No, I’m not talking about a romantic partner when I say ‘The One’. I am talking about something that might be nearly as important than a romantic partner: a job. If there is one thing we can all agree on in this very – interesting – time, it is that being unemployed sucks. I am, and have been for some months, in the thick of a full-blown job search.
Let me back up. As I mentioned in my last post, I moved to Orlando after graduation and worked for Disney in Corporate Alliances. Well, guess what? I moved again! I know what you are thinking, ‘Ashley, why in the world would you move again?’ Here’s the deal: I wasn’t happy in Orlando. My job had no room for growth, I was feeling lost in such a huge company, and I was sick of being surrounded solely by theme parks and tourist attractions.
I am not one to wallow in despair and feel bad for myself. Sure, I might cry into a glass of Pinot Noir every now and then, but I like to get shit done and feel good about my life! I decided some months ago that I was going to make a change for the better, and that started with finding a job that makes me feel fulfilled.
Here’s the problem with that: job searches take a lot of time. And my lease was about to end in Orlando. After tirelessly searching for a new position (and hoping I would find something ASAP), it was time to make the ultimate decision: find a new place in Orlando or pick somewhere new and start over. Which reminds me, there’s something you should know about me. I am a typical Type-A, list-making, research-doing, plan-or-die person. The thought of dropping everything and moving to a new city with no job was ludicrous.
But I did it. I am currently living with my (very patient) fiancé in Austin, TX. That’s right, your girl drove from Oregon to Florida, then from Florida to Texas. Within a year. We know absolutely no one in Austin, neither of us have a job, and we had never been to Austin before. *Insert shrugging emoji here.* We did it anyway. Austin is all about beer, barbecue, and dogs. We knew it would be the place for us. (As I write this I am drinking a local Austin hard pineapple cider.)
Flash forward about a week, and I am currently sitting on my brand new and very inexpensive IKEA couch, combing through the internet in search of the perfect job…’The One’ if you will. I’ll be honest: I don’t know if it exists. ‘The One’, I mean. But at the end of the day, there is no way to tell what the perfect fit will be. I just have to jump in and give it a chance, sort of like I did with Austin!
Going through this process has taught me a lot, though I am certainly no expert, evidenced by the fact that I am still unemployed. That being said, here are a few pieces of insight from trek through the battlefield that is the job hunt.
- Be Present. Okay, I am probably biased considering this phrase is tattooed on my wrist, but it is still so critical to maintaining as much sanity as possible while desperately seeking a job. Worrying will not get you anywhere. Take it from someone (me) with an anxiety disorder. Concern yourself with what you can do at this very moment, not what may or may not happen in the future. Easier said than done, I know, but its something to shoot for.
- Use Your Network. Let your former coworkers know that you’re looking for a new position. You may be surprised how many connections they have. It turns out two of my coworkers had previously lived and worked in Austin, and they were able to connect me with a lot of really great companies (and give me barbecue advice.) One coworker has a friend that works at a company that I have an interview with. She connected us, and I got amazing advice on how to position my experience in order to kill my interview.
- Find Your Mentor. You probably already have a mentor, that one person that believes in you and gives you every opportunity to prove yourself professionally. If you don’t, find one! The key to finding a mentor is to develop personal relationships with coworkers. Once you have that person, get every piece of advice possible from them. My mentor and I joke that he gave me a ‘playbook.’ Whenever he gives me a new piece of advice, we put it in the playbook (metaphorically). Ask your mentor to write you a letter of recommendation, which will prove extremely helpful in the job search process. Pro tip: make sure you have a mentor that isn’t afraid to call you on your BS and challenge you to do better. You will be a better professional for it.
- Ask Mom and Dad for Help. You heard me. Swallow your pride, bat your eyelashes, and ask for some rent money. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT max out your credit cards because you are afraid to ask for help! Below I will include a list of my favorite job board websites, some specific to Austin and some more general.
Those are a few of my insights, hopefully they help. If you have any to share with me, PLEASE do not hesitate to comment. With that being said, here is another resource you may find helpful: a list of the job search websites I am utilizing.
- The Muse. The perfect mix of advice, resources, and job posts.
- Angel List. Specific to start up job openings.
- Build in Austin. Goes without saying, but Austin specific.
- Indeed. The one, the only, the classic job search website.
- Glassdoor. I love Glassdoor for a complete picture of a company, its culture, and employee reviews.
Are you in the middle of a job search? Let me know, in the comments below!