5 things I learnt from 5 months of looking for a job.

Everyone who tells you it is going to be okay or that God has something better in store…and you want to punch them in the face…yes…I went through that! Month #5 of sitting at home looking for a good role despite having a solid resume and work experience behind me…and no…no matter how many times you tell me you understand my situation…you do not. But, I wonder how worse off I would have been if I did not have people throwing these ridiculously optimistic thoughts at me…it balanced off some of the negativity…and that helped in itself.

And just cos I have all this free time to introspect, here’s some lessons I learnt, in order of priority:

Lesson #1 – Family and friends are everything!

They are there through my vents, my frustration, my mistakes…my many varied moods. I cannot imagine doing this alone. Nobody should get through this alone. So take all the ‘it will be okay’ statements they throw your way, take all the chocolates they get you, take all the blessings they shower you with…cos that’s how you will survive this with your self-esteem intact.

Lesson #2 – That thing people talk about called ‘Networking’…believe in yours…and yes, you have one!

I hated that word…it always sounded sooo fake and conditional and transactional…and everything not warm and fuzzy. At a time when I believed I had no network cos my small talk skills are zilch…I was getting this all wrong…I did have one…a really good one! You have interacted with dozens of people through your career. Pick out the ones you like, the ones you respect, the ones you want to be like and can learn from, the ones you want to keep in touch with through your life. If you have not, please do not start with you wanting a Job, it doesn’t work that way. And if you absolutely have to, put all your cards on the table… 7 out of 10 times, these guys you picked to open up to, they will be smart and kind enough to offer something themselves…advice, tips, referrals, introductions…take and value whatever comes your way!!!

Sub Lesson #2a – The rarest of them, who refer/introduce you…remember they put a part of themselves out there…a chunk of their credibility goes with you when they take that extra step. Respect it at all times and put more than your 100% for such cases.

Lesson #3 – Linkedin Premium is worth the money!!! <This is not a sponsored post>

I didn’t see this one coming. It took me by surprise, very pleasantly. The power of properly drafted inmails is super. I have had a ~50% response rate for roles that fit my profile (I am not talking about cold inmailing for tangential profiles…yes, I have done that, and it doesn’t work). Of 4 roles that I interviewed for, 1 was a referral and 3 were through directly inmailing the Hiring manager. If there is a role that fits your profile and you don’t have a referral, invest in a premium account and shoot an inmail. Also, it doesn’t hurt to be able to see who viewed your profile. On otherwise dreary days, it will bring a smile to your face to know your profile has a view.

Lesson #4 – A happy space gets you through the worst of times!

Books, cheesy rom-coms, cheesier loud music, zumba’ing to an Alia Bhatt number, roulette on the phone…whatever works for you! When you see yourself going to the dark side, drag yourself to this happy space, scream out loud and you will find the darkness passes by. Remember, the force is with you…find yours!

Lesson #5 – Keep your chin up, life is so much more than what you thought it was when you had the Money but no Time.

This one…takes a while especially if you are someone who has been financially independent and a little bit of a shopaholic. You won’t get this the initial 2 months or even 3. But if you, like me, have some savings or a spouse who works, you will realize this slowly. It starts with Oh-I-can-survive-with-just-x-dollars-a-month, then a moment of Why-did-I-need-so-much-money-to-enjoy-life and then it leads to a full blown Oh-My-God, I-was-doing-this-so-wrong!!! Yes, as clichéd as it sounds, life really isn’t about the next Coach bag or Espirit top. It may still be about the Avocadoes and the Margheritas, and you will still be able to enjoy these some days, while you watch a movie on Netflix or read a Nora Roberts or just stare into space. It really doesn’t take much to enjoy life the right way!

Sub Lesson #5a – You are so much more than what you were when you fell into the mundane that was work-life balance. This is the time to reach right into your soul and figure what it is you were meant to do and get at it. After all, I did start this blog in month #5 of being unemployed and having had enough of self-doubting my potential for the nth time. Guys, go get that job that will pay for your trips around the world but don’t lose sight of what makes you happy within.

It does boil down to trusting yourself and believing that support sometimes comes from unexpected places, sometimes comes a little late, but…things really do get OKAY! :o)

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