Yesterday, I got an email from a job I really wanted that said while they were impressed with me, they will be moving forward with other candidates.
I am all too familiar with this by now — I’ve been looking for almost a year, and I receive a similar email from a different employer, nearly every week.*
This time, I felt like I was broken. I really wanted this one and unfortunately, they did not want me. It never gets easier. There is never a time where I don’t feel the urge to throw my phone or laptop across the room. And I’ve never gotten That Email and not shed a few tears. It’s natural, it’s normal, and I’ve found it is easier to let the tears fall as they may.
Over the last year though, I’ve found some tools that have really helped me cope, and, yes, make lemonade out of some really effed up lemons. A few friends of mine suggested letting folks know what is working for me — what is making me happy and resilient through stressful times. So here’s a list for you:
Spending time with kids.
I am fortunate to have two nephews: Reece, who’s 3 years old, and Cole, who is 5 months old. I also have friends who have small children, too. I find spending time with them, playing games, telling jokes, and watching them play and explore the world is a very therapeutic process. I leave my nephews and other children in my life feeling uplifted. There is something about watching a tiny human discover new things about the world and their surroundings that puts things into perspective for me.
Listening to music that makes me happy — and dancing to it.
I have a running playlist of songs that put me in my happy place on Spotify. On the REALLY shitty days, I’ll throw that playlist on to lift my mood. It’s amazing what a dance break will do for you.
Keeping a journal.
I’m not gonna lie — there have been several times during this process where my thoughts keep me up at night. Keeping a journal handy so I can “brain dump” and get my thoughts and feelings out has been a lifesaver, literally.
I don’t practice as much as I would like but when I do have a consistent yoga practice, it is harder for me to sink into a depression. It also instills a level of body positivity because I’m always amazed at what my body can actually do.
Doing some home entertainment with friends.
I love entertaining at home — making a nice meal and some cocktails, putting on a cool playlist, and catching up with some great friends. I can’t always go out like I normally would, but hosting people at our home gives me an activity to plan that will take my mind off of the stress of job hunting.
Have a good cry.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t cry sometimes in the midst of all this. But each time, I have felt better afterwards. If you need to cry, then cry. It’s no good to keep it bottled in.
I’m fortunate enough to have an awesome Black woman therapist. It helps to have someone to talk to and to figure out what steps I need to take in order to be kinder to myself and also to forgive myself for my mistakes in my career or in life. Through this process, I have come to realize that the not-so-great moments in my career may not even have had anything to do with me. Realizing that has been the most freeing thing I’ve ever learned about my journey.
These are just a few of the things I do to keep myself motivated and, generally, to show myself kindness in the midst of a difficult situation. I can’t guarantee that they will work for you, only what has worked for me. But, I hope this helps.
*This is not a invitation to give me unsolicited advice about my resume or my interview style. Please assume that I have gotten as much advice about this as i can get — that I ACTUALLY ASKED FOR. Your advice is likely something I have already heard. Thank you.