On Resilience


They say one of the most difficult parts of job searching is the toll it can take on your self esteem. It’s hard to be ignored or rejected when you apply for jobs, and it certainly makes you wonder why you weren’t “good enough” to be chosen.

I’m about a full month into my official job search (even though I’ve been unemployed longer than that, I was on a family vacation to Michigan for part of that time). For someone as impatient as I am, the length of the job search process in today’s market can feel long – even when, in retrospect, it hasn’t really been that long at all. On the one hand, I’m enjoying the flexibility – I’ve been able to spend extended time in Nashville with Chase given my unemployment, since I can apply to jobs from here.

But on the other hand, I’m finally starting to become anxious: what’s taking so “long”?

I’ve of course had my share of ignores and rejections at this point, some that I’ve taken much better than others. My mood has ranged from cheerfully persistent to despondently insecure, although I’m happy to say that I’ve mostly been the former. But more recently, the negativity has indeed started to poke through my optimism and it’s more important than ever that I remember to be resilient.

As an avid believer in the idea that resilience is a key factor for success, I see my current state as an incredible opportunity to test and build my own resilience. Being rejected is hard, of course, but what’s done is done: I need to focus on moving past it, either accepting the rejection and moving on or pressing further to understand why. As a naturally happy-go-lucky person, I have an advantage in framing; I naturally see situations in a positive light and it’s more important than ever that I remember to do so now.

A rejection doesn’t mean I wasn’t good enough. It just means I wasn’t the right fit, and as long as I keep bouncing back, stay persistent, and continue to learn, I’ll make it out all right. Rejection means another chance to regroup and create plans; as a friend recently reminded me, I’m looking for a career, not a job.

It’s a new week and anything can happen – I’m refreshed and ready!


On Insecurity


Tomorrow, I will go through an identity change.

I quit my job exactly one month ago, making the decision to leave an unfulfilling job to come home and enjoy quality time with my family – specifically my grandparents, who are spending the summer here in Chicago. This is the longest time I’ve gotten to spend with them since I was three years old, and it has been incredible.

Tomorrow, that all changes as my grandparents get on the 14-hour flight back to China. With them, they will take a part of my current identity. Because here’s the thing: as long as they were here, I was the doting granddaughter, cooking lunch and dinner every day, helping them with technology, taking them on field trips to the library.

But as soon as they leave tomorrow, I’ll just be a regular unemployed 25-year-old.

Of course, I made that decision. Rather than using my remaining vacation days or finagling some sort of extended leave of absence, I made that decision to quit my job instead. I made that decision knowing that with unemployment comes a period of job seeking, of not knowing what’s ahead, of losing the career identity I’d built over four years. And I don’t regret it at all, because it has been worth it for this past month.

Yet the insecurity has been slowly seeping in, and I see an invisible taunting “loser” following right behind the phrase “unemployed 25-year-old.” No matter what my family and friends say about my resume, my personality, my whatever, I’m not confident that I can find a job easily. I’m scared, and I’m worried. I’m insecure.

As I prepare to say yet another farewell to my grandparents tomorrow, I’m inwardly saying farewell to that doting granddaughter identity I’ve held for the past month, instead saying hello to that insecurity of unemployment that I can no longer easily ignore. I’m bracing for what feels like failure, trying to remember that failure itself is actually just another opportunity to learn. I will not only be searching for jobs, but also be coping with consequences, learning to live life as I chose.

Tomorrow, I will go through an identity change…and I hope I’m ready for it.