It’s been a long time since I wrote anything. Let’s catch up.

This past year I’ve been in school doing my master’s degree. I went into this program being told by the time I graduate I’ll have one to two job offers and a promising career ahead. So you can imagine how it felt to graduate and… nothing. I’ve been out on 5 interviews, been applying for months, and I’m still just unemployed. I don’t think people understand how hard it is to be unemployed. As it turns out, finding a job in this day and age is a lot harder than it used to be. See, employed get hundreds (no exaggeration) of applications for every job they post. And we keep hearing about how most of the jobs that exist are never posted. The postings I do see are often full of ridiculous requirements (entry-level job, must have 5 years of experience,  3 certifications, and been to mars, pays $12 per hour). It isn’t like 20 years ago when you could just show up and ask for a job, then start tomorrow. Having strong credentials doesn’t mean you’ll get through the gauntlet of computer algorithms that are trying to turn you into a number based on how many words on your resume match their expectations. And even if you interview for the job and are a great candidate, jobs disappear at the last second, get filled by an internal candidate, or for other reasons disappear and you never get to find out what you did wrong or how to do better next time.

But the truth is that unemployment is really difficult for me emotionally. I’ve spent the last 6 years in school, got really great grades, all to find a great job, and it just never came. Now I’m having to lower my expectations. Look for jobs outside my field, further away geographically, lower my salary expectations because apparently even if a company wants my skills they don’t want them enough to pay a fair rate. Grad school isn’t going to pay off itself, people!

I’ve noticed that my anxiety levels have been fluctuating as time goes on. A month ago I was anxious but confident. Then I was hopeful. Then as the job I interviewed for twice and was exactly what I wanted got pulled from me at the last second, my confidence crashed. I’m no longer confident that I’ll find something I enjoy. I don’t feel like the job offer is going to come in any day now. So despite all of my academic success and the relevant work experience I do have, I just feel hopeless. And it’s that hopelessness that lets the depression in to gnaw away at my heart until I feel so lost and scared that I don’t know what else to do but curl up on the couch in the middle of the day and cry.

Somewhere deep inside I know I’ll find something. I know it may not be the dream job, but it’ll be a start. I’m just scared that it will take another two months, maybe longer. And without work I have nothing to do but overthink and wonder and dig deeper into the hole I’ll soon be able to bury myself in.


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About janinerussell

The transition to adulthood; reflecting on the past to create a better future.

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