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It's Not You, It's Them

When You're Struggling with Your Next Professional Step

I've been applying for jobs weekly in the past six months.

Long story short—my husband got a new job and we changed countries.

The struggle is real: leaving everything behind and jumping completely out of my comfort zone. At the beginning it's extremely exciting: everything is new, there's so much to explore. But the daily struggle of the unknown ends up winning quickly.

The beginning of a search for a new job—it's like trying to find the dress you imagined in your favourite store: Then you realize it only exists in your head, so you need to accommodate, look around and find something else. You go around and around... but nothing. Then you realize it only exists in your head, so you need to accommodate, look around and find something else. It's not the initial plan, but you need a dress. So you go, looking around again. This one is good, but aaahh—hate the sleeves. Oh, that one looks cute, but aaahhh—they don't have it in my size. You get fed up so you end up going back home. Tomorrow you go back, you try again. You end up buying a shirt...

My search for a new job started exactly the same way: I know what sort of career path I want to go for, so I will find it. I select only the offers I like and bam—curriculum sent. All the excitement—I fulfill all the requirements they ask for, so I should get an answer in a couple of weeks. But no answer. Like at all. Zero.

So I adapted my search: started to pick offers that I would be okay doing—did not fulfill all the requirements this time, but hey, maybe I will still be one of the best candidates. What does it cost trying, right? Again, no answer at all. What's wrong with me?

I start to think that I am simply not good enough—I don't speak enough languages. They want someone to speak five languages whiles doing the split, petting a monkey and eating a burrito. They want someone that uses 10 different software because what sort of human being would you be if you can only use seven? They want you to give your heart, smile, soul, sweat, tears, and mental sanity to the company while you get paid in return.

In another word: you start doubting yourself. A lot. Daily. That brings you to a dark place...

You don't give up. You keep sending applications—1/20 you will get a rejection. No other answer, at all. These rejections, at the beginning, they really hurt your ego too. Why am I not good enough? Truth to be told, after a while you prefer to receive them - better than being completely ignored.

Again, applying—1/100 application and "could we schedule a Skype interview with you?" You explode in excitement. The sun shines again, and you can even hear birds singing. You promptly reply and hope for the best and an answer. But the person that invited you for this Skype interview has the software skills of a dinosaur that probably lost his/her password and he/she can't be bothered to create another account or contact the support.

All this silence, rejections and half answers hit you. And they hit you really hard. You start telling yourself—maybe I should do something else. I mean, clearly, I am not good enough for this. But what am I good at? You immerse into a self-discovery, looking for something new inside you. Or for something you forgot you had. At this point, you can't go lower than this. The desperation took your body shape anyway. Not to mention your mind. There are no more tears, there is only another day, another try.

That's also when you realize—it can't be only you. It can't. You are good enough. You studied, you worked hard. You're competent. You're responsible. You learned so much and you have grown so much as a professional and as a person. You can do so much more. You have so much to offer. It's not you the problem - it's them. The corporations. Their lack of empathy. Their constant self-empowerment. Their attitude. Not yours, theirs. They are the problem. Not you.

Applying for a job works both ways—if I am sending my application to a company means I like their work and I would love to be a part of the team. They might think the opposite. It's their right to think the opposite—as it should be my right to know that. But it's not. They couldn't care less.

They should at least tell you: If you spent one hour of your life trying to find them, looking into who they are, what they do and sending you a cover letter explaining why you would be a great fit, the least they could do should be letting you know that you're not. Not for them. Is that asking for too much? Five minutes of the time of the person receiving the application to just send the simple standard message: "Dear Candidate, Thank you for your job application at Our Company. We must inform you, to our regrets, that you are not selected for an interview."

I accept the rejections—some days better than others. What I don't accept is the silence. Being absolutely ignored. The "I checked your curriculum, but I can't even be bothered to let you know that you've been rejected." Applying for a job goes both ways. It's five minutes of their time.

I will find my way again. Sooner or later, but I will. I will not give up. 

In the meantime, I am sending my invisible and also silent kindest regard shaped as a middle finger to all of them. You should do the same.

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