I’ve been job hunting since pretty much last May, even before I finished my Master’s, but let’s only count the months after I got back home. Since August last year, I probably applied to hundreds of jobs, went through countless phone interviews, in-person interviews, and I still couldn’t find anything. It was especially more heartbreaking since I came so close – like I went through the final rounds of interviews – but those companies ended up postponing their hiring or went under hiring freeze. What are the chances, right?
Truth be told, I was quite depressed the last 6 months while I was job hunting. I already am suffering from anxiety attacks and asthma, and all this stress was not doing any good on my body as well as my psychological state. I knew it probably was a matter of time until I find a job, but I just couldn’t bear the stress. All my life I’ve been spoiled, getting everything I wanted if I put my mind to it – from getting into a university, master’s, friends, family, etc. But job hunting was the only aspect of my life where I couldn’t have any control over. I tried to control myself, but some days I would be just extremely depressed – there’s no other way of describing it – and I would stay in my room and just cry all day. My parents were worried about me, my boyfriend as well, and I refused to attend any social events until I got a job. It truly was the time to see how weak I am.
I was getting used to those generic ‘thank you for applying, but we regret to inform you…’ emails. I was also getting used to just silence after application/interviews. I was looking for jobs online, pulling every string of connections, dropping names, letting everyone around me that I was looking for a job. But it just wasn’t working out. It seemed like my resume wasn’t even going through the initial HR screening, and if a company wanted to have an interview with me, they were ‘looking for someone junior that can do a senior person’s job’ – meaning that they’re going to pay me an entrance level salary while I do much more work.
This was one of the biggest reasons why I was getting even more depressed. I just spent almost $40,000 to pursue my master’s from this renowned business school in Europe, and these companies were only looking to pay me even less than what I was getting at my previous job. I hated myself for having to come back to Vancouver, and I would get so upset over the fact that all my hard work didn’t end up in a quantifiable result.I heard horror stories of people graduating from LSE with master’s and they couldn’t find a job for a year when they came back to Vancouver. I’m a business person, I need my ROI!!
And the whole time, I was debating about whether I was actually being ambitious with my career plans, or I was just being greedy. This distinction between ambition and greed came down to hunt me for months. I always told myself and others that I am an ambitious person, with my 10-year plan that I am pretty much in track of. But was this all just me being greedy? What if I am not worth all those great things? And this question felt especially harder to swallow since I am a Christian, and you are told that God has plans for you from the beginning of the times. What if His plans for me are way different than my own goals, ambition, and dreams? How am I supposed to know?
Anyways, at the end, I knew all I could do was to try. Keep trying, keep applying, keep interviewing, keep asking around, just keep going. And after 6 months of having nothing, I ended up having three offers on the table. But this was only because I gave chance to companies that were offering salaries lower than my expectations. I just had to compromise with reality. Then I wrote to my director from the company I used to work at, and told him that I have these offers but I would love to come back again. We had this talk since I came back but they were not able to come up with a position in Vancouver, but now that I was in ‘demand’ they looked into it. And that’s how I found my new – old- job at my old company. I got a pretty significant raise, and a promotion.
Through all these 6 months, I guess I learned (again) that some things are just out of my control. I’m pretty sure I’ll still beat myself over it if I have to go through another job hunt in the future, but it’s just another experience. I condensed my crazy emotional roller coaster for the last half a year into 800 words, and I’m afraid it doesn’t really have any ‘tips’ or ‘short cuts’ for people still looking for a job. But I just want to say – it’s only a matter of time. Just keep trying. Don’t give up, and try your best. And soon enough you will be signing your contract for your new job.