Sometimes life doesn’t quite work out the way we want. You might have been passed over for that great internship, your dream job might have been posted a full semester before you graduate, maybe you didn’t get the grade you thought you deserved on a final paper, or perhaps you’re like me and applied to 37 jobs in the past 6 months, gone on 6 campus interviews, and still don’t have a job offer. We, as all human beings, are accustomed to dealing with disappointments and frustrations, but what ultimately defines the experience is our attitude. The best way I have found of confronting the pressure and anxiety of job-hunting, as well as the ups and downs of graduate school in general, is to manage my own expectations.
Courtney recently wrote a piece on “How to Prepare for the Job Hunt,” which offers some really great advice for getting started and staying active in the field. The reality is that you can be ultra organized, write amazing cover letters, and interview like a pro, but you still wont get offered every single job/internship/grant that you apply for, and that’s just life. However, you don’t need to be offered everything, because it only takes one awesome job offer to get you started.
With every interview, you gain confidence. With every cover letter, you become a stronger advocate for your skills. And every rejection can be used as fuel for the next application.
I graduated from library school two weeks ago and naively thought that I would have a job by now. Instead, I am going along with my Plan B: living in a camper in my parent’s backyard until I get that one amazing offer. At one point in my life, this would have been considered my worst-case scenario. But as the process unfolds, my expectations of myself, as well as the situation at large have shifted, and I can now view this as another learning opportunity. Not as a roadblock, but as a stepping stone. I know that I won’t be [f]unemployed forever, so all I can do is take it one day at a time, keep applying, keep interviewing, and stay positive.
Do you have tips for coping with rejection? How do you manage expectations of yourself and others?