What job hunting in my 30s taught me

I let out a heavy sigh as I stared at his limp body. He was dead and it was pretty obvious there wouldn’t be any turning back. I take a moment to let it all sink in. It was quiet and unusually still. I couldn’t hear the familiar cacophony of birds and traffic that I had grown to appreciate as company. As I watch the blood trickled from his forehead, I pondered my next move.

Do I walk out the door and start running, or put the controller down and get back to job hunting?

I was at that place of being open to new opportunities. It was a challenging time and I was riding waves of emotional lessons. Instead of keeping them all to myself, I thought I’d pen them down and share them with you.

You’ll feel like Crappy McCrapCrap

And that’s okay. What’s not okay is believing that you are crap. Receiving rejection letters from recruiters or employers you hoped so much would say “YES! We want you!” will sting and burn in a place you never knew existed. And just when you have started to heal, another email will arrive sprinkling salt like it’s fairy dust. Yes, there will be days when your self-esteem and confidence will be plagued by doubt and insecurities. When that happens, remember this:

Know your worth, be confident in your skills, and if you’re not, find out ways on improving or upskilling while having this time.

Invest in yourself, do the work

One of the most profound lines I’d ever read was from Gandalf, JRR Tolkein’s Lord of The Rings:

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

This line has helped me in more ways than one: from keeping my head up while job hunting to finding strength to fight depression. It’s easy to get trapped in self-pity. Feeling sorry for yourself is a lot easier than ploughing on. With every rejection letter I received (or didn’t), I knew I had a choice: to wallow or not to wallow. On some days, I allowed myself some #wallowtime. Only for a while before moving on to looking at how I could’ve been a candidate they would not have said no to.

This pushes and motivates me to learn something new. Right now, I’m working on my Inbound Certification from Hubspot. Next, it will be to complete my Google Adwords certification. At the same time, I’m committing to just writing and eventually I’ll get to my book. Writing has always been a passion but along the way of life, I’ve put it on the back burner waiting for that spark of inspiration. Screw inspiration, I’ll just start writing.

“If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.”
Barack Obama

Procrastination does not discriminate

It happens to the best of us and it happens at any age: 5, 15, 25, or 35. Distractions are sometimes good and can be necessary breaks but it’s important to be aware of when you’ve crossed over to Avoidance Nation. Like many others, I play games. I play games a lot. I don’t play it when I’m unhappy but rather, when I need to do something else that is not adulting.

Escapism is great but wasting time, not so great. Getting lost in fantasy world is fun until you have to get back to the real world. Then the reality of time wasted sets in and so does regret. Balance has never been more important here. Take a break, have fun but remember to go back to what you were taking a break from.

Originally published at michellechee.com.


Michelle is a digital marketer and on-the-side writer with more than 10 years of experience, she’s worked for awesome places like OgilyyOne, MRM Worldwide, Maxis and even a City Council (sans Councillor Leslie Knope) producing digital marketing campaigns and strategies.

She was voted “most likely to be a weather girl” by her peers in secondary school and has been featured in publications like Plan B and her friend’s (then) popular blog.

When she’s not discovering random facts on Google, writing or working with people to improve their digital game, you can find her standing on her head, cooking up a delicious ayurvedic meals, or building fancy sanctuaries on Fall Out 4.

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