Messages to the weary:
The job hunt can be tiresome. Throughout July this blog will be speaking to those who are weary from the search. The intent is to join you in the struggle and to encourage you along the way. If you are not the one searching, perhaps you can use these words to encourage others.
Hello Again Weary Job Seeker,
I have been where you are at. In 2008 the economy was in a very bad place. I was, along with many others, searching for employment. But there was not much employment to be found. I was job seeking as if it were my full-time job. But this was harder than full-time work. When you are working full-time, you come home and have the peace of mind that you are employed. With job searching you work tirelessly and then carry around a certain level of anxiety about the future. It is hard to find rest.
I want to share a few things that I learned during that time.
- Rest is critical for sustaining the emotional energy that is needed to be an effective job seeker. That means you need to find healthy ways to decompress. You have permission to enjoy your hobbies or create new ones. Do you read? Hike? Paint? Exercise? Meditate? Laugh? Allow yourself to find a place to recharge. It is a good habit now. It will be a vital habit when you are teaching full-time.
- This time in your life is a gift. It might not feel that way. However, you have time now that you haven’t had during college and that you won’t have when you start working. Use it to your fullest enjoyment while also being diligent with your job search. Often individuals will be so concerned with the future that they allow those concerns to rule their present. It will be unfortunate if when you begin teaching in the fall (and I believe that you will) you look back and think “If I knew that I was going to be employed then I would have enjoyed the summer.” Assume that your hard work will pay off and give yourself permission to enjoy yourself.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. No one makes it by themselves. Call the Career Service office at your college or university and let them know about your situation. They want to help. They also want to see you employed! For some of you it is just a matter of the right opportunity opening up at the right time. However, many of you would benefit from some résumé or interview help.
- Let people know. Sometimes we get uncomfortable with how long the job search is taking, so we stop letting people know that we are looking. While your friends and family have been told that you are looking, it is not on the top of their mind unless you put it there. Be sure they know. You can send reminder emails, call them, and/or regularly mention it on social media. Your network is vital. Someone knows someone, who knows someone, who wants to talk to you about a teaching position. But they can’t connect those dots if your network doesn’t know your situation.
- Allow this time to stretch you. Recently, during a commencement speech, John Schnatter (CEO of Papa John’s) said, “God puts your best where you are most afraid to go.” Regardless of what you think about God, this is an interesting thought. What if the situation that is best for you is somewhere that you haven’t considered? What if you haven’t considered it because you are afraid? Don’t let fear stand in the way of your future. You will certainly regret that later. Take time to consider options like teaching out-of-state, teaching internationally, teaching in an urban setting, teaching online, teaching at a charter school or teaching in a rural setting. Don’t miss the opportunity to be stretched as a person.
Press on! It’s worth it!
Jeff Eads, Assistant Director
Ball State University
The opinions expressed in Career Corner are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.