The Heartbreak of Job-Hunting
Realer than you think. I noticed it when listening to one of my favorite heartbreak songs, the lyrics were describing my feelings. The problem was that technically, I wasn’t heartbroken, was I? My marriage, although far from perfect, is happy, so the strange feelings were not coming from there.
In a “eureka!” moment in the shower, I realized I was heartbroken from being incessantly ghosted, left-swiped, let down, and rejected, not by romantic interests, but by recruiters. Yes, my journey towards employment in a new culture was giving me big heartbreak, big time!
It all started with the same happy intensity that one starts the quest for love. I signed-up to all the right social networks and apps, I updated my profile and my picture, making sure it had all recent and relevant information. I polished my skill set and applied to any position that I felt fit my profile. I was ready for my first date! So, I waited… as you wait for the fish to catch the bait… as you wait for a right swipe, a message… but nothing came.
I was not too worried. I was new to the scene, and it had been just a couple of weeks… How hard can this be, right? I had a bachelor's and master's degrees in Economics from accredited, international universities (USA and Germany) and a postgraduate degree in Gender. I had over 9 years of experience in international and governmental organizations. I’m bilingual, with great soft skills… all to consider myself the whole package, the girl you take home for the holidays. Except, the companies and organizations I was applying to didn’t seem to agree with that.
I had to take a different approach. Everyone brought to my attention that it is not about who you are, but who you know. And I feel there is something so depersonalized about that, but what choice did I have, but to give it a try? So, I started making connections with friends of friends and people in my field with whom I shared the same interests. A few answered back, giving advice and resources. No one ready to commit, but at least, I was building “my network”.
The network is what you hope your mom and friends are when they meet a suitable romantic prospect for you. These are the people that will number all your great qualities and will proudly show around the good angle pictures they have of you on their phones. My problem was, I didn’t really know this network. Amidst a pandemic, the only contact I’ve had with 99% of these people was through a message or in the best-case scenario, a 15 min call. Can I trust these people to look out for me? How do I keep myself in their minds? Well, I had to put in the time… and the work, the free work.
I have had some screening interviews ; some I knew were not the right fit from the beginning. But others felt like that first date that went great! The conversation flowed, the energy exchange felt organic, you can even say you had fun! After sending the “thank you for an amazing night” text (thank you for your time email), you wait for a response. Weeks pass by, and you follow up with a “Hey, remember how nice our first date was? Why are you not asking for a second one?” email, but all you get back is silence… or in some cases, a more humane “It’s not you, it’s me” or a “Thank you, but we decided to move forward with other candidates” response, and nevertheless my heart broke a little bit every time.
There was one time, I was invited for a second date. I spent countless hours preparing for it. I had done my homework. There were many red flags about this candidate, but I overlooked them because I was enamored with the industry (completely new to me) and the job itself. I felt so confident with all my preparation. I was already looking at desks to work from home and which table light will be best. I got the email, the appointment on my Google Calendar, my notes, my passion, my will to succeed… and a few hours before the video call, they asked to reschedule.
I was rescheduled for the next day, so I thought “great! One more day to prepare”. On the second day, they canceled. There has been a “miscommunication with the team”. Suddenly, they were not interested in me anymore. It took me about a week to recover from that one. I still cry a little bit when I remember how I felt those days. It truly reminds me of my teenage years of heartbreak.
I still haven't found THE ONE… or even a decent one. There are still hard days when I am not sure I made the right choices. I’ve “fallen” more times than I care to admit in this journey, but somehow, there is still a small fire inside me pushing me forward. As an immigrant, I have heard countless inspiring stories of people that have made their dreams come true. I hope I can start building my reality soon, with a job that challenges me and excites me at the same time. I hope I can start making my dream come true.
Post by Jenn @M2D.
Editor's Note: by the publishing time of this post, the writer has found a job she enjoys, and her heart has started to heal. Stay tuned for future posts on that.