time, I’ve upped my expectations for myself: at least five tasks a day. It has only been three weeks since the interview process started, but it feels like ages ago. I’ve lost my steam.

I want to stay focused and determined as I look for people and companies who will believe in my writing abilities, and pay me for the content I produce. But with this experience of nearly nabbing my dream job — being told I’m great, but not quite great enough, it’s seeming even more difficult to remain positive.

Everyone told me job searching would be hard. But isn’t the truth that things aren’t really hard until you experience them yourself? Everyone told me how much I would struggle, and part of me knew that I would. But I said to myself “It’ll be a challenge but I can manage, it won’t be that bad!” And that statement seemed true when this interview opportunity came along. I had worked hard, and it had seemed to pay off. But now I’m feeling down, and it seems like my hard work has landed me nowhere, and I’m struggling.

California’s unemployment rate is nearly eight percent. With a statewide population of just over 38 million, that means more than 3.5 million people are out of work and looking for jobs. And that doesn’t include the folks who are working a job they don’t want, and are searching for another position on the side.

I have to remind myself that I’m not the only person facing this battle.

I have to remind myself to stay motivated, and not let my frustration and sadness get the best of me, because those emotions don’t lead to productivity, and what I need right now is to keep moving and working toward my goal.

I have to remind myself that instead of a retail or waitressing job that pays little and wears your body down, I have found an amazing nanny job for a wonderful family that pays my bills in the interim.

I have to remind myself that I’m in always sunny Los Angeles, so having an irregular schedule with days that don’t start until 5 PM means I can hike with my golden retriever in the mornings and still have the afternoons to work on job applications.

I have to remind myself that even though this feels like a giant back step, it’s a great sign that I scored an interview for a job I truly wanted, and that has to mean there are bigger and better opportunities out there for me.

I have to remind myself that if three tasks a day (and on good days, many more) led to that opportunity, pushing myself to do five will only help me succeed faster.

And I have to remind myself that I’m only 25 (with my entire life to work) and that regardless of whether I’m job searching for one more month or six more months, in the scheme of my life, this will only be a blip.

Rachel is an aspiring writer and journalist, born and raised in Los Angeles. She lived in Boston for six years, where she attended Northeastern University and wrote for Boston.com and the Boston Globe, Her Campus, Bay Windows, South End News, and Tech Target. Rachel spent much of 2012 backpacking and blogging her way across South America. Follow her on Twitter @rachelsarahsays, and check out her blog on RachelKossman.com.

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