Friday, May 26, 2023

How to Survive a Job Search

Looking for a job can be one of the most dehumanizing experiences there are. (I should know. I’ve been looking for a job for the past four months.) Want ads for jobs that don’t exist, recruiters who call you and then disappear, having to go through a phone interview and a Zoom interview just to get an in-person interview and then having to compete with who know how many other people. It’s enough to make even the most well-adjusted person crazy.

And it’s even more dehumanizing when there’s a holiday weekend approaching and everyone who has a job is heading to the Hamptons or Fire Island and no hiring managers are in their office to look at your resume, anyway.

My advice is to take advantage of the things you do have control over. Here are some of the things that have worked for me.

1. Exercise. If you’re lucky enough to be able to afford a gym membership, use it. Exercise releases endorphins and you’ll have a feeling of accomplishment when you’re done. If you can’t afford a gym membership, maybe you can afford to invest in some weights. I have some weights at home and I’ve designed an exercise routine I can do at home that’s almost as good as going to a gym. If you can’t afford a gym membership or weights, take a walk. I like to walk to Hudson River Park. Walking clears my head (I often get writing ideas while I’m walking) and parks are perhaps the only quiet place in the city (as long as someone’s not playing music which, incidentally, is illegal in parks). But you absolutely must get out of your apartment.

2. Clean your apartment. For me, a messy apartment is like a messy life. Cleaning your apartment will give you a sense of control and coming home to a clean apartment will be much better for you, psychologically, than coming home to an apartment with dishes piled up in the sink and a bed with all your sheets and blankets curled up in a pile. (Confession: My sheets are blankets usually are curled up in a pile, but I did vacuum today and that made me feel much better.)

3. To the extent that you’re able, continue to do the things that bring you joy. I like the theater but, obviously, I can’t afford $150 for a Broadway show right now. Fortunately, a lot of Broadway shows are available on PBS. (One of my favorites, Anything Goes, is on tonight at 9pm!) I also like to read and if you can’t afford to buy books (books are expensive!), go to the library. Yes, it’s true, a lot of the books I want to read often aren’t available, but a lot of books are available as e-books, so you can read them on your phone. (As a writer, I feel a little guilty doing this, but I literally don’t have room in my apartment for any more books.)

Remember: you are more than your job. (Most of the accomplishments I’m proudest of have nothing to do with my job.) And stop trying to analyze why you didn’t get a job after your interview and just move on to the next one. (It’s difficult, I know.)

And here’s a little secret: Holiday weekends are one of the best times to be in the city. Most of those Hamptons and Fire Island people will have left and those places will actually be more crowded.

But don’t tell anyone I told you.

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