My favorite part about living in New York is that everyone here has a story about how they “made it”. It’s almost romantic. Looking for a job is here is hyper-competitive and most recommend finding your job here before you move. However, most companies won’t take you seriously until you have a tri-state address on your resume. Can you say paradox?
So let’s talk about my situation in particular. I scored a great deal on an apartment, so I figured I’d just move and land an offer in two weeks. Boy, was I wrong. These past few months have been tough, to say the least. Let’s just say the stock of ramen noodles skyrocketed during my unemployment.
That’s not to say this experience has been a total wash. Now that I’ve scored my dream job, I can look back fondly on the lessons that I learned during this insane period of my life.
Motivation Will Get You Everywhere
All career advice says having a “gap” in your resume is a cardinal sin. However, just because you have an employment gap doesn’t mean you have to lay down and die. During my interviews, I talked about how I stayed fresh writing this blog (bonus: I was considered “entrepreneurial”), volunteered at homeless shelters around the city (Re: New Year’s resolution), and got a few certifications on Coursera. I am not sure how conventional my approach was, but I felt that providing the proof I stayed motivated went a long way.
Your Support System is Everything
It began happening almost like clockwork. I’d be interviewing somewhere, get really far down the pipeline, and get rejected at the last second. After you invest so much time (and with no pay), it’s hard not to take rejection personally. When I talked to family and friends, I teetered between being completely ecstatic and completely humiliated. I learned how important it was to keep people around me that would cheer on my victories and pick me up in my defeats. The most important thing in the world is the people that you surround yourself with. Have a good support system.
If you’re part of my support system and you’re reading this, I can’t thank you enough.
Appreciate the Money You Make…
I was blessed to be raised in a good family where I didn’t want for much (and no, that is not a war crime). For my own personal pride, I told my parents that I’d try to shoulder the burden of living in NYC on my own. It’s paralyzing to live below the poverty line. I was envious of people saying that they “hated” their jobs. I wished I had that problem. Trust me, as much as you hate your job, you will hate not making money more. Appreciate the money you make. And if you hate your job, get a new one.
…And the Health You Have
As a young woman who’s transitioning into an old woman, not having health or dental insurance was not so much paralyzing as it was terrifying. I made the ultimate risk of shelving my healthcare because it was just too expensive. Thankfully, I could rely on my youth and medical professional parents to make sure this machine was still running properly. For heaven’s sakes, use those benefits and make sure that you’re healthy!
Failure is the Best Thing That Can Happen to You
Failure actually makes you more interesting. In literature, there are flat characters and dynamic characters. The flat characters never grow. In the grand scheme of things, they’re about as interesting as wallpaper. On the other hand, dynamic characters are fascinating because they fail their way into overcoming their adversities. Always strive to be the dynamic character in your own story. And remember: when God closes a door, he opens a window.