About three months ago, I graduated from college. As my family helped me move out of my dorm for the last time, I thought about my future. I thought about moving west, I thought about having my own apartment, I thought about working in television and film (in whatever capacity became available to me).
I also thought about how all of that would have to start with a job right here, in Cleveland. To get to the next great thing, I’d of course have to start by saving up to get there. No problem, right?
Well, now it’s September. My younger siblings have gone back to school, the leaves are changing color, and I feel like I’m no closer to getting a job than I was the day I was handed my diploma.
There’s a particular sting in sitting down to edit your résumé and realizing you don’t exactly have résumé-worthy skills. Or, at least, there’s a sting in realizing you have no skills in making a résumé look worthy of consideration.
So while I’m stuck in this job application themed purgatory, I rely on the good fortune of my family to provide for and put up with me (not that I try to make that very taxing for them).
I obviously can’t tell you how to find a job — I’m still working on that one myself. What I can tell you is how to keep yourself (and those lovely people taking care of you) sane during this in-between time.
1. Be helpful
Maybe the dishwasher needs to be emptied, or the lawn needs to be mowed – why not take care of it? I’m going to assume that whoever is holding you over during your job search has a full-time job of their own. Make sure you’re pulling your weight by taking these kinds of chores off their plate.
2. Keep your complaining in check
Venting is good for you. I truly believe that. Letting it become your main hobby, however, is a downer for both yourself and the people close to you. Which leads me to my next point…
3. Maintain an understanding of the bigger picture (A.K.A. Stay positive)
I won’t tell you to start practicing “positive visualization” or something like that (but you should go for it, if you’re into that kind of thing). What I mean here is that you have to let yourself believe that you will find a job. Resign yourself to the fact, if you have to. Don’t think about “if.” Think about “when.”
4. Find your hobbies
If there’s something you really enjoy that you didn’t have time for during school or your last phase of employment, now’s the time to pursue it. I stopped reading for pleasure in school, but now I’m slowly rediscovering a love for it.
5. Find your friends
Whether you go to them or bring them to you, don’t forget about your friends. (Right now, I’m looking forward to a visit from my two best friends from college.) This is also a great time to connect with people you haven’t spoken to in a while, or to open up to new folks.
6.Stop comparing yourself to others
There’s a reason why this particular tidbit of advice gets thrown around so often. When we compare ourselves to other people we become too wrapped up in obsessing over our faults, which can only lead to downward spirals of self-criticism. Instead, focus on your strengths or find something about yourself you want to work on. Whatever you do, be kind to yourself.
7. Don’t sleep in too much
This is fairly specific as far as advice goes, but I feel like it’s worth saying. It can be so tempting to just wallow in bed all day when you have no obligations to get up for (this statement is making all sorts of assumptions – bear with me). However, I don’t believe that wallowing was ever conducive to anyone in terms of finding work. I’ve always found that the more I sleep in, the drowsier I feel. Therefore, I try to make a habit of being up when the sun is up, and going to bed a reasonable amount of time after it’s set.
8. Know yourself
Let’s get a bit cryptic for this last point. People always say that going to college is a time in which you should be learning about yourself. I think that’s true, and it’s certainly something that I did. But I also think that there’s no reason it should stop there. Having conviction in who you are is great, but refusal to grow turns you into a caricature of yourself. Try to be open about being wrong about certain aspects of yourself. Life’s also more fun that way.
That’s all I have for you. I hope these points are helpful to you in some way. If you have your own, feel free to share them. I know I’d love to see them.
Here’s hoping that in time we can all move on to our own next great thing.