At this point last year I was looking for a job. I was scrambling to fill out resumes, iron my professional cloths, and put on my game face every day for as long as it was going to take. And I'm not sure how many sentences you've heard beginning with the next few words, but I'll be less than original in 3...2...1...In today's economy the job search is so much more than fear of rejection, it is fear for survival.
I walked through my school office while a girl was sitting waiting to interview. She was smiley and pleasant and I returned her greeting with enthusiasm so as to put her at ease. Then I glanced at the window to the principal's office and noticed the young man answering questions there and I couldn't help but remember the education adage that I heard about a million times during my interview process (both times around). "If you walk into an interview in the elementary schools as a man is walking out, you might as well just turn around and follow him because the job has already been filled." I don't know what to believe (and I have definite theories about the students needing strong male role models) but all of a sudden I just felt bad for the girl sitting there expectant and full of hope/nerves.
Then, today, my dear friend e-mailed me about his own (non-education based) job search. He just completed a very successful interview where he was appropriately confident and they seemed duly impressed. And hopefully he won't hate me for using him as a blog post, but he wrote:
"So now the waiting game begins. This is the part I hate...really wanting something and just having to sit here trying not to think about it...
How the heck did you do it when you went through this last year??? Any tips you have for me, cause I already feel like dying......."
I quickly typed back these few things:
Tip #1: Do not die. It is sooooooo not allowed!!!
Tip #2: Concentrate on the next one. I found that the job application process was so tedious and time-consuming that I barely had time to think about the last interview as I was preparing for what might be the next one.
Tip #3: Have things in the very near future to look forward to. Make weekend plans, buy concert tickets, etc. You will spend more time being excited about what's coming up that nervous about what might not be.
Tip#4: Have healthy outlets for your nerves. I write in order to process feelings and deal with overwhelming emotions. Find an outlet (working out is really good for this) that will actually make you stronger and better as you sit and wait.
I am, of course, by no means an expert. In fact, I consider myself damn lucky to have a job this year (I voluntarily left my old job with no guarantee for the future). If you aren't as lucky, my heart and prayers are with you right now and I wish you nothing but luck (and a strong sense of calm) as you go through the process.