Ways to Stay Optimistic during the Job Search

This week I’ve been reflecting on the nature of the job market and increasingly finding reasons to be happy and relaxed about the whole situation in which I currently find myself. Yes, it’s true that I’ve graduated from university (twice) with stellar marks, an excellent track record, and lots of supporters – yet still can’t find a job. But no one every promised me that a hiring manager would be standing in the doorway to shake my hand and welcome me onto the corporate team on the way out of my graduation ceremony.

Worrying about the situation doesn’t help my presumed plight one bit. So, instead of sitting around and moping, I’ve started highlighting the beneficial aspects of a lengthy job search:

  1. I have had a significant amount of time to evaluate my interests and passions in life (e.g. via career counseling);
  2. I’ve had more than enough time to write articles reflecting on my education and the pressures to do doctoral work;
  3. By searching through countless job boards, applying to various positions, and going through the interview process, I have had many opportunities to investigate different career paths.

My positive feelings towards the (often discouraging) job search is echoed by several other writers my age. Matthew Branch writes in his article, “You Can’t Find Your Dream Job? Good.“, that shattered delusions are necessary to stimulating change and this occurrence is assisting recent school graduates in identifying a satisfying career:

“It may come across as a shock to the swarms of bright-eyed, soon to be college graduates out there, but landing a dream job isn’t easy. Hell, finding one you can tolerate is rare enough. Most people are miserable with their jobs and those who tell you they aren’t are lying. Maybe one out of a hundred people goes to work every morning riding on a ray of sunshine with a grin on his face. The truth is, most people who have found true happiness in their work, didn’t come across it easily. They strayed from their plans and sampled a cornucopia of occupations. If you are having a hard time figuring your life out, take it as a good sign.

If you want to be one of the few people who are truly happy with their jobs, it takes more than a bachelor’s degree, a firm handshake, and wishful thinking. You need the courage to explore your interests, the integrity to recognize your mistakes, and the patience to overcome your failures. And there will be failures” (Branch, December 2nd, 2013).

As I’ve written previously about the importance of failing, I found Matthew’s words to be hugely inspirational. As individuals come to better understand themselves, they can also start making their own luck – essentially harnessing unexpected but fortuitous job experiences for personal advantage. For everyone currently searching for a job, stay strong! It’s a useful, if often utterly depressing, journey.

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