Struggle for that first job: words from a survivor

Disney movies, career counsellors, motivation speakers continuously play the same record to a group of audience, where each and every individual requires different advice according to their personality and choice. The reality is, it’s not about following your dreams, it’s about discovering yourself, while you study. If medical interests you, and you are studying engineering, you might end up finding a position to build artificial limbs. At schools and colleges we are asked to set our minds on what we want to be. How old are we when we are to decide that? 12-15-16? No wonder, our morales go down the drain, when we are in the middle of our degree and suddenly think of dropping out, because we don’t want to be a lawyer/accountant/marketer/doctor any more, because it’s so hard. But the truth is, every degree is hard to the people who have not studied it. A doctor cannot wrap around their heads to understand a corporate balance sheet or how a database works…unless they are multi-talented but this article is strictly for average minds. So, if you’ve decided to study a specific field when you’re a kid, stick to it, no matter how hard it is. And when you feel low, like, you have no idea what you are doing, talk to someone who has no clue about your field, feel smart about it and get your (I was about to say something else) self back to that degree and finish it. I was about to move to psychology from Information Tech when my dad asked me a question. “Do you see airplane pilots run maintenance checks on airplanes? Why, not knowing how to maintain your home PC, is letting you down?”. For the record, I do know how to maintain a PC now. As a recent graduate, I’ve been looking for graduate programs or graduate positions long before I even graduated. Honestly, I always felt if I didn’t land on the kind of jobs advertised, while I was doing my degree, I’ve wasted my degree and money. A very wise and experienced friend told me, to not heed myself in such thoughts and continuously apply for any position relating to my field of study. My first positions don’t have to be paying me like I’d buy a Lexus, the next month, but any job is worth the effort. In my opinion, the first job is probably our biggest success, our big break. After that first job, you either climb further, stay where you are or get a better job. Or in some cases you realise that this is not your piece of cake and you start changing careers. After the first job, you are no longer inexperienced, unemployed or basically do not have the luxury of saying, I’m not good enough! However, there is nothing wrong with not getting a job for a long time, given you have tried. Try and try until you succeed is the name of the game, and the rules are never give up. And by trying, I mean devoting yourself to job search which can only be compared to unconditional love. Search for jobs without any expectations of getting a job of your preference, of getting any job within a given time frame but it all depends on your desperation to set the wheels running. The truth is when we bind ourselves in a set of expectations when we hunt for jobs. If we eliminate or at least reduce these expectations, it prevents us from getting frustrated when employers don’t reply, or sent rejection letters or even apologize for the inconvenience but the position no longer exists. Luck, fate, probability, whatever you name it, has a role in getting a job; a small but significant role; and while job hunting, especially a first job, this is very important to keep in mind.  Now comes the question, how to BE the go-getter! Trying to get that first job or any job involves religiously applying a minimum of ten jobs, everyday. Ten positions everyday. Period. Be it administration on your field of study or a job position that you know is within your capacity, but may require experience you don’t have. Do not let the fancy job position name or job descriptions fool you into not applying. There are truly lots of jobs out there with very fancy title, but requires minimum skills, for eg. Sandwich artist is the same as a sandwich maker or kitchen hand. Use every link available, take the first opportunity that comes. Stick to those poor career agents who have made the mistake of contacting you once.Pester them every week with updated job resume, new applications in their agency that you think you can qualify for. And when they offer you a position, please don’t say no! Don’t be mean! Its plain rude that after being such a pest, you deny an opportunity they give you. Treat every reject letter like its got an epidemic. Do not look beyond the words “unfortunately” and just to feel better, swear at the sender (its not an offence when they can’t hear you) and permanently delete them from your inbox. The fact is, they might not have a good reason to have rejected you and there is great chance they will pick lacking in you, (destroying your morale) and point it out. Lastly, a word from a stranger, believe in your-self, and let the hunting season begin!
ALL The best:)

© Tasnim Hafiz – 2012

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