Current Struggles

Linh Nguyen My
Feb 12, 2017 · 3 min read

End of 2016 I told myself: I’ll be job ready to apply for junior software engineering jobs at the beginning of 2017.

I’ve stuck to my goals and honestly it hasn’t been a smooth ride (not that I expected it anyways). So I am writing this post to note down my journey so far and how I’m currently dealing with it.

Let’s be honest, being rejected is not pleasant and no one likes to be in this position. However, I guess it’s something we must all go through.

I had my first interview with a company I admired the most. Prior to this, I hadn’t had much interview practice, and it clearly showed on the day. Without second thoughts, I kept the momentum going and had a few more lined up at various different companies.

Although this time around, I thought it went smoother (learning from my previous mistakes), rejections came knocking one after another — mainly due to my lack of experiences compared to other candidates.

There were technical tests given to me where I had no idea what to do and where very little time was given. This impacted me in such a negative way where I started to question myself: “I don’t know where to start…”, “How can I not get this?” and “Oh gosh I feel so dumb.” — as a result I became very emotional.

I’d spend a day or two in bed doing absolutely nothing. I’ll feel better by masking the pain temporarily but then (verbally) beat myself up for wasting valuable time where I should be practising my programming skills. Because of this, anything unpleasant that happens that’s usually not a big deal, becomes a BIG deal and it becomes a vicious cycle.

During times like this, I like to watch pet rescue videos, which gives me hope and strength to carry on and get over things. Here are examples from my favourites:

Hope For Paws is non-profit organisation that rescues stray and abandoned dogs and other animals from the streets. They’re based in LA. This is my fave video because it’s the only one I have seen where the dog actually had a family and was being searched for.
Vet Ranch provides medical treatment to homeless animals through the support of viewer’s donations and awesome rescue organisations! A lot of the animals there would otherwise have been euthanised if not for the veterinarians who do the best they can to fix’em all! This is also my fave video because the dog has been adopted right away!

I don’t like watching videos that are geared specifically to the topic of ‘job rejections’ as they only make me feel worse most of the time. It’s the same old advice that you hear over and over again and I think it’s pretty patronising.

These rescue videos help me to get my mind off negative thoughts and look forward to a new day.

I’ve never really felt this way about rejections before. This is mainly due to the fact that I had discovered what I want to do, so the wound only gets exaggerated when I had failed.

I also wrote a message to myself to remind me to be kind:

Dear Linh,

You’ve been working so hard these past 7 months, you’re so close to your goal that it can be frustrating when you don’t get the job. You may not be aware at the time but the path you have undertaken is always a challenging one! You never settled for anything easy and this is why it’s always so frustrating because you’re growing! I promise you that you will get there. Sometimes things happen for a reason and that reason we do not yet know but with time it will become clear.

Please take care and be kind to yourself.

Love, Linh

Now that’s off my mind…

I have managed to dump out a ton of trash out of my mental hard drive: mainly the little voices that tends to grow quicker the more I allow it to voice their negativity.

I wanted to document my struggles for myself to look back in the near future. If this has at least helped one reader to realise they’re not alone, then that’ll be a bonus!

I’m well aware this is part of the career aspirations journey: the unavoidable rejections. Also, I’ve clarified to myself it’s still early days. It’s a matter of staying proactive, expect more bumps along the way, and most importantly, to remind myself that my life autobiography is lived in chapters. Meaning, one more rejection, one more no, one more negativity does not dictate the whole book (unless I allow it to). I know I will get there, it’s just a matter of time.

“Something worth striving for never comes easy.”


Massive thanks to my friend Mona who encouraged me to write this post.

If you have found this helpful please hit that 💚 button and share it on social media :)

www.pinglinh.com

Follow me on Twitter | Check out my LinkedIn | See my GitHub

Linh Nguyen My

Written by

A Self-taught Software Engineer @LEGO, prev @ASOS. Also interested in UI. You can find me @ pinglinh.com

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