How do I stay motivated in applying for jobs when, after a year, even looking at a job description or approaching a cover letter gives me an overwhelming sense of doom and failure?
posted by aintthattheway to Work & Money (12 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
I graduated in June of 2010 with a Bachelor's degree in International Studies and expected that it would take me a few months, at the most, to find a job. I'd had several internships, an editorial position at the school paper, and a thesis with honors -- decent experience, I thought.
And yet... over the past year, no professional, "first" job. A job through the school ended last September, and since then, I have had some movement -- work in a coffee shop, internship in DC, and now, in a new city, a job in a bookstore (where I currently work) -- but no salaried, entry-level position that might offer me the chance to move up and gain some kind of professional "foot in the door." I've had a half-dozen interviews, mostly through friends' references, but even in these I often felt that the interviewer was only half paying attention somehow (even an interview I managed to get on my own went this way for some reason).
The first six months, this seemed par for the course. After that, I started to get a little traumatized. At the end of my internship (April), I made it clear I would love to work for the organization, and two of my supervisors and a woman from HR seemed sincerely interested in helping me; however, I have applied to a number of appropriate entry-level positions there in the meantime, informed them, even sent them my materials, and gotten very little traction. It's an extremely competitive organization (in a competitive economy) but I'm starting to internalize the idea that in reality they didn't really give much of a shit about me -- that I was one of the many dispensable interns.
So this brings me to the question! I apparently put a lot of validation in others considering me to be valuable. But how does one project confidence (and more importantly, FEEL confident) when the whole job search is a soul-suck designed to make you feel inept ("we've chosen someone more suited to our needs") and valueless?
I'm really looking for ways to inoculate myself against constant rejection, to develop a thicker skin, to devour that look of indifference and get stronger! As an easily encouraged & discouraged person, I feel like I'm on a self-worth roller coaster -- when I get a glimmer of interest I am overjoyed, when I get no response afterward I am utterly dejected. I'd like to be able to put some space between me and the roller coaster. To not wake up panicked at 2am, or start crying out of nowhere out of sheer demoralization. (The more time elapses in between me & graduation, the more panicked, pressured, & hopeless I feel.)
I've developed a habit of running recently, which, while totally unrelated, has been wonderful. I love feeling strong and being able to achieve measurable goals. I would love to find a similar psychological construct, if that makes any sense -- a way to feel strong & disciplined mentally and continue a daily process of job applications & hunting despite seeing no benefits. Hopelessness is the kiss of death & I need to keep it at bay.
I would LOVE to hear what worked for you in a similar situation. Also, poor is an understatement for my condition right now, so therapy is out of the question.
(Apologies if this question was a bit run-on and/or vague. I wanted to get at something really specific if possible, rather than how-to-get-a-job. Also, just in case I sounded whiny, I understand that cafes and bookstores are pretty cushy minimum-wage gigs -- I just have a goal, and need to maintain the motivation and self-esteem to work toward it.)