So I currently have a full-time job, but obviously that wasn’t always the case. Job hunting can be really stressful and, from my experience, it can also definitely take a toll on your mental health. And I think it’s important to talk about.
I don’t want to give a blanket statement about how stress affects people, because of course it’s different from person to person. Especially because everyone’s circumstances are different. That’s why blanket statements can be so harmful because they have the potential to erase people’s experience. Stress can come in many different forms, levels, and some days can affect you greatly, whereas others may feel more manageable. Stress can also worsen other mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, and panic disorder.
I wanted to chat a bit about job hunting because, having left Uni last year, the whole process of job hunting can be exhausting and difficult, especially in terms of stress and pressure – both from yourself and from others.
I’m now in the really fortunate position where I’ve managed to secure myself a job in the field I’m interested in. However, this did take a year of office work, waitressing jobs and part-time internships.
After applying for jobs for a few months, I quickly learnt that I needed to distance myself from the application process. It’s not personal if you don’t get a reply or your application gets ignored. There was obviously just a lot of applications; someone more qualified; or someone better fitted to the position. That doesn’t make your application bad.
But when you’re already feeling anxious, and your self-esteem isn’t exactly tip top high, it’s very easy to let that confidence slip and to really feel the effect of being rejected time and time again. Especially when you spend a lot of time researching and putting in the effort to make it the best application you can. The whole process really can take its toll and cause a lot of stress and worry that you’re simply never going to get there.
I think the main thing I’ve learnt is to not let success define me. It’s okay that I’ve been rejected from god knows how many jobs, it really is nothing personal. My self worth doesn’t belong in a job application where the person delivering the verdict doesn’t know me.
I also think it’s important to not put pressure on yourself to get a job in the specific field that you want. It’s hard, especially post uni when everyone around you wants to know how you’re going to ‘utilize your degree’. But it really is okay to not find anything in your field immediately. We’re not superhuman, and we have no control over the job market.
I say this like I take my own advice all the time. It’s definitely easier said than done, but I’ve been trying to not be so hard on myself lately, and practice makes perfect, right?