I am no longer lost in the Midwest. I am lost in the world.
I became a Doctor of Philosophy in Comparative Literature on August 4th, 2019. Two days later, I rushed to finish packing up my life in Wisconsin. We packed up our lives in the smallest U-haul and left our friends, our familiar surroundings–the place where we met, we fell in love, and got engaged. After a short stay in Chicago, my fiancé and I moved to New England.
We are in a transitional space. Two doctors of philosophy in search of “real” non-academic jobs. Two doctors having the hardest time finding a job. Two doctors searching, wandering, transitioning….
Through this uncertainty, I have learned a couple of things about job hunting and soul searching.
- Enjoy the transitional space/time in your life: This is harder said than done. The scrutiny of job searching can make even the toughest of applicants break. However, I am trying my best to enjoy this time in my life. There’s a certain stillness to this moment and I want to savor it.
- Expand your network: Most job-seekers apply for jobs online and most companies seek candidates through inside promotions and referrals. What can we do about this discrepancy in the job market? Expand your network! Ask your parents, your friends and your acquaintances to connect you to people in their respective networks. Send emails and make phone calls. This will increase your chances of landing your dream job.
- Take plenty of breaks from job applications: Job seekers are typically hired within three months of a job search. Those three months aren’t going anywhere. Make sure you apply to jobs during the work week and take tons of breaks! Try to have a little fun: go for a walk, meet up with old friends, watch your favorite TV show. Do not talk about job hunting every day of your life. Don’t let this consume you!
- Be picky: This one’s the hardest for me. Some days I’m so desperate that I’d be willing to take any position available, but I can’t do that. I know what I want my career to look like and I need to make an effort to make it happen. I can’t just accept a job that I’m unsure about. Don’t tell yourself you’ll be able to “deal with it.” Set some boundaries with yourself and narrow down your career interests.
So, yes…I am still lost and will probably be lost for a little bit. I can’t wait to be out of this transitional time in my life, but in the meantime, I will smell the ocean water, eat some lobster rolls and enjoy life as much as I can.